While fall usually brings a decrease in sales activity, the opposite was true in September. The number of listings on the market dropped by double digits and home sales rose. It is still a seller’s market, however prices have stabilized. With interest rates near historic lows and employment levels at historic highs, the housing market is expected to stay strong throughout the fall and winter.
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.
Washington State employment jumped back up to an annual growth rate of 2.4% following a disappointing slowdown earlier in the spring. As stated in the first quarter Gardner Report, the dismal numbers earlier this year were a function of the state re-benchmarking its data (which they do annually).
The state unemployment rate was 4.7%, marginally up from 4.5% a year ago. My current economic forecast suggests that statewide job growth in 2019 will rise by 2.6%, with a total of 87,500 new jobs created.
- There were 22,281 home sales during the second quarter of 2019, representing a drop of 4.8% from the same period in 2018. On a more positive note, sales jumped 67.6% compared to the first quarterof this year.
- Since the middle of last year, there has been a rapid rise in the number of homes for sale, which is likely the reason sales have slowed. More choice means buyers can be more selective and take their time when choosing a home to buy.
- Compared to the second quarter of 2018, there were fewer sales in all counties except Whatcom and Lewis. The greatest declines were in Clallam, San Juan, and Jefferson counties.
- Listings rose 19% compared to the second quarter of 2018, but there are still a number of very tight markets where inventory levels are lower than a year ago. Generally, these are the smaller — and more affordable — markets, which suggests that affordability remains an issue.
- Year-over-year price growth in Western Washington continues to taper. The average home price during second quarter was $540,781, which is 2.8% higher than a year ago. When compared to first quarter of this year, prices were up 12%.
- Home prices were higher in every county except King, which is unsurprising given the cost of homes in that area. Even though King County is home to the majority of jobs in the region, housing is out of reach for many and I anticipate that this will continue to act as a drag on price growth.
- When compared to the same period a year ago, price growth was strongest in Lewis County, where home prices were up 15.9%. Double-digit price increases were also seen in Mason, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, and Skagit counties.
- The region’s economy remains robust, which should be a positive influence on price growth. That said, affordability issues are pervasive and will act as a headwind through the balance of the year, especially in those markets that are close to job centers. This will likely force some buyers to look further afield when searching for a new home.
DAYS ON MARKET
- The average number of days it took to sell a home matched the second quarter of 2018.
- Snohomish County was the tightest market in Western Washington, with homes taking an average of only 21 days to sell. There were five counties where the length of time it took to sell a home dropped compared to the same period a year ago. Market time rose in eight counties and two were unchanged.
- Across the entire region, it took an average of 41 days to sell a home in the second quarter of 2019. This was the same as a year ago but is down 20 days compared to the first quarter of 2019.
- As stated above, days-on-market dropped as we moved through the spring, but all markets are not equal. I suggest that this is not too much of an issue and that well-priced homes will continue to attract attention and sell fairly rapidly.
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 am leaving the needle in the same position as the first quarter as demand appears to still be strong.
The market has benefitted from a fairly significant drop in mortgage rates. With average 30-year fixed rates still below 4%, I expect buyers who have been sitting on the fence will become more active, especially given that they have more homes to choose from.
As Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, Matthew Gardner is responsible for analyzing and interpreting economic data and its impact on the real estate market on both a local and national level. Matthew has over 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.
In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Matthew sits on the Washington State Governors Council of Economic Advisors; chairs the Board of Trustees at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington; and is an Advisory Board Member at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington where he also lectures in real estate economics.
Summer weather in the Greater Seattle area seems to finally be breaking through! With summer weather comes backyard BBQ’s – we want to help make your BBQ’s as fun and stress-free as possible. Below are seven of our top stress-free backyard BBQ tips:
- Prep food before your guests arrive and have plenty of appetizers (or some simple chips and dip) so they can start chowing down – you do not want any overly hungry guests on your hands!
- When food comes off the grill make sure some impressive side dishes come out from the kitchen – think: green salad, pasta salad, baked beans, cornbread, potato salad and everything else you love!
- Drinks – make sure to have a cooler stocked with water, beer, etc. and prep another fun summer drink, click here for inspiration!
- Don’t forget to stock up on the simple stuff: cooking fuel, ice, sunscreen, bug spray… maybe even wood for a bonfire?!
- Yard games! Think… giant Jenga, corn hole, lawn darts, badminton, bocce!
- Get your speakers ready and prep a playlist or appoint a well-versed guest as DJ.
- Skip the pre-made dessert and roast S’mores instead!
We hope everyone soaks up the Seattle sun and enjoys their BBQ’s this summer!
Although we in the Eastside and Seattle have had a slow start to our summer weather, the heat is supposed to be picking up and we want to make sure everyone (with or without AC) is able to keep their homes cool without racking up energy bills this summer.
Below is our top 8 tips for keeping your home cool (and energy efficient) this summer:
- When the sun is out, or setting, close your blinds! Roughly 30-40 percent of unwanted heat gets into your home through windows.
- If your home is cooler than the outside temperature, close the door.
- Do your laundry in the early morning, after the sun has set or on a cool day to avoid heating up your home when it is already hot.
- Use lights as little as possible, turn them off when they are not in use.
5. Lower the humidity in your home by using a dehumidifier to make your home seem cooler.
6. Clean your fans, dusty blades do not work as well.
7. Open windows at both ends of the house to let air move freely.
8. Grill instead of using your stove/oven (we will have a blog post on BBQ tips out soon!)
Enjoy the warm days ahead!
