Winter Coziness and Home Tips.

“Winter is time for comfort and warmth, it is a time for home” Edith Sitwell

Just a few hightlights of warmth for this month

Check out Zillows cozy cabins and rustic fireplace designs they look all so heavenly!

And with all this coziness I just have to add a “Did you know”?

Of about the 350 million cans of chicken noodle soup of all commercial brands sold annually in the United States, 60 percent is purchased during the cold and flu season. January is the top-selling month of the year!

Today January 10th is National Cut your Energy Costs Day. Here are a few energy tips and Winter Home Maintenance Tips for this Winter. Do these first and then enjoy a cozy fire! 

Maintenance TIPS Winter

YOUR HOME may be the biggest investment you make. Proper house maintenance

ensures a safe and comfortable environment for you and your family. Here are helpful tips

and reminders of chores you may have overlooked for preparation this winter season.

Clean faucet aerators and showerheads.

Clean refrigerator drain pan and vacuum condenser coil.

Clean kitchen exhaust fan filters.

Vacuum bathroom vent fan covers.

Clean dishwasher food filters and check that openings in spray arms are clear.

Examine caulk and grout in shower, repair as needed.

Clean and seal grout.

Exercise (turn on and off) plumbing shutoff valves. Just in case you may need to in an emergency.

Exercise circuit breakers.

Test relief valve on water heater.

Vacuum smoke detectors, heating registers, vents, ducts and radiators.

Clean out dryer vent duct.
 
These will save energy and ensure a safe home!
 
 

US. Housing Price Appreciation and Real Estate News

Real Estate News

In 2013, the housing markets with the biggest increases in asking prices were all rebounding from severe price drops in the housing bust. Home prices are still in rebound mode, but this effect will weaken in 2014. Job growth, in contrast, mattered little for price gains in 2013 but helped drive rent increases.

In December, the year-over-year increase in asking home prices slowed for the first time since the price recovery began in early 2012: prices rose 11.9% year-over-year in December, compared with November’s 12.2% year-over-year increase. Asking prices rose 0.4% month-over-month, seasonally adjusted, the third straight month of gains less than 1%.

Overall, regression analysis shows that recent price gains are most strongly associated with the severity of the local housing bust. Markets where prices fell most during the bust (roughly 2006 to 2011, but varies by metro) offered bargains for investors and other buyers who have helped bid prices back up over the past two years. A second important factor is foreclosures: adjusting for other factors, metros with a higher foreclosure inventory today – including many in Florida – have slower price growth. Job growth, however, had little impact on local home price gains in 2013: the relationship between job growth and price gains was positive but not statistically significant.

Therefore, year-over-year price gains in December 2013 are still primarily a reaction to the housing bust, but this rebound effect is fading as we enter 2014. Looking at the quarter-over-quarter price changes throughout 2013, the relationship between the severity of the housing bust and the recent price recovery was stronger earlier in the year than later in the year. More specifically, the correlation between peak-to-trough price change (FHFA) and the Trulia Price Monitor quarter-over-quarter change was -.59 in March; -.45 in June; -.43 in September; and -.33 in December. This correlation is moving closer to zero, which signifies that the rebound effect is fading. As the housing market continues to recover, factors other than the rebound effect – like job growth – will matter more for price gains. That means slower but more sustainable price increases.

Note: These asking prices are SA (Seasonally Adjusted) – and adjusted for the mix of homes – and this suggests further house price increases, but at a slower rate, over the next few months on a seasonally adjusted basis.

From Trulia chief economist Jed Kolko: The Post-Crash Rebound, Not Job Growth, Drove 2013 Price Gains

Interactive Chart

Please take a look at this great interactive PDF with a map and average home price appreciation info for the entire United States by clicking  through to this link, you’ll find the US Map and much more state specific data in an interactive version.

US Housing app

We hope you find this information useful and never hesitate if you would like to see more or would like more information.

http://www.snohomishcountyhomes4u.com

 

 

US. Housing Price Appreciation and Real Estate News.

Real Estate News

In 2013, the housing markets with the biggest increases in asking prices were all rebounding from severe price drops in the housing bust. Home prices are still in rebound mode, but this effect will weaken in 2014. Job growth, in contrast, mattered little for price gains in 2013 but helped drive rent increases.

In December, the year-over-year increase in asking home prices slowed for the first time since the price recovery began in early 2012: prices rose 11.9% year-over-year in December, compared with November’s 12.2% year-over-year increase. Asking prices rose 0.4% month-over-month, seasonally adjusted, the third straight month of gains less than 1%.

