Housing Prices See First Growth In 4 Months in February

housing market

Bucking the national trend that saw home prices stay relatively flat from January to February, The Seattle Times reports that the Seattle-area market saw prices rise ever so slightly in February, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city Index. In the biggest monthly gain since July 2013, the average price of a home in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties rose by a whopping, wait for it…0.6 percent. While that may seem like a small number, annual gains tell a different story, showing prices rising 12.8 percent over the previous 12 months. However, we have 17.3 more percentage points to go to catch up with the market’s peak in July 2007.

Along with Seattle, Portland and San Diego round out the top three cities with the strongest price gains in February. Surprisingly, San Francisco appeared to show slowing monthly price growth, though its prices were up 23 percent from same time last year.

Stan Humphries, chief economist at Zillow, stated in the article that although the national housing market is showing signs of slowing in recent months, it is just a snapshot of a market that is slowly returning to normal. Nationally, prices rose by 12.9 percent from February 2013 to February 2014. The National Association of Realtors also reported that the number of pending home sales rose in March for the first time in nine months.

How Well Do You Know Capitol Hill Real Estate? Take the Quiz!

Do you think you’re an expert in your neighborhood’s real estate sales? Take the Capitol Hill Real Estate Quiz to find out how well you really know the Capitol Hill Real Estate Market!

Ewing & Clark, Seattle’s oldest real estate brokerage, recently sold these Capitol Hill homes.  How well do you know Capitol Hill real estate?

Cap Hill Quiz-1

If you’re interested in buying or selling your Capitol Hill home, then please contact your local real estate agent today.

Ewing Clark

Northwest Green Home Tour This Saturday 4/26

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Hydronic heating, solar panels, and rain catchment systems are just the tip of the sustainable iceberg for the 35 homes and 12 “sustainability stops” featured in this year’s Northwest Green Homes Tour. If you’re curious about sustainable building practices, or just want to get a close-up look at some of Seattle’s most innovative green homes, print out a site map, jump in the car (or on a bike – we are talking sustainability, after all) and spend Saturday learning from builders, suppliers and homeowners about this growing industry.

The self-guided tour is completely free to the public and includes homes and stops all over Seattle, with a few as far north as Mountlake Terrace and North Creek. A sampling of the sustainability stops includes the newly remodeled Taproot Theater in Greenwood that is targeting LEED Gold certification; and RainWise, a South Park organization that is working on green approaches to storm water control. A wristband that you’ll receive at your first stop on the tour also gets you some great perks at two more sustainability stops that will be essential on your daylong tour- a free coffee drink at Equal Exchange Espresso Bar in Ballard and discounts on food and drinks at Hale’s Ales.

The tour runs from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Feel free to start at any home or stop you’d like, or meet at Hale’s at 11:00 a.m. for a 5.1-mile walking tour around North Seattle guided by Dave Ramsay of Feet First, an organization that promotes walkable communities in Washington.This is a great chance to see some stunning green homes around the city and connect with people in the industry, including the sponsors, the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild and Built Green. Visit the website for more info and a complete map of sites.

 

 

 

Great Tips For Spring Sellers

The flowers are starting to bud, and the sun is peaking through the clouds; Spring is in the air and For Sale signs are emerging around Seattle like crazy. How do you stay ahead of the game? As the housing market begins to heat up, sellers can take these extra steps to help stand out among the rest. At first glance, potential buyers are scrutinizing your property before they even step foot in the door, and having a clean entrance and yard can make a big difference for first impressions.  Adding a beautiful potted plant to the front porch, or staining the front deck could be relatively small projects that could add generous appeal to your home. laurelhurst11

Staging your home is another great way to entice buyers to choose your home. Hiring professionals to arrange your home to appeal to a broad array of buyers could be the difference between a buyer choosing your home, or choosing one just down the street. Removing personal belongings helps buyers envision themselves living on the property- not you. Also remember to give your home a good cleaning before showings; a clean home feels bigger and more inviting. For more information on Seattle real estate, contact your local real estate agent today.

Make Financially Sound Housing Decisions

When it comes to managing finances, many people tend to make simple mistakes along the way that could have been easily avoided. Here are some useful tips to make financially sound decisions when getting your housing finances in order. Utilizing a money management tool such as mint.com allows users to track their income, set budgets, goals and track what is coming in, and what is going out. Users can stay easily organized while saving for housing projects, and can avoid spending more than is within your budget. roanoke

Another big financial mistake people tend to make around this time of year is failing to claim all of the housing tax breaks which can save quite alot in the scheme of things. For a list of tax breaks for homeowners, check out this collection of useful tips from Zillow. Also taking into account the little things you spend money on everyday, like a Starbucks latte for $4 can really make an impact on your home purchase- cutting back to drinking coffee at home and buying your beloved Starbucks latte just once a week can save you hundreds of dollars a year, and inch you one step closer to making a larger down payment than you’d expect, and could save you thousands on your mortgage – the small decisions you make, will add up to a big scale change! For more information on Seattle real estate, contact your local real estate agent today.

