5 Alternatives to New Years Resolutions

The pressure to come up with resolutions and improvements always mounts near the end of the year, but everyone knows that statistically speaking, most of us won’t stick to our New Year’s resolutions much past February. So rather than give in to societal pressure, guilt, and feelings of hopelessness, I propose a shift in perspective this year.

Rather than viewing the New Year as catalyst for sweeping lifestyle and character changes, let’s instead take this opportunity to renew our sense of purpose and determination. Here are five ideas to make some positive changes in a different way this year.

  1. Express Gratitude

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” -William Arthur Ward. You will be amazed at the ways your life will begin to change simply by expressing gratitude regularly. It will help you maintain a fresh perspective day in and day out, and will help to keep stress at bay. Make a list of all the things you are thankful for in your life, big and small. Take some time to really lean in to this list and reflect on each one. Especially focus on why you are thankful for each of those things.

  1. Create a list of things to look forward to

This goes hand-in-hand with gratitude. What are you looking forward to this year? A vacation, a family member getting married, a new restaurant opening, a new novel or a new season of your favorite show. By focusing on the good things coming your way, it will be easier to keep a positive and hope-filled attitude.

  1. Pick a word for the year

Before the year starts, take some time to look at the big picture of the coming year. Find the theme of what you would like to accomplish or focus on, and chose a theme word to guide you. This will give you clarity and focus. Maybe your word for the year is Intentional. Simplify. Peace. Discipline. Fun. When you have your theme word for the year, share it on oneword365.com

  1. Schedule a quarterly retreat

Life happens, and trying to balance work, family, social life, friends, and other commitments often results in very little time for you. Take some time before the new year starts and schedule yourself a quarterly one-day (or weekend!) retreat to focus on YOU. Remember, if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of anyone else.

  1. Try a 30-day challenge

A 30-day challenge consists of setting a small goal that can be achieved in 30 days, as well as a small, specific action that you will take each day to achieve that goal. For example:

Declutter: every day for 30 days, choose 3 items to donate, sell, give away or throw away.

Random acts of kindness: every day for 30 days, perform a random act of kindness such as: leaving change in a vending machine; buying the coffee of the person behind you at Starbucks; send a thank you email to a coworker who deserves more recognition. Spreading kindness will always come back to you.

 


Posted on December 10, 2018 at 5:46 am
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Just for Fun |

Where to Celebrate New Years Eve

 

New Year’s Eve 2018 is almost upon us, and if you are still looking for something to do, read on! There are lots of options in the greater Seattle area, whether you are looking for the biggest blow-out bash or an earlier, family-friendly event.

  1. New Year’s Eve Celebration at Seattle Center

There are actually two parties that will converge at midnight for the iconic Seattle fireworks show.

The Armory Stage will host rock band SWAY from 8pm until midnight. And at the International Fountain, you can dance the night away with live electronic music and video projection show (starts at 10pm). Tickets are required for both parties, however the big fireworks show is free to enjoy.

  1. SPECTRA: New Year’s Eve Under the Arches

The Pacific Science Center transforms on NYE with fire sculptures, drinks and live music. There will be special entertainment throughout the night, as well as the standard Science Center exhibits. At midnight, head outside for the Space Needle fireworks. Purchase tickets in advance.

  1. New Year’s Eve pARTy at Chihuly Gardens and Glass

Watch the Seattle Center fireworks from under the glass of Chihuly Gardens. The evening includes appetizers, desserts, live music and a midnight toast. Purchase tickets in advance.

  1. INDULGENCE New Year’s Eve Bash at MoPOP

Another Seattle Center option, the Museum of Popular Culture offers four 21+ parties in one. With live music on three performance stages, comedians, party favors, special VIP areas, more than 20 bars, and a special singles-only cocktail hour, this is one of the largest parties of the year. Museum access is included in the price of the party, purchase tickets in advance.

  1. Tacoma’s First Night

First Night is an all-ages, family-friendly celebration in Downtown Tacoma’s Theater District. The affordable admission price includes museums, music, art, drama, dance, and a whole day and night of activities. The cost of entry increases as the festival gets closer, so buy early to save!

  1. Nighttime Party for Families at Imagine Children’s Museum

The perfect NYE celebration if you have older kids, this pajama party features comedians, balloon makers, pizza, snacks, and educational, hands-on activities throughout the night. The fun culminates at 9pm with a ball drop.

