There are no major surprises to the latest sales numbers for Seattle’s Eastside communities from Renton to Bothell; East of Lake Sammamish to Kirkland & Lake Washington. Prices are mostly up, modestly in most areas but a few with price reductions over 2017 prices. Inventory levels have doubled their 2017 levels and the sales pace has varied from stable or slightly higher to as much as 25% off 2017 levels. That said, sales pace has been above the 10 yr average in all areas. With the winter season upon us, it’s likely we’ll see continued slowing in the pace and flat to lowering prices. With the amount of economic growth in our overall region and the Eastside cities in particular, these numbers are “the break” in the market that most buyers have been asking for since 2015. Inventories typically decline as we get further in to winter but I expect we’ll see a quicker bounce back up in homes for sale after the New Year. Let me know if you’d like more specific market details on areas of interest to you.
Take a look at the numbers and some of the Giving Back that Windermere has done in 2018 and some of the stats that show Windermere is still the most respected and dominant real estate company in our region. I’m grateful to have called it home since 1989.
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.