The OB Update Feb. 4

Time for a quick real estate update. The housing market is going gangbusters, but we’re still starving for inventory. And if open house traffic is any indication, there are a lot of you out there looking for homes. So my message is to all you would-be sellers; the market conditions are so much in your favor right now. If you’re on the fence, it’s time to jump off. I should know,Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 3.56.54 PM I’m actually getting ready to sell my own home. But the problem that many of us run into is that we need the equity from our current home in order to put a down payment on a new one. And with so many eager buyers out there, most sellers aren’t accepting contingent offers.

One solution worth considering is a bridge loan. A bridge loan allows you to take a short term loan out against the equity in your current home. It gives you immediate cash flow to make a down payment. Then, when you sell, you pay the loan off. It allows you to bridge the financial gap between a home sale and a home purchase. Windermere is actually the only real estate company in Seattle that offers a bridge loan program. Yes, you can attain them through banks, but the process is much more arduous. If you’re thinking about selling and want to learn more about our bridge loan program, contact your Windermere agent.

OB Jacobi

President

Windermere Real Estate

The OB Update Jan. 29

The Northwest Multiple Listing Service just put out their annual analysis of the 2014 Western Washington housing market. From a high level, the message has remained pretty consistent all year: low inventory, stiff competition, rising prices. But when I dove into the report a little deeper, I found some interesting data that I thought I’d share with you:

  • Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 3.56.54 PMClosed sales: Northwest MLS broker-members reported 77,276 closed sales valued at nearly $28 billion.
  • Median price in Western WA: $285,000 for single-family homes and condos that sold last year, up about 5.6 percent from 2013.
  • Median price in King County: $440,000 for single-family homes, an increase of 6 percent from 2013. Median condo price was $252,000; increase of 8.6 percent.
  • MLS members added 107,722 new listings of SFH and condos to inventory, an increase of 3,554 (+3.4%) from 2012.
  • Represented 22,328 home sellers, on average, each month.
  • Median price in King County: $440,000 for single-family homes, an increase of 6 percent from 2013. Median condo price was $252,000; increase of 8.6 percent.
  • Months of supply: Inventory was tight in many areas. System-wide average for 2014 was 3.5 months; for 4-county Puget Sound region it averaged 2.5; in King county, supply dipped below 2 month for most of 2014.
  • Luxury sales: Reported 2,057 sales of single-family homes and 152 sales of condos priced at $1 million or more. 878 condos sold for $500,000 or more.
  • Highest prices: Among the 21 counties in the MLS service area, King County claimed the highest median price for single family homes that sold last year ($440,000).
  • New construction: The median price for 8,177 newly built single-family homes that sold in 2014 area wide was $374,000; for 607 newly constructed condos that sold the median price $369,950.
  • New listing activity and pending sales (mutually accepted offers) peaked in May.
  • Condos: Brokers sold 10,560 condominiums during 2014; about 62 percent of condo sales system-wide were in King County; 75 percent had two or fewer bedrooms.
  • Prices, 3-bedrooom homes: The median price for a 3-bedroom home that sold in 2014 was $262,500; county comparisons show a low-end range of $133,500 in Grays Harbor County to the high-end range of $410,000 in San Juan County.
  • Most expensive: The highest priced single family home that sold was in Medina ($11.3 million); the highest priced luxury condo was in downtown Seattle ($6.1 million).

If you have any questions about this information or anything else related to the Seattle housing market, contact your Windermere agent or go to Windermere.com.

OB Jacobi

President

Windermere Real Estate

The OB Update Jan. 14

ob

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