buying a homecondominium speciaistcondominiumsfirst time buyersreal estateRobin MyersWindermere October 26, 2020

New Construction, Existing Home Sales, Condos & Vacation/Resort Homes

Tight supply and increasing land/material/labor continue to contribute to rising home prices.

Matthew Gardner, Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, shares his thoughts on builder confidence nationwide, evidenced by a dramatic increase in sales of new construction homes and permit applications.  That continued buyer demand along with increasing construction costs are driving prices up. Sales of existing single family homes is also increasing, but even tighter supply is impacting prices in that market as well. Condo sales are up 9% nationwide (year-over-year) but there is a higher level of available condo inventory. That could be the result of condo owners taking advantage of low interest rates to make the move up to a larger home. The good news, that could free up condo inventory for first time or downsizing buyers. A surprise observation – sales of vacation and resort homes are up 30% nationwide.

 

 

 

 

emergency planningfamilyRobin Myerssafetyurban livingWindermere September 11, 2020

Include Your Pet in Your Family’s Emergency Plan

dog-and-cat

photo of dog and cat

Brush and forest fires aren’t often a concern in the city. This week suburban, farm and agricultural communities in Bonney Lake and Sumner were caught off guard by a fast spreading fire that has caused evacuations, property damage and danger to people, farm animals and wildlife. If you live in a suburban community or a high rise city condo, you need a pet emergency evacuation plan.

You may already have an earthquake kit or an emergency “go-bag” with flashlights, water, food, etc. Maybe you’ve practiced a family evacuation plan. Whether you live in a high rise condo, a suburban single family community or rural farm . . . have you included your pets in your family’s emergency plan?

Your pet needs it’s own emergency “go-bag” with supplies (and medications) for 3-5 days. It should include food, bowls, treats, extra harness, collar and leash, plenty of water, doggy poop bags or kitty litter, vet contact and Rx information, a towel or blanket to warm or comfort a pet or provide a resting spot. If you evacuate by car, a crate is great to have to keep your pet safe, calm and confined while traveling. If you have no choice but to leave a pet behind, put pet alert signage in a window with the number/type of pet and your contact information so emergency personnel know to search for your pet and how to contact you.

We always think the worst won’t happen, but so far 2020 has shown us that a lot can happen that we haven’t planned for. For more information, human and pet emergency safety tips visit www.redcross.org.

 

 

condominium speciaistcondominiumslifestyleurban livingWindermere Real Estate July 15, 2020

Ideas for Creating Deck or Courtyard Privacy

courtesy HGTV

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.

 

https://www.hgtv.com/outdoors/outdoor-spaces/best-outdoor-privacy-screens

 

 

condominium speciaisteconomyhousing marketreal estateWindermere June 15, 2020

Mortgage Forbearance – Where are We Today?

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.

 

apartmentscondominiumshome safetyhome technologysafety May 29, 2020

Could COVID-19 Impact Future Condo and Apartment Design?

Recent real estate and design articles have speculated on the impact the coronavirus pandemic could have on future residential design. Features in the last decade have focused on spacious luxury owner amenities with indoor and outdoor common areas, lush gardens, fitness centers, media rooms, private dining rooms, pet spas and    co-working spaces. Will residential developers adjust future design plans to create safer and more comfortable common areas?

The new normal may mean fewer pieces of equipment in cardio and weight rooms and more space between mats in yoga studios. Expect more hand sanitizing stations and stricter cleaning protocols. Capacity limits or equipment reservations may be required to provide equitable use and a safe environment. Lobbies, owner lounges and other common gathering areas may adjust decor to provide more chairs and fewer sofas to create a comfortable yet safe area for residents and guests.

 

Home office space has become one of the “must have” features. Whether full or part time, more people are working from home increasing the need for dedicated office or study space. We’ve quickly learned dining room tables and kitchen islands aren’t the best backdrop for video meetings.

Spending more time indoors has made the need for a properly functioning HVAC system more evident. Buyers may be just as interested in knowing whether a new community design includes systems that introduce more fresh outdoor air, recycle air more frequently and perhaps sanitize.

Spending more time in our homes over the past several months has made us more aware of our space, how we use that space, how well it functions and what we may need/want for the future.

 

 

 

condominium speciaistcondominiumseconomyneighborhoodsreal estate May 19, 2020

How has COVID-19 Impacted Various Housing Categories

Matthew Gardner offers insight into how the coronavirus pandemic may impact urban housing, condos, single family housing, suburbs, second homes and short term rentals.

 

 

buying a homecondominium speciaistcondominiumshome property valueshousing marketreal estateselling a home May 17, 2020

Real Estate – What to Expect as We Return to “Normal”

flickr/Mark Moz

It’s not surprising to know home sales declined in mid-March as we sheltered at home. Moving into mid-April both buyer activity and pending sales began increasing, all while home prices remained strong. Nationally median home prices rose in every region of the US in April.

Locally buyer activity and home values also gained momentum. Short market times and multiple offers were more common by late April, especially in affordable price ranges. Even the high end market, hit harder by the health crisis and volatile stock market, began to recover with more expensive homes coming back into the market.

What can we expect for the local condo market this summer? Over the last 30 days 131 condos in the Eastside marketplace have sold. The average time on market was just 15 days with an average sales price of $620,420. The average sale price vs. list price was 100.08% with 78 of those 131 homes selling at or over the list price. Condos currently under contract with sales pending have been on the market an average of just 14 days. As reported by the Mortgage Bankers Association and National Association of Realtors®, buyer mortgage loan applications are up for the fourth consecutive week  –  a strong indication buyers are back in the market and ready to take advantage of record low interest rates.

Recovery of the local economy will have an impact on the real estate market as we move toward summer. Based on buyer activity and mortgage applications, as we find our “new normal” it’s clear buyers are ready to step into home ownership. Available housing inventory is still lagging behind compared to the same time last year. It remains to be seen if there will be enough housing inventory to meet buyer demand this summer. Low inventory will certainly keep pressure on prices resulting in fewer discounts in the marketplace.

 

 

 

buying a homecondominium speciaisteconomyhousing marketreal estateselling a home April 28, 2020

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.

condominium speciaistcondominiumsHomeowner Associationsreal estate April 22, 2020

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.

 

 

 

 

condominium speciaistcondominiumsDowntown Bellevuereal estateurban living April 18, 2020

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.