Overall, regression analysis shows that recent price gains are most strongly associated with the severity of the local housing bust. Markets where prices fell most during the bust (roughly 2006 to 2011, but varies by metro) offered bargains for investors and other buyers who have helped bid prices back up over the past two years. A second important factor is foreclosures: adjusting for other factors, metros with a higher foreclosure inventory today – including many in Florida – have slower price growth. Job growth, however, had little impact on local home price gains in 2013: the relationship between job growth and price gains was positive but not statistically significant.

Therefore, year-over-year price gains in December 2013 are still primarily a reaction to the housing bust, but this rebound effect is fading as we enter 2014. Looking at the quarter-over-quarter price changes throughout 2013, the relationship between the severity of the housing bust and the recent price recovery was stronger earlier in the year than later in the year. More specifically, the correlation between peak-to-trough price change (FHFA) and the Trulia Price Monitor quarter-over-quarter change was -.59 in March; -.45 in June; -.43 in September; and -.33 in December. This correlation is moving closer to zero, which signifies that the rebound effect is fading.

As the housing market continues to recover, factors other than the rebound effect – like job growth – will matter more for price gains. That means slower but more sustainable price increases.

Note: These asking prices are SA (Seasonally Adjusted) – and adjusted for the mix of homes – and this suggests further house price increases, but at a slower rate, over the next few months on a seasonally adjusted basis.
 
  
 
 
Interactive Chart
 
Please take a look at this great interactive PDF with a map and average home price appreciation info for the entire United States by  clicking  through to this link, you’ll find the US Map and much more state specific data in an interactive version.

We hope you find this information useful and never hesitate if you would like to see more or would like more information.  

 
 
 

Happy New Year January’s Newsletter

Happy New Year Everyone!
Well I have to admit I have been a bit slow getting back in the swing of things! It is however a New Year and time to make it a great one! I want to thank my wonderful Home Buyers and Sellers of last year and I look forward to assisting more first time home buyers, those that are ready to make a move to our great state or those that may want to up-size or down-size.
Regardless of “why” I am here to help you with the “how” and “when.”  To get it done and make your dream of home ownership a reality!
January
January1

Hot New Listing in Bothell

The Buckingham features 1,908 asf, 3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, den & bonus room with 9′ ceilings. Hardwood flooring on the main level and wall to wall carpet on the upper and lower levels. Slab granite counters in the kitchen and baths, decorator tile back splashes. Fully fenced back yard and two car garage. Gas: fireplace, heating, cook top & Rheem tankless hot water system, 20′ driveway, 64 guest parking, and 3 parks all within a mile of Mill Creek Town Center.$309,611. Want more details? Give me a call. 

Beautiful New Home in Mukilteo is the Home Of The Week


$1,150,000 , 5 bedrooms, 4 full baths, 1 half baths, 4,261 square feet


Jenifer Murrweiss | RE/MAX Town Center Mill Creek | (425) 422-7243
11001 Westridge Dr, Mukilteo, WA
Your Burnstead Exquisite Model Home the Goldfinch plan boasts views of Puget Sound and Whidbey Island in an exclusive neighborhood.
5BR/4+1BA Single Family House
offered at $1,150,000
Year Built 2013
Sq Footage 4,261
Bedrooms 5
Bathrooms 4 full, 1 partial
Floors Unspecified
Parking 2 Car garage
Lot Size 12,980 sqft
HOA/Maint $60 per month

DESCRIPTION

Your Burnstead Model Home the Goldfinch plan boasts views of Puget Sound and Whidbey Island! This home has 5 bedrooms, 4 1/4 baths, formal dining room and gourmet kitchen with granite slab counter tops and stainless steel appliances….perfect for entertaining! The great room design extends into a spacious family room with custom built-ins. Lower floor features Mother-in-law design with access to the patio and backyard! Incredibly beautiful area and highly rated Mukilteo schools.
Mukilteo
see additional photos below
PROPERTY FEATURES

