Western Washington Real Estate Market Update

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 continues to be one of the fastest growing states in the nation and there is little to suggest that there will be any marked slowdown in the foreseeable future. Over the past year, the state has added 105,900 new jobs, representing an annual growth rate of 3.2%. This remains well above the national rate of 1.65%. Private sector employment gains continue to be robust, increasing at an annual rate of 3.7%. The strongest growth sectors were Construction (+7.4%), Information (+6.2%), and Professional & Business Services (+6.1%). The state’s unemployment rate was 4.5%, down from 4.8% a year ago.

All year I’ve been predicting that Washington State’s annual job growth would outperform the nation as a whole, and we now know with certainty that this is going to be the case. Furthermore, I am now able to predict that statewide job growth in 2019 will be equally strong, with an expected increase of 2.6%.

Home Sales Activity

  • There were 22,310 home sales during the third quarter of 2018. This is a significant drop of 12.7% compared to the third quarter of 2017.

  • The number of homes for sale last quarter was up 14.5% compared to the third quarter of 2017, continuing a trend that started earlier in the year. However, the increase in listings was only in Seattle’s tri-county area (King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties) while listing activity was down across the balance of the region.

  • Only two counties had a year-over-year increase in home sales, while the rest of Western Washington saw sales decrease.

  • The region has reached an inflection point. With the increase in the number of homes for sale, buyers now have more choices and time to make​ a decision about what home to buy.

Home Prices

  • Home prices, although higher than a year ago, continue to slow due to the significant increase in the number of homes for sale. This, in my opinion, is a very good thing.​​

  • When compared to the same period a year ago, price growth was strongest in Lewis County, where home prices were up 15.3%. Six other counties experienced double-digit price increases.

  • Slowing price growth was inevitable; we simply could not sustain the increases we’ve experienced in recent years. Lower rates of appreciation will continue until wage growth catches up.

Days on Market

  • The average number of days it took to sell a home dropped by four days compared to the same quarter of 2017.

  • Across the entire region, it took an average of 39 days to sell a home in the third quarter of this year. This is down from 43 days in the third quarter of 2017 and down 2 days when compared to the second quarter of 2018.​
  • King County continues to be the tightest market in Western Washington, with homes taking an average of only 19 days to sell. Every county in the region other than Skagit and King — which both saw the time on the market rise by 2 days — saw the length of time it took to sell a home drop when compared to the same period a year ago.

  • More choice in the market would normally suggest that the length of time it takes to sell a home should rise, but the data has yet to show that. That said, compared to last quarter, we are seeing some marked increases in days on market in several counties, which will be reflected in future reports.

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 started to move the needle toward buyers last quarter and have moved it even further this quarter. Price growth continues to slow, but more significant is the rise in listings, which I expect to continue as we move toward the quieter winter period.

I believe that psychology will start to play a part in the housing market going forward. It has been more than 15 years since we’ve experienced a “balanced” market, so many home buyers and sellers have a hard time remembering what one looks like. Concerns over price drops are overrated and the length of time it’s taking to sell a home is simply trending back to where it used to be in the early 2000s.

 

Matthew Gardner is the Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, specializing in residential market analysis, commercial/industrial market analysis, financial analysis, and land use and regional economics. He is the former Principal of Gardner Economics, and has more than 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

 

This post originally appeared on the Windermere.com Blog.

Posted on October 25, 2018 at 5:03 pm
Bellevue Commons | Category: Bellevue News, Market Stats, Windermere Bellevue Commons News | Tagged , , ,

Puget Sound Business Journal Honors Windermere Agents as Tops In the Seattle-Area Luxury Market

by John Trupin on the Windermere Blog

Congratulations to our Seattle-area agents for representing a disproportionate share of clients on this year’s Puget Sound Business Journal list of Top 25 Most Expensive Home Sales. In the Seattle-Eastside luxury market, Windermere outperformed all other real estate companies, including participating in over half of the region’s most expensive sales, generating top returns for their sellers, and reaching closings at nearly double the pace of other agents. We’re proud of the expertise of our agents and look forward to seeing their diligent work continue to be recognized as they define luxury real estate.

