How’s the Real Estate Market?

townhomesHow’s the Real Estate Market?

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?

 

 

 

 

Posted on July 29, 2020 at 9:00 AM
Robin Myers | Category: buying a home, condominium speciaist, property values, real estate, selling a home, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How’s the Local Real Estate Market?

We’re 12 weeks into more experience dealing with the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and specifically the local real estate market. After a significant market decline in new listings, buyer interest and closed sales in March and April (not at all surprising) real estate came back strong starting in early May.

  • the number of pending sales is trending higher and homes are selling quickly
  • more new housing inventory is coming on the market reflecting prices comparable to February prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and Washington State’s stay home/stay healthy order
  • sales prices in the last two weeks are also rising with multiple offers more common and homes selling above list prices
  • buyer applications for new mortgages are on the rise – interest rates are at record lows making buying a home more affordable

Matthew Gardner, Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate provides his weekly look at the economy and specifically the real estate marketplace in our area.

 

Posted on June 9, 2020 at 11:26 AM
Robin Myers | Category: buying a home, condominium speciaist, condominiums, economy, housing market, mortgage interest rates, real estate, selling a home | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Homeowner Association Issues Impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic

During the shelter-at-home order in Washington State, board or HOA meetings are currently prohibited. This may create complications for homeowner associations trying to conduct business that needs a majority vote regarding matters impacting the HOA and owners.

Homeowner/community associations are required to follow their governing documents when handling association matters. This includes owners and directors voting on association matters which is most often done in person. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home order, the Governor of Washington has amended the Emergency Proclamation to address issues relating to homeowner/community associations.

  • Owners and directors in homeowner/community associations are permitted to vote on association matters by mail, electronic mail and proxy, even if the association’s governing documents do not permit them to do so.
  • Owners and directors in homeowner/community associations may attend meetings by conference phone call or other similar communication that allows all participants to hear each other at the same time, even if the governing documents do not permit them to do so.
  • The Emergency Proclamation prohibits homeowner associations from charging owners late fees and interest on delinquent assessments and from imposing fines on owners for violating their governing documents.

This proclamation expires at 11:59 PM May 17, 2020.

 

 

 

 

Posted on April 22, 2020 at 2:36 PM
Robin Myers | Category: condominium speciaist, condominiums, Homeowner Associations, real estate | Tagged , , , ,

February NWMLS Real Estate Market Snapshot

February statistics are in. Home prices, compared to February 2019, are up 9%. There’s less than a six week supply of available homes which is down 33% over the same time last year. Mortgage interest rates are historically low. Now is the time to maximize your home buying power. Open house traffic has been amazing. If you’re ready to sell, buyers are in the market and looking for homes. Amazon’s projected growth in downtown Bellevue over the next several years already has employees searching for homes in an effort to stay ahead of the competition.

Questions about the Eastside condo market? I’ve specialized in condos for most of my career. I have unique market knowledge, insight and experience to help you understand the market and help you meet your personal and financial goals.

Posted on March 11, 2020 at 9:30 AM
Robin Myers | Category: buying a home, condominium speciaist, condominiums, Downtown Bellevue, first time buyers, home property values, real estate, selling a home | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Excavation Started at Avenue Bellevue

With demolition complete, excavation has begun at the Avenue Bellevue site located at the northwest corner of Bellevue Way NE and NE 8th Street. (This is the former Cost Plus site, or if you’ve been around Bellevue for a while, the former Albertsons grocery store.) The mixed use project will include 85,000 square feet of retail, the Pacific Northwest’s first Intercontinental Hotel and 322 luxury condominiums positioned in two towers. Completion is projected for mid-to-late  2022.

Posted on January 30, 2020 at 1:08 PM
Robin Myers | Category: Bellevue, condominium speciaist, condominiums, Downtown Bellevue | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Open House Etiquette

With real estate market activity picking up there will be more open houses to visit in the coming weeks. Are there rules of etiquette when visiting an open house? Common sense and courtesy should prevail, but it can be surprising what visitors think is acceptable when walking through someone else’s home.

So what is OK, and what isn’t when visiting an open house?