– Attic – Basement – Bonus/Rec room
– Breakfast nook – Dining room – Family room
– Laundry room – Living room – Master bath
– Mother-in-law unit – Office/Den – Pantry
– Storage space – Walk-in closet – Dishwasher
– Garbage disposal – Microwave – Stainless steel appliances
– Stove/Oven – Balcony, Deck, or Patio – Fenced yard
– Garden – Porch – Sprinkler system
– Yard – Air conditioning – Ceiling fans
– Central heat – Double pane windows – Cable-ready
– High-speed internet – Guest parking – Garage – Attached
– Off-street parking – On-street parking – Fireplace
– Granite countertop – Hardwood floor – High/Vaulted ceiling
– Skylights – Tile floor – Wet bar

COMMUNITY FEATURES

– Near transportation – Sports court – Guest parking
– Off-street parking – On-street parking

OTHER SPECIAL FEATURES

– Northwest ENERGY STAR®
ADDITIONAL PHOTOS


Photo 1

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Contact info:
Jenifer Murrweiss
RE/MAX Town Center Mill Creek
(425) 422-7243
For sale by agent/broker

Posted: Nov 13, 2013, 6:04pm PST

Monthly Mortgage News

News from NW Multiple Listing Service
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 5, 2013
Home sales “pause” with government shutdown,
but brokers mostly bullish on market recovery

Kirkland, WA – November 5, 2013. Home sales “paused” during October but prices continued to rise, according to the latest statistics from Northwest Multiple Listing Service. Commenting on year-to-date totals for 2013 compared to 2012, one industry expert remarked, “I would say the real estate market is recovering nicely.”
Pending sales during October dipped 2.7 percent when compared to the same month a year ago, but rose nearly 3.2 percent from September’s volume. October’s decline was the first negative change in year-over-year comparisons since April 2011. (That drop-off was attributed in part to a frenzy during April 2010 when buyers were scrambling to take advantage of a federal tax credit that was expiring.) 
Brokers point to the federal shutdown during the first two weeks of October, below-normal inventory, and shaken consumer confidence as factors in the slowdown.
MLS figures summarizing last month’s activity across the 21 counties in its service area show year-over-year improvement in inventory (up 5.5 percent), double-digit increases in the volume of closed sales (up 12.5 percent), and moderate increases in selling prices (up 7.7 percent).
Mike Gain, president and CEO of Prudential Northwest Realty Associates, believes the market has taken a “slight pause,” but emphasized one month’s numbers don’t indicate a trend.
“We are two years into what has been a very steady recovery. It’s okay – and actually healthy – to have a slight slowdown,” he remarked. The government shutdown “definitely hurt consumer confidence” and put many would-be buyers on the sidelines, according to Gain.
Consumer confidence “deteriorated considerably” in October as a result of the shutdown and debt ceiling squabbles, according to The Conference Board. A recent Gallup poll found some improvement in Americans’ economic confidence, but reported it is still well below mid-September, before the shutdown.
Gain said despite improving inventory the limited supply of homes for sale is also hampering sales. “Numerous buyers are looking but just can’t find the right home to fit their needs,” he reported.
Northwest MLS brokers reported 8,086 pending sales during October, down from the year-ago total of 8,312 sales, but outgaining the number of mutually accepted offers in September by 247 transactions for a 3.2 percent increase. Eleven counties had fewer pending sales last month versus a year ago.
In King and Snohomish counties the “torrid pace” of home sales activity has eased to a “healthy/strong level,” observed J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate. He believes the housing market is transitioning from a recovery market to a sustainable mode.
Prices on sales that closed last month rose 7.7 percent ($19,375) from a year ago. Area-wide, the median price for single family homes and condominiums (combined) was $271,000.
Homes that sold in San Juan County last month fetched the highest median price at $384,000, up 17.2 percent from a year ago. King County prices were slightly lower at $380,000, about 11 percent more than the median price of a year ago.
For single family homes only (excluding condos), King County prices topped the list. The median price for last month’s completed sales was $426,000, or 15.1 percent higher than the year-ago selling price of $370,000. System-wide, the median price for single family homes (only) was $283,000, about 8.4 percent higher than twelve months ago when it was $261,050.
Gain said the increases reflect a healthy and stabilizing real estate market. “It is good to see the prices rising modestly, allowing the market to become more balanced,” he stated.
Northwest MLS director George Moorhead agreed, saying more moderate and balanced growth helps “mitigate huge home price fluctuations.” The slowdown is also reflected in the time it is taking listings to sell, he noted. “We are seeing inventory staying on the market longer, which will continue through the holiday season until late January to mid-February,” said Moorhead, the managing broker at Bentley Properties in Bothell.
More inventory is still needed to meet demand, suggested Dick Beeson, principal managing broker at RE/MAX Professionals in Tacoma and a past chairman of the Northwest MLS board of directors. In Pierce County, where his office is located, inventory is about even with year-ago levels, but 2,019 more sales have closed so far this year for a jump of 25.4 percent.
Three counties – King, Pierce and Snohomish – have less than three months of supply, well below the 4-to-6 month level that is generally considered to be an indicator of a balanced market.
“It still looks like a potential housing shortage in Puget Sound come 2015 if building doesn’t increase,” Beeson commented.
At least one segment of the new construction market shows signs of rebounding: condominiums.
“Most residential developers went into hibernation during the real estate bear market of the past five years, but this past month heralded a bullish resurgence of several developments,” said John Deely, a member of the Northwest MLS board of directors. Last month was like spring in the South Lake Union neighborhood, he reported.
Deely, the principal managing broker at Coldwell Banker Bain in Seattle, cited the opening of sales for a new 41-story condominium community and the restart of two other major residential developments as positive indicators. The projects include a high-rise residential development near the Space Needle and the restart of a hotel-condo building in the Denny Triangle area of downtown Seattle. “This is good news as the market is starving for new condominium inventory,” he stated.
Beeson also commented on upticks in condo activity.  He said some condo developers who placed units in the rental pool during the 2008-2010 downturn are converting them back to for-sale housing and trying to sell them in today’s improved market. “The price points have still not returned to 2006-2007 levels but the chance to move some product now exists,” he commented.
MLS brokers added more than 1,000 new listings to condo inventory last month, a jump of 24.3 percent from a year ago. Total inventory is 9.1 percent higher than at this time last year. Closed sales during October jumped 15.3 percent, with prices rising about 5.3 percent.
Condos that closed during October had a median price of $200,000. In King County, which accounted for about two-thirds of those sales, the median price was $234,000.
“The real estate market has been moving in the right direction,” observed Gain, adding, “It has been a huge improvement over the past several years.” To underscore his point, he noted pending sales year-to-date are up by nearly 6,000 units (at 5,994) for a 7.3 percent increase. YTD closed sales are already up 10,167 units from a year ago for an increase of almost 19 percent (18.8), and prices are up by $27,000 for an increase of 11.1 percent. “I would say the real estate market is recovering nicely,” he concluded.

