Seattle Just Keeps Growing

In spite of the building boom in downtown Seattle, there have been very limited options for buying a home, versus renting. Resembling giant glass Rubik’s cubes stacked 41 floors high, the Nexus Seattle condominiums will be taking ground at 1200 Howell Street in the Denny Triangle. The building will feature 382 units, varying in size and price, ranging from $300,000 to $3.5 million. Sections of the building are twisted to face different directions, views will vary depending which floor the home is located on.

According to the Nexus website, 80% of the units have already been reserved as of this past November (2016). Underscoring the market’s desire for permanent housing and the influx of people for high-paying tech jobs downtown, hundreds of buyers lined up to pay a $5,000 refundable deposit to be guaranteed a spot at a priority presales event on June 4th last year. Some people even camped out overnight to be first in line.

Burrand Group, the Canadian company that owns the site, plans to break ground this month to begin construction. The Nexus building will be within walking distance of at least two large-tech work campuses in the South Lake Union area. An article with Puget Sound Business Journal states a fitness center, common co-working space, the option of renting a guest room, and a rooftop terrace will be some of the amenities available.

As of October 2016, the median price for a downtown Seattle condo was $650,000. The median price for a 1-bedroom rental is currently $1,820 per month, reflecting the 40% hike in rent over the past 5 years. Seattle is now in the top ten of most expensive apartment markets in the United States, as of April 2016.

US 30-Year Mortgage Rate Slips To 4.28%

housing market

After three weeks of increases, the average rate on fixed 30-year mortgages fell from 4.37 percent to 4.28 percent this week. The rates for 15-year mortgages fell from 3.39 percent to 3.32 percent. Still, rates are roughly a percentage point higher than they were a year ago. That increase was driven by speculation that in response to an improving economy the Federal Reserve would decrease its $85-million-per-month bond purchases, which it did in December and January.

For more information about Seattle real estate, contact your local real estate agent today.

Buying A Home In Seattle 34% Cheaper Than Renting

Wash Park Homed

High rent and high home prices in Seattle can often make it feel like the decision between buying and renting isn’t so cut and dry – either way you’re paying a premium for housing. But a new report from Trulia makes a strong case for home ownership, reporting that it is 34% cheaper to own a home than to rent in Seattle at today’s 4.5% mortgage rate. According to the report, mortgage rates would have to hit 9.3% before renting would be cheaper than buying in Seattle.

Nationally, home ownership is 38% cheaper than renting in all of the 100 largest metro areas, but in some extreme markets small changes in mortgage rates could tip the scales in favor of renting. For example, in Honolulu, a mortgage rate of 5% would make renting a better value, and a rate of 5.8% would make renting cheaper than owning in San Francisco.

Try Trulia’s Rent vs. Buy calculator to see how the numbers work out for you. If you’re interested in buying a home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent.

 

 

 

 

Staging Your Home for a Winter Sale

winterSpring is a popular time for home sales and easier to make the home appear more desirable when flowers are blooming and the weather is brighter and warmer. Below are a few tips to help make your home more desirable during the winter months.

Be sure to keep walkways to your home safe and clear. Shovel away any snow and put a little sand down if it seems icy so no one falls. Be sure to sweep away loose leaves. If it is rainy and wet, put down a mat for dirty shoes and a place to put wet umbrellas.

Open all blinds and pull back all drapes, except those that would show an undesirable view, to let light in. Make your home as bright as possible especially if there aren’t many windows letting in natural light. Turn on all lights in the house including those in closets and pantries.

Keep your home warm and cozy. You want to make potential buyers stick around and really think about living there. Turn the thermostat up a couple degrees above normal. The house will stay warmer and by doing so, the furnace will not kick on while people are tour your home. You don’t want them to hear your noisy furnace. Keep a small fire going in the fireplace for warmth and to make the home feel more comfortable.

Have framed photos of your yard and flower garden in full bloom set out to show what it will look like in the Spring and Summer.

Many people are allergic to candles and scented sprays. To make your home smell good without it smelling like you are trying to mask an odor, bake cookies or a pie before an open house or simmer a cinnamon stick in a pot of water for a few minutes. Your house will have a more comforting and welcoming smell which many people are familiar with and like.

Following these simple tips can help you create a more appealing image of your home in a more dreary and gloomy time of year.

Sell Your Home Quickly With These 5 Helpful Tips

HouseMany homes sit on the market for months and even years. Owners think that lowering the asking price will entice buyers but it only sends red flags and creates the idea that there is something wrong with the house that is causing it to not sell. Owners become frustrated and not sure what to do. If you follow the 5 tips below, you won’t have to worry as these tips will help your home sell quickly.

1.   Price it Low:   Many owners are hesitant to set an asking price lower than the estimated value of their home but it helps sell the house quickly. Most want to ask more than the value to give room to drop the price during negotiations but by asking a lower price, more buyers become interested and compete for the home which often results in a selling price that is higher than the value of the home and a much shorter time spent on the market. A real estate agent in Northern California listed a house for $535,000 even though it had been appraised at $560,000. The house had multiple bidders and sold for $575,000 within weeks.

2.   Try a New Sales Approach:   If your house is not selling and nobody is looking, try a new approach to advertising your home. Put out a larger ad that gives little, but important, information. The info should catch the buyer’s interest and lure them in. Use a photo that shows nice curb appeal and descriptive words. Be sure to keep the house clean so that buyers will be intrigued with what they see.

3.   Do Not Try to Fight the Market:   If in general houses are just not selling, don’t try too hard to get exactly what you want for your home. In a not-so-great market, many people have a hard time getting financed or can’t buy a new home until theirs sells. You may not get the price you hoped for but by accepting a lower offer you will be done with the deal and less stressed.

