Q2: April 1 – June 30, 2018
Eastside Quarterly Market Trends
As we head into the summer months we are seeing a healthy jump in inventory in our area. In May, we saw the biggest jump in new listings in a decade! Price appreciation has created this phenomenon, motivating many people to make big moves with their equity. In fact, prices are up 11% year-over-year. We currently sit at 1.5 months of inventory based on pending sales. This more-equal balance of homes for sale compared to the first quarter has created great opportunities for buyers, finally! While it is still a seller’s market, it has eased up a bit. The average days on market in June was 19 days and the average list-to-sale price ratio was 101%. Eastside real estate has a very high premium due to close-in commute times, great neighborhoods and strong school districts. In fact, the median price in June was $980,000. Sellers are enjoying great returns due to buyers choosing to lay down roots in our area, and buyers are securing mortgages with minor debt service due to low interest rates. The easing of inventory is a welcome change and is helping to temper price growth. 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.
Q2: April 1 – June 30, 2018
As we head into the summer months we are seeing a healthy jump in inventory in our area. In May, we saw the biggest jump in new listings in a decade!
Price appreciation has created this phenomenon, motivating many people to make big moves with their equity. In fact, prices are up 13% year-over-year. We currently sit at 1.1 months of inventory based on pending sales. This more-equal balance of homes for sale compared to the first quarter has created great opportunities for buyers, finally! While it is still a seller’s market, it has eased up a bit. The average days on market in June was 16 days and the average list-to-sale price ratio was 103%.
North King County real estate has a very high premium due to close-in commute times and vibrant neighborhoods. In fact, the median price in June was $800,000. Sellers are enjoying great returns due to buyers choosing to lay down roots in our area, and buyers are securing mortgages with minor debt service due to low interest rates. The easing of inventory is a welcome change and is helping to temper price growth.
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.
Q2: April 1 – June 30, 2018
As we head into the summer months we are seeing a healthy jump in inventory in our area. In May, we saw the biggest jump in new listings in a decade!
Price appreciation has created this phenomenon, motivating many people to make big moves with their equity. In fact, prices are up 13% year-over-year. We currently sit at 1.3 months of inventory based on pending sales. This more-equal balance of homes for sale compared to the first quarter has created great opportunities for buyers, finally! While it is still a seller’s market, it has eased up a bit. The average days on market in June was 11 days and the average list-to-sale price ratio was 102%.
South Snohomish County real estate has been an affordable option compared to “in-city” real estate. In fact, the median price in June was 41% higher in Seattle Metro. Sellers are enjoying great returns due to buyers choosing to lay down roots in our area, and buyers are securing mortgages with minor debt service due to low interest rates. The easing of inventory is a welcome change and is helping to temper price growth.
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.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) keeps historical data on many aspects of homeownership. One of their data points, which has changed dramatically, is the median tenure of a family in a home, meaning how long a family stays in a home prior to moving.
As the graph below shows, over the last twenty years (1985-2008), the median tenure averaged exactly six years. However, since 2014, that average is almost ten years – an increase of almost 50%.
Why the dramatic increase?
The reasons for this change are plentiful!
The fall in home prices during the housing crisis left many homeowners in a negative equity situation (where their home was worth less than the mortgage on the property). Also, the uncertainty of the economy made some homeowners much more fiscally conservative about making a move.
With the economy coming back and wages starting to increase, many homeowners are in a much better financial situation than they were just a few short years ago.
One other reason for the increase was brought to light by NAR in their 2018 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report. According to the report,
“Sellers 37 years and younger stayed in their home for six years…”
These homeowners, who are either looking for more space to accommodate their growing families or for better school districts to do the same, are likely to move more often (compared to typical sellers who stayed in their homes for 10 years). The homeownership rate among young families, however, has still not caught up to previous generations, resulting in the jump we have seen in median tenure!
What does this mean for housing?