  1. New Year’s Eve with Ivar’s Salmon House

Ivar’s on Northlake will host live music, tasty food and view of the fireworks without the crowds. Advanced reservations are required, and will range in price depending on your selections.

  1. Slamming’ Jammin’ New Year’s Eve Party

Ring in the new year with the latest in R&B, Old School, Jazz and Hip Hop music. This is a 21+, semi-formal event, and hotel packages are available with your ticket purchase.

  1. Resolution New Year’s Eve Party at WAMU Theater

A Seattle tradition for almost a decade, this 18+ party always brings a mixed crowd together for a night of dancing. This is one of the biggest EDM parties of the year.

  1. New Year’s at KidsQuest Bellevue

Celebrate the coming new year all day at KidsQuest! There are activities every hour from 10am to 4pm, including Bubble Wrap Stomp, New Year’s Hats, Storytime, glittery tattoos, and more. Admission is free with membership or museum admission.


Posted on December 10, 2018 at 5:29 am
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Just for Fun |

Christmas Tree Farms & Winter Activities 2018

King County:

♦  Buttonwood Farm
14500 NE 116th St, Redmond
100% organic you-cut or white-glove delivery service, saws provided, hot chocolate and cookies

♦  Carnation Tree Farm
31523 NE 40th St, Carnation
You-cut trees, pre-cut trees, wreaths, garlands, mistletoe, Santa visits, Christmas decorations, trees baled, saws provided, hay rides

♦  Cedar Falls Tree Farm
15200 Cedar Falls Rd SE, North Bend
You-cut trees, wreaths, trees bagged & tied, saws provided, free hot cider, picnic area, porta-potties

♦  Christmas Creek Tree Farm
15515 468th Ave SE, North Bend
You-cut trees, pre-cut trees, trees baled, refreshments, hay rides, Santa on weekends, picnic areas

♦  Coates Christmas Trees
17225 SE Green Valley Road, Auburn
You-cut trees, pre-cut trees, wreaths, boughs, garlands, mistleto, Santa, trees bagged and tied

♦  Country Tree Farm
18225 116th Ave SE, Renton
You-cut trees, wreaths, holly, refreshments, Santa

♦  Crown Tree Farm
13005 424th Ave SE, North Bend
You-cut trees, pre-cut trees, wreaths and boughs, decorations, saws provided, trees bagged, free tree trimmings

♦  Crystal Creek Tree Farm
23604 SE 192nd St, Maple Valley
You-cut trees, saws provided, trees baled, cider, porta-potties

♦  Enchanted Winds Tree Farm
8021 Issaquah-Hobart Rd, Issaquah
You-cut trees, wreaths, swags, boughs, holly, gifts, decorations, crafts, trees baled, tree stands, hay wagon, trailer rides, fire pit, hot beverages

♦  Hunter Farms Fresh Cut Trees
7744 35th Ave NE, Seattle
Precut trees, mistletoe, holly, wreaths, flocking, restrooms, trees baled, fire retarding

♦  Keith and Scott Tree Farm
42999 SE 120th St, North Bend
You-cut trees, pre-cut trees, wreaths, boughs, trees tied, baled and trimmed, saws provided, bonfires, refreshments, restrooms

♦  McMurtrey’s Red-wood Christmas Tree Farm
13925 Redmond-Woodinville Rd, Redmond
You-cut trees, pre-cut trees, saws provided, wreaths, beverages, restrooms, wagon rides, tree stands

♦  Serres Farm
20306 NE 50th St, Redmond
You-cut trees, pre-cut trees, saws provided, wreaths, free hot chocolate, restrooms

♦  Snow Valley Christmas Tree Farm
17651 W Snoqualmie River Rd NE, Duvall
You-cut trees, pre-cut trees, wreaths, Santa appearances, decorations, free hot beverages, gift shop, porta-potties

Snohomish County:

♦  Bowen Tree Farm
19301 95th Ave NE, Arlington
You-cut trees, wreaths, decorations, free hot cider, gift shop, porta-potties

♦  Farmer Brown’s Tree Farm
12017 109th Ave NE, Arlington
You-cut trees, saws provided, hot beverages, flocking, gift shop, restrooms

