Greater Seattle Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

Here's where I like to write my monthly real estate market updates, give tips and tricks for selling real estate and advice for purchasing a home in King County. It's always best to reach out to me early in your thought process, so I can formulate the best plan for you.  I'm ready when you are. -Elizabeth

Aug. 16, 2019

Market Update: July 2019

Seattle's Housing Market at a Glance

We started our recovery in June 2009 and this month it has become the longest economic expansion in the nation's history.  I mean, can you believe it's been 121 months of gross domestic product growth?!  This month, we surpassed the previous record that lasted from 1991 to 2001.  Of course, the average growth rate during this expansion hasn't been as aggressive.  This time around we grew 2.3% per year, as compared to 3.6% during the 1990s.  The crystal ball predictions (by economists) believe we will continue to preform very well for the rest of 2019 and most agree there will be a mild recession in the near future.

At the time we were setting our 121-month record for expansion, the unemployment rate dropped from 10.0% in 2009 to 3.7%.  Still, many still struggle to make ends meet financially.  The low mortgage interest rates have helped make home purchases more doable.  It's just the high home prices are still moving up in value, faster than the median household income growth.  The Federal Reserve has tried to combat this by reducing the benchmark interest rate by a quarter point to about 2.25%.  This is the first reduction in more than 10 years!

For King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish Counties

  • Closed Sales decreased 6.5% for Residential homes and 12.0% for Condominium homes.
  • Pending Sales increased 12.5% for Residential homes and 15.4% for Condominium homes.
  • Inventory decreased 5.2% for Residential homes but increased 23.8% for Condominium homes.
  • The Median Sales Price increased 1.6% percent to $508,000 for Residential homes and 1.8% to $373,500 for Condominium homes.
  • Days on Market increased 21.1% for Residential homes and 73.3% for Condominium homes.
  • Months Supply of Inventory decreased 5.0% for Residential homes but increased 40.0% for Condominium homes.

Seattle Quick Year-Over-Year Housing Sale Facts May 2019

As you know, I like to look at all of the numbers every month, so I can give you a better idea of how the housing market is moving.  It's my hope that it'll give you the information needed to make a more informed decision.  When you're ready to buy or sell, remember I want to be your only Realtor. -Elizabeth "Elise" Russo

Posted in Market Updates
Aug. 9, 2019

Tech-Smart Home Buyers

Tech-Smart Home Buyers

Posted in Tips and Tricks
Aug. 2, 2019

Staged for Success

Staged for Success - National Association of Realtors 2019 Profile of Home Staging takes a look at the value of staging a home brings to the selling process

National Association of Realtors 2019 Profile of Home Staging takes a look at the value of staging a home brings to the selling process.

  • 83% of buyers agents say that staging makes it easier for buyers to 'visualize' the property as their future home
  • 44% of buyers' agents say that staging a home increases the dollar value offered
  • 53% of sellers' agents say that staging a hoe decreases the amount of time a hoe spends on the market
  • 95% of agents recommend that sellers declutter their home before putting it on the market

The most commonly staged rooms when selling:

  1. 93% living room
  2. 84% kitchen
  3. 78% master bedroom
Posted in Tips and Tricks
July 26, 2019

Buyers Offer More for A Staged Home

Buyers Offer More for A Staged Home

Posted in Tips and Tricks
July 19, 2019

Market Update: June 2019

Seattle's Housing Market at a Glance

For June, most everyone expected the Federal Reserve wouldn't change the target range for the federal funds rate (currently it's 2.25% to 2.5%).  We know the economy is doing well because people are employed and spending money on retail.  There is some worry about trade tensions, slowed manufacturing and meek business investments.

The big question always is, is it a buyer's market or is it a seller's market?  I mean, oddly enough, it's pretty even.  Across the country real estate is performing very well.  As of July, economic expansion is looking at becoming one of the longest running in United States history. 