Posted on October 19, 2018 at 12:25 pm
Bellevue Commons | Category: Bellevue News, Windermere Bellevue Commons News | Tagged , ,

7 Steps to Yard Sale Success

Yard sale season has arrived! Many people shy away from the idea of having a yard sale, but do you truly need that broken-down accordion or the 80’s-styled prom dress? A yard sale is a great way to get out with the old and make room for the new. Here are some tips to help make your yard sale a success…

1. If you haven’t used it in more than a year you most likely won’t use it in the next year. Sell it.

 2. Get the community involved. Contact your neighbors and coordinate having one large neighborhood sale on the same day. This will give consumers a greater incentive to come.

  • Helpful Hint: Have each participating household pitch in a few bucks for directional signs or an advertisement in the local paper.

3. Get your whole family involved. Set up a lemonade stand or have a small bake sale for your kids to run.

4. Promote yourself through your favorite social networking site … for free.

  • Create a Facebook event page and invite all your friends
  • Tweet about it. Create a fun Twitter hashtag and offer a prize to those who Tweet about your sale.
  • Get on Instagram. Whatever old knick-knacks you may uncover are sure to be a hit for somebody, and creating a storyline for your many time-worn giveaways can add to the appeal and interest.

5. Offer an incentive. Give away a free grab-bag to your tenth customer.

6. Price slightly higher than you’re willing to sell that way, there is room for negotiation.

7. After your sale is over, do not, I repeat, DO NOT put the leftovers back in your house, garage, or storage. Immediately donate them to your local thrift store, so there is no chance of procrastination or keeping things you do not need.

We would love to hear your tips when it comes to yard sale success!

Posted on July 30, 2018 at 4:49 pm
Bellevue Commons | Category: Bellevue News, Community Support, Home Selling, Windermere Bellevue Commons News | Tagged , , ,

Introducing the NEW Windermere.com

Around the halls of Windermere, we’ve decided that 2018 is the year to hit #refresh; it started with the launch of the refreshed Windermere brand earlier this year and today it continues with the unveiling of our refreshed website! The new Windermere.com is a result of a lot of research and input from our agents, franchise owners – and most importantly – consumers. As you can probably tell, we couldn’t be more excited! Let’s dig in.

Where we innovated:

Through the research process we discovered that over 85 percent of all traffic on our website occurs on our home page, search results, and property detail pages. This made it fairly easy for us to figure out what we wanted to focus on with the refresh. Plus, we heard from our regular site visitors that they felt those were the areas that needed the most improvement. Done, done, and done.

A much happier homepage:

We started with a total redesign of the Windermere.com homepage, which now better reflects the updated Windermere brand that we invested so much energy into earlier this year. The homepage is also now “location-aware” which means it will display listings that are geographically located closest to you. Because if you’re in Fort Collins, Colorado, you probably don’t want to be looking at listings in the suburbs of Boise. Catch our drift?

Mobile site, fast as lightning:

Next on the list to fix was our mobile site. We threw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater and started from scratch. The result is an ultra-fast, highly-optimized mobile site that we think might even offer a better user experience than our desktop site (although it’s next to impossible to pick which is better; please don’t make us do it).

Sexy search results:

OK, you probably wouldn’t normally describe search results as sexy, but it’s arguably one of the most important pages on our website, so we spent a lot of time here. What you see in your search results, and how those results are presented, has a major impact on your home search experience. We completely revamped how search results show up, as well as what you see when you click through to see a specific home. Is it the greatest search makeover of all time? Possibly.

