2019 Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Here’s your guide to the  2019 Skagit Valley Tulip Festival!

Posted on March 24, 2019 at 8:36 pm
Becky and Steve Larsen | Category: Just for Fun, Local News

Hill Day in Olympia – January 2019

Over 500 REALTORS® adorned with “Unlock the Door for Affordable Homeownership” scarves converged on Olympia for the Washington REALTORS® Legislative Day event. Over the course of two days, REALTORS® participated in governance meetings, installed our 2019 Leadership, networked and met with legislators to discuss solutions for the acute housing affordability crisis in Washington State.

Our event keynote speaker, Dr. James Young with the Washington Center for Real Estate Research, presented valuable information on real estate trends affecting REALTORS® and consumers alike. The statistics and data he presented highlighted the extreme difficulty for first-time buyers to find affordable housing and for “empty nesters” to trade down, creating a ripple effect in the housing market. Dr. Young also points out that the most efficient means of providing opportunities for first-time home buyers (affordable condominium development) has not taken place in this market due to supply constraints. These supply constraints are having a significant impact on the overall housing market which is why Washington REALTORS® have identified several legislative priorities to address them.

Over the course of over 140 different scheduled meetings with legislators on Thursday, January 24, 2019, REALTORS® received encouraging and positive response to the following Legislative Priorities:

  • Reforming Condominium Liability Laws
  • Increasing Urban & Suburban Housing Supply in Urban Growth Areas
  • Aligning the Short Subdivision Process with Ecology’s SEPA Regulations
  • Supporting the Housing Trust Fund for Homeownership
  • State Funding Support for Housing, Homelessness & Infrastructure
  • Expanding the Multi-family Tax Exemption Program
  • REET & Lodging tax—Local Funding Tools for Housing & Homelessness
  • Read more details about Washington REALTORS®’ Legislative Priorities.

All of our Legislative Priorities are part of the Unlock the Door for Affordable Homeownership initiative. Partnered with other non-profit and for-profit entities, Washington REALTORS® will continue to work with our legislators and lead the way to help create affordable homeownership opportunities for all.

Thank you to all of the REALTORS®, affiliates, and industry professionals who showed up to make Washington REALTORS® Legislative Day a success. Stay tuned throughout the Legislative Session for updates and news!

For more information regarding SCCAR visit their website at: https://www.sccar.org/

Originally posted February 6, 2019 by Snohomish-Camano Association of REALTORS 2019 – all article and photo credit to SCCAR.ORG



Posted on February 9, 2019 at 8:24 pm
Becky and Steve Larsen | Category: Local News

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 | Category: Local News, Uncategorized

King County is King, and counting!

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 first column  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.”

Posted on April 12, 2018 at 8:18 pm
Becky and Steve Larsen | Category: Local News | Tagged

The Value of location…location! Your commute times – prices and premiums!

Flickr Photo/SounderBruce (CC BY SA 2.0)/http://flic.kr/p/MzGznr


It is the time of year when I like to re-cap the price premiums in our area based on commute times. The price divide continued in 2017 between key market areas in the Greater Seattle area based on proximity to major job centers. These pricing premiums have cemented the drive-to-qualify market. Seattle proper has always been more expensive than its neighboring suburbs, but the most current prices illustrate the extreme value of a shorter commute.

In 2017, the average sales price for a single-family residential home in the Seattle Metro area was $801,000, up 14% from the year prior! In south Snohomish County (Everett to the King County line) the average sales price for a single-family residential home in 2017 was $543,000, up 12% from the year prior, however 48% less expensive than Seattle Metro.

Further, if you jump across Lake Washington to the Eastside, the average sales price in 2017 for a single-family residential home was $1,049,000, up 16% from the year prior and 31% more expensive than Seattle Metro! The Eastside has the infrastructure to support their own job centers, making it a second “Seattle”, with the benefit of newer and larger housing stock, which reflects the pricing. Many folks are living and working on the Eastside, or using the 520 toll bridge to jump over to Seattle.

In 2017, closed transactions were up 4% in south Snohomish County despite fewer new listings coming to market, which I think was driven by its affordability compared to Seattle and the Eastside. Snohomish County offers lower prices, larger houses and yards, new construction, lower taxes, strong school district options and longer, yet manageable commute times. Newer transit centers and telecommuting have also opened up doors to King County’s little brother to the north.

Another hot button that has continued to influence pricing is the future expansion of Light Rail and the locations of the planned stations. We have seen home values in these areas sell at a premium as consumers anticipate the shorter commute times the rail will bring. These neighborhoods are experiencing zoning changes now and the additional expansion is being phased in over the course of the next 15 years. There will be more multi-family and commercial development in these areas, creating more density to serve the public using these commuting services. This has created great appeal for homeowners that want to get in on the ease of nearby public transportation, and developers eager to be part of the infrastructure growth. Stations at Northgate, 145th & 185th in Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood are all slated to open over the next 3-6 years.

No matter which neighborhood you are interested in learning about, in either King or Snohomish County, we are happy to provide a 2017 re-cap of that market. We work in both counties and understand each of their nuances. 2017 was another eventful year in real estate and we are looking for that to continue in 2018. With these strong market prices, we hope to see an increase in inventory levels, providing more options for buyers and allowing price growth to temper to sustainable levels. Check out the article below that touches on Matthew Gardner’s, Windermere’s Chief Economist, 2018 predictions for the national housing market. We attended his local forecast this week and if you’d like a copy of his presentation, outlining what he thinks is in store for our area, please email us. We’d be happy to forward it along and explain his findings. Here’s to a successful 2018!

Posted on February 5, 2018 at 11:15 pm
Becky and Steve Larsen | Category: Local News