Late Summer Gains For Seattle Area Housing Market

neighborhoodThe S&P/Case-Shiller Index numbers for August were released yesterday, and after a July where we saw average home prices decrease by 0.1 percent in the Seattle Metro Area (King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties), prices bounced back and increased by 0.7 percent in August. On a yearly basis, prices in the area grew by 7.6 percent, coming in at number five on the list of cities with the highest yearly gains among the top 20 metro areas in the index.

Though prices in the Seattle are are still four percent below their peak, overall prices are showing steady growth and much of it is coming from a surprising sector of the housing market: condos. Zillow’s Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell said in a statement that in the national market “…a good portion of the overall home price growth we’re seeing, especially in cities, has been driven by strong growth in condominium values, which are currently appreciating more quickly than single-family homes.” He cited condos’ popularity with younger buyers, many of whom live more urban lifestyles, are looking for more affordable housing options than single-family homes. This appears to be true in the Seattle market, as according to statistics from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, median condo prices in King County were up 19 percent this August over August 2014. The median price for a condo in Seattle was up 32 percent over the same time period to $248,500.

Overall, it appears that the U.S. market is leveling out. Zillow’s Gudell says that “Annual U.S. home value appreciation has stabilized and settled into a nice groove over the past few months, and this relative stability should continue into the foreseeable future.”

If you’re interested in speaking with a real estate expert about Seattle’s market, contact your local agent today.

Seattle Homes Selling In Average of 8 Days

3804 E Blaine St.Across the U.S., houses are selling at breakneck speed, with homes only surviving on the market for an average of 28 days before being snatched up by eager buyers. Many homes sold even faster than that in May, with approximately 35 percent going into contract within two weeks of hitting the market. But you think that’s fast? The national market has nothing on Seattle, where last month homes sold after a mere 8 days on the market, and almost half sold above list price, according to Redfin. This no doubt is due to extremely low inventory, especially within the Seattle city limits, where there is less than a month’s supply of homes available, not nearly enough to satisfy the high demand for homes in the city.

Despite this increased buying activity, national home prices actually grew at a slower rate this May – up just 1.6 percent over April – compared to the 3 percent rise in prices we saw last May. On a yearly basis, prices across the country are up 6 percent from a year ago. List prices in the Seattle market increased just slightly from April to May (1.4 percent), and the median was $426,000. Year over year, Seattle prices were up 6.5 percent.

As these statistics illustrate, now is a great time to sell your home! If you’re on the fence, contact your local real estate agent to learn more about the selling process.

Progress Report: 2015 National Housing Market

neighborhoodIn the years since the housing crash, economists have kept a close watch on the housing market, as it is a significant indicator of the overall health of the U.S. economy. The huge number of foreclosed properties that flooded the market after the bubble burst created a buyer’s market across most of the country with historically low prices, but many owners are now coming out from underwater on their mortgages and are seeking market rate when selling their homes. With fewer “distressed” properties on the market, lack of affordable inventory has become as issue across much of the country, and the median prices for homes in some markets, such as San Jose, Calif., and Denver, Colo., have surpassed their previous peaks. RealtyTrac reports that the number of foreclosed homes actually increased in January of this year, but it is too early to tell whether that will have an influence on getting more inventory on the market.

RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist said in a press release that getting more inventory on the market is crucial, and he predicts that the supply situation will improve slightly in 2015. “I think we’ll see numbers tick up. It’s kind of a seesaw right now between supply and demand. One of the reasons 2014 saw fewer sales [was] not so much lack of demand but lack of supply, especially in the price range the majority of buyers were looking for,” Blomquist said in the release. While low supply is fueling a rise in prices, consumers have also seen their incomes increase at a much slower rate than home prices, making purchasing a home further out of reach. According to RealtyTrac,the median price for a home in the U.S. grew by 17.3 percent over the past two years, whereas the median weekly wage increased by a mere 1.3 percent. Home price appreciation outpaced wage growth in 76 markets in the U.S. in that time period, most dramatically in California, which saw home prices grow by a 141:1 ratio over wages.

Industry experts are cautiously optimistic about the market during the remainder of the year. With national inventory of existing homes is sitting at a five-month supply, with some regional inventories much lower (Seattle is hovering around a two-month supply, and some neighborhoods have even fewer homes available), prices continue to rise. Rick Sharga, executive vice president at Auction.com, told RealtyTrac that “Until these situations change, low inventory will keep sales relatively flat, and keep prices relatively high.”

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

 

2015 Housing Market Off To A Good Start

Wash Park HomedHistorically, mid-winter has been a sluggish time for home-price growth for the national housing market, and while the median price for a single-family home did decline from December to January this year, it fell by a mere 1.2 percent, signaling a stronger than normal start to the new year for the housing market. As a comparison, in recent years month-to-month price declines from December to January have been recorded at 2.8 percent (2014) and 3.5 percent (2013). Redfin reports that the combination of an increase in listings and buyer demand has led to lots of activity, and prices are up 7.6 percent over the year.

Closer to home, supply is still low in the Seattle area, and prices continue to rise. The median price for a single-family home in King County this January was recorded at $441,500, up from $410,000 in January 2014. The city of Seattle saw the median price rise to $517,500, up 12.5 percent over the year. The Seattle Times reports that inventory in Northwest Seattle is down to a three-week supply, driving prices in that area up 19 percent over the year. In the Seattle market as a whole, inventory has been hovering around the two-month mark for several months. Generally, a four-to-six-month supply constitutes a healthy housing market.

