COVID-19 Impact on the Housing Market – You Might Be Surprised

Posted on July 13, 2020 at 2:09 PM
Robin Myers | Category: economy, home property values, real estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Concerned about a Housing Bubble?

These are interesting and complex times. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop, brokers are following strict recommendations from public health officials and government agencies to ensure we are helping to reduce its impact. Ensuring that agents, office staff and clients are safe and healthy is the top priority.

Real estate is still happening  –  homes are still being listed for sale and buyers are still purchasing those homes, exhibiting a surprising high level of interest. Matthew Gardner provides good information and perspective on the current market and the health crisis vs. the housing crisis experienced in 2008.

Posted on April 28, 2020 at 10:59 AM
Robin Myers | Category: buying a home, condominium speciaist, economy, housing market, real estate, selling a home | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Downtown Bellevue Condos – Year-to-Year Stats

flickr/Dafne Cholet

 

Demand for urban housing remains strong, and with Amazon’s projected growth in downtown Bellevue, along with other corporations’ expansion plans, high demand is expected to continue over the next few years. Before the coronavirus outbreak and Stay Home/Stay Healthy order that went into effect in mid-March, the local condo real estate market was off to a very strong start.

2019 DOWNTOWN BELLEVUE CONDO SALES
1/1/2019 thru 3/31/2019            4/1/2019 thru 4/16/2019
39 sales                                      16 sales

2020 DOWNTOWN BELLEVUE CONDO SALES
1/1/2020 thru 3/31/2020           4/1/2020 thru 4/16/2020
55 sales                                       13 sales

 

First quarter downtown Bellevue condo sales were up significantly compared to the same period last year. Moving into the second quarter, numbers for the first half of April are surprisingly similar year-to-date,  despite the impact of the COVID-19 health crisis. It’s possible this April’s sales stats reflect contracts written in early March just prior to (and perhaps to secure a home) before the anticipated shelter in place order.

Though well below normal for this time of year, homes continue to be listed for sale, and buyers are writing offers on some of those homes. Many sellers and buyers, for health and safety reasons, have chosen to put plans on hold until the shelter at home order has been revised or lifted and there is a better  sense of what “normal” is going to look like. Like many businesses, it is expected the current strict restrictions on the real estate industry will be lifted gradually. What will the summer market look like? It’s tough to say, but based on activity during the first quarter, the high number of property and virtual tour views on websites over the past several weeks, and conversations with clients and potential buyers and sellers, summer may pick up right where the first quarter left off.

 

 

 

Posted on April 18, 2020 at 9:00 AM
Robin Myers | Category: condominium speciaist, condominiums, Downtown Bellevue, real estate, urban living | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Are Open Houses a Thing of the Past?

Earlier this month, as concern regarding the coronavirus grew, my company, Windermere Real Estate, followed by the NWMLS a few days later, made the decision to suspend all open houses in an effort to protect the health of buyers, sellers and brokers.

There will be little real estate business transacted during the State of Washington’s mandated “shelter-at-home” period. Escrow and title companies and lenders will continue to work, as much as legally permitted, to be sure sellers and buyers involved in transactions already under contract will close on time.

Even before the mandated “shelter-at-home”, many sellers requested no open houses and buyer traffic dropped significantly at homes (mostly vacant) where open houses were scheduled. What about open houses in the future? While I always include open houses in my marketing plan, at the seller’s option, it is one of the marketing activities that delivers the least return to, and honestly, most inconvenience to sellers. The majority of my real estate business focuses on condominiums, and its not unusual to find open houses restricted or prohibited by the HOA. Homeowners who purchase in a secure building do so because they want to live in a community offering safety and where public access is limited to owner controlled, owner invited guests. A public open house that allows dozens of strangers to access a building is an intrusion on the privacy and security of everyone who lives in the community.