♦  Hemstrom Valley Tree Farm
4329 Robe Menzel Road, Granite Falls
You-cut trees, saws provided, winter events, refreshments

♦  Holiday Forest
3125 280th St NW, Stanwood
You-cut trees, wreaths, boughs, saws provided, winter wagon rides, snacks and refreshment stand

♦  Lochsloy Acres
5511 State Route 92, Lake Stevens
You-cut trees, wreaths, boughs, saws provided, free coffee, cider & hot chocolate

♦  Paterson’s Lazy Acres Tree Farm
1315 188th St NE, Arlington
You-cut trees, saws provided, trees baled, wreaths, decorations, refreshments

♦  Pilchuck Secret Valley Christmas Trees
9533 Mose Rd, Arlington
You-cut trees, wreaths, swags, boughs, holly, picnic area, fire pit, hot beverages, restrooms

♦  Stocker Farms
8705 Marsh Rd, Snohomish
You-cut trees, saws provided, warming fire

♦  Wintergreen Tree Farm
13606 S Machias Rd, Snohomish
Precut trees, you choose and you cut trees, wreaths, boughs, garlands, decorations, Christmas festival, bonfires, free hot cider, gift shop, restrooms

Remember to always call the farm before you go to confirm their supply, hours, if they are allowing choose-and-cut or just pre-cut trees, and which attractions or winter activities are available. All of these things can change quickly during the short Christmas season due to weather, demand, and the farmers business conditions!


Posted on December 10, 2018 at 4:36 am
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Just for Fun |

University of Washington Adds Minor in Real Estate Studies

This is big news! Windermere considers real estate a full-time career option, and now UW students can learn the important skills that go into this profession. Partnering with the University of Washington their providing students with the opportunity to complete a minor in real estate studies.

Learn more:  http://bit.ly/2CAr57X

 


Posted on October 25, 2018 at 9:32 pm
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Local News, Uncategorized |

Q3 2018 Western Washington Real Estate Market Update

 

The following analysis of the Western Washington real estate market is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. We hope that this information may assist you with making better-informed real estate decisions. For further information about the housing market in your area, please don’t hesitate to contact your Windermere Agent. 

 

ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

Washington State continues to be one of the fastest growing states in the nation and there is little to suggest that there will be any marked slowdown in the foreseeable future. Over the past year, the state has added 105,900 new jobs, representing an annual growth rate of 3.2%. This remains well above the national rate of 1.65%. Private sector employment gains continue to be robust, increasing at an annual rate of 3.7%. The strongest growth sectors were Construction (+7.4%), Information (+6.2%), and Professional & Business Services (+6.1%). The state’s unemployment rate was 4.5%, down from 4.8% a year ago.

 

All year I’ve been predicting that Washington State’s annual job growth would outperform the nation as a whole, and we now know with certainty that this is going to be the case. Furthermore, I am now able to predict that statewide job growth in 2019 will be equally strong, with an expected increase of 2.6%.

 

HOME SALES ACTIVITY

  • There were 22,310 home sales during the third quarter of 2018. This is a significant drop of 12.7% compared to the third quarter of 2017.
  • The number of homes for sale last quarter was up 14.5% compared to the third quarter of 2017, continuing a trend that started earlier in the year. However, the increase in listings was only in Seattle’s tri-county area (King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties) while listing activity was down across the balance of the region.
  • Only two counties had a year-over-year increase in home sales, while the rest of Western Washington saw sales decrease.
  • The region has reached an inflection point. With the increase in the number of homes for sale, buyers now have more choices and time to make​ a decision about what home to buy.

 

 

HOME PRICES

  • As inventory levels start to rise, some of the heat has been taken off the market, which caused home prices in the Western Washington region to go up by a relatively modest 6.2% over last year to $503,039. Notably, prices are down by 4.4% when compared to the second quarter of this year.
  • Home prices, although higher than a year ago, continue to slow due to the significant increase in the number of homes for sale. This, in my opinion, is a very good thing.​​
  • When compared to the same period a year ago, price growth was strongest in Lewis County, where home prices were up 15.3%. Six other counties experienced double-digit price increases.​
  • Slowing price growth was inevitable; we simply could not sustain the increases we’ve experienced in recent years. Lower rates of appreciation will continue until wage growth catches up.