There are signs the economy is slowing down.  The reason is, the Federal Reserve believes 2.0% is a healthy inflation rate, but the United States is projected to run below that number this year.  The White House is putting pressure on the Fed to cut rates in order to further push the economic activity.  We've had a string of rate increases over the last several years, so the possibility of a rate reduction this year looks to be a very strong possibility.

For King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish Counties

  • Closed Sales decreased 10.4 percent for Residential homes and 21.7 percent for Condominium homes.
  • Pending Sales increased 14.2 percent for Residential homes but decreased 1.3 percent for Condominium homes.
  • Inventory increased 5.5 percent for Residential homes and 44.7 percent for Condominium homes.
  • The Median Sales Price increased 4.3 percent to $521,500 for Residential homes and 0.2 percent to $380,000 for Condominium homes.
  • Days on Market increased 35.3 percent for Residential homes and 84.6 percent for Condominium homes.
  • Months Supply of Inventory increased 11.1 percent for Residential homes and 75.0 percent for Condominium homes.

 

Seattle Quick Year-Over-Year Housing Sale Facts May 2019

As you know, I like to look at all of the numbers every month, so I can give you a better idea of how the housing market is moving.  It's my hope that it'll give you the information needed to make a more informed decision.  When you're ready to buy or sell, remember I want to be your only Realtor. -Elizabeth "Elise" Russo

Posted in Market Updates
July 12, 2019

FSBO Commission Compromise

FSBO Commission Compromise in Seattle, WA

Posted in Tips and Tricks
July 5, 2019

States With the Strongest Job Growth

Looking at percent change in employment for April 2019 from one year ago, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Idaho, Washington (2.7%), West Virginia, Florida, Texas, South Dakota, and South Carolina saw the highest job growth.

States with the Strongest Job Growth Washington 2.7%

States with the Strongest Job Growth

Looking at percent change in employment for April 2019 from one year ago: Washington 2.7%

Posted in Tips and Tricks
June 28, 2019

How I Market Property - A Sneak Peek

Agressive Marketing

The difference between a property that sells and a property that fails to sell typically lies in the marketing plan used to create the demand for the property.  Here are 3 big factors at the heart of my aggressive marketing plan.

1. Know Thy Audience

I Know My Buyer Audience:

There's no full proof, one size fits all plan to market a home any more.  We're a time where technology is ruling, and I'm constantly making adjustments to attract the right type of buyer for your property.  Many real estate brokers make the mistake of marketing to quantity vs quality.  They will literally waste thousands of dollars a month marketing their property to attract an audience that is not looking for that property.  I put a lot of research into creating a marketing plan that will attract the right buyer and then implement it across all appropriate media.

2.  Be A Market Expert

I Am A Market Expert:

There's just no substitute for market knowledge.  The days of solely looking at a Comparative Market Analysis to determine pricing is over.  I still see brokers relying solely on the CMA to guide their sellers, and it costs sellers thousands in the process.  Obviously, pricing a home correctly is important, however, you also take into account the trends that are surrounding that particular property.  I spend countless hours analyzing ALL factors that may affect your property investment's bottom dollar and timing of your sale.  My marketing strategy isn't solely based on the the Market Analysis of OLD sales.  If I did do this, you may leave money on the table or even worse, the information about the market might be mis-interpreted and the home may fail to sell at all!

3. Build A Pipeline

I Continuously Build my Pipeline:

I'm continuously building my pipeline, because I'm strategic in my marketing efforts and because I generate so many leads.  Over the years, I have developed a large database of potential buyers for future properties I list.  Most agents are looking for a quick sale and instead of focusing on the clients long term goals, they're thinking of the short term 3% commission and then moving on.  I invest a lot of time and money into nurturing my clients.  Historically, I know many of the clients I have today will not be ready for 6-9 months.  Because of the technology and follow-up strategies I use, I'm able to grow those clients into happy home owners in the right neighborhood.  This creates a massive pipeline for me to go to immediately when I have a new property available.  You can see from my past client reviews, it's not uncommon for my listings to sell very quickly, because it's exactly what one of my buyers, from 6-9 months ago, was looking for TODAY!

