Can We Expect to See More Entry Level Affordable Housing In the Future?

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.

Posted on June 29, 2020 at 2:50 PM
Robin Myers | Category: affordable housing, condominium speciaist, economy, real estate, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , , , ,

Available Homes for Sale Significantly Below Last Year

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.

Posted on June 24, 2020 at 2:45 PM
Robin Myers | Category: buying a home, condominium speciaist, condominiums, real estate, selling a home | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

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.

 

Posted on June 15, 2020 at 11:50 AM
Robin Myers | Category: condominium speciaist, economy, housing market, real estate, Windermere | Tagged , , , , , , ,

What Does King County’s Phase 1.5 Mean for Real Estate?

colorful face masks

flickr/Rain Rabbit

 

 

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.

 

Posted on June 10, 2020 at 9:00 AM
Robin Myers | Category: buying a home, condominium speciaist, real estate, selling a home | 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 , , , , , , ,

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.

 

 

 

Posted on May 17, 2020 at 9:00 AM
Robin Myers | Category: buying a home, condominium speciaist, condominiums, home property values, housing market, real estate, selling a home | 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 , , , , , , , , ,

The Impact of COVID-19 on 30 Year Mortgage Rates

Windermere’s Chief Economist Matthew Gardner provides his insight on mortgage interest rates, how those rates are set and what we might expect in the coming weeks and months with regard to conforming and jumbo loan financing.

 

Posted on April 14, 2020 at 9:00 AM
Robin Myers | Category: buying a home, condominium speciaist, home financing, mortgage interest rates, real estate, refinancing a home | Tagged , , , , , ,

Real Estate – It’s Not Business as Usual

flickr/oatsy40

The coronavirus health crisis has redirected everyone’s focus. We’re all searching for our “new normal”, abandoning and creating new daily routines, figuring out how to safely shop for groceries, work from home (maybe cope with the temporary or permanent loss of a job or income), home school and entertain children, balance finances and care for family, friends and neighbors.

Real estate is how I’ve earned my living for three decades. I love what I do, but right now, and for the foreseeable future, it’s anything but a priority or business as usual. I’m also trying to figure out how to navigate working from home, support elderly parents on the east coast, stay in touch with family members near and far and reach out to friends and neighbors. Staying connected with family, friends and clients has led to some creative and interesting get-togethers. Virtual coffee meetings and happy hours, with the occasional photo bomb by a family pet, has generated a much needed laugh or two.

Whatever, and whenever normal resumes, there will be plenty of time to get back to previous work and family routines. My priority is to take care of  my health and my family’s health and safety. I’m fortunate to be affiliated with a company that helped set the tone for what the industry landscape should look like while Washington’s Stay Home/Stay Healthy order is in effect. Since the early days of this crisis, Windermere has taken the position “go slow and do no harm” with a goal, within strict guidelines set by the State of Washington prioritizing safety and wellness, to take care of our clients. Brokers and management worked hard to help clients who were already under contract on the purchase or sale of a home, to complete that transaction so that no one was caught between moves, but we will slow-roll new business until the coast is clear. Our priority, and one of Windermere’s core values . . . putting people over transactions . . . is more important than ever.

Take care of yourselves. Be safe and stay healthy.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on April 8, 2020 at 9:00 AM
Robin Myers | Category: condominium speciaist, family, real estate, safety, supporting communities, Windermere | Tagged , , ,