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.

Washington State Home Sales Soar Past Previous Highs

sold-sign2015 may have been an interesting year for many reasons, but in the world of Washington real estate, it sure felt like the good old days.

Not since the way-back-when of 2007 had so many homes and condominiums sold in the Evergreen State. According to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, 2015 saw a whopping 88,331 homes changed hands last year, about  14% more sales than in the previous year. Those who have done the math say that works out to about 75,975 single family homes and 12,356 condominiums, valued at  approximately $34 billion, about 23% more than the dollar volume sold the year before. Those impressive figures make 2015 one of the best years for Washington State real estate in recent memory.

The last time this state saw real estate figures like that was in 2007, before the bubble burst and sent the country into what is not-so-affectionately known as The Great Recession. Even in 2007, the figures only added up to about 82,197 sales valued at $32.3 billion, according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Furthermore, despite a ‘lower inventory’, so to speak, prices and number of sales continue to grow. In King County, the median home price was $480,000 and more than 26,600 homes sold. Compare that to a median price of  $440,000 and 26,600 homes sold, in 2014 and you’ll notice a jump of close to 10%. Snohomish and Pierce counties can top those figures with growth figures for both median home price and number of homes sold over last year at nearly 16.80% ($355,000, up from $326,360 with 11,303 homes sold) and 17.39% ($249,950, up from 230,000 with more than 13,200 homes sold) respectively.

Overall, region-wide, the growth was about 8.8% from 2014, with a median price for single family homes and condominiums at about  $310,000, up from $285,000  last year.

Numbers like this are a positive and encouraging sign for the state of the  real estate market and the country’s economy as a whole. Let’s just hope nothing comes along and tries to ‘burst our bubble’ this time.

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.

Seattle Is 5th Best Home Sellers’ Market in U.S.

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If you’re thinking of selling your home in the Seattle area, here’s some good news for you – according to Zillow our market is the 5th best in the nation for home sellers, only trailing San Jose, Calif.; San Francisco; San Antonio, Tex.; and Los Angeles. Zillow reports that home values in Seattle have increased 10 percent in the past year.

Due to a relatively strong job market in the west, which has led to a high demand for housing with a limited supply, the home sellers’ market in the west is outperforming the market in the eastern U.S. Home buyers, on the other hand, will find the strongest buyers’ market in Cleveland, Ohio.

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

New Homes Big And Getting Bigger

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Bigger is not necessarily better, but new-home builders believe buyers are looking for more – more bedrooms, more bathrooms, more space. The average new home is now 2,679 square feet, up from 2,362 square feet in 2009, according to recently released Census Bureau data. Average sale prices have risen along with square footage, rising from $248,000 in 2009 to $318,000 in 2013.

Along with more bedrooms and full bathrooms, the increase in average home size is the result of builders adding amenities such as more garage space, walk-in closets and “great” rooms, according to a report from National Association of Home Builders. Other features builders are most likely to include are the ever-popular granite counter tops, double sink and central island in the kitchen, linen closet, high ceilings, and a front porch. Not so popular today are laminate counter tops, outdoor kitchens, and two-story foyers.

For more information about buying a home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

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.

Home Sales And Prices Dip For Second Straight Month

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The Seattle area saw median home prices and number of home sales fall for the second consecutive month in February, according to new data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. The price of single-family homes in King County fell from $410,000 to $405,400 in February, and that there was little growth in the number of homes for sale. The number of pending home sales is also down about 13% from the same month last year. However, the median price of single-family homes in King County is still 11% higher than it was in February 2013.

Members of the NWMLS believe the dip in sales is not due to a shortage of buyers, but a severe shortage of housing inventory. King and Snohomish Counties both have less than a four-month supply of homes available. According to the NWMLS report, bidding wars are common in markets with less than four months of inventory. Some sellers are also delaying selling their homes because they’re underwater on their mortgages and are holding out for a continued rise in home-price appreciation. Zillow reports that one in five homes in the Seattle metro area has a mortgage with an outstanding balance higher than the home’s value.

For more information on 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.

 

 

 

 

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.

The Housing Market is Heating Up and Many Homebuyers are Clueless

homesAccording to a study conducted by Zillow, when it comes to understanding mortgages, buyers answered basic questions about terms, lenders and financing wrong one third of the time. The study of over 1,000 prospective and current buyers, which was conducted in April found that 34% didn’t know the meaning of the term “annual percentage rate,” 31% of buyers didn’t think that they could get a mortgage for less than 5% down, and 1 in 4 were under the impression you should close with the lender who per-approves your mortgage. It’s important for buyers to shop around and compare rates  and reviews before finding the best loan for them. The results also showed that 34% of surveyors thought that lenders were required by law to charge the same fees to all clients for credit checks appraisals, etc, which is a false assumption. Fees will vary between bank to bank, and sometimes can be negotiated.

It can be difficult to choose which is the best deal for you, if you don’t understand what the various mortgage terms mean. The APR, or Annual Percentage Rate factors include fees, origination and underwriting fees, and other costs borrowers use to calculate the actual cost of loans. This lack of knowledge can really hurt your overall savings. Many buyers believe they need a down payment of 5% bare minimum, but loans given by the Federal Housing Administration can actually only require 3.5%. Many buyers also begin shopping around with financing in place so they’re able to move quickly on a home they really want, and according to the study, 26% of buyers believe once they’re pre-approved, they must honor that loan in closing, but that is far from the truth; there is really no obligation. If buyers see better loan terms available, they should take them! For more information for buyers and sellers, visit CNN Money.