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 21,000 real estate brokers. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 21 counties in Washington state.


Statistical Summary by Counties: Market Activity Summary – October 2013
Single
Family
Homes
+ Condos
LISTINGS PENDING
SALES
CLOSED SALES MONTHS
SUPPLY
New
Listings
Total
Active
# Pending
Sales
#
Closings
Avg.
Price
Median
Price
 
King
3,047
5,799
3,306
2,798
$461,138
$380,000
1.75
Snohomish
1,217
2,629
1,219
1,041
$293,894
$270,000
2.16
Pierce
1,217
3,571
1,324
1,014
$236,761
$217,898
2.70
Kitsap
400
1,483
373
328
$286,658
$244,975
3.98
Mason
113
710
91
75
$194,380
$165,800
7.80
Skagit
174
796
180
150
$268,572
$232,710
4.42
Grays Hbr
115
757
109
77
$121,497
$118,000
6.94
Lewis
89
696
79
54
$156,788
$148,700
8.81
Cowlitz
111
456
114
107
$172,207
$153,000
4.00
Grant
102
501
74
54
$161,476
$148,000
6.77
Thurston
380
1,276
370
302
$222,805
$203,495
3.45
San Juan
27
389
22
25
$450,260
$384,000
17.68
Island
150
757
139
112
$270,065
$255,000
5.45
Kittitas
64
440
57
60
$238,981
$201,675
7.72
Jefferson
52
428
58
38
$259,120
$267,000
7.38
Okanogan
54
482
34
23
$211,470
$128,000
14.18
Whatcom
272
1,440
276
280
$282,221
$249,000
5.22
Clark
60
207
55
36
$269,104
$239,000
3.76
Pacific
44
429
37
31
$142,745
$124,000
11.59
Ferry
8
69
2
3
$89,667
$79,000
34.50
Clallam
56
397
63
58
$216,245
$200,000
6.30
Others
142
679
104
86
$222,125
$194,500
6.53
MLS TOTAL
7,894
24,391
8,086
6,752
$339,607
$271,000
3.02
4-County Puget Sound Region Pending Sales (SFH + Condo combined)
(Totals include King, Snohomish, Pierce & Kitsap counties)
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 3706 4778 5903 5116 5490 5079 4928 5432 4569 4675 4126 3166
2001 4334 5056 5722 5399 5631 5568 5434 5544 4040 4387 4155 3430
2002 4293 4735 5569 5436 6131 5212 5525 6215 5394 5777 4966 4153
2003 4746 5290 6889 6837 7148 7202 7673 7135 6698 6552 4904 4454
2004 4521 6284 8073 7910 7888 8186 7583 7464 6984 6761 6228 5195
2005 5426 6833 8801 8420 8610 8896 8207 8784 7561 7157 6188 4837
2006 5275 6032 8174 7651 8411 8094 7121 7692 6216 6403 5292 4346
2007 4869 6239 7192 6974 7311 6876 6371 5580 4153 4447 3896 2975
2008 3291 4167 4520 4624 4526 4765 4580 4584 4445 3346 2841 2432
2009 3250 3407 4262 5372 5498 5963 5551 5764 5825 5702 3829 3440
2010 4381 5211 6821 7368 4058 4239 4306 4520 4350 4376 3938 3474
2011 4272 4767 6049 5732 5963 5868 5657 5944 5299 5384 4814 4197
2012 4921 6069 7386 7015 7295 6733 6489 6341 5871 6453 5188 4181
2013 5548 6095 7400 7462 7743 7374 7264 6916 5951 6222
__________