Posted in Tips and Tricks
June 21, 2019

Market Update: May 2019

As you know, I like to look at all of the numbers every month, so I can give you a better idea of how the housing market is moving.  It's my hope that it'll give you the information needed to make a more informed decision.  When you're ready to buy or sell, remember I want to be your only Realtor. -Elizabeth "Elise" Russo

Here's this month's housing market at a glance:

We're at this time in the year, where we can pretty well say how the future of the rest of the year will look.  It's not a particularly interesting story, but it is good news.  We will not crash folks!  Across the USA we are coming to more of a middle ground between buyers and sellers.  Yes, it's true, inventory is low and because there's not much to choose from, prices are running a little higher than some would like to pay.  We are however noticing there's a little bit of wiggle room for buyers to negotiate terms.

"Closed Sales decreased 3.2 percent for Residential homes and 10.1 percent for Condominium homes. Pending Sales increased 7.0 percent for Residential homes but decreased 8.2 percent for Condominium homes. Inventory increased 23.2 percent for Residential homes and 63.8 percent for Condominium homes.

The Median Sales Price increased 5.0 percent to $525,000 for Residential homes but decreased 1.4 percent to $392,500 for Condominium homes. Days on Market increased 44.4 percent for Residential homes and 71.4 percent for Condominium homes. Months Supply of Inventory increased 26.7 percent for Residential homes and 100.0 percent for Condominium homes."

In recent years past, low unemployment, higher wages and favorable mortgage rates have been a terrific driver of housing stability.  This year has been a little different.  I mean, prices aren't rising so quickly.  Some of the hottest areas of Washington, Oregon and California have cooled slightly.  In other areas of the Western market, they are just now recovering from a decade battle of the Great Recession. Over all, this year's hot selling season is stable across the nation.

 

Seattle Quick Year-Over-Year Housing Sale Facts May 2019

In Other News:

A National Housing Minute

Pending and existing home sales declined slightly in April, while inventory continues to increase.

The 25 Best Places to Live in the U.S. in 2019 | Real Estate | US News

9. Seattle

  • Metro Population: 3,735,216
  • Median Home Price: $442,333
  • Median Annual Salary: $63,120

Moving up one spot from 2018, Seattle ranks No. 9 this year thanks to its consistently strong job market and high desirability among U.S. residents as a place to live.  The job market contributes to its reputation as a great place to live, with Seattle ranking seventh out of the 125 metro areas on the list for desirability.  Next up on the list was Portland, Oregon (Ranked No. 8).

Pending Home Sales Trail Off 1.5% in April

May 30, 2019 | Media Contact: Quintin Simmons 202-383-1178

WASHINGTON (May 30, 2019) – Pending home sales declined in April, a modest change from the growth seen a month before, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Only one of the four major regions – the Midwest – experienced growth, while the remaining three regions reported a drop in their respective contract activity.

The Pending Home Sales Index,* www.nar.realtor/pending-home-sales, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, fell 1.5% to 104.3 in April, down from 105.9 in March. Year-over-year contract signings declined 2.0%, making this the 16th straight month of annual decreases.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the sales dip has yet to account for some of the more favorable trends toward homeownership, such as lower mortgage rates. "Though the latest monthly figure shows a mild decline in contract signings, mortgage applications and consumer confidence have been steadily rising,” he said. “It’s inevitable for sales to turn higher in a few months."

"Home price appreciation has been the strongest on the lower-end as inventory conditions have been consistently tight on homes priced under $250,000. Price conditions are soft on the upper-end, especially in high tax states like Connecticut, New York and Illinois." The supply of inventory for homes priced under $250,000 stood at 3.3 months in April, and homes priced $1 million and above recorded an inventory of 8.9 months in April.

Citing active listings from data at realtor.com®, Yun says the year-over-year increases could be a sign of a rise in inventory. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash., San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif., Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Ore.-Wash., and Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tenn., saw the largest increase in active listings in April compared to a year ago.

