Western Washington Real Estate Market Update 2019 Q1

Western Washington Real Estate Market Update

Posted in Western Washington Real Estate Market Update by Matthew Gardner, Chief Economist, Windermere Real Estate 

 

The following analysis of the Western Washington real estate market is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. We hope that this information may assist you with making better-informed real estate decisions. For further information about the housing market in your area, please don’t hesitate to contact your Windermere agent.

ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

Washington State employment slowed to an annual growth rate of 1.7% — a level not seen since 2012 — and continues a trend of slowing that started in the summer of 2018. I was a little surprised to see such a significant drop in employment growth, but it may be due to the state re-benchmarking their data (which they do annually). As such, I am not overly concerned about the lower-than-expected numbers but will be watching to see if this trend continues as we move through the spring months. The state unemployment rate was 4.5%, marginally below the 4.6% level a year ago.

My latest economic forecast suggests that statewide job growth in 2019 will be positive but is expected to slow. We should see an additional 84,000 new jobs, which would be a year-over-year increase of 2.2%.

HOME SALES

  • There were 13,292 home sales during the first quarter of 2019. Year-over-year, sales were down 12.3% and were 23.4% lower than the fourth quarter of 2018.​
  • It is quite likely that part of the slowdown can be attributed to the very poor weather in February. That said, anecdotal information from our brokers suggests that March was a very active month and I expect to see sales rise again through the spring selling season. Notably, pending home sales were only off by 3.5% from the first quarter of 2018.​
  • All counties contained in this report saw sales drop when compared to a year ago. The greatest drops were in the relatively small counties of San Juan, Clallam, Island, and Kitsap.​
  • The decline in interest rates during the first two months of the quarter nudged many home buyers off the fence. I believe this will cause a significant bump in sales activity in the second quarter numbers.

HOME PRICES

  • In combination with the factors discussed earlier, the 40% increase in listings has caused home price growth to taper to a year-over-year increase of 3.3%.
  • Home prices were higher in every county except Clallam. While the growth of prices is slowing, the strong local economy, combined with lower interest rates, will cause home prices to continue rising through 2019.
  • When compared to the same period a year ago, price growth was strongest in San Juan County, where home prices were up 36.4%. Only one other county experienced a double-digit price increase.
  • As I have said for quite some time now, there must always be a relationship between incomes and home prices, and many areas around Western Washington are testing this ceiling. That said, the region’s economy continues to perform well and incomes are rising, which, in concert with low interest rates, will allow prices to continue to rise but at a significantly slower pace.

DAYS ON MARKET

  • The average number of days it took to sell a home matched the same quarter of 2018.
  • Pierce County was the tightest market in Western Washington, with homes taking an average of 40 days to sell. There were seven counties that saw the length of time it took to sell a home drop compared to the same period a year ago. Market time rose in seven counties and one was unchanged.
  • Across the entire region, it took an average of 61 days to sell a home in the first quarter of 2019. This matches the level seen a year ago but is up by 10 days when compared to the fourth quarter of 2018.
  • In the last two Gardner Reports, I suggested that we should be prepared for days-on-market to increase, and that is now occurring. Given projected increases in inventory, this trend will continue, but this is typical of a regional market that is moving back toward balance.

CONCLUSIONS

This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s real estate market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors. I am again moving the needle toward buyers as price growth moderates and listing inventory continues to rise.

I do not see any clouds on the horizon that suggest we will see a downturn in sales activity in 2019. That said, this will be the year we move closer to balance. Buyers who were sidelined by the significant increase in listings in the second half of 2018 are starting to get off the fence as mortgage rates drop. I foresee a buoyant spring market ahead.

 

As Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, Matthew Gardner is responsible for analyzing and interpreting economic data and its impact on the real estate market on both a local and national level. Matthew has over 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Matthew sits on the Washington State Governors Council of Economic Advisors; chairs the Board of Trustees at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington; and is an Advisory Board Member at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington where he also lectures in real estate economics.

Posted on May 22, 2019 at 5:59 pm
Greg and Janet Buehler | Category: Real Estate

South King County Quarterly Market Trends – Q1 2019

Months of inventory has reduced as we finished out the first quarter of 2019. Months of inventory is the amount of months it would take to sell out of homes if no new listings came to market. This illustrates the balance between supply and demand. We peaked at 2.9 months in September of 2018 and found ourselves at 1.2 months this March.