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

60 Percent Fewer Underwater Mortgages In Seattle Than In 2012

Photo Courtesy of Istock Photo

Photo Courtesy of Istock Photo

Over the past two years, 7 million homeowners in the U.S. have come back above water on their mortgages, finally gaining positive equity in their homes after the recession left many owing more than their home was worth.Though there are more than 100,000 people who remain underwater on their mortgages in Seattle, the current negative equity rate of 16.2 percent is down from its peak of nearly 40 percent, and is projected to fall to 13.3 percent in 2015. This should mean that the market sees an increase in available homes for sale, as more owners who were previously sitting on inventory waiting to build their equity back up are now in a position to sell. If you are interested in buying or selling a home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

 

Sales Of New Homes On The Rise Nationally

west seattle homev

In some surprising and encouraging news for the national residential housing market, sales of new homes in January rose by 9.6 percent, the highest rate since July 2008, and it is predicted that the rate for both new and existing home sales will continue to rise in 2014.

Economists had predicted a drop in the rate for January, mostly due to winter storms across much of the country, but only the Midwestern market posted a decline in new-home sales for January, dropping 17 percent. Sales in the northeast rose by 74 percent, followed by the west at 11 percent, and the south by 10 percent. The median new-home price also rose 3.4 percent from a year ago to $260,100.

Despite the 30-year mortgage rate having just risen to 4.33 percent, signs are pointing to a healthy residential market in 2014 as a result of growing household incomes, and double-digit growth in residential construction over the past two years, which contributed to the nation’s overall economic growth.

Competition in Housing Market Leading to Bidding Wars

Competition in the housing market                                housing                                               has been creating bidding wars. Many offers are being countered by rival bids. Homes are selling for well over asking price. Sellers are holding out for better deals which lessens the amount of homes available to buy while buyers are wanting to purchase homes before prices and mortgage rates begin to rise.

Some buyers are having problems purchasing a home due to constantly being out bid buy other buyers. A couple in Florida offered $5,000 over asking price for a home only to lose to a counter offer of $55,000 over asking price. They tried offering $10,000 over a $600,000 asking price and lost to a higher bidder. That house was a short sale had been on the market for only two days. They became frustrated after putting offers on homes and never hearing back only to find that the houses they had bid on were sold to a much higher bidder. They finally were able to work with an agent who was working for both the buyer and seller which would earn her double the commission. She was able to help them make an offer and purchase a home for $30,000 less than the asking price.

The National Association of Realtors reported a 19.2% decline in inventory. It is expected that homes sales will grow with the Spring selling season but availability will remain low. The balance between buyers and sellers has been thrown off balance. Sellers are being more cautious while buyers are on the hunt.

FCPB Releases Simplified Mortgage Forms

If you currently have a mortgage, or have applied for one in the past, you know how difficult it can be to fully understand exactly what you’re signing up for. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has released redesigned forms that prospective borrowers will receive after applying for a loan, prior to closing on their home. These forms will be made available to folks at least 3 days prior to closing, and will be much more transparent than past forms.

According to the Seattle Times, the proposal aims to prevent costly surprises, and help consumers understand the actual cost of obtaining a loan. It also aims to protects consumers who’re taking out  pricier mortgages. Most of the changes that were made to these documents were required by Congress under the 2010 financial overhaul law, which aimed to protect Americans from unaffordable mortgage loans, and any hidden costs. For over 30 years, federal law has required two sets of disclosure documents to be filled out by lenders, who could become confused when explaining them to borrowers because the documents were very similar in verbage, but needed to be filled out by two separate agencies. CFPB has tried to bridge that gap with the redesign of these new documents; one will describe the mortgage, and one will outline the costs of closing the mortgage. For the full article, please visit the Seattle Times.

Buying a Home Might Not Get Much Cheaper

Many renters today are choosing to put off buying a home for several reasons, statistics show that buying a home might not get any cheaper than it is right now. Experts say that 2012 may bet the last year for buyers to take advantage of the weak housing market and foreclosure influx. According to CNN Money, home prices are down 34% Nationally from 2006, and mortgage rates are at an all time low, making it the best year yet to find the bargain deal of a lifetime.

Economists with PNC Financial Services believe that home prices will flatten out by the third quarter of this year, and might begin to climb at the beginning of next year. There are several indicators that the housing market is picking up like the decline in foreclosures, and continued job growth nationwide, and buyers will have more access to affordable mortgages as they build their credit scores. While some prospective buyers who have been wary might be more willing to follow through because of the all-time low mortgage rates and lower home values, some renters still aren’t in a position to take the next step and will ultimately miss the grace period. For more information on the housing market, click here.

Zillow Reports Rentals Continue to Outshine Housing Market

According to Zillow’s Real Estate Market Report in February, the median price in rent had risen 2% since February 2011, and home values had continued to fall, dropping 4.5% during the same time period. Zillow’s Rent Index illustrated that the year over year gains for an estimated 68% of metropolitan markets measured by the ZRI, and only 8% of metro areas covered by the Zillow Home Value Indexsaw home values rise.

Seattle Rental In Leschi Neighborhood

Today’s rental market is continuing to heat up, with an emphasis on areas where home values have consistently been declining. Foreclosures have been at the forefront in keeping home values down, with foreclosure re-sales making up an  estimated 20.3% of all sales in the month of February. Zillow experts have said that we’ve made it through the worst of the housing market recession, but with the enormous inventory of foreclosures and unemployment are all still factors to overcome on the rise to recovery. For more information on rental listings in the Seattle area, visit Ewing & Clark and Craigslist.