 

 

DAYS ON MARKET

  • The average number of days it took to sell a home dropped by four days compared to the same quarter of 2017.​
  • Across the entire region, it took an average of 39 days to sell a home in the third quarter of this year. This is down from 43 days in the third quarter of 2017 and down 2 days when compared to the second quarter of 2018.​
  • King County continues to be the tightest market in Western Washington, with homes taking an average of only 19 days to sell. Every county in the region other than Skagit and King — which both saw the time on the market rise by 2 days — saw the length of time it took to sell a home drop when compared to the same period a year ago.​​
  • More choice in the market would normally suggest that the length of time it takes to sell a home should rise, but the data has yet to show that. That said, compared to last quarter, we are seeing some marked increases in days on market in several counties, which will be reflected in future reports.

 

 

CONCLUSIONS

This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s real estate market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors. I started to move the needle toward buyers last quarter and have moved it even further this quarter. Price growth continues to slow, but more significant is the rise in listings, which I expect to continue as we move toward the quieter winter period.

 

I believe that psychology will start to play a part in the housing market going forward. It has been more than 15 years since we’ve experienced a “balanced” market, so many home buyers and sellers have a hard time remembering what one looks like. Concerns over price drops are overrated and the length of time it’s taking to sell a home is simply trending back to where it used to be in the early 2000s.

*Mr. Gardner is the Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, specializing in residential market analysis, commercial/industrial market analysis, financial analysis, and land use and regional economics. He is the former Principal of Gardner Economics and has more than 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K. 


Posted on October 25, 2018 at 8:45 pm
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Quarterly Reports, Statistical Information |

Q3 Market Trends – South Snohomish/Eastside/North King/Seattle Metro

Q3: July 1 – September 30, 2018

 

SOUTH SNOHOMISH COUNTY: In September, the average days on market landed at 27 days and the original list-to-sale price ratio 98%. Since May, inventory growth has been noticeable, and has given buyers more options. This has led to more negotiations and fewer bidding wars, which is tempering month-over-month price growth to a more sustainable level.

Back in April, the average days on market was 14 days and the original list-to-sale price ratio 104%; but months of inventory based on pending sales was 0.8 months, compared to 2.5 months currently. Year-over-year, prices are up 11%, still well above the historical norm of 3%-5% year-over-year gains—but note that the majority of this growth happened during the spring, due to constricted inventory levels.

Supply has increased, creating more options for buyers and helping to buffer affordability issues. Many sellers are deciding to make moves and cash in on the equity gained over the last six years. An average original list-to-sale price ratio of 98% is a positive return, yet illustrates a softening in the market after some very extreme times. With 11% price growth over the last 12-months in a seller’s favor, the increase in selection has led to more nimble moves from one house to another. Where sellers need to be careful is anticipating the month-over-month price growth we saw prior to the shift in inventory. Prospective buyers would be smart to take advantage of today’s historically low interest rates and the added inventory selection.

This is only a snapshot of the trends in south Snohomish County; please contact us if you would like further explanation of how the latest trends relate to you.

 

 

 

 

Q3: July 1 – September 30, 2018

 

THE EASTSIDE: In September, the average days on market landed at 32 days and the original list-to-sale price ratio 98%. Since May, inventory growth has been noticeable, and has given buyers more options. This has led to more negotiations and fewer bidding wars, which is tempering month-over-month price growth to a more sustainable level.

Back in April, the average days on market was 13 days and the original list-to-sale price ratio 103%; but months of inventory based on pending sales was 0.8 months, compared to 2.9 months currently. Year-over-year, prices are up 10%, still well above the historical norm of 3%-5% year-over-year gains—but note that the majority of this growth happened during the spring, due to constricted inventory levels.

Supply has increased, creating more options for buyers and helping to buffer affordability issues. Many sellers are deciding to make moves and cash in on the equity gained over the last six years. An average original list-to-sale price ratio of 98% is a positive return, yet illustrates a softening in the market after some very extreme times. With 10% price growth over the last 12-months in a seller’s favor, the increase in selection has led to more nimble moves from one house to another. Where sellers need to be careful is anticipating the month-over-month price growth we saw prior to the shift in inventory. Prospective buyers would be smart to take advantage of today’s historically low interest rates and the added inventory selection.