With the advancement of technology, professional and drone photography, 3-D and 360 degree virtual tours, buyers can virtually walk through a property before scheduling a private appointment with their broker to see the home. Going forward we may see fewer open houses, especially in secure residential buildings. Open houses create a logistical challenge for the hosting broker, sellers, buyers and the concierge staff, and are an intrusion to the privacy of all homeowners in the building.

 

 

 

Posted on March 27, 2020 at 9:00 AM
Robin Myers | Category: buying a home, condominium speciaist, home safety, open house, real estate, selling a home, Windermere | 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 , , , , , , , , ,

Wire Fraud – Use Caution When Wiring Funds

flickr/Ben Taylor

In every real estate transaction emails are sent between the buyer and their real estate broker, lender, escrow and title companies. Unfortunately these emails have created an opportunity for wire fraud scammers causing some real estate buyers to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Here’s how it works . . . scammers hack into the email account of the buyer, buyer’s real estate broker, lender, title or escrow officer. The scammer, who now has access to the email addresses of all parties involved in the transaction, creates a new email account almost identical to the lender, broker, escrow company, etc. It could be just one letter off, but unless you look very carefully the email could look official and carry the proper company logo and signature block. The scammer sends an email to the buyer, using the newly created fraudulent account, providing instructions to wire funds for the closing on an upcoming home purchase. The email looks authentic, and the buyer is expecting to receive instructions for wiring their funds, so there is little reason to doubt the authenticity of the email. The buyers contact their bank to arrange for the wire but can discover too late they may have responded to a fake email address and funds have been wired to an unidentified recipient’s account. The funds are often quickly routed two or three more times, making the path of the funds impossible to trace or retrieve.

Real estate buyers and sellers have become targets for wire fraud. Sadly this is a national and global problem and the Seattle area has not escaped this scam. Local authorities and the FBI have been involved in these investigations, but the success rate for locating the scammer or retrieving funds is low. Some escrow/title companies have gone “old school”, requesting clients deliver cashier’s checks to the office in person. Wire instructions are still used but instructions are now snail mailed to the buyer to eliminate the email piracy of their contact information. Buyers should always call their broker, lender, title or escrow before wire transferring funds to confirm the amount, account information and instructions. A buyer or seller can also designate that no wire transfers are permitted in the transaction, only a cashier’s check.

Unfortunately the real estate industry is one of those that has become a target for scammers. Sending funds via a wire transfer is quick and easy, and while physically obtaining and delivering a cashier’s check to escrow may be inconvenient, that extra few minutes of time can nearly guarantee another buyer won’t be out thousands and thousands of dollars when they should be celebrating the purchase of their new home.

 

 

 

Posted on March 3, 2020 at 9:00 AM
Robin Myers | Category: buying a home, condominium speciaist, real estate, wire fraud | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Do You Need to Disclose a Video Security System When Your Home is Listed for Sale?

flickr/Jordan Hatcher

 

Today’s home security systems are plentiful, inexpensive and easy to install. While they can provide peace of mind, when you list your home for sale, are you required to disclose the operation of a home video or audio security system?

Washington State law makes it very clear  –  it is UNLAWFUL for anyone to record, by any device, the private conversation of others without their consent. (RCW 9.73.030). Disclosure of an audio monitoring system or device, warning of the monitoring system, is not sufficient. Giving warning is not the same as obtaining the consent of all involved in the conversation.

There is no law prohibiting a seller from having a video only system to record movement or physical actions inside the home; Washington State law prohibits only audio recording. The seller and listing broker should disclose in the MLS listing and inside the home that there is an active video security system and warn visitors they may be recorded while in the home.

Affordability and ease of installation has made home security systems more common. While many systems record only movement, some (including infant monitors) include audio listening devices. If a seller refuses to disable active audio surveillance, and records audio without gaining the consent of the speakers, seller will be in violation of state law. If a seller has additional questions or concerns relating to this issue, they should seek legal counsel.

 

 

 

 

Posted on February 27, 2020 at 9:30 AM
Robin Myers | Category: condominium speciaist, home technology, 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 , , , , , , , ,

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 , , , , , , , , , ,