Major eye candy:

As we all know, photos and videos are the beginning and end of everything these days, so we’ve placed even greater emphasis on those stunning images on our new property detail pages. We’ve also made it super easy for you to share listings that you love with your friends via social media, email, etc. because #sharingiscaring.

That’s it, go check it out:

Without further ado, we cordially invite you to check out our brand new website for yourselves by going to Windermere.com. If you’re someone who regularly uses our site, we hope you love it. If you’re someone who doesn’t typically use our site to search for homes, we hope you’ll give us a shot. If you feel like it’s completely on point, please let us know by emailing friend@windermere.com. If you don’t, we’d still love to hear from you! After all, any feedback is good feedback – but please, play nice.

Happy home searching!

Posted on July 5, 2018 at 11:10 am
Bellevue Commons | Category: Bellevue News, Home Buying, Home Selling, Windermere Bellevue Commons News | Tagged , , ,

Community Service Day 2018 – Windermere Bellevue Commons

Windermere Community Service Day – June 8th, 2018

Every year since 1984, Windermere managers, brokers and staff have dedicated a day of work to complete neighborhood improvement projects as part of Windermere’s Community Service Day. Creating vibrant communities is one of the things that inspire all of us at Windermere as it gives us an opportunity to give back to the communities where we live and work.  After all, real estate is rooted in our communities. And an investment in our neighborhoods gives us all a better place to call home.

This year Windermere Community Service Day is on June 8th, 2018. On this day, our brokers and staff at Bellevue Commons will be doing a variety of projects at Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center; we’ve been volunteering at this great organization for the past 18 years. We will be cleaning, gardening and painting to help out this awesome group of people.

Last year we helped Little Bit get ready for their auction, whacked the weeds, and washed windows, and planted new plants. The brokers also washed the horses’ paddock fencing and arena fencing.

 

 

Volunteering at Little Bit – June 2017

Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center improves the bodies, minds, and spirits of children and adults with disabilities through equine-assisted therapies and activities, and to be an inspiration and educational resource to the therapeutic riding profession, both regionally and nationally.

Watch this video to learn more about Little Bit.

Posted on May 14, 2018 at 4:12 pm
Bellevue Commons | Category: Community Support, Windermere Bellevue Commons News | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Windermere Foundation Surpasses $35 Million In Giving

Proud to be Windermere…

 

We are very proud of our brokers to support the Windermere Foundation which has raised over $35 million since 1989. In 2017, Eastside offices alone, raised up to $225,000 to help  22 organizations on the Eastside.

The Windermere Foundation had another banner year in 2017, raising even more than it did the prior year thanks to the continued support of Windermere franchise owners, agents, staff, and the community. Over $2.4 million was raised in 2017, which is an increase of eight percent over the previous year. This brings our total to over $35.5 million raised since the start of the Windermere Foundation in 1989.

A portion of the money raised last year is thanks to our agents who each make a donation to the Windermere Foundation from every commission they earn. Additional donations from Windermere agents, the community, and fundraisers made up 66% of the money collected in 2017. These funds enable our offices to support local non-profits that provide much-needed services to low-income and homeless families in their communities.

SUMMARY OF FUNDS, GRANTS & DONATIONS IN 2017 

  • Organizations served: 472
  • Number of individual grants fulfilled: 644
  • Average grant amount: $2,964.04
  • Average donation to the Windermere Foundation: $116.08

FUNDING BREAKDOWN

  • Total amount disbursed in 2017:               $2,249,357.14
  • Total disbursed through grants:                 $1,908,843.54
  • Scholarships:                                                     5%
  • Youth/Child Programs:                                   33%
  • Emergency Assistance:                                   24%
  • Shelter:                                                             11%
  • School Assistance:                                            5%
  • Education/Counseling:                                   12%
  • Administrative Expenses:                                 2%
  • Fundraising Expenses:                                      8%

So how are Windermere Foundation funds used? Windermere offices decide for themselves how to distribute the money in their local community. Our offices have helped support school lunch and afterschool programs, housing assistance for homeless families, food banks, homeless shelters, and non-profits that provide basic necessities, such as shoes, clothing, toiletries, and blankets to families in need.