Many believe that a large portion of homeowners are not in a house that is best for their current family circumstance; they could be baby boomers living in an empty, four-bedroom colonial, or a millennial couple living in a one-bedroom condo planning to start a family.
These homeowners are ready to make a move, and since a lack of housing inventory is still a major challenge in the current housing market, this could be great news.
In this extremely hot real estate market, some homeowners might consider selling their homes on their own which is known as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). They rationalize that they don’t need a real estate agent and believe that they can save the fee for the services a real estate agent offers.
However, a study by Collateral Analytics reveals that FSBOs don’t actually save anything, and in some cases may be costing themselves more, by not listing with an agent.
In the study, they analyzed home sales in a variety of markets. The data showed that:
“FSBOs tend to sell for lower prices than comparable home sales, and in many cases below the average differential represented by the prevailing commission rate.” (emphasis added)
Why would FSBOs net less money than if they had used an agent?
The study makes several suggestions:
- “There could be systematic bias on the buyer side as well. FSBO sales might attract more strategic buyers than MLS sales, particularly buyers who rationalize lower-priced bids with the logic that the seller is “saving” a traditional commission. Such buyers might specifically search for and target sellers who are not getting representational assistance from agents.” In other words, ‘bargain lookers’ might shop FSBOs more often.
- “Experienced agents are experts at ‘staging’ homes for sale” which could bring more money for the home.
- “Properties listed with a broker that is a member of the local MLS will be listed online with all other participating broker websites, marketing the home to a much larger buyer population. And those MLS properties generally offer compensation to agents who represent buyers, incentivizing them to show and sell the property and again potentially enlarging the buyer pool.” If more buyers see a home, the greater the chances are that there could be a bidding war for the property.
Conclusions from the study:
- FSBOs achieve prices significantly lower than those from similar properties sold by Realtors using the MLS.
- The data suggests the average price was near 6% lower for FSBO sales of similar properties.
As Dave Ramsey, America’s trusted voice on money, explains:
“Research has shown that, between mistakes, lack of negotiating skills, pricing errors and general exposure on the market, you’ll cost yourself more than the real estate commission…You’ll come out slightly better and with a lot less hassle if you use a top-shelf agent.”
According to a newly released study by ATTOM Data Solutions, selling your home in the month of May will net you an average of 5.9% above estimated market value for your home.
For the study, ATTOM performed an “analysis of 14.7 million home sales from 2011 to 2017” and found the average seller premium achieved for each month of the year. Below is a breakdown by month and even by date!
Top 5 Months/Dates to Sell:
- June 28th – 9.1% above market
- February 15th – 9.0% above market
- May 31st – 8.3% above market
- May 29th – 8.2% above market
- June 21st – 8.1% above market
It should come as no surprise that May and June dominate as the top months to sell and that 4 of the top 5 days to sell fall in those two months. The second quarter of the year (April, May, June) is referred to as the Spring Buyers Season, when competition is fierce to find a dream home, which often leads to bidding wars.
One caveat to mention though, is that when broken down by metro, ATTOM noticed that while warmer climates share in the overall trend, it turns out that they have different top months for sales. The best month to get the highest price in Miami, FL, for instance, was January, and Phoenix, AZ came in with November leading the charge.
If you’re thinking of selling your home this year, the time to list is NOW! According to the National Association of Realtors, homes sold in an average of just 30 days last month! If you list now, you’ll have a really good chance to sell in May or June, setting yourself up for getting the best price!
Bottom Line: We can show you the market conditions in your area and get the most exposure to the buyers who are ready and willing to buy! There’s no time like the present!
Double-digit price appreciation has taken place for over 3 years now, so price are up. Way up. In fact, in just the last year we have seen prices rise 14% year-over-year. When talking with people about our real estate market, the conversation often involves the question, “are we headed toward a bubble?” I get asked this question often, and I can understand why. With the Great Recession not too far back in our rear-view mirror, the fear that surrounds the bottom dropping out in our home values is real. The large price gains might seem familiar to the gains of the previous up market of 2004-2007, but the environment is much different, and that is why we are not headed toward a housing collapse.
