Seattle Real Estate Market Update: Balance

Balance is the word I would use to describe our 2018 Seattle real estate market.  Here’s a quick update/forecast on the housing market in Seattle.  _MG_8918_20Balanced
Seattle Market
Well, we have reached our peak Seattle home prices as of approximately March 2018.  Sometimes in real estate, the data is more of a tailwind than a headwind.  The trend for the last six + months is sellers are having to take 5-10% less for their homes and it is taking twice as long to get offers in place.  We can contribute some of this to the S&P 500 (down 20%) and Big Tech stocks (down 30-50%) plus another 3 or 4 more interest rate hikes in 2019.  Another expected Fed Interest Rate hike is forecasted for December 19th.  Unfortunately we aren’t seeing inflation accelerate as much as we’d like since corporate profits are slower than expected.
We also look to new construction trends.  When the Big Recession hit, it was harder for banks to loan money.  New construction of homes and condos virtually were at a standstill for long enough to affect the lack of inventory we have experienced for the last few years.  Basically new construction hadn’t kept up with the demand once we got the demand back.  So new homes and condos couldn’t be built fast enough…until now.  Now there are arguably too many which weakens the rental market.  The Seattle rental market for a two bedroom decreased 5.7% from a year ago.  It was $2,650 now it is $2,500 per month for the same two bedroom.  Whenever we see rental markets flatline, it typically means sellers reevaluate their cost to sell.
 
What’s the Bottom Line?
Pricing becomes under pressure when there is more inventory, like we see today.  If we continue this trend, we will have the inventory of homes like we saw in 2012 in several months.  Inventory is up 4% from year to date.  In 2017 we saw 24.7% homes on market.  Today it is 47.2%.
It’s too late to sell for top dollar in Seattle.  However our downturns generally last 2 to 5 years before it gets worse.  Keep in mind Seattle saw such a generous appreciation of home values since 2008 (when Amazon landed in Sea-town) that it has set a new standard for the median Seattle home.  Still if you are a seller, look to sell within the next couple of years.
Buying in Seattle ?
If you can withstand a 20% + correction over the next 5 to 7 years, then buy.  In other words, if you want to buy a home because you’re not a flipper, then by all means buy a piece of real estate.  It’s all about your EXIT PLAN.  If you plan on being in your home for 7 years (maybe 5 years in Seattle’s market) then it’s a good time to buy without worrying about the stock market, taxes breaks, and especially market ups and downs.  But what about interest rates you say. Higher interest rates do affect your borrowing/purchasing power.  But interest rates change, purchase price does not.  You can always refinance.  Keep in mind, however, the average income only increases roughly 2% a year.  So if interest rates increase significantly, then the harder it takes to recoup your cost of home ownership/purchasing.  Everyone’s situation is unique.  It’s best to have a personal conversation with a trusted financial planner, realtor, and lender to understand what’s best for you.
The Amazon Question – will it hurt Seattle’s market?
The short answer is no.  HQ2/3 will not change the landscape of Seattle’s real estate market.  Seattle is still numero uno for Amazon’s headquarters. It took Amazon ten years to gain the 45,000 to 50,000 “Amazon” population in Seattle.  We will certainly not see any developments that will rock our real estate world as quick as people think, if at all.  Amazon helped bring our Seattle home median values up 84%… 55% in the broader Seattle area (think Everett).  The numbers constantly change but in 2010 the median home value was $373,000 now we are around $690,000 +/-.  This is the new reality; Seattle is forever on the map as a major contender for high paying tech jobs, aerospace, and innovators alike from around the world.
And Finally
We are in the business to personally guide you.  Let’s talk about your scenarios and options.  Maybe it’s time to remodel or upgrade an existing Seattle area house to list in 2019?  Maybe you’re ready to buy more investment properties.
Perhaps you have specific questions – a unique home? an estate sale? Seattle neighborhood specific home values? Buying to add to your portfolio?  Let us know so we can work together on your goals.  We are your source for Seattle real estate expert advice.
You can reach us a number of ways.  Call/Text Molly Cartwright at 206-841-6800 or Courtney Cooper at 206-850-8841 email:  molly or courtney @cooperjacobs.com

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