 

 

 

  • If requested, remove your shoes or slip on shoe covers.
  • It’s OK to open closet and kitchen or bath cabinets or take a peek at attic storage, but it’s not OK to open dresser or desk drawers. That’s private personal space and what’s inside has nothing to do with the features of the home.
  • Do not use the bathroom  –  take care of that before you leave your house.
  • If lights are on, leave them on.
  • If you unlock/open a door, close and lock it.
  • Never bring food or drink into a home.
  • If you are visiting with your children keep an eye on them, or better yet, hold their hand while in the home.    DO NOT let them wander freely through the home, run through the house, play with toys that are not theirs or turn on TVs or video games.

There’s no need to rush through an open house, but lounging on the family room sofa for 45 minutes to chat isn’t acceptable – move that conversation out to your car or your broker’s car. Be courteous when the end of an open house is approaching. The owners have vacated their home for several hours and they’re ready to come home. If you need more time have your broker schedule an appointment to see the home again.

The Golden Rule applies  –  try to put yourself in the shoes of the homeowner (you may be selling your own home soon). Think about how you’d feel if strangers went through your dresser drawers, pulled toys out or misplaced a TV remote.

 

Posted on January 22, 2020 at 4:52 PM
Robin Myers | Category: condominiums, first time buyers, moving, open house, real estate | Tagged , , , , ,

Bellevue’s Condo Market is Off to a Quick Start This Year

Today’s Seattle Times (link to the article below) provided a review of the region’s 2019 real estate market  comparing sales activity and property values to the prior year. While prices in the county were flat throughout the year, the last quarter of 2019 bucked that trend with inventory selling quickly and multiple offers more common.

There are currently only 26 condominiums listed for sale in all of Bellevue. Since January 1st, 11 new condos were listed for sale  –  all have sales pending and many received multiple offers. What’s driving the spring market?

Low mortgage interest rates. Fannie Mae conforming loan limits increased to $741,750 in King County. (Jumbo loans will have slightly higher interest rates.) Conventional and FHA loan programs offer low down payment programs (3%, 5%, 10%) for qualified buyers, making it easier to purchase a first or move-up home.

Amazon is scheduled to start moving employees into the former Expedia office tower in downtown Bellevue this summer. Amazon has also signed leases for several office towers currently under construction that will be completed in the next 9-24 months. Employees who know their jobs will move from Seattle to Bellevue are already searching for homes in Bellevue.

Buyers want shorter commutes, and they’re willing to make compromises for less car time and more personal/family time. There are dozens of condo communities within a 15 minute or less commute to Bellevue’s central business district as well as Kirkland and Redmond workplaces. Those communities are in high demand.

 

The “spring” market is off to an early and active start. The next few weeks should set the pace and reveal what buyers and sellers can expect in the coming months.

https://www.seattletimes.com/business/real-estate/while-regions-median-home-prices-rose-last-year-king-countys-took-a-dip-but-it-wont-last/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=article_inset_1.1

 

 

Posted on January 17, 2020 at 11:45 AM
Robin Myers | Category: Bellevue, condominiums, Downtown Bellevue, real estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Eastside Condos – What Can You Expect in 2020?

Today’s Seattle Times and Puget Sound Business Journal reported that the 2020 real estate marketplace was likely to open fast paced with low inventory levels and high buyer demand following a robust December of residential sales. Without a significant increase in available housing inventory it could be a “red hot market” this year with a return to multiple offers and rising prices.

While most of 2019 was relatively flat for home sales and property appreciation in King County, the last quarter of the year ended up being the most active in recent years. The same was true for Snohomish, Pierce and Kitsap Counties.

 

Downtown Bellevue’s condo market was no different  –  flat throughout most of the year with a flurry of activity in the last quarter. There were 258 downtown condo sales in 2019 reflecting a median sales price of $729,500, less than a 1% increase over the prior year. More notable is that 46 of those 258 condos sold during the last quarter and the median sales price for the last 90 days of the year was $869,500. There are currently only 16 condos listed for sale in the Bellevue downtown/98004 zip code.

