I visit McCormick Park daily with my dog. A couple years ago the City of Bellevue Parks Department planted a new tree, a Mimosa tree, which is unique to this area. I grew up on the East coast where Mimosa trees are common. They thrive in warm southern climates, attract butterflies and hummingbirds and are one of the few trees that bloom in summer with big pink or white puffball blossoms. They’re also very unique in that their fern-like leaves fold closed in the evening or when it rains.
I have fond memories of Mimosa trees. My grandparents had two in their yard. They grow in a wide canopy-like shape and my sister and I would gather the pink puffballs and sit under the tree stringing the blossoms together to create necklaces and bracelets and occasionally adorn my grandmother’s cat with a pink collar. Skippy never seemed to appreciate her puffy pink collars.
I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest for nearly 40 years and have never seen a Mimosa tree growing locally. It’s fun to enter the park and see the tree in full bloom with those big pink puffballs. Thanks to the City of Bellevue for a little bit of nostalgia.
This week Matthew Gardner, Chief Economist with Windermere Real Estate, explains the Case Shiller Home Price Index which has accumulated data over the last 130 years of home prices in 20 major cities in the United States.
This is a question I hear a lot. Real estate was dormant this spring due to the coronavirus pandemic. Since mid-May the housing market has made a robust and positive rebound.
The number of buyers currently in the market far exceeds the available inventory of homes for sale. Why are so many buyers searching for homes? Record low interest rates give buyers more purchasing power. They’re taking advantage of those low interest rates to purchase a first home, move up to a larger home or, since we’ll be working from home/learning from home for many months to come, find a home that is a better fit for changing live/work/learn lifestyles. We are fortunate to live in an area with a strong economy. Local and national companies continue to grow and recruit employees, but that growth is bringing more home buyers to the area who want to purchase a home.
Lifestyle needs change . . . job and workspace needs change . . . housing needs change. Right now housing inventory is the biggest challenge for buyers looking to purchase a home. It’s a competitive market. The shortage of homes is definitely tipping the scale in favor of sellers, and that trend is expected to continue through the end of the year.
If there’s a change or a move in your future . . . how can I help?
This week Matthew Gardner, Windermere Real Estate’s Chief Economist, provides an update to his 2020 housing forecast. Interesting economic information relating to the local and nationwide real estate market.
With summer weather finally here we’re all spending more time outdoors, but with the confines created by the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re spending a lot more time outdoors at home. Whether you live in an urban high rise or townhouse, creating privacy on your deck, patio or courtyard can be challenging.
HGTV has provided some interesting and affordable options available for adding a privacy screen to your deck. If you’re creative, there’s a lot of inspiration here for designing a customized screen to fit your space and decor.
This week Matthew Gardner, Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, discusses housing affordability and what we can expect moving forward. On average median housing prices nationwide are have increased by 23.5% above the 2008/2009 recession. While there has been some impact on values due to COVID-19, high demand from buyers in a market with limited inventory will continue to increase prices. What’s the solution? There’s high demand for entry level housing, but there’s no easy answer as to how to create affordability.
The number of homes available for sale declined in April and May for obvious reasons – there were health and economic concerns brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since late May local home sales have been ahead of the same period last year. Buyer demand remains high but what is different about this year compared to last year is there are fewer homes for sale. The graph below, provided by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service for the Seattle Times, shows that new pending sales are well above the same period last year but new listings of homes for sale are 20% below the same period last year.
With barely a one month supply of inventory in many areas, homes are selling quickly. Multiple offers are more common, and many homes are selling above the list price. Buyers are finding more competition for the weekly supply of newly listed houses and condominiums coming on the market.
What’s driving this demand? Interest rates are at record lows making mortgages more affordable. Potential buyers can afford a larger home. And, after three months of quarantine, owners and renters whose homes offered adequate space when working off-site are seeking larger homes with more indoor space, a dedicated home office area and more outdoor live/play space. Buyers are ready to buy, but sellers don’t appear to be as motivated right now.
This week Matthew Gardner, Windermere’s Chief Economist, looks at high frequency data sets, data that is issued more frequently than the typical monthly or quarterly reports we’re used to reading. Using data from real estate, hospitality and travel sources Matthew provides interesting information on how close our economic growth is to getting back to normal.
This week Matthew Gardner, Chief Economist with Windermere Real Estate, provides updated news about the mortgage forbearance program. The program has provided a safety net for homeowners but isn’t likely to have any long term negative economic impact.
King County has progressed to Phase 1.5 of the Governor’s “Safe Start Proclamation”. How does that impact buyers and sellers as they search for homes or list their homes for sale?
- Real estate firms may open their offices again. In compliance with State guidelines, staff, brokers and guests will be required to wear face masks when in the office. Common areas and conference space will have restricted access. The number of staff and brokers permitted to be in the office will need to follow State guidelines.
- The most significant change is that now three people (vs. two) are permitted at a property for real estate activities. This permits a husband and wife or partners to view the property together along with their broker. A buyer may now attend an inspection along with the broker and inspector.
- Sign installation companies are again permitted to install/remove real estate signs.
As we begin to move about more freely, an abundance of caution will continue in an effort to keep everyone healthy. Showing homes will continue to be by appointment only with sufficient time between appointments. Buyers and brokers will be required to wear face masks while inside a home and observe all health protocols required by the State along with any additional guidelines requested by the homeowner. Public open houses are still prohibited. Brokers, in an effort to maintain social distancing guidelines, will not transport clients in their car but continue to meet them at properties.
These guidelines are in place to continue to keep everyone safe and healthy as we begin to resume our normal lives. Brokers have become more comfortable working within these guidelines and assuring buyers and sellers that they can safely search for or sell their homes. This is the new normal and we aren’t likely to see the “old normal” for a while.