Short and Sweet Real Estate News

 

 
Why is now a great time to buy and sellers to sell?
The combination of still historically low interest rates, pent up buyer demand and shortage of available homes is leading the way for a great 2013.  Rates were the lowest in January at 3.41% and currently are approximately 4.6%.  Buyers are definitely getting eager with interest rates creeping up a bit and they are being very quick to purchase well priced, well positioned homes.  Lenders are also recommending to get your interest rate locked in as soon as you can as they have been up and down lately. 
Because of the shortage most will find themselves in multiple offer situations. Put your best foot forward first!  I just got the winning offer on a home for my clients that had 5 offers! You must be quick and act fast. Obviously the home is priced to market standards if there are multiple offers so don’t try to go in under price or you will lose out and be hitting the pavement again. 
Prospective sellers are finally making a decision to sell.
This is Great News! 
Prospective sellers have watched closely trying to weigh in on the market and if the time is right for a move. The season started very early this year and we saw more and more homes coming on the market with double digit increases in June.  Even with this increase most areas are showing around a 2 month inventory. Snohomish County showing around 1.6 and King County 1.5.  Keep in mind a healthy market according Industry analysts is around a 6 month supply. This promotes a balance and is neither a buyers or seller’s market. 
I have not seen it this way in a long time and definitely with the lack of inventory-  
It is a seller’s market!
 
Builders around the area have sprung into action as I am sure you have seen the new home developments going up everywhere. They are ramping up activity and building single family and multi-family equally. Permit applications have more than doubled in most counties compared to this time last year. New homes that are completed are selling very fast and pre-sale inventory is also moving quickly due to lack of inventory.
Only time will tell if this trend is going to continue into the last quarter of 2013 but,if you ask me and many other Realtors around Snohomish County we think it will and hopefully won’t let up anytime soon.

Snohomish County Homes of the week

As a Realtor every Morning I go through the new for sale listings in the Snohomish County area. This is so important as the inventory is low and if there are new homes on the market that meet my clients criteria I need to get them out to them ASAP! We cant waste any time! With that said its only Wednesday but, I can say its been a very crazy productive week. I had 4 offers on a short-sale listing I have, put in an offer for a first-time home buyer and out of five offers we got it! 
Yesterday I showed up to a new listing in Bothell with another client and the line of cars with Realtors and clients was so long you couldn’t even turn around in the driveway. Crazy! I knew this one would go fast and I know what my client is looking for so I had all the paperwork ready to go just in case. He did want to put in an offer so we signed right in this truck. I am happy to report that I was just informed that we got that one too! 
Hard work, perseverance and taking care of your clients really does pay off. Okay, I also like to think a bit of luck too. 
 
In my morning routine there are also homes that really stand out to me due to price, location or just incredible beauty. These are my picks for the week:

This stunning home newly listed in Edmond’s for $3,475,000 with over 5800 sq. ft. to roam. Breathtaking views!

Lake Stevens Bank Owned almost 1800 sq. ft. and a steal at under $250K.
Someone needs to buy this one quick and water the grass!