Looking for some weekend or day trips near home to take this summer? Below are five excellent choices and some reasons why!
Leavenworth is not only a winter wonderland, but also a fabulous summer destination! The downtown offers fun shops and delicious Bavarian food, while a little further out offers plenty of water-fun, including: river tubing, rafting, kayaking, paddleboarding, and fishing.
However, if you are more of a land person, Leavenworth also possesses astonishing hiking trails, with 800 miles of forest service hiking trails, and picturesque campsites.
2. Vashon Island:
Being only a 20 minute ferry ride from Seattle, Vashon Island is too close to not visit. July 19-21st is Vashon Island’s annual Strawberry Festival including vendors, artist booths, a classic car parade, beer garden, pancake breakfast, grand parade, and street dance. If you can’t make it out that weekend, every day in Vashon offers a vibrant downtown filled with shops and restaurants. For the more adventure seekers, Vashon loves bikers and offers the beautiful Vashon-Maury Island Bike Ride.
Roughly 65 miles from Seattle, Sequim is full of small-town charm. Known for being the Lavender Capital of North America, Sequim’s lavender farms are open for u-pick in the summer months and hosts the Sequim Lavender Weekend on the third weekend in July, July 19-21st this year.
Sequim also boasts pristine waterways, offering kayaking, paddle boarding, boat tours, and fishing.
If the above wasn’t enough to make you want to visit Sequim this summer, there is also Hot Air Balloon flights, concerts, biking, birding, and hiking.
A bit further than the rest, Winthrop makes for a great weekend getaway. Winthrop boasts an Old Western feel, stroll the boardwalk to see Western memorabilia and visit the shops. In the summertime, Winthrop is the ideal location for horseback riding, hunting, and fishing, as well as, climbing, hiking, camping, and hot air ballooning. If that is not enough activities for you, Winthrop also offer a handful of water activities, as well as, their outdoor roller skating rink.
Nestled in the middle of Whidbey Island, Coupeville touches both east and west coasts of the island. Coupeville offers beautiful beaches as well as many historical sites, including Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve. Visit Penn Cove, the Coupeville Wharf, as well as, the main street with authentic Victorian buildings while you are there.
We hope everyone is able to get out and enjoy not only Seattle and the Eastside, but the beauty of other parts of Washington State this summer!
Wondering if that renovation is worth it before putting your home on the market?
Make sure your home updates justify their cost in terms of your home’s overall value – a home’s value is vital when it comes to putting your house on the market!
Cost vs. Value is a general concept to strike the ideal balance between the cost of an action or item (in this case home improvement/renovation) and its overall added or lost value. For home improvements, some projects require a significant investment and appear to be of high added value. Yet when all factors are considered (demographic, style of living, etc.) these projects are actually of low value.
The Cost vs. Value Report is an annual set of home remodeling estimates, measuring the estimated average cost of a remodel project of homes across the United States. Calculating the average cost of a home improvement is difficult, as a result, we rely on estimates to get as close as possible.
Though this report cannot be 100% accurate for any given home, project, or neighborhood, it gives a pretty good idea as to how much a home renovation project may actually be worth.
Above are the results for the greater Seattle area, to view results in other cities & states click here.
Summer is (basically) here and other than having fun and enjoying the sun, we want to ensure that your home is happy and healthy. Check out these 8 maintenance tips to ensure a carefree summer and to protect your home.
1. Clean out your gutters and downspouts:
Poor or improper drainage can cause water damage to your home. Clear all debris and check for loose/leaky gutters and ensure downspouts are positioned to drain away from your home’s foundation.
2. Check out your roof:
Consider getting your roof inspected and/or visually inspect your roof from the ground, looking for signs of warping, cracking and loose shingles or tiles. Examine around chimneys, skylights and vents.
3. Check out seals around windows and doors:
Cold weather can cause seals around windows and doors to loosen, harden and crack. Inspect these areas for damage and make repairs as needed. This will help reduce summer cooling costs and keep water out of your home.
4. Give your deck a once-over:
This is a summer home maintenance must! Check your deck to see if there are any boards that look like they are rotting and have them replaced. Hammer any nails that are loose. You can also check if your deck needs to be resealed by pouring a small amount of water on it – if the water beads into little puddles, you are good, but if it sinks into the wood, you should get your deck resealed against water.
5. Clean your outside spaces:
Consider pressure washing your driveway and front steps – you can hire someone for this if you do not have the time/equipment.
6. Check detectors:
Check your home’s smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are working properly.
7. Wash your windows:
If you did not do it in the Spring, now is the time to get your glass clean!
8. Clean your BBQ:
It is BBQ season! Clean your BBQ to prep for summer dinners with these steps:
-For gas grills, turn the heat up to high and let the grill cook with the lid closed for half an hour. Allow the grill to cool and then brush it off with a grill brush. Wipe down the exterior with a damp sponge and a gentle cleanser. Clean the grill’s drip pans.
-For charcoal grills, completely empty the grill and wipe out any ashy residue. Then clean it inside and out with hot water, a sponge and liquid dishwashing soap. Let the grill dry completely before using it again.
There you have it – our summer home maintenance tips. The above tips will help you clean up, take care of your home, and enjoy your clean outdoor spaces this summer. Preventative home maintenance can help save money and stress overtime!
Enjoy the long, warm days ahead!