A very notable day in 2017 for the Windermere Foundation was November 15, when a record-breaking $253,782 was given in a single day. A total of 35 non-profit organizations benefitted from that day’s donations, including Attain Housing in Kirkland, WA, which received $56,000 from the Windermere Eastside offices. Other organizations that received donations were Boys and Girls Club of Contra Costa in Walnut Creek, CA, and the Shady Cove School in Shady Cove, Oregon.

2017 also marked the second year of our #tacklehomelessness campaign with the Seattle Seahawks, in which Windermere committed to donating $100 for every Seahawks home game defensive tackle to YouthCare, a non-profit organization that provides critical services to homeless youth. While the Seahawks didn’t make it to the playoffs this year, they did help us raise $31,800. When added to last year’s $35,000, that’s a total donation of $66,800. We are grateful for the opportunity to provide additional support to homeless youth thanks to the Seahawks, YouthCare, and the #tacklehomelessness campaign.

Thanks to our agents and everyone who supports the Windermere Foundation, we are able to continue to make a difference in the lives of many families in our local communities. If you’d like to help support programs in your community, please click the Donate button.

 

 

 

 

Posted on January 26, 2018 at 9:01 am
Bellevue Commons | Category: Community Support, Windermere Bellevue Commons News | Tagged , , , , , , ,

From Windermere Eastside brokers to Eastside organizations

Windermere Eastside brokers donated $225,000 in 2017

In 2017, 22 organizations on the Eastside were granted $225,000 thanks to Windermere Eastside brokers. The grants help our Eastside community in various ways from providing school supplies and meals to housing needs.

 

The list of grant recipients

  • Acres of Diamonds – $4,000. This grant provides women and children transitional housing and support programs to rebuild lives from domestic abuse and/or substance abuse.
  • Assistance League – $15,000. This grant goes to the Operation School Bell program that provides basic items of clothing to low-income students, grades K-12.
  • Attain Housing – $56,000. This grant provides affordable housing to homeless families with children as well as case management for setting financial and social goals.
  • Backpack Meals – $10,000. This grant provides weekend meals to Bellevue School District students who are homeless and would otherwise go hungry.
  • Bellevue LifeSpring – $31,000. This grant supports the Breaktime-Mealtime Program which provides 80,000 meals to children during school breaks.
  • Boys and Girls Club of Bellevue – $7,500. This grant supports Project Learn after school and summer camp programs at three low-income housing Clubhouses
  • Eastside Academy – $6,000. This grant pays food expenses for homeless and poverty-level students while they attend this alternative high school.
  • Eastside Baby Corner – $20,000. This grant provides essentials like diapers and formula to economically disadvantaged children, from birth to age 12.
  • Escape to Peace  – $2,500. This grant helps create awareness of sex trafficking of Eastside minors and helps fund a healing center – a safe place for children to escape and to provide healing.
  • Friends of Youth  – $2,500. This grant helps fund emergency response and shelter, then long-term placement, to children (ages 7-17) experiencing trauma or abuse in east King County.
  • Hopelink – $2,300. This grant supports the Pantry Pack Program which provides lunches to poverty-level children in the 36 Lake Washington School District schools.
  • Imagine Housing – $5,000. This grant will target under 18-year olds in their Support Services Program that provides affordable housing and life skill case management in East King County.
  • Issaquah Community Services$2,500. This grant will provide emergency aid in the form of utility payments to low-income families in the Issaquah School District.
  • Issaquah Food Bank  – $2,500. This grant helps maintain a refrigerated box truck utilized as a mobile food bank to remote Eastside communities that have difficulty accessing food bank services.
  • Kindering – $3,000. This grant provides developmental support, screening, and early intervention therapies to the very young children of homeless families.
  • Lifewire – $20,000. This grant supports the Hotel-Motel Voucher Program, which provides emergency short-term stays in hotels and motels for victim of domestic violence.
  • Mamma’s Hands – $15,000. This grant supports three Houses of Hope that house mothers and children from abuse and homelessness and helps them develop individual plans to bring changes to their lives.
  • Pantry Packs – $3,700. This grant supports the Lake Washington Schools Foundation’s program that provides weekend, child-friendly food packs to children of qualified low-income families.
  • Royal Family Kids Camp – $6,000. This grant supports summer camp for abused, neglected and abandoned foster children (ages 7-11).
  • Treehouse – $3,000. This grant supports the Little Wishes Program which allows foster care youth to participate in extracurricular arts, athletics, and other educational experiences.
  • Village Theatre  – $2,500. This grant helps the Theatre’s outreach to the youth of low-income families so they can have access to theatre and arts education, regardless of their ability to pay.
  • Youth Eastside Services – $5,000. This grant supports YES Lifeline, which provides free mental health counseling and substance abuse treatment to low-income East King County youth and families.
Posted on November 28, 2017 at 3:15 pm
Bellevue Commons | Category: Community Support, Windermere Bellevue Commons News | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