Tips For First-Time Home Buyers

Madrona Home KL

The process of buying your first home can be extremely daunting, and although buyers may feel overwhelmed with information, in a market where first-timers are often outbid by buyers with cash on hand, doing your research and being as prepared as possible are key.

First of all, figure out how much you can afford. Meet with a lender to review your finances and establish a realistic price range. You don’t want to begin looking at homes and fall in love with one only to realize the monthly payment is too high.

Shop around for a mortgage. If you would compare prices on groceries, it only makes sense to do the same for a purchase as significant as a home. Look up who has the lowest mortgage rates online first, then call lenders and ask for a written list of their fees so you make sure to get both the lowest rate and the lowest fees.

See if you quality for down-payment assistance. There are several of these programs offering services in King County. See here for more info.

Get preapproved for a loan. This will make your offer more attractive to sellers, as there is less likelihood your loan won’t be approved while you’re in escrow. Find out from your mortgage lender what kind of paperwork you need to submit to get preapproved. These often include W-2s, pay stubs, bank statements and tax returns. Get your credit report and make sure there aren’t any abnormalities that need to be addressed.

Get referrals from your family and friends to find a great real estate agent. Interview them to make sure you feel comfortable with them and to assess how knowledgeable they are. Don’t forget that if a particular agent isn’t meeting your needs, you don’t have an obligation to continue using them.

When do you find a home that you’re ready to make an offer on, take the market into account – if it’s a sellers’ market and the home is priced well, you’ll probably want to make an offer either at the asking price or possibly even a little above. If the seller knows they will get multiple offers, you want yours to stand out.

Just like everyone else who you employ in your home search, you are free to use a home inspector of your choice. Get recommendations from friends and family to make sure you’re getting a trustworthy inspector, not just one who is working to help the agent close the deal.

If you are interested in buying a home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

King County Home Prices Rising More Slowly, Inventory Still Low

housing market

While home prices have continued to rise in King County over the past year, they are rising at a slower rate than they were a year ago. According to The Seattle Times the median home price in January was 17 percent higher than it was over the previous 12 months, but in February it was only 11 percent higher. In March, the median home price in King County was $414,950, up just 6 percent from $392,000 a year ago. In the Seattle market, the median home price actually fell by almost 3% over the last 12 months to $450,000.

It appears that buyers are also using more discretion with their money, as the number of active listings has increased, but the number of pending deals has decreased in the tri-county area comprising King, Snohomish and Pierce counties.

In some good news for local buyers, investors bought far fewer homes in February (40) than they did in January (126), which could mean more entry-level housing inventory available to first-time home buyers. Investors have been purchasing homes in lower price ranges and turning them into rentals, especially in South King County and Pierce County. Real estate agents are hoping for a jump in inventory as we progress further into spring, but believe the market will continue to see low inventory through the rest of the year and into 2015.

If you are interested in buying or selling a home in Seattle, contact your local real estate agent today.

Tips For Getting Multiple Offers On Your Home

In regions with booming real estate markets, sellers may think getting multiple offers on their home is inevitable, but there are a few things you can do to increase your chances. The three must-haves for attracting multiple offers, according to Zillow, are location, price and presentation.

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You’ve heard it time and again: location, location, location. Buyers often consider location before other factors such as price, number of bedrooms or home size, so a well-located home is a huge advantage. Homes on busy streets, near freeway on/off ramps, or in less-than-stellar school districts may not attract as much interest. Work with a real estate agent to price your home very carefully if it’s not in a prime location.

That brings us to the next factor: price. Zillow reports that homes priced 10 percent over their market value will not get noticed, so it’s important to be smart and realistic with your listing price. While you won’t truly know the market value of your home until a buyer closes on the sale, real estate agents can help you establish a value range based on factors such as whether you are in a buyers’ or sellers’ market, location, and how well your home shows. If you price your home at the lower end of that range, you can be pretty confident you’ll generate lots of interest.

While you can’t change your home’s location and prices can fluctuate based on any number of factors, presentation of your home is something you have more control over. In today’s online-focused market, photos are key, so make sure you put your home’s best foot forward before you have it photographed. Buyers want to make an emotional connection with a home, so removing your personal items, making cosmetic upgrades (if you can afford it), and staging will make a good first impression online and drive buyers to look at the home in person.

These factors, supplemented by the expertise of a local real estate agent who knows the other homes in the area and can help you make yours stand out, will give you an increased chance of getting what all sellers want – multiple offers. If you are interested in selling or buying a home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.