The OB Update Jan. 14


The man, the myth, the legend himself, OB Jacobi, is going to start giving us all a better idea of what is really going on in the real estate market in Seatown. Here’s what our president has to say starting off the year:

It’s hard to believe that it’s already 2015 – what a year in real estate we had last year. The Seattle housing market was great for some and not so great for others. I had first-hand experience with this, so I’d like to start by telling you my story.

Right after the 2013 holiday season, my kids and I decided that it was time to move. It had been 11 years in our house and we just felt like it was time for a change. So, being completely optimistic about buying a home, we did what most people would do: we started packing. As someone who works in real estate, I should’ve known better. This was only the start of a very long road.

The hunt for the perfect home was on. We searched and searched, and couldn’t quite locate anything that fit. Not only was there low inventory, but all the good homes were snapped up quickly. Man the market was fast. While we were on a 10-day family vacation, a home I’ve always loved both listed and sold before I even had a chance to see it. So frustrating. The months passed with no success, but in November, we finally found a house. In total, it took us 11 long months. But in a way, I’m happy that I had this experience so I could better understand what my agents and their clients are dealing with out there.

Let’s face it; if you were a buyer last year, the real estate market was tough. The number of homes for sale was at its lowest in history. The competition was fierce and there were multiple offers on most properties. The perfect house wasn’t necessarily “perfect”; it was one that you felt good about buying. For some buyers, that added up to a very frustrating experience that I can sympathize with. If you were a seller, you probably did quite well. The Seattle market appreciated by around 9% last year and the number of days it took to sell a home went way down.

So what can we look forward to in 2015? Prices will continue to appreciate, albeit at a slightly slower pace than last year – probably around 4% – 6%. Unfortunately, inventory is still at an all-time low. There’s less than 0.8 months of supply in some neighborhoods. What that means is that if no more homes were listed, and people continued to buy at the current pace, there would be nothing left for sale in less than a month. To further put that into perspective, a healthy, balanced market should have 3-6 months of inventory.

There are still a lot of eager buyers out there, so for now it looks like we are in the same situation as last year. We’re heading into the time of year when the market starts to ramp up again, so we should see growth in the number of homes for sale. Although if the Seahawks continue on their current winning streak and make it to the Super Bowl, this may delay things a little, which – let’s face it – is almost guaranteed to happen.

OB Jacobi

President, Windermere Real Estate

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