4.   Renovations Don’t Guarantee a Sale:   Although a new coat of paint or new carpet may make your home look nicer and allow the asking price to go up a little, spending a ton of money on renovations will not necessarily sell your home or at least not for the price you would hope for. A lot of sellers spend thousands of dollars making changes hoping that they can sell their home for a higher price and earn their money back that was spent on the renovations. Some changes are good but for the most part the price is based on appraisals of the surrounding houses. If you ask $100,000 more than what the houses in your neighborhood are worth because you remodeled the kitchen and put in new floors, buyers will find your home to be over priced and walk away.

5.   Advertise Your Home Online:   In this day and age everyone is doing everything online. There are more people searching for homes online than there are circling ads in the paper. Post an ad online using attractive and good quality pictures to advertise your home. Use social media to get the word out that you are selling. People aren’t walking into real estate offices asking “find me something” as often as they used to. They are now coming in with a list of homes they found advertised online.

Bonus Tip:   Find a good realtor. Interview at least 3 real estate agents before choosing one. Be sure to trust them and their methods. Selling houses is what they do for a living and they know what they are doing.

Home Buying Credit Options

homeBuying a home is exciting and stressful especially if you are a first time home buyer. Finding the right home can be challenging but the biggest challenge is financing it. You need to have enough money in the bank to convince the lender you can make monthly payments on top of having enough to cover the costs of closing the loan in order to obtain a mortgage loan. Some home buyers search for available home buyer credits to help fund the purchasing process. Here are a few options available:

Mortgage Credit Certificate: MCC is available for first time home buyers in certain states and provides up to $8,000 in tax credits for those who have not owned a home in the previous three years, meet certain income criteria and will be using the new home as their permanent residence.

Good Neighbor Next Door Program: This program makes homes available for up to 50 percent off the listing price as long as the buyer agrees to live in the home for at least three years. HUD offers credits to school teachers, law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians who purchase single-family homes in areas targeted for revitalization.

Credits for Native American Buyers: HUD provides two programs for Native Americans who wish to buy a home. Native Americans are given access to sources to private mortgage financing to buy homes in Indian or Alaskan Native areas through the Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program. Members of Indian tribes who cannot qualify for mortgages through other sources can be guaranteed a loan through The Tribal Housing Activities Loan Guarantee Program.

The Federal Housing Authority has several other options to help reduce the burden of financing a home for first time home buyers, single parents, minorities and people with moderate-low income.

How the Housing Market Could be affected by the Government Shutdown

housingJust when the housing market was getting better there is now a possibility of it to began to slightly decline again. With government workers facing possible furloughs, consumers may not have the confidence to purchase a home. A steady income is needed to be able to make payments on a mortgage but some will not be receiving paychecks and may back out of deals and put off buying a new home until things become more stable again. Most lending companies will not be affected and will resume lending for mortgages since they are not federally owned. Other government funded sources for the housing market such as the Federal Housing Administration and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs may be shut down and therefore will not process applications and requests for assistance. If people are not getting the money they need, they will not be renting or buying homes.

May Stats Regarding Increasing Inventory and Sales

housing statsBased on King and Snohomish County public records, foreclosures are   slowly decreasing to normal levels while inventory rose for the second month in a row. Measured by the number of “Warranty Deeds” filed with King County, sales rose 15% from March to April and were up 28% year-over-year. In Snohomish County, sales rose 8% month-over-month and 26% from May of last year.

Foreclosures in King County fell again but were just above last year’s level. Although Snohomish County increased in foreclosures, they are still at their second-lowest level in the last 11 months.

Buyers will be happy to hear that inventory in King County rose 15.6% this year compared to 2.3% between April and May of last year. Listing fell 3.1% last year in Snohomish County. This year they were up 6.0%.

Prices of Seattle Homes up in the Past Year

housing price

Compared to cities tracked in a national index, Seattle home prices rose  faster between February and March than 18 of the 19 other cities that were tracked. The 12 month rise was still within the national average. According the Standard & Poor’s/Case Shiller home price index, Seattle prices rose 3.0 percent for the month and 10.6 percent for the year.

Compared to a year ago, U.S. home prices jumped 10.9 percent in March which was the most since April 2006. More buyers are bidding on a small supply which is driving prices higher, making the market more competitive as well as improving the housing market. Phoenix had the highest annual gain with 22.5 percent followed by San Francisco with 22.2 percent and Las Vegas with 20.6 percent. New York had the smallest annual increase with only 2.6 percent.

Although the market is seeing higher gains, many home owners are not putting their homes on the market which is contributing to home prices rising and encouraging builders to heighten construction. Applications for building permits rose in April making it the highest level in close to 5 years.

Annual U.S. Home Value Appreciation Up for 6 Straight Months

Madrona Home KL

Madrona Home For Sale

According to the April Zillow Real Estate Market Reports, U.S. home value continues to climb. April was the sixth consecutive month that home values exceeded a 5 percent climb. This is the largest streak since 2006. The streak should not be expected to last. As more inventory is offered in the market some home prices will have to fall to level out with the rest. The Zillow Home Value Forecast predicts a 4 percent climb in the next year although most markets have already hit bottom.

National rents declined 2 percent in April compared to March. Demand for rental properties is still strong. Many investors are buying homes, fixing them up and turning them into rental units. Because of this, many markets are seeing less inventory and sharp home value appreciation brought on by the investors. Over the past month there has been a slight increase in inventory in some markets as more housing is constructed as well as more sellers enter the market.