Enjoy this report from Windermere's Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, on economic and real estate changes. If you don't see the hyper link, hover on "this report" above to go to full report.
The main takeaways to me are that our dramatic decline in available homes for sale in the King & Snohomish areas are finally showing declines in sales. Not surprisingly, this is putting more upward pressure on prices with King County up 13.6% from Q1 2015 and 10.7% in Snohomish County. In some neigbhorhoods and price ranges prices are up almost this much from Q4 2015.
Continued job growth and inbound migration are the major driving forces for the demand on housing; something that will continue with more renters coming back into the buying market. Rental rates are seeing a slow diwb in increases but are still on the upswing, especially for 2+ bedroom options and closer-in areas. Near record low interest rates are also driving demand as buyers try to capture the 3.5-3.75% rates avaiable for 30 year mortgages and even less for 15 Year or adjustable rate programs.
Bottom line: home sellers are doing very well on selling their homes but should obtain advice on selecting the best offers to close successfully. Buyers are needing better guidance on how to structure and present their offers but also need to plan for patience and frustratsion as multiple offer situations are the norm and with 12-25+ offers for any home for sale, even very good offers are struggling to succeed in the current market.
Most of the local real estae market continues to thrive with price recovery in almost all areas strengthening to near or even above our economic recession data. February saw an increase in listings but that was matched with an increase in sales. While the statistics say we have higher inventory than last February, that's not matched with real life experience in the field, as any active buyer in the urban marketplace can attest. Prices are rising as multiple offers are once again the norm.
If 2015 follows the activity pattern of 2013 and 2014, which is my prediction, we will see the market calm in the summer months as buyer fatigue sets in and vacation times begin. Today's stock market decline was led by fears of the Fed raising interest rates as our national economy continues to rebound. This could lead to more upward pressure on home loan rates, already up about 3/8% so far this year, and that will likely lead to increased buyer/buying pressure by people trying to lock in what may be the last of our long-term rates in the 3% range. Recognize that a long term rate in the 4's is hardly a bad thing but, as always, people want to save money when and where they can, so jumping now is likely a stronger impulse for many buyers.
My caution would be that to buy something that doesn't really work for you as a home so you can save money on your loan is not the right step as selling this new home in a few years and buying what you really wanted or will need/want at that time and then having a likely higher interest rate will cost you more than exercising caution today and finding the right home at a still very remarkable rate and payment.
Lastly, for those of you who think buying or selling without an agent will save you money, please recognize that it's very difficult to maximize the price for your home without full marekt exposure and even more difficult to win the home you're trying to buy in a multiple offer situation without the guidance of a knowledgeable agent to help you. You are most likely to make more money, save more money and lots of frustration with the assistance of a good agent on your team.