“We’ve Got You Covered” Winter Drive was a success!

Windermere’s Winter Drive Report

Windermere Bellevue Commons collects nearly 60 items for homeless youth!

We would like to take a moment and thank all of our agents and staff who participated in Windermere’s Winter Drive: “We’ve Got You Covered” benefiting YouthCare! Our office collected 58 items including new hats, scarves, gloves/mittens and warm socks for homeless youth.

As part of Windermere’s #tacklehomelessness campaign with the Seattle Seahawks, 37 Windermere offices* in King and Snohomish Counties participated in Windermere’s “We’ve Got You Covered” winter drive. The recipient of these donations was YouthCare, a Seattle-based non-profit that provides critical services and support to homeless youth throughout the Puget Sound area.

Over 3,000 items were collected during the four-week drive, which included some 737 pairs of socks, 391 hats, 467 pairs of gloves/mittens, 111 scarves, and an assortment of other accessories and cash donations.

The folks at YouthCare were all very thankful to receive the delivery of eight bins full of donated items. And to make the day even more exciting, Blitz, the Seahawks mascot, was on site to oversee the delivery of the items to YouthCare!

  Winter Drive

 

content_wreSeahawks_HZ_Color
Posted on November 28, 2017 at 2:22 pm
Bellevue Commons | Category: Community Support, Windermere Bellevue Commons News | Tagged , , , , ,

Greater Seattle Area Real Estate Market – 3rd Quarter 2017

The Gardner Report – Third Quarter 2017

 

ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

The Washington State economy added 79,600 new jobs over the past 12 months—an impressive growth rate of 2.4%, and well above the national growth rate of 1.2%. However, as we anticipated in last quarter’s report, we continue to see a modest slowdown in the growth rate as the state grows closer to full employment. Growth has been broad-based, with expansion in all major job sectors other than Aerospace (a function of a slowdown at Boeing). Given the current rate of expansion, I am raising my employment forecast and now predict that Washington will add 81,000 new jobs in 2017.

Given the robust job market, it is unsurprising that the state unemployment rate continues to fall. The current unemployment rate in Washington State is 4.6% and we are essentially at full employment. Additionally, all counties contained within this report reported either a drop or stability in their unemployment rate from a year ago. I maintain my belief that the Washington State economy will continue to outperform the U.S. as a whole. Given such a strong expansion, we should also expect solid income growth across Western Washington.

