South Snohomish County Quarterly Market Trends – Q3 2020

 

The real estate market continued to positively perform in the third quarter and is the bright light in the economy during the COVID-19 health crisis. The protocols in place that have helped protect the safety of the community have recently been expanded to allow small group open houses to help address the demand in the market.

Interest rates remain historically low hovering around 3% and creating robust buyer demand and a competitive marketplace. Coupled with available inventory being down 72% complete year-over-year, the third quarter saw many home sales escalate in price due to multiple offers. This perfect storm of supply and demand has amped up price appreciation. With only 0.4 months of available inventory based on pending sales, the median price is up 9% complete year-over-year.

 

Inventory is down due to the high absorption rate which resulted in many sales. There was a delay in homes coming to market in the spring, but the summer months got us within 10% of the previous year’s number of new listings. The influence of interest rates, along with many people making big lifestyle moves due to working from home, Baby Boomers retiring, and the younger generations transitioning their work and family statuses have resulted in only 3% fewer sales complete year-over-year.

 

These are unprecedented times and the real estate market has provided lots of opportunities. Equity levels are high, allowing for exciting lifestyle moves, relocations, and some ease from other financial pressures. It is my goal to help keep my clients informed and empower strong decisions, now more than ever. Please reach out if you’d like to discuss your real estate goals and how they relate to your lifestyle and bottom line. Be well!


Posted on October 19, 2020 at 9:31 pm
Sean Fortune | Posted in Quarterly Market Trends, South Snohomish County |

South Snohomish County Quarterly Market Trends – Q2 2020

The real estate market performed very well in the second quarter despite the changing and challenging environment due to the COVID-19 health crisis. Our industry has been considered essential and required to operate with strict protocols in place to help protect the safety of buyers, sellers, brokers, and service providers. The ability to still do business helped sales churn during what would have been our busiest season, spring market.

 

Interest rates remain at the lowest levels we have ever seen, creating strong buyer demand and providing plentiful audiences for listings. The biggest challenge we saw in the second quarter was a lack of sufficient housing inventory for buyers to choose from, especially in the lower to medium price ranges. Understandably, would-be sellers were delayed in coming to market and some even stepped aside to survey their safety and motivation. This led to a 26% decrease in new listings in the second quarter vs. the same quarter last year. All the while, pending sales were only down 7%, illustrating the demand in comparison to supply.

 

This classic supply and demand scenario has helped maintain price appreciation. With only 0.6 months of available inventory based on pending sales, the median price is up 5% complete year-over-year. As we head into summer, we are looking to see more inventory come to market. Summer will be the new spring market as supply starts to catch up with demand while taking advantage of the longer, lighter days.

 

These are unprecedented times and there are many questions and concerns. It is my goal to help keep my clients informed and empower strong decisions, now more than ever. Please reach out if you’d like to discuss your real estate goals and how they relate to your lifestyle and bottom line. Be well!


Posted on July 17, 2020 at 2:44 am
Sean Fortune | Posted in Quarterly Market Trends, South Snohomish County |

South Snohomish County Quarterly Market Trends – Q1 2020

As we head into the second quarter amid the COVID-19 outbreak, new real estate listings and transactions have slowed after a strong first quarter. What would typically be the seasonally brisk Spring Market has tempered in respect of the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order.

 

During this time, some sellers are still coming to market and there are motivated buyers carefully viewing and purchasing homes. I’m happy to report that sellers are maintaining their home sale values through these negotiations. We anticipate pent-up demand for both sellers and buyers once the orders are lifted, and see the summer season becoming the new spring for real estate and a more normal second half of 2020, bearing control of the virus. We also look forward to many jobs returning once the orders are lifted.  We are fortunate to be in the Greater Seattle Area, as many industries such as tech and biotech will hold small businesses on their shoulders once their workers return to the brick and mortar locations.

 

Prior to the outbreak, we anticipated complete year-over-year price growth to be 4-6%. That has been adjusted to 1-3% due to this health crisis. Another important element to consider is equity levels: 33% of homeowners in Snohomish County have more than 50% equity in their home.

 

These are unprecedented times and there are many questions and concerns. It is my goal to help keep my clients informed and empower strong decisions, now more than ever. Please reach out if you’d like to discuss your real estate goals and how they relate to your lifestyle and bottom line. Be well!


Posted on April 22, 2020 at 6:11 pm
Sean Fortune | Posted in Quarterly Market Trends, South Snohomish County |

South Snohomish County Quarterly Market Trends – Q4 2019

In the fourth quarter of 2019, there were 5% fewer new listings that came to the market compared to the fourth quarter of 2018, but pending sales outpaced inventory levels with a 5% increase in sales activity. The trend of pending sales outpacing new listings rang true throughout all of 2019, which illustrates strong buyer demand. This demand is being fueled by the lowest interest rates we have seen since 2016, additional job creation in our area, and the convergence of baby boomers making big lifestyle moves and millennials making their first home purchases. Equity levels are very healthy for many homeowners due to the last 8 years of price growth providing the opportunity to make that right-size, move-up, or move-out-of-the-area move. An important factor to note as we head into Q1 of 2020 is the tighter-than-normal inventory levels. This will bode well for sellers, as buyers are anxious to secure a purchase with these historically low interest rates. Low interest rates are a benefit for buyers to have lower debt service, but also affords home sellers a larger audience.

