Seattle Among Country’s Best Sellers’ Markets

for-sale-signWe’ve seen the Seattle residential real estate market explode over the past several months, with bidding wars galore and homes selling for thousands over their asking prices. While price gains began to slow toward the end of summer, Zillow is reporting that the Seattle-area market remains one of the best sellers’ markets in the country, in large part due to low housing inventory.

Inventory of single-family homes in King County is up slightly from a year ago, rising from 1.91 months of inventory in July 2013 to 2.08 months’ worth in August 2014. Inventory in Seattle alone was actually down from a year ago, dropping from 1.47 months to 1.36 months, which is far below the six months’ worth of supply that generally constitutes a healthy market.

Zillow says that rising prices are not the only indicator of a market favoring sellers. They also factor in how long homes stay on the market, how many price cuts occur, and how close the final selling price is to the last asking price. The top five sellers’ markets in the Seattle area are Mountlake Terrace, Shoreline, Seattle proper, Issaquah, and Snoqualmie.

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

Bertha Under Repair – Viaduct Status Update

99 tunnel access pit

Photo Courtesy of Washington State Department of Transportation

The 99 tunnel-boring machine dubbed big “Bertha” has experienced a few set backs since getting stuck last winter, but the WSDOT wants Seattle to know that work is still underway on the project. According to the Daily Journal of Commerce, Bertha may be out of commission until March, but over 230 construction workers are currently on site near the South end of the tunnel, and 58 of those workers are busily working to repair Bertha.

Seattle Tunnel Partners are working around schedules to ensure as much work as possible is getting completed while the machine is under repair, and noted that new infrastructure is getting built much sooner than originally scheduled. Electrical and fire suppression systems are being installed at this time, and the roadway South of the tunnel is also underway. The benefits of completing work before Bertha is ready will be evident when Seattle Tunnel Partners make up for the significant time lost while Bertha has been under repair. There has been a lot of negative coverage on the status of this project and seemingly lack of progression, but WSDOT would like tax payers to know construction is moving forward, and progression is evident. For more information on Seattle real estate, contact your local real estate agent today!

Preparing for Homeownership Expenses

With bidding wars, and low inventory causing housing prices to continually rise in the Seattle marketplace, unexpected financial burdens can arise. Purchasing a home is an exciting time, especially for first time home buyers, so to avoid any unplanned surprises, it is wise to prepare and save for the unexpected. There are expenses you know to prepare for such as standard mortgage, tax and insurance calculations that come with closing, but other costs build up after it is all said and done such as decorating, seasonal updates to the home, roofing expenses, and landscaping. While it may be easy enough to come up with a budget for weekly or monthly expenses, looking at the bigger picture and figuring out the larger projects to spread out throughout the year will help you get a better idea for an estimated budget for home improvement expenses. Ongoing expenses like utilities, and garbage/recycling can also be more expensive when you own a home, so be prepared for a significant increase when comparing to what you’d paid previously as a renter. broadview homeww

Renters do not typically have to pay for services such as hiring a plumber, fixing a garbage disposal, or updating a patio deck. These expenses add up quickly, so make sure you have saved enough to provide a nice cushion for first year homeowner expenses. We suggest you continue to save and put money aside every month for ongoing expenses that may arise with owning a new home, that way you’ll always be somewhat prepared for the unexpected. If you’re interested in Seattle Real Estate, contact your local real estate expert today!

New SHA Program Would Raise Rents For Many In Subsidized Housing

housesAn article published yesterday by The Seattle Times outlines a proposed new program from the Seattle Housing Authority that would introduce progressive rent increases for about 35 percent of households that are part of the subsidized housing system. The program, titled “Stepping Forward”, aims to cycle more people out of subsidized housing by putting residents on the path to a higher wage through job counseling, and would raise rents accordingly over a span of six to eight years.

Stepping Forward would apply to 4,600 “work-able” households, which is defined by SHA as one where at least one person between the ages of 24 and 61 has no disabilities that prevent them from working. Currently, residents in subsidized housing pay 30 percent of their income for rent, but under the new plan rent would be based on home size rather than income. For example, potential rent for a one-bedroom apartment would be $140 per month for the first year of the program, $310 per month for years two and three, $480 per month for years four and five, and $720 per month for years six and seven. Different rent amounts would apply to studios, two bedrooms, etc. For households with no work-able adults, rent would continue to be a percentage of income.

Five community meetings being held in September will give the public a chance to comment on the proposal. All meetings are at 6:00 p.m. on the following dates:

– Today, September 16 at the Meadowbrook Community Center

– Wednesday, September 17 at the Yesler Community Center

– Monday, September 22 at the Rainier Community Center

– Tuesday, September 23 at the NewHolly Gathering Hall

– Monday, September 29 at the High Point Community Center

For more information on rentals or real estate in Seattle, contact your local real estate agent today.

First Drop In Median Home Price In Six Months Came In August

housingAfter a blockbuster July when we saw the median price for a single-family home in Seattle rise to $543,500, topping the market’s 2007 peak, the median price in August came a little closer to earth, showing its first monthly decline in six months. The median price dropped 8 percent from July to August, and now stands at $499,950, according to The Seattle Times.

But despite slowing monthly growth, yearly appreciation for median home prices in Seattle still stands at a healthy 9.4 percent, the highest rate among the sub-markets in King County. The Northwest Multiple Listing Service says the biggest challenge currently facing buyers throughout Western Washington is inventory, as has been the case for the past several months. They report that although inventory has risen slightly since this time last year, the number of listings added in August was the lowest since April, and King County has the tightest inventory with only two months’ supply available.

The NWMLS uses the word “stability” to describe the market in Western Washington as a whole, and says we should continue to see “moderated growth” in the coming months. If you are interested in buying or selling a home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today!

30 -Year Fixed Mortgage Rate in Washington Below National Rate

Borrowers were quoted just below 4% last week for 30-year fixed mortgage rates Nationally, which is down from 4.08%, where the rate had been previously hanging for weeks. According to Zillow, mortgage rates in Washington State stayed at 3.99% last week, but have since increased to 4.05% this week after the long weekend. Today other state mortgage rates have ranged from a low of 3.94% in South Dakota, to a high of 4.17% in Wyoming and West Virginia.

Photo Courtesy of Zillow Mortgage

Photo Courtesy of Zillow Mortgage

While the rate has risen, Zillow experts predict the rates will remain low this short work week, as breaks in our domestic economic data will be overshadowed by concerns over the European economy. News of a plausible European Central Bank plan to instill a stimulus program similar to the Federal Reserve’s is one reason the rates in the US remained low last week, and are predicted to remain in this range for weeks to come. If you’re interested in learning more about Seattle real estate, contact your local real estate agent today.