Lending Requirements & Down Payments
Previous lending practices allowed people to get into homes with high debt-to-income ratios, low credit scores, risky loan programs, and undocumented incomes. They called this sub-prime lending. This lead to the housing bubble bursting 10 years ago – because people received mortgages they were not equipped to handle. Borrowers were not properly qualified for their monthly payments, and with minimal down payments they had no skin in the game. There were also a ton of adjustable rate mortgages and interest-only loans, which created negative equity positions. In July 2007, the sub-prime loan products disappeared and literally became history overnight. This eliminated a large part of the buyer pool creating over supply, not to mention the foreclosures that followed due to these ill-equipped homeowners walking away. The combination of these two factors caused prices to plummet.
Conversely, in March of this year, the average credit score for an approved conventional loan according to Ellie Mae was 752. Banks are scrutinizing their borrowers much more thoroughly than in the past. Credit scores are only the start; solid documentation of employment, assets, and debt are all passed through strict underwriting standards before closing. During the days of sub-prime lending, banks were funding loans with scores as low as 560! This, coupled with many zero-down loan programs and the risky terms mentioned above, left many new homeowners with little to no equity. When you have little or no equity it is very easy to bail.
In addition to heartier credit scores, down payments have increased significantly. According to Attom Data Solutions the average down payment is 18%. To put this in perspective, the median price in Seattle Metro in the first quarter of 2018 was $775,000. 18% of that is $139,500! There is a marked difference in the connection to one’s investment with such a large amount on the line versus the common 0% down loans of the sub-prime era. When people have high equity levels they are not likely to abandon their home or miss payments.
Our Thriving Local Economy, Job Creation & Californians
According to Matthew Gardner, Windermere’s Chief Economist, it is foretasted that there will be 46,000 more jobs in the Seattle Metro area in 2018. This has created high numbers of residual migration into our area from other states. In 2016 there were 50,000 people that moved here, and 47,000 in 2017. Many of these new Washingtonians are former Californians, specifically from the Bay Area. Unbelievably, our prices are attractive to this group, as they can take a similar tech job here and make the same income with a lower cost of living. If untethered and up for a move, it’s a no-brainer.
The most influential factor that has led the run on prices has been low inventory levels coupled with high housing demand. It’s simply the concept of supply and demand. The growth of companies like Amazon, Google, and Facebook in our area has created increased demand, especially for homes closer to job centers resulting in shorter commutes. When you have increased demand and not enough homes to absorb the buyers, prices go up. Over the last three years we have easily seen a 10%+ increase in prices year-over-year. That is above the norm, and will slow down once inventory increases. That slowdown will be welcomed and it will not be a collapse in values or a bubble bursting.
Interest rates are increasing, and it is predicted they will reach close to 4.95% by the end of the year. This will naturally curtail price growth because it will not be as cheap to borrow money, which will cause buyers to temper their pricing ceilings. Bear in mind, that an interest rate of 4.95% is still historically low, we’ve just been incredibly fortunate to be able to secure long term loans with minimal debt service. The average interest rate over the last 30 years is 7%.
I understand that the recent increase in home prices has been big and that it might remind you of the previous up market before the crash. I hope that digging into the topics above has shed some light on how it is different. I always welcome the opportunity to have a conversation about these hot topics and discern how they relate to you. As always, it is our goal to help keep our clients informed and empower strong decisions. Please let us know if we can answer any questions or help you or anyone you know with their real estate needs.
In many markets across the country, the number of buyers searching for their dream homes greatly outnumbers the number of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search.
Even if you are in a market that is not as competitive, understanding your budget will give you the confidence of knowing if your dream home is within your reach.
Freddie Mac lays out the advantages of pre-approval in the ‘My Home’ section of their website:
“It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.”
One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate professional is that many have relationships with lenders who will be able to help you with this process. Once you have selected a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.”