The first quarter of 2019 saw 2,306 new listings and 2,096 pending sales – demand tracked quite well with supply! It remains a seller’s market (0-3 months of inventory), but not as constricted of a market as last year, which saw an average of 0.8 months in the first quarter compared to 1.5 months this year. As we head into spring, we should see continued growth in new listings and demand will be strong, fueled by low interest rates and positive jobs reports.

The second half of 2018 had a large influx of homes that came to market, and an interest rate jump which created a gap between supply and demand. Buyers enjoyed some negotiations and credits in the fall and winter due to more selection, but as interest rates reduced in the first quarter, we saw demand increase. This is helping to absorb inventory and reduce the average days on market it takes to sell a home. Median price is up 7% complete year-over-year, which is still higher than the 4% norm, but much less than the unsustainable 12% gains from 2017 to 2018. This balancing out in the market has been a positive phenomenon as affordability has been a challenge for many. Both sellers and buyers are finding great opportunities in the current market.

This is only a snapshot of the trends in south King County; please contact me if you would like further explanation of how the latest trends relate to you.

Posted on April 17, 2019 at 9:34 pm
Greg and Janet Buehler | Category: Real Estate

Eastside Quarterly Market Trends – Q1 2019

Months of inventory has reduced as we finished out the first quarter of 2019. Months of inventory is the amount of months it would take to sell out of homes if no new listings came to market. This illustrates the balance between supply and demand. We peaked at 3.6 months in December of 2018 and found ourselves at 1.5 months this March.

The first quarter of 2019 saw 2,304 new listings and 1,703 pending sales – demand tracked well with supply! It remains a seller’s market (0-3 months of inventory), but not as constricted of a market as last year, which saw an average of 0.9 months in the first quarter compared to 2 months this year. As we head into spring, we should see continued growth in new listings and demand will be strong, fueled by low interest rates and positive jobs reports.

The second half of 2018 had a large influx of homes that came to market, and an interest rate jump which created a gap between supply and demand. Buyers enjoyed some negotiations and credits in the fall and winter due to more selection, but as interest rates reduced in the first quarter, we saw demand increase. This is helping to absorb inventory and reduce the average days on market it takes to sell a home. Median price is up 6% complete year-over-year, which is still higher than the 4% norm, but much less than the unsustainable 14% gains from 2017 to 2018. This balancing out in the market has been a positive phenomenon as affordability has been a challenge for many. Both sellers and buyers are finding great opportunities in the current market.

This is only a snapshot of the trends on the Eastside; please contact me if you would like further explanation of how the latest trends relate to you.

Posted on April 17, 2019 at 9:33 pm
Greg and Janet Buehler | Category: Real Estate

Seattle Metro Quarterly Market Trends – Q1 2019

Months of inventory was reduced as we finished out the first quarter of 2019. Months of inventory is the amount of months it would take to sell out of homes if no new listings came to market. This illustrates the balance between supply and demand. We peaked at 2.5 months in November of 2018 and found ourselves at 1.2 month this March.

The first quarter of 2019 saw 2,456 new listings and 1,892 pending sales – demand tracked quite well with supply! It remains a seller’s market (0-3 months of inventory), but not as constricted of a market as last year, which saw an average of 0.7 months in the first quarter compared to 1.5 months this year. As we head into spring, we should see continued growth in new listings and demand will be strong, fueled by low interest rates and positive jobs reports.

The second half of 2018 had a large influx of homes that came to market, and an interest rate jump which created a gap between supply and demand. Buyers enjoyed some negotiations and credits in the fall and winter due to more selection, but as interest rates reduced in the first quarter, we saw demand increase. This is helping to absorb inventory and reduce the average days on market it takes to sell a home. Median price is up 5% complete year-over-year, which is still higher than the 4% norm, but much less than the unsustainable 16% gains from 2017 to 2018. This balancing out in the market has been a positive phenomenon as affordability has been a challenge for many. Both sellers and buyers are finding great opportunities in the current market.

This is only a snapshot of the trends in the Seattle Metro area; please contact me if you would like further explanation of how the latest trends relate to you.