Murray Franklin Snohomish Home newly listed at $674,995. 
This stunning 5 bedroom 4030 sqft home sits back on a greenbelt for privacy and luxury living.

I hope you like my picks for the week and if you want any additional information or want to see just let me know.

www.snohomishcountyhomes4u.com

Current Real Estate Market News.

News from NW Multiple Listing Service
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 3, 2013

Northwest MLS brokers say market stays “extremely competitive;”
some industry experts believe “housing affordability may never be better”

NWMLS, Kirkland, WA, July 3, 2013 – Current market conditions ̶ including rising mortgage rates, tight inventory and declining unemployment ̶ are driving even more buyers into what is already an “extremely competitive housing market,” reported OB Jacobi, a member of the board of directors for Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

New figures from the MLS show pending sales during June jumped 10.6 percent from twelve months ago as buyers scrambled to lock in loan rates and bid on a limited supply of homes. Members in the 21 counties served by Northwest MLS reported 9,484 mutually accepted offers last month, outgaining the year-ago number of pending sales by 907 transactions.

“In June, our brokers reported anywhere from 2-to-7 offers on homes in the lower to mid-price ranges,” said Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate Company in Seattle. He noted interest rates for 2013 reached a new high in mid-June – “a result of improved confidence in the U.S. economy. And now, with Seattle’s jobless rate below 5 percent we expect even further pressure on housing as new workers move to the area,” he added.

“Multiple offers situations are almost old news,” remarked Frank Wilson, an officer on the Northwest MLS board. He recommends sellers prepare to deal with multiple offers by discussing a strategy with their broker when they list their home. Buyers should consider writing offers that may be above list price and contain an escalation clause, Wilson suggests.

While would-be purchasers jostled for acceptance of their offers during June, 7,318 newly-minted homeowners took possession of their home. That volume of closed sales compares to 6,214 completed transactions for the same month a year ago for a 17.8 percent increase.

For the first six months of 2013, the year-to-date number of completed transactions totaled 35,115, surpassing the figure of 29,777 for mid-year 2012. That equals a 17.9 percent year-over-year increase.

Prices continue to rise. The median price for last month’s closed sales area-wide was $279,950, which is about 9.8 percent higher than the year-ago figure of $255,000. Three counties reported double-digit price gains on sales of single family homes and condominiums: Kittitas (up 17 percent); Snohomish (up 14.4 percent) and King (up 10.1 percent).

Single family home prices (excluding condominiums) rose more than 8 percent, from $268,162 to $290,000, while condo prices spiked 17.3 percent (from $183,350 to $215,000). In King County, the median sales price on last month’s closed sales of single family homes (excluding condos) was $427,500, up 12.5 percent from June 2012 when the selling price was $380,000.

Inventory shortages persist, with only about 2.5 months of supply system-wide. Both King and Snohomish counties have less than 1.4 months of supply.

MLS members added 10,806 new listings to its database during June, improving on the year-ago total of 9,104 additions. At month end, inventory stood at 23,581 listings, which is down 11.2 percent from the year-ago selection that totaled 26,545 properties.

“With higher interest rates and potentially going higher, more resale listings are coming on the market,” observed J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate. “Many potential sellers are now realizing if they are going to purchase another home, they will be purchasing at a higher interest rate, so they are choosing to move forward now,” Scott continued. “The additional inventory is appreciated by the backlog of buyers trying to purchase a home, though we are still in a quick action market. “

An industry expert whose career dates to 1976 said he’s been through many “hot markets,” but never one quite like the current one. “I’ve never seen the in-city market so stressful for buyers because there is such intense competition on anything priced well,” said Mike Skahen, a past chairman of the Northwest MLS board and the just-retired owner/designated broker at Lake & Co. Real Estate in Seattle.

Commenting on the current market, Skahen said what’s relatively new is buyers doing pre inspections before they make their offer so it is not subject to inspection. “Often, buyers are even waiving financing and risking low appraisals where they have to make up the difference in cash,” he reported. He cited an example of a Wallingford listing priced around $650,000 that drew 14 offers and 12 pre inspections. “It’s common to have six or seven offers and five pre inspections so the inspectors are thrilled, but the buyers and agents hate it. This was not nearly as common in past hot markets but now it’s become typical.”