This is only a snapshot of the trends on the Eastside; please contact us if you would like further explanation of how the latest trends relate to you.

 

 

 

 

 

Q3: July 1 – September 30, 2018

 

NORTH KING COUNTY: In September, the average days on market landed at 23 days and the original list-to-sale price ratio 98%. Since May, inventory growth has been noticeable, and has given buyers more options. This has led to more negotiations and fewer bidding wars, which is tempering month-over-month price growth to a more sustainable level.

Back in April, the average days on market was 12 days and the original list-to-sale price ratio 106%; but months of inventory based on pending sales was 0.8 months, compared to 2.2 months currently. Year-over-year, prices are up 10%, still well above the historical norm of 3%-5% year-over-year gains—but note that the majority of this growth happened during the spring, due to constricted inventory levels.

Supply has increased, creating more options for buyers and helping to buffer affordability issues. Many sellers are deciding to make moves and cash in on the equity gained over the last six years. An average original list-to-sale price ratio of 98% is a positive return, yet illustrates a softening in the market after some very extreme times. With 10% price growth over the last 12-months in a seller’s favor, the increase in selection has led to more nimble moves from one house to another. Where sellers need to be careful is anticipating the month-over-month price growth we saw prior to the shift in inventory. Prospective buyers would be smart to take advantage of today’s historically low interest rates and the added inventory selection.

This is only a snapshot of the trends in north King County; please contact us if you would like further explanation of how the latest trends relate to you.

 

 

 

 

 

Q3: July 1 – September 30, 2018

 

SEATTLE METRO: In September, the average days on market landed at 23 days and the original list-to-sale price ratio 98%. Since May, inventory growth has been noticeable, and has given buyers more options. This has led to more negotiations and fewer bidding wars, which is tempering month-over-month price growth to a more sustainable level.

Back in April, the average days on market was 11 days and the original list-to-sale price ratio 105%; but months of inventory based on pending sales was 0.8 months, compared to 2.4 months currently. Year-over-year, prices are up 11%, still well above the historical norm of 3%-5% year-over-year gains—but note that the majority of this growth happened during the spring, due to constricted inventory levels.

Supply has increased, creating more options for buyers and helping to buffer affordability issues. Many sellers are deciding to make moves and cash in on the equity gained over the last six years. An average original list-to-sale price ratio of 98% is a positive return, yet illustrates a softening in the market after some very extreme times. With 10% price growth over the last 12-months in a seller’s favor, the increase in selection has led to more nimble moves from one house to another. Where sellers need to be careful is anticipating the month-over-month price growth we saw prior to the shift in inventory. Prospective buyers would be smart to take advantage of today’s historically low interest rates and the added inventory selection.

This is only a snapshot of the trends in the Seattle Metro area; please contact us if you would like further explanation of how the latest trends relate to you.

 


Posted on October 12, 2018 at 12:16 am
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Quarterly Reports, Statistical Information |

Wealth Building Opportunities for First Time Home Buyers

With the sharpest increase of available homes for sale in years, more opportunities are now available for buyers, including first-timers. Many first-time home buyers have sat on the sidelines and remained renters due to the constriction of inventory, which put major pressure on price affordability. Not only has affordability been an issue, but the terms required to prevail in a multiple-offer situation were often not within reach for someone entering the market for the first time.

For example, over the last 12 months in the Seattle Metro area we have seen a 66% increase in the selection homes for buyers to choose from. There is currently 1.8 months of available inventory based on pending sales versus 0.8 months that was available the same month last year. This is still a seller’s market (0-3 months), but it is providing more than twice as much selection than a year ago. This loosening up of the market has helped to temper price growth by reducing the amount of price escalations and the need to have super aggressive financing terms in order to secure a home.

You see, over the last 3-4 years we have experienced double-digit price appreciation (10-14%) year-over-year, each year. A normal rate of appreciation is 3-5%. Minimal amounts of available inventory, low interest rates, and rapid job growth lead to this increase in prices. Now that more homes are coming to market and job growth has stabilized a bit (still growing, but not as fast), price growth has slowed. This is good news for sustainability and affordability. Here’s the deal though – we are still experiencing growth in values, making home ownership a sound investment over renting.