"We are seeing migration to more affordable regions, particularly in the South, where there has been recent job growth and homes are more affordable," Yun said.

April Pending Home Sales Regional Breakdown

The PHSI in the Northeast declined 1.8% to 88.9 in April and is now 2.1% below a year ago. In the Midwest, the index grew 1.3% to 96.8 in April, 2.4% lower than April 2018.

Pending home sales in the South fell 2.5% to an index of 124.0 in April, which is 1.8% lower than last April. The index in the West dropped 1.8% in April to 93.5 and fell only 1.5% below a year ago.

The National Association of Realtors® is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.3 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

# # #

*The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.

The index is based on a large national sample, typically representing about 20% of transactions for existing-home sales. In developing the model for the index, it was demonstrated that the level of monthly sales-contract activity parallels the level of closed existing-home sales in the following two months.

An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, which was the first year to be examined. By coincidence, the volume of existing-home sales in 2001 fell within the range of 5.0 to 5.5 million, which is considered normal for the current U.S. population.

NOTE: NAR’s May Housing Minute video will be released on May 31, Existing-Home Sales for May will be reported June 21, and the next Pending Home Sales Index will be June 27; all release times are 10:00 a.m. ET.

Posted in Market Updates
June 14, 2019

5 Critical Marketing Strategies

Attracting Buyers

There are so many owners that fail to sell their property and expire from the market every month.  When I look at these homes that failed to sell, I find something in common amongst all of them, A Poor Marketing Plan.

Check out my little list of Marketing Strategies that work in any real estate market.  If you're thinking about selling, then we really should talk about how I can put these strategies to work for you and chat about what you can expect from the market place.

1. Price

This doesn't mean you need to sell your home at a lower price or give your home way.  Pricing is a very important factor to marketing your home properly.  We need to make sure your home is priced based on market value.  We'll review the comparable sales, the active listings and look at the reasons other homes like yours failed to sale.  Don't just pick a price out of the air, be strategic.  Give me a call, and I can pinpoint a price that will get your home sold as well as protect your equity through the process.

2. Exposure

You have heard of real estate brokers that list a property and then forget about it, right?  This is a very big problem in the industry.  It's also a problem that can be very costly if you fall into the trap of using just anyone to help you sell your home.  We need buyers and the best way to attract them to your home is to make sure we expose your property to the biggest database possible.  The internet allows us to reach a wide audience and our current methods of internet marketing are bringing a lot of interest to our listings.  When you work with me, you'll know my marketing covers not only the MLS, but social media, print ads, etc.

3. Promotion

The MLS is one of the biggest under utilized tools that exist in the real estate industry today.  There are so many real estate brokers in the MLS that review the listings as the hit the market each day.  I promote to the agents in the MLS and this gives you the extra exposure needed in order to find a qualified buyer.  Way too many real estate agents list your property, place it on the MLS and wait for someone to call.  This will not work... we need to list the property, promote it to the brokers in the MLS and keep working it until we fid the qualified buyer.  

4. Update Often

I make changes to the MLS listing often.  Remember, the real estate brokers that review the MLS daily and pay attention to any changes that have occurred to the current inventory.  If we change the price or the remarks every so often, then you will show up on the MLS Hot Sheet.  You want to show up on this list as often as possible.  I will guide you through this process and make sure the proper changes are made at the right time.

5. Work Past Databases

Over the years, we collect the names, numbers and email addresses of buyers who were once looking yet decided to hold off their search until more inventory comes onto the market.  We are able to collect hundreds if not thousands of names like this.  This has proven to be a great resource for immediate sales.  I will make sure that we promote your new listing to these old leads.

As you see, marketing your property means exposing your home to as many people as possible.  The more people that know about your property, the more likely a sale will occur.  I'm an active real estate broker that will not sit around and wait for things to happen.  My job is to promote your property until I have it sold.

Let me know if you're ready to get started?

Posted in Tips and Tricks