 

HOME SALES ACTIVITY

  • There were 25,312 home sales during the third quarter of 2017. This is an increase of 3.6% over the same period in 2016.
  • Clallam County maintains its number one position for sales growth over the past 12 months. Only four other counties saw double-digit gains in sales. This demonstrates continuing issues with the low supply of listings. There were modest declines in sales activity in six counties.
  • The market remains remarkably tight with listing inventory down by 14.2% when compared to the third quarter of 2016. But inventory is up a significant 32% compared to the second quarter of this year. Pending sales rose by 5.2% over the same quarter a year ago, which suggests that closings in Q4 will still be robust.
  • The key takeaway from this data is that inventory is still very low, and the situation is unlikely to improve through the balance of the year.

 

 

HOME PRICES

  • Given tight supply levels, it is unsurprising to see very solid price growth across the Western Washington counties. Year-over-year, average prices rose 12.3% to $474,184. This is 0.9% higher than seen in the second quarter of this year.
  • With demand far exceeding supply, price growth in Western Washington continues to trend well above the longterm average. As I do not expect to see the new home market expand at any significant pace, there will be continued pressure on the resale market, which will cause home prices to continue to rise at above-average rates.
  • When compared to the same period a year ago, price growth was most pronounced in Grays Harbor County where sale prices were 20.1% higher than the third quarter of 2016. Nine additional counties experienced double-digit price growth.
  • Mortgage rates in the quarter continue to test the lows of 2017, and this is unlikely to change in the near-term. This will allow home prices to escalate further but I expect we will see rates start to rise fairly modestly in 2018, which could slow price growth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DAYS ON MARKET

  • The average number of days it took to sell a home in the quarter dropped by eight days when compared to the same quarter of 2016.
  • King County continues to be the tightest market, with homes taking an average of 17 days to sell. Every county except San Juan saw the days on market drop from the same period a year ago.
  • This quarter, it took an average of 43 days to sell a home. This is down from the 51 days it took in the second quarter of 2016 and down by 8 days from the second quarter of this year.
  • At some point, inventory will start to grow and this will lead to an increase in the average time it takes to sell a house. However, I do not expect that to happen at any time soon. So we remain in a seller’s market.

 

CONCLUSIONS

This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s housing market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors. For the third quarter of 2017, I have left the needle at the same point as the second quarter. Though price growth remains robust, sales activity has slowed very slightly and listings jumped relative to the second quarter. That said, the market is very strong and buyers will continue to find significant competition for accurately priced and well-located homes.

 

 

 

 

ABOUT MATTHEW GARDNER

Matthew Gardner is the Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, specializing in residential market analysis, commercial/industrial market analysis, financial analysis, and land use and regional economics. He is the former Principal of Gardner Economics, and has more than 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

 

 

 

Posted on November 2, 2017 at 4:06 pm
Bellevue Commons | Category: Market Stats, Windermere Bellevue Commons News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

We’ve got you covered – Windermere Winter Drive

10/16/2017  through  11/10/2017

logoWe’re excited to announce that our office is participating in Windermere’s ”We’ve Got You Covered” winter drive benefiting YouthCare.

We’re heading into the second season of our partnership with the Seattle Seahawks, and we are continuing our campaign to help #tacklehomelessness. For every home game tackle made by the Seahawks, the Windermere Foundation is donating $100 to YouthCare, a non-profit that provides support and services to homeless youth throughout the Puget Sound area.

BUT THERE IS MORE WE CAN DO!

We’re excited to hold another Windermere “We’ve Got You Covered” winter drive benefitting YouthCare. Each night in the greater Seattle area, nearly 1,000 young people are homeless. And with the winter months quickly approaching, YouthCare is in dire need of survival supplies to keep homeless youth warm and dry during the long, wet winter.

Here’s what they need:
  • Warm socks
  • Hats
  • Scarves
  • Gloves/mittens
*New items only, please!
  • Please bring your donations by November 10th.

Thank you for your dedication to help others!

content_wreSeahawks_HZ_Color
Posted on October 10, 2017 at 11:44 am
Bellevue Commons | Category: Community Support, Windermere Bellevue Commons News | Tagged , , , , ,