Freddie Mac describes the ‘4 Cs’ that help determine the amount you will be qualified to borrow:
- Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
- Capital or cash reserves: The money, savings, and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
- Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase
- Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time
Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and it often helps speed up the process once your offer has been accepted. Many potential home buyers overestimate the down payment and credit scores needed to qualify for a mortgage today. If you are ready and willing to buy, you may be pleasantly surprised at your ability to do so. Contact us if you would like more information on getting your finances in order before you pursue this fast paced real estate market.
Seattle continues to lead in home price growth-Matthew Gardner
While its sports teams, like those in every U.S. city, begin each season dreaming of a first-place finish, Seattle’s rate of real estate appreciation has topped the national charts for more than a year and, based on the latest quarterly forecast from Veros Real Estate Solutions, will stay there for the next 12 months.
In the of this HousingWire article, I listed the ten U.S. metropolitan statistical areas with the highest projected appreciation between March 1, 2018 and March 1, 2019.
Number one on the list, with a projected rate of appreciation over 11%, was Washington State’s Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro area. It covers Seattle’s King County, along with neighboring Pierce and Snohomish counties.
For a decade and a half, VeroFORECAST provided projections to help lenders anticipate risk and facilitate loan portfolio management. The recent March 2018 report is based on data from SFRs, condos and townhouses in 342 MSAs, and covers nearly a thousand counties and more than 13,600 ZIP codes. These markets contain approximately 82% of the nation’s population.
The Seattle metro market’s rise is no anomaly. The influx of new residents into Washington has been trending upwards for decades and we see appreciation rates up in counties all around Puget Sound.
In addition to Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, the Bellingham MSA, in Whatcom County to the north, is projected to be at 10.1% over the next year. That ranks second highest in the nation.
With three more Washington State markets within the top seven forecast to have the highest appreciation – Kennewick-Pasco-Richland in South Eastern Washington at 10%, Mount Vernon-Anacortes in Skagit County at 9.9% and Bremerton-Silverdale in Kitsap County at 9.5% – the region is experiencing an unmistakable surge.
The population in the greater Seattle metro area, with an average age of just 37, is over 3.7 million and continues to grow rapidly, up 22% in the last 15 years. While unemployment is 4.5%, a little higher than the national rate of 4.1%, the number of jobs within the MSA is more than 1.9 million, with the highest percentages in the industries of healthcare and social assistance, retail trade and professional, scientific, and tech services. Median household income, currently around $75,300, is growing at an average of 5.7% per year.
The Seattle market’s remarkable strength is reflected in a supply of homes measured at a speedy one month of inventory.
The local media are cautiously celebrating the valuation increases. Seattle Times business reporter Mike Rosenberg declared March 2018 “the 17th month in a row that Seattle has led the country in home-price increases. That’s a record for Seattle and the longest streak for any metro area since San Francisco’s 20-month run that ended in 2001.”
According to a recent article by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner, the high appreciation and low inventory figures within these counties are also reflected in dropping rates of home sales. Between fourth quarter 2016 and fourth quarter 2017, Bellingham’s Whatcom County was off .2% and King County slowed by 1.1%, while home sales in Skagit County dropped 7.6%.
Gardner also adds, “Home prices in the Seattle area will continue to appreciate at above average rates through 2018 and into 2019. The region’s economy continues to flourish and job growth adds to demand for homes. New construction activity remains constrained and this puts further pressure on the resale market sending home values higher.”
We pulled this example to show you actual pound for pound appreciation in north King County . We think this example, and others we pulled for different neighborhoods are pretty telling and quite exciting! Today’s home values provide the opportunity for sellers to make big moves involving their retirement, upgrading homes, investing or even buying a second home. If you are one of those people, I hope this example provides insight on the increase in home values and how they might pertain to you. As we head into the active spring and summer months, if you would like a complimentary Comparable Market Analysis (CMA) on your home, so you have a better understanding of your home’s value, we would be happy to do that. It is our goal to help keep our clients informed to empower strong decisions.