More jobs are coming to downtown Bellevue this year and continuing for the next few years as companies plan to move to or expand their footprint in Bellevue. Employees, anticipating a move to the Eastside, are already searching for homes close to workplaces and transit. Location, location, location is still true in real estate, but of growing importance are transit options and access to those workplaces, schools, amenities, services, etc. Communities in and near downtown will be in high demand as buyers more on available transit options (light rail, bus, ride services, bike, etc.) to reduce commute time and regain quality of life. Location will always favorably impact value, but the word for this decade may be “transit” when it comes to property values and market desirability.

 

 

 

Posted on January 7, 2020 at 4:35 PM
Robin Myers | Category: Bellevue, condominiums, Downtown Bellevue, home property values, real estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Eastside Condo Sales Activity

As was true across the Puget Sound region, the inventory of available houses and condos for sale on the Eastside dropped dramatically in November.

  • the median sales price was $900,000, up 2% over last year
  • 20% of those homes sold above list price
  • 45% of the homes sold in 15 days or less
  • the Eastside currently has only 1.3 months of available inventory
  • current inventory levels favor sellers
  • continuing low interest rates favor buyers

Most of the Eastside condo sales activity was in downtown Bellevue and downtown Kirkland.

  • $884,000   Downtown Bellevue median condo sales price in November
  • there are currently only 20 condos for sale in downtown Bellevue; 35 in all Bellevue zip codes
  • $617,500    Downtown Kirkland median condo sales price in November
  • there are currently only 14 condos for sale in downtown Kirkland; 46 in all Kirkland zip codes

It’s a great time to buy a home. Low interest rates (under 4%) make it an ideal and affordable time to purchase a home. There are great loan program options for qualified buyers offering as little as 3% down for conventional or FHA financing.

It’s a great time to sell. With little inventory for buyers to choose from, January will be an ideal time for homeowners to put their homes on the market and stay ahead of the competitive spring market.

 

 

 

Posted on December 17, 2019 at 11:33 AM
Robin Myers | Category: Bellevue, condo financing, condominiums, Downtown Bellevue, first time buyers, home financing, home property values | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

NEW FHA LOAN GUIDELINES FOR CONDOMINIUMS BENEFIT BUYERS

 

Condominiums are an important part of the housing market for first time buyers. Too often buyers have the income and credit score needed to purchase a home but lack an adequate down payment which can make entering the housing market prohibitive.

In an effort to promote affordable and sustainable homeownership, especially among credit-worthy first time buyers, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has recently issued new guidelines making obtaining FHA financing for condominiums an easier and more streamline process. FHA has issued an update to its condo  rules, effective October 15th, that will loosen requirements for financing condominiums. Here are some of the more important changes effective this month:

 

  • Low Down Payments Still Available. Buyers can still purchase a house or condominium with as little as      a 3.5% down payment
  • FHA Certification and Recertification. FHA requires a condominium community to have obtained FHA certification. It is a detailed process and there is an expense to the HOA involved, but once complete, having FHA certification makes a community more desirable to buyers and FHA financing much easier. The FHA condo certification now lasts 3 years vs. two and the recertification process has been streamlined.
  • Single Unit Approvals (spot loans) Permitted. In the past, if a condominium community wasn’t on the approved FHA list, it was difficult, at best, to obtain FHA financing. The new guidelines now make it easier for an individual unit to be approved for FHA “spot loan” financing in a community that isn’t FHA approved as long as no more than 10% of the units in the community are FHA insured. (A buyer must use a FHA approved lender.)
  • Owner Occupancy Requirements Eased. FHA now requires that a condo community be just 50% owner occupied.
  • Commercial/Non-Residential Space. The amount of permitted non-residential space (retail, commercial, parking) has been increased from 25% to 35%.

These updated FHA loan guidelines will now allow thousands more condominium units to qualify for FHA financing, opening homeownership opportunities to many buyers. Homeowner associations are encouraged to obtain and maintain FHA certification. Opening the window to homeownership will encourage more people to buy and occupy homes resulting in fewer investor owned units, higher owner/occupancy levels and stronger communities.

 

 

Posted on October 10, 2019 at 11:58 AM
Robin Myers | Category: condo financing, condominiums, first time buyers, home financing, real estate, supporting communities | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,