According to the most recent survey from rentcafe.com, the average rent for an apartment in Seattle is $1,906 with an average square footage of 736 sq. ft. That is quite a bit of money for not a ton of space. Further, that monthly expenditure does not create any wealth for the renter, only for the landlord. With renting, rates can be increased at any time, and you are paying down someone else’s asset, not your own. Also, owning gives the homeowner control of their overhead, while getting to make their house their home by adding improvements such as painting.

There are several factors to consider that will lead a person to make the best decision for their lifestyle and their financial bottom line. One of the biggest factors is interest rates! Currently, the rate for a 30-year fixed, conventional, conforming loan is hovering around 4.88%. Up from earlier this year and predicted to rise, but still historically low over the course of the last 30 years. These rates need to be considered the greatest opportunity of them all! With prices tempering and rates still under the 30-year average of 6.65%, buyers are able to secure a sound investment with very low debt service.

With interest rates predicted to rise over the next year, a good rule of thumb to remember is that for every one-point increase in rate, a buyer loses 10% of their buying power. For example, if the rate jumps from 4.75% to 5.75% and one wants to keep the same monthly payment, they must adjust their price point down by 10%. So, a $450,000 budget becomes a $405,000 budget, and that isn’t taking appreciation into consideration. If you assume an average appreciation rate of 4% year-over-year, today’s $450,000 house will be $468,000 next year. What side of the equity growth do you want to be on? As an owner now, or a buyer a year from now, when prices are higher and interest rates are most likely higher as well?

Once you secure a mortgage, the payment stays the same over the term of the entire loan. The long-term benefits of owning are abundant, including the stability of not being asked to move. These are important factors to consider for everyone, but especially millennials, who are enjoying the benefits of Seattle’s attractive job market. One myth to address is the common belief that you must have a 20% down payment in order to buy a home. That is simply not true. There are loan programs as low as 3% down, decreasing the need to have a large sum of money saved up before being able to buy.

Where folks are having to compromise the most due to affordability is commute times, and settling in less-urban neighborhoods. Worth pointing out, is the average home price in south Snohomish County is 34% less than Seattle Metro – that is a huge savings! Further, south King County is 74% more affordable than Seattle. Some people, mainly millennials, have not been willing to give up living in the core urban neighborhoods that have high walk scores and shorter commute times. That should be apt to change with more selection available in the purchase market, coupled with low interest rates. The advantages of moving out a little further and securing a home will start people on the track of building long-term wealth. If you or anyone you know is currently renting and is considering a change, please let me know, as I would be happy to get their questions answered and help them make an informed decision.


Posted on October 1, 2018 at 9:31 pm
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Strategy, Uncategorized |

Keeping Price Growth in Perspective

Opportunities Abound for both Buyers and Sellers

How’s the market?  This is a question we get all the time. It is a common segue in casual conversation over the neighbor’s fence, at a cocktail party or family gathering. Now more than ever, the answer to this question is critical, yet fascinating. You see, our market is experiencing a long-awaited correction, a tempering of price appreciation. This is providing great opportunities for both buyers and sellers.

For so long, inventory has been so limited that prices have had nowhere else to go but up, and up fast! In May, we saw the largest jump in new listings in a decade, which created a slowdown in month-over-month price appreciation. This was especially exacerbated due to the scarcity of inventory in the first quarter of the year when many jobs were being filled by big companies in the area, skyrocketing demand. The graphs above illustrate the price growth in both King and Snohomish Counties. If you average out the last 12 months and compare to the previous 12 months, prices are up 14% in King County and 13% in Snohomish County. Due to a large increase in inventory and other factors, we have seen prices start to balance out since May.

Additional factors that play into this healthy adjustment on the run-up of prices are interest rates, affordability, and Seattle summertime. First, interest rates have been dancing. They have climbed over a half a point from a year ago, which has been coupled with double-digit price growth, forcing many buyers to take a step back. Bear in mind that interest rates are still under 5% and well below the 30-year average of 6.61%. This must be taken to heart!

Affordability has been a huge factor that played into the reduction of absorption rate once the increase in new listings hit this Spring. This was especially true in King County. Prices peeked so far this year at $725,000 in April, whereas they peeked in Snohomish County at $510,000 in June. This is simple supply and demand, as buyers have had more selection. Further, many buyers turned their heads north to find a more affordable option while still sustaining a manageable commute.