Posted on April 17, 2019 at 9:31 pm
Greg and Janet Buehler | Category: Real Estate

North King County Quarterly Market Trends – Q1 2019

Months of inventory was reduced as we finished out the first quarter of 2019. Months of inventory is the amount of months it would take to sell out of homes if no new listings came to market. This illustrates the balance between supply and demand. We peaked at 2.5 months in November of 2018 and found ourselves at 1.2 month this March.

The first quarter of 2019 saw 1,667 new listings and 1,325 pending sales – demand tracked well with supply! It remains a seller’s market (0-3 months of inventory), but not as constricted of a market as last year, which saw an average of 0.7 months in the first quarter compared to 1.4 months this year. As we head into spring, we should see continued growth in new listings and demand will be strong, fueled by low interest rates and positive jobs reports.

The second half of 2018 had a large influx of homes that came to market, and an interest rate jump which created a gap between supply and demand. Buyers enjoyed some negotiations and credits in the fall and winter due to more selection, but as interest rates reduced in the first quarter, we saw demand increase. This is helping to absorb inventory and reduce the average days on market it takes to sell a home. Median price is up 6% complete year-over-year, which is still higher than the 4% norm, but much less than the unsustainable 14% gains from 2017 to 2018. This balancing out in the market has been a positive phenomenon as affordability has been a challenge for many. Both sellers and buyers are finding great opportunities in the current market. 

This is only a snapshot of the trends in north King County; please contact me if you would like further explanation of how the latest trends relate to you.

Posted on April 17, 2019 at 9:30 pm
Greg and Janet Buehler | Category: Real Estate

South Snohomish County Quarterly Market Trends – Q1 2019

Months of inventory was reduced as we finished out the first quarter of 2019. Months of inventory is the amount of months it would take to sell out of homes if no new listings came to market. This illustrates the balance between supply and demand. We peaked at 2.8 months in September of 2018 and found ourselves at 1 month this March.

The first quarter of 2019 saw 1,708 new listings and 1,547 pending sales – demand tracked quite well with supply! It remains a seller’s market (0-3 months of inventory), but not as constricted of a market as last year, which saw an average of 0.6 months in the first quarter compared to 1.3 months this year. As we head into spring, we should see continued growth in new listings and demand will be strong, fueled by low interest rates and positive jobs reports.

The second half of 2018 had a large influx of homes that came to market, and an interest rate jump which created a gap between supply and demand. Buyers enjoyed some negotiations and credits in the fall and winter due to more selection, but as interest rates reduced in the first quarter, we saw demand increase. This is helping to absorb inventory and reduce the average days on market it takes to sell a home. Median price is up 6% complete year-over-year, which is still higher than the 4% norm, but much less than the unsustainable 15% gains from 2017 to 2018. This balancing out in the market has been a positive phenomenon as affordability has been a challenge for many. Both sellers and buyers are finding great opportunities in the current market.

This is only a snapshot of the trends in south Snohomish County; please contact me if you would like further explanation of how the latest trends relate to you.

Posted on April 17, 2019 at 9:29 pm
Greg and Janet Buehler | Category: Real Estate

North Snohomish County Quarterly Market Trends – Q1 2019

Months of inventory was reduced as we finished out the first quarter of 2019. Months of inventory is the amount of months it would take to sell out of homes if no new listings came to market. This illustrates the balance between supply and demand. We peaked at 2.5 months in September of 2018 and found ourselves at 0.9 month this March.

The first quarter of 2019 saw 934 new listings and 921 pending sales – demand tracked quite well with supply! It remains a seller’s market (0-3 months of inventory), but not as constricted of a market as last year, which saw an average of 0.9 months in the first quarter compared to 1.4 months this year. As we head into spring, we should see continued growth in new listings and demand will be strong, fueled by low interest rates and positive jobs reports.

The second half of 2018 had a large influx of homes that came to market, and an interest rate jump which created a gap between supply and demand. Buyers enjoyed some negotiations and credits in the fall and winter due to more selection, but as interest rates reduced in the first quarter, we saw demand increase. This is helping to absorb inventory and reduce the average days on market it takes to sell a home. Median price is up 9% complete year-over-year, which is higher than the 4% norm, but much less than the unsustainable 12% gains from 2017 to 2018. This balancing out in the market has been a positive phenomenon as affordability has been a challenge for many. Both sellers and buyers are finding great opportunities in the current market.