 

This is only a snapshot of the trends in south Snohomish County; please contact me if you or someone you know would like further explanation of how the latest trends relate to your housing goals.


Posted on January 28, 2020 at 4:07 am
Sean Fortune | Posted in Quarterly Market Trends, South Snohomish County |

South Snohomish County Quarterly Market Trends – Q3 2019

Increased pending activity is an indication of strong buyer demand which is very much being driven by historically low interest rates, a thriving job market, and an overall strong local economy. In fact, interest rates are an entire point lower than they were a year ago! This affords buyers a price point that is 10% higher over last year while maintaining the same monthly payment. A year ago, the monthly payment for a home at $550,000 is the same for a home at $605,000 today. Today’s rates coupled with tempered price appreciation provides increased affordability for buyers, which in turn is providing a healthy audience for sellers.  After many years of strong price increases, many sellers are moving their equity to the next lifestyle home they desire.

 

This is only a snapshot of the trends in south Snohomish County; please contact me if you would like further explanation of how the latest trends relate to you.


Posted on October 16, 2019 at 12:12 am
Sean Fortune | Posted in Quarterly Market Trends, South Snohomish County |

South Snohomish County Quarterly Market Trends – Q2 2019

2019 provided a very healthy and more balanced spring market! Median price is up 3% complete year-over-year and up 1% from last June. Prices have started to find their balance as more inventory has come to market compared to the scarcity of years past. While buyers have had more choices over the last year, it is still a seller’s market with just 1.5 months of inventory based on pending sales, resulting in an average of 21 days on market and 99% list-to-sale price ratio in June. Low interest rates continue to drive demand, however sellers who overprice or don’t address condition issues will linger on the market, which is illustrated by the 16% increase in carryover inventory year-over-year.

 

Our real estate market continues to be driven by low interest rates, positive job creation, and upbeat consumer sentiment. Currently, interest rates sit around 4% which is still an historical low, affording buyers the ability to make moves and reduce their debt service. Price appreciation has started to temper to more normal rates, compared to the double-digit appreciation we experienced over the last 3 years due to more sellers coming to market. This has created more balance and greater opportunity for buyers. The generational shift we are experiencing as Baby Boomers move towards retirement and Millennials enter into their prime earning years is an exciting exchange happening in the market place right now.

 

This is only a snapshot of the trends in south Snohomish County; please contact me if you would like further explanation of how the latest trends relate to you.


Posted on July 18, 2019 at 10:43 pm
Sean Fortune | Posted in Quarterly Market Trends, South Snohomish County |

South Snohomish County Quarterly Market Trends – Q1 2019

Months of inventory was reduced as we finished out the first quarter of 2019. Months of inventory is the amount of months it would take to sell out of homes if no new listings came to market. This illustrates the balance between supply and demand. We peaked at 2.8 months in September of 2018 and found ourselves at 1 month this March.

 

The first quarter of 2019 saw 1,708 new listings and 1,547 pending sales – demand tracked quite well with supply! It remains a seller’s market (0-3 months of inventory), but not as constricted of a market as last year, which saw an average of 0.6 months in the first quarter compared to 1.3 months this year. As we head into spring, we should see continued growth in new listings and demand will be strong, fueled by low interest rates and positive jobs reports.

 

The second half of 2018 had a large influx of homes that came to market, and an interest rate jump which created a gap between supply and demand. Buyers enjoyed some negotiations and credits in the fall and winter due to more selection, but as interest rates reduced in the first quarter, we saw demand increase. This is helping to absorb inventory and reduce the average days on market it takes to sell a home. Median price is up 6% complete year-over-year, which is still higher than the 4% norm, but much less than the unsustainable 15% gains from 2017 to 2018. This balancing out in the market has been a positive phenomenon as affordability has been a challenge for many. Both sellers and buyers are finding great opportunities in the current market.

 

This is only a snapshot of the trends in south Snohomish County; please contact me if you would like further explanation of how the latest trends relate to you.


Posted on April 15, 2019 at 7:04 pm
Sean Fortune | Posted in Quarterly Market Trends, South Snohomish County |

Monthly Newsletter – March 2019: Consulting Your Trusted Advisor vs Following the Media

 

Spring is in the air! The bulbs are starting to poke out of the ground and we recently hit 70 degrees in the Greater Seattle area. This is the time of year, due to weather and the end of the school year approaching, that the local real estate market starts to take off with activity. Not only is the sun thawing out gardens and backyard patios, helping to ready homes for market, but interest rates are continuing to fall, providing a heyday for buyers and sellers.