The bottom line is that it just got too expensive for some to make King County their home, even Snohomish County for that matter. Combine that with an influx of selection, and you find the top of the market so far in 2018. This is not a bad thing! We must keep the double-digit, year-over-year price appreciation in perspective, and trust that the market factors which led to prices balancing out are healthy. A typical appreciation rate is 3-5%. Matthew Gardner, Windermere’s Chief Economist, predicts that we will finish out 2018 with 7-8% appreciation over 2017, which is well above the norm of 3-5%. Sustainable growth is important to the overall health of our economy and culture; this provides opportunity.

Buyers take heed. As we come out of the Seattle summertime seasonal slowdown, we anticipate a little run on new listings in September and October. Note on the graph above that we seasonally see prices peek in the late spring and early summer, due to many folks taking time to enjoy the summer months traveling and relaxing a bit. If you have been a sidelined buyer or have been thinking about making a move, the remainder of 2018 may be your time to enjoy more selection, still-low interest rates, and the chance to secure the best home for your lifestyle.

Interest rates are still attractive (historically attractive) and are predicted to rise. Plus, selection has increased, making negotiations not as intense. Multiple offers are not always the norm these days, which provides some breathing room for luxuries like inspections and relying on the bank’s appraisal to confirm value. Also, if you are a buyer that needs to sell a home first in order to purchase, this environment is much more forgiving. Believe it or not, we have even started to see contingent offers make a comeback.

This was one reason why we saw such a limit on inventory, because folks were not able to make fluid moves, so they just uncomfortably stayed put. It was the many baby boomers who came to market this spring and summer who relocated out of the area that loosened this up, paving the way for the local first-time, move-up, or move-down buyer to have some opportunity to transition.

So what does all this mean for potential sellers? Well, a lot! The word of the day is perspective. You must keep a close connection to the double-digit, year-over-year price appreciation we have seen over the last three years, and come to terms with today’s balancing out. Great equity gains are behind every homeowner who has owned their home since 2012. If that equity has been cared for, there are large profits to turn, even though you might not get multiple offers. All it takes is one good buyer for a successful sale!

It is all about what is motivating you. If a move seems interesting or imminent, chances are you can take that equity and turn it into something that better matches your current lifestyle. This is where a detailed assessment of the features of your home, along with an analysis of market conditions can be developed into a winning strategy. This does not come easy and requires in-depth research, close attention to condition and comparable homes, and outstanding marketing and merchandising.

Where I have seen the most opportunity is when sellers partner up and listen to the professional assessment of all of these factors. It often leads to satisfying results with one buyer, or believe it or not, the occasional multiple offer. Our market is exciting, but it takes skill to set level expectations, which leads to positive results.

If you or someone you know is curious about “How’s the Market?”, please reach out. Education and explanation are key to awareness, which leads to clarity. I love what I do and look forward to the opportunity to serve during this changing time. It is my goal to help keep my clients informed and empower strong decisions.


Posted on October 1, 2018 at 9:13 pm
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Helpful Information, Uncategorized |

Are You Ready For an Emergency? We can help!

Two Weeks Ready: Be Prepared. Build Kits. Help Each Other.

The first few days after a disaster are often the most critical. Government and essential services may not be available right away, depending on the circumstances. It is imperative to have a plan in place for such a time, and be ready to act on your own.

Washington’s biggest disaster threat is from earthquakes. Washington State’s Emergency Management Division advises that we take precautions to be on our own for at least 2 weeks. Take a look at their Two Week Ready Brochure (PDF) that outlines the basics necessary for your emergency kit. While it is important to get ready, don’t feel like you have to do it all at once. The list of necessities is long, so take a look at the agency’s year-long prep plan. You will also find information on pet preparedness, as well as the agency’s Drop, Cover, and Hold Earthquake Scenario map.

Emergency Preparedness 1.png

 


Posted on September 28, 2018 at 7:28 am
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Helpful Information |

Snohomish County Pumpkin Patches

If you’re looking for pumpkins….here’s your guide to pumpkin fun in Snohomish County!

 

 

 


Posted on September 21, 2018 at 6:10 pm
Becky and Steve Larsen | Posted in Just for Fun, Uncategorized |