“We desperately need more properties to sell to satisfy the current demand,” said Mike Gain, president and CEO of Prudential Northwest Realty Associates. Despite shortages, Gain said “on-the-fence” buyers are jumping into the market now to lock into today’s low interest rates at today’s prices before they rise further,” which is expected. “Today’s buyers may never see a better time to purchase a home,” he added.

Several brokers commented on rising interest rates:

  • “Higher interest rates gouge into buying power,” said MLS director Frank Wilson. “That decreases a buyer’s ability to purchase a home,” he explained, noting interest rates have gone up more in the past 30 days than they have over the past three years. An interest rate increase of .75 percent on a $350,000 home will cost a buyer $30,000 in affordability, he explained, adding, “If buyers still qualify this will jump their monthly principal and interest payment by $247. For an economy that is not yet firing on all cylinders that is real money to the average family.”
  • “In Kitsap we are seeing buyers who are in contract and did not or could not lock loans that are now not able to qualify for the house they want to buy,” reported Wilson, the Kitsap district manager at John L. Scott Real Estate and branch managing broker for its Poulsbo/Kingston office. “The importance of locking a loan rate has not been an issue over the past few years but today a loan lock may save a buyer’s ability to buy the home they want.” He also called short sales “especially challenging” because many lenders will not lock a loan rate until the short sale bank on the seller’s side has approved the sale.
  • Commenting on rising interest rates, Prudential’s Gain emphasized they’re still at historically low rates. “I am hopeful they will remain stable for a short time before they begin to rise more. Last month’s 1 percent increase in interest rates cost the average homebuyer $100 per month. As rates and prices continue to rise, this trend will continue. Now is the time to buy a home!”
  • MLS director Darin Stenvers expects rising interest rates will contribute to a tight market and some relief for short sellers. “As interest rates slowly creep up buyers should note that the movement of a ½ of 1 percent rise in interest rates will mean about a 5 percent loss in the maximum loan amount. Combined with the slow rise in home pricing that means a tight market for homes that are near or under the median prices in all markets at least through summer.”

Stenvers, the office managing broker for John L. Scott in Bellingham, also noted homeowners who were under water are benefiting from the recovering market. “These owners are seeing their home price slowly rise to a position where many of them are no longer required to do a short sale. Sellers who can now sell with the long delay of short sales are able to ride the lower interest rate tide that is also helping buyers get the monthly payments they desire.”

  • “The recent rise in interest rates has definitely brought more buyers into the market but, the inventory remains so low we have not seen a significant increase in sales,” reported MLS director Diedre Haines. Coupled with depleted inventory in Snohomish County, where she is regional manager broker for Coldwell Banker Bain, she described conditions as an “uber seller’s market.”
  • “In talking with local lenders it appears that more first time buyers are entering the fray, anxious that they might get priced out of the market either through actual property price increases or interest rate increases,” said Dick Beeson, principal managing broker at RE/MAX Professionals in Tacoma.
  • Gain compared the certainty of a fixed rate loan with renting. “Homeownership is even more attractive today when one compares the monthly cost to own to what is paid for rent. When you purchase with a fixed rate mortgage your monthly payments stay the same while the monthly cost of rent will likely continue to increase.”
  • “Today’s buyers know the current environment presents a huge value,” stated Ken Anderson, president and designated broker at Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty in Olympia. “They are eager to jump into the market to lock in both low prices and borrowing rates. These savvy shoppers know how rising interest rates impacts purchasing power. As a result, it will be a busy summer in Northwest home sales.”

Northwest MLS brokers emphasized both buyers and sellers need to be realistic in today’s market.

“I would caution sellers that it is still possible to over price a listing by anticipating automatic price appreciation in this market,” said Gary O’Leyar, owner and designated broker at Prudential Signature Properties. He believes the best marketing strategy is to “price realistically within the price range of current active competing listings and within recent sales that have closed — and not add dollars to a listing price by automatically assuming incremental appreciation.”

“Sellers should still be concerned about over pricing their homes,” Stenvers cautioned, saying some markets will handle over pricing, but others will not. “If buyers are not coming to see a new listing, it means they cannot afford it or don’t feel the home is worth the asking price. Today’s buyers seem to be very patient and well educated about comparables in their market.”

Stenvers is also detecting a shift in buyer expectations. “Buyers today seem to be content with smaller homes and less stressed financial futures. They seem to be turning back to a time where sweat equity and affordable home improvement projects that will benefit them now and in the future are more popular.”