This is only a snapshot of the trends in north Snohomish County; please contact me if you would like further explanation of how the latest trends relate to you.

Posted on April 17, 2019 at 9:26 pm
Greg and Janet Buehler | Category: Real Estate

THE CURRENT BREAK-EVEN HORIZON* IN THE SEATTLE METRO AREA IS 1.69 YEARS!

*The amount of time you need to own your home in order for owning to be a superior financial decision.

With expensive rental rates, historically low interest rates, and home prices softening, there are advantages to buying versus renting.

In fact, the Seattle Metro area has seen some of the sharpest rent hikes in the country over the last few years! There are several factors to consider that will lead you to make the best decision for your lifestyle and your financial bottom line. Zillow Research® has determined the break-even point for renting versus buying in our metro area. In other words, the amount of time you need to own your home in order for owning to be a superior financial decision. Currently in Seattle, the break-even point is 1.69 years – that is quick! What is so great about every month that ticks away thereafter, is that your nest egg is building in value.

I am happy to help you or someone you know assess your options; please contact me anytime.

These assumptions are based on a home buyer purchasing a home with a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage and a 20 percent down payment; and a renter earning five percent annually on investments in the stock market.

Read the full article on the Zillow Research website here

Zillow Research® is a trademark of Zillow, Inc.

 

Posted on February 26, 2019 at 7:41 pm
Greg and Janet Buehler | Category: Real Estate

Q4 2018 – South King County Quarterly Market Trends

2018 was a year of change and growth. The market shifted from an extreme seller’s market, but still had strong gains. Year-over-year, median price is up 9% and since 2012 has increased 89%! Over the last 19 years, the average year-over-year price increase has been 6%. This puts into perspective the growth we have experienced, resulting in well-established equity levels. In 2018, inventory averaged 1.7 months, 30% more than 2017. This caused the month-over-month price gains to slow, and we experienced a price correction over the second half of the year. We expect to see more average levels of price appreciation in 2019 as the market continues to balance out.

After six years of expansion resulting in an extreme seller’s market, in 2018 we encountered a market shift in the late spring. Inventory increased, interest rates took a jump, and demand took a step back to re-evaluate the new playing field. This resulted in a tempering of month-over-month price appreciation, and has established some long-awaited balance. This balance has brought opportunities for both buyers and sellers. Buyers have more selection and are negotiating terms like inspection items and concessions. Sellers are sitting on 6+ years of equity growth, and are now able to sell their home and make a move without fearing where they will land next. Interest rates are still well below the 30-year average, currently hovering just under 5%. We are seeing demand start to re-engage now that the new normal has settled in.

This is only a snapshot of the trends in south King County; please contact me if you would like further explanation of how the latest trends relate to you.

Posted on January 16, 2019 at 9:05 pm
Greg and Janet Buehler | Category: Real Estate

Q4 2018 – Eastside Quarterly Market Trends

2018 was a year of change and growth. The market shifted from an extreme seller’s market, but still had strong gains. Year-over-year, median price is up 8% and since 2012 has increased 87%! Over the last 19 years, the average year-over-year price increase has been 6%. This puts into perspective the growth we have experienced, resulting in well-established equity levels. In 2018, inventory averaged 2 months, double that of 2017. This caused the month-over-month price gains to slow, and we experienced a price correction over the second half of the year. We expect to see more average levels of price appreciation in 2019 as the market continues to balance out.

After six years of expansion resulting in an extreme seller’s market, in 2018 we encountered a market shift in the late spring. Inventory increased, interest rates took a jump, and demand took a step back to re-evaluate the new playing field. This resulted in a tempering of month-over-month price appreciation, and has established some long-awaited balance. This balance has brought opportunities for both buyers and sellers. Buyers have more selection and are negotiating terms like inspection items and concessions. Sellers are sitting on 6+ years of equity growth, and are now able to sell their home and make a move without fearing where they will land next. Interest rates are still well below the 30-year average, currently hovering just under 5%. We are seeing demand start to re-engage now that the new normal has settled in.

This is only a snapshot of the trends on the Eastside; please contact me if you would like further explanation of how the latest trends relate to you.

Posted on January 16, 2019 at 9:04 pm
Greg and Janet Buehler | Category: Real Estate