Tacoma broker Beeson said sellers — never ones to be blind to an obvious advantage — have come out swinging, asking more money than they thought possible just a short year ago.” He believes some will make the critical mistake of pricing so far above the market that “they aren’t really in the market, because an outlier today will not sell, even in this market.”

Commenting on reported increases in all cash offers, along with price hikes and depleted inventory, Haines said buyers that have been trying for months are becoming more frustrated and fatigued. But unlike the heated market of 2005-2006, she said sellers are not always taking the highest offer “due to continuing appraisal issues.” Instead, they are focusing more on terms, amount of down payment, buyer’s financing letter of approval, closing dates and amount of earnest money.”

O’Leyar offered encouragement to buyers who feel real estate prices have eluded them. “They should look out a little further and broaden their search parameters by one more freeway exit or consider a nearby suburban community. It is surprising how much difference in home prices a few miles or a different zip code can make. Be open minded to broader area possibilities.”

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 21,000 real estate brokers. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 21 counties in Washington state.

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Statistical summary and sources quoted follow.

Statistical Summary by Counties: Market Activity Summary – June 2013

Single
Family
Homes
+ Condos
LISTINGS PENDING
SALES
CLOSED SALES MONTHS
SUPPLY
New
Listings

Total
Active

# Pending
Sales

#
Closings

Avg.
Price

Median
Price

King
4,138
5,284
3,900
3,046
$465,027
$383,000
1.35
Snohomish
1,540
2,030
1,488
1,159
$302,809
$284,900
1.36
Pierce
1,572
3,230
1,523
1,118
$251,310
$217,000
2.12
Kitsap
526
1,479
463
384
$293,076
$244,500
3.19
Mason
174
803
105
60
$197,687
$155,500
7.65
Skagit
249
822
202
173
$257,251
$226,600
4.07
Grays Hrbor
177
827
120
66
$125,478
$111,000
6.89
Lewis
141
707
111
52
$149,762
$139,750
6.37
Cowlitz
150
464
137
91
$159,292
$140,000
3.39
Grant
140
590
76
69
$178,806
$150,000
7.76
Thurston
482
1,208
425
341
$237,406
$225,000
2.84
San Juan
43
426
27
10
$402,550
$288,250
15.78
Island
229
882
175
124
$321,643
$260,000
5.04
Kittitas
114
469
73
60
$252,143
$213,000
6.42
Jefferson
95
501
55
45
$274,702
$270,000
9.11
Okanogan
81
474
46
22
$224,354
$160,500
10.30
Whatcom
487
1,548
322
275
$277,870
$248,000
4.81
Clark
69
171
49
59
$248,717
$223,900
3.49
Pacific
89
469
39
25
$108,670
$95,000
12.03
Ferry
6
73
3
2
$205,000
$205,000
24.33
Clallam
112
461
57
53
$200,982
$170,000
8.09
Others
192
663
88
84
$222,745
$199,450
7.53
MLS TOTAL
10,806
23,581
9,484
7,318
$347,235
$279,950
2.49

4-County Puget Sound Region Pending Sales (SFH + Condo combined)
(Totals include King, Snohomish, Pierce & Kitsap counties)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 3706 4778 5903 5116 5490 5079 4928 5432 4569 4675 4126 3166
2001 4334 5056 5722 5399 5631 5568 5434 5544 4040 4387 4155 3430
2002 4293 4735 5569 5436 6131 5212 5525 6215 5394 5777 4966 4153
2003 4746 5290 6889 6837 7148 7202 7673 7135 6698 6552 4904 4454
2004 4521 6284 8073 7910 7888 8186 7583 7464 6984 6761 6228 5195
2005
5426 6833 8801 8420 8610 8896 8207 8784 7561 7157 6188 4837
2006
5275 6032 8174 7651 8411 8094 7121 7692 6216 6403 5292 4346
2007
4869 6239 7192 6974 7311 6876 6371 5580 4153 4447 3896 2975
2008 3291 4167 4520 4624 4526 4765 4580 4584 4445 3346 2841 2432
2009 3250 3407 4262 5372 5498 5963 5551 5764 5825 5702 3829 3440
2010 4381 5211 6821 7368 4058 4239 4306 4520 4350 4376 3938 3474
2011 4272 4767 6049 5732 5963 5868 5657 5944 5299 5384 4814 4197
2012 4921 6069 7386 7015 7295 6733 6489 6341 5871 6453 5188 4181
2013 5548 6095 7400 7462 7743 7374

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