Spring is the time of year we see more homes come to market providing more selection for buyers. This is what we call our peak season. This spring, however, is especially meaningful due to the recent decrease in interest rates. Seasonality naturally brings more activity, but 2019 has started out with a downward trajectory in regards to interest rates, which has been a welcome shift after watching rates increase by almost an entire point over the course of 2018.

According to Ycharts.com, as of March 14th the US 30-year mortgage rate is at 4.31%, compared to 4.41% the week prior and 4.46% last year. This is quite a bit lower than the long term average of 8.07%. Additionally, rates are now over half a point lower than they were just four months ago, which gives buyers 5% more buying power. Meaning they can increase their price range by 5% and keep the same mortgage payment.

We are beginning to see a ton of activity at open houses, market times are starting to shrink, and multiple offers are popping up again. Demand is on the rise, with first-time home buyers out in full-force along with move-up and down-size buyers all going after the same inventory. Price appreciation will start to happen again month-over-month as the tulips start to open and veggie gardens start sprouting.

This assessment is not only factual and researched, it is anecdotal. You see, statistics are only reported monthly from the NWMLS, so the stories from the streets tell the real story of where we have been, what’s happening now, and where we are headed in the real estate market. My daily engagement with the market, either helping buyers or sellers, researching values, showing properties, negotiating contracts, and working on inspections and appraisals helps me to be informed of the trends before they are even reported.

Around the third of each month, the NWMLS distributes a press release to the media reporting the previous month’s statistics. The media grabs the numbers that are most exciting to them to craft a story around. They create headlines to entice readership, which in turn sells advertising. The problem is that these news stories often only tell part of the story.

A classic example of cherry picked statistics used to create a headline came earlier this month.  The Seattle Times reported in a sub-headline that Snohomish County home prices were falling at their fastest rate in seven years. This is simply not the whole truth. This is a common tactic of the media often only using month-over-month numbers (comparing the current month to the same month a year ago) versus a complete year-over-year analysis. Real estate is a long-term investment, and month-over-month numbers tend to provide more of a snapshot rather than a longer-term analysis of data and what influenced it.

We need to look at the data from all angles. Where were we a year ago, what has happened over the course of the last year in comparison to the previous year, and what happened this month compared to last month? Real-time experiences matter too, as the market changes weekly and even daily. Interactions throughout the month help me understand what opportunities the current environment will provide before the ink even dries on the media release. All of this helps us understand where we have come from and where we are headed. Couple that with front-line, daily experiences, and your trusted advisor can help you determine how all of this relates to your bottom line much more effectively than an article in the newspaper.

Another important factor to consider is that the bulk of the statistics reported in that monthly NWMLS press release are based on closed sales. While closed sales are very important, we must also closely track pending sales activity (homes currently under contract). Closed sales show where we have been and pending sales indicate where we are headed. February was a misleading month because of Snowmageddon. It halted new inventory reaching the market and kept buyers at home. The second half of February once the roads were cleared, had buyers lined up. Many of those buyers are anxiously waiting for that seasonal surge in inventory as we head into spring. This is indicated by conversations being had at open houses and one-on-one encounters with clients. Buyers want to take advantage of these surprisingly low interest rates now and sellers are enjoying the audience they are providing.

Unfortunately, the media is the initial source of information, and sometimes the only source a consumer considers when making such big decisions. I can’t tell you how often I encounter people that are grossly misled by alarming headlines and bite-sized bits of media when it comes to their largest asset, or the consideration of entering into home ownership.

Supply and demand illustrates where we are at in the market, and factors such as interest rates, the local and global economy, and simple things like weather and consumer mindset drive the market. Consumer mindset is influenced by the media. Take it a step further and make sure you are aligned with a professional who is committed to tracking all of this and can help explain how it all relates to you. Everyone has their own goals and their own concerns; it is the analysis of a well-researched trusted advisor that can help you navigate these meaningful financial decisions. It is my goal to provide my clients with the most up-to-date information to help empower strong decisions. If you are curious how this all relates to you, please reach out. I’d be happy to discuss and help educate.

 

Growing your own vegetables is both fun and rewarding. It might seem intimidating if you’ve never done it before, but once you get started, you’ll find it isn’t very hard. Gardening is a learning experience, though. You’ll find that some things work better than others, and every planting season gives you another opportunity to make some tweaks and try again.

The first thing you need to decide is where to plant. For most veggies, this should be the sunniest spot you have. And of course, the second big question is what to plant. Go for the things you love to eat, as well as plants that will thrive in the amount of sun you have.

Our climate in the Pacific Northwest requires some crops to be started indoors in the winter and transplanted outside in the spring. But it’s not too late to get started. There are lots of plants that you can sow directly into the garden in early spring. Here are a few:

There are also many crops that can be planted in the summer for a fall harvest. Click here for a complete timeline of planting vegetables in the Seattle area.

 

Celebrate Earth Day with us! Bring all your sensitive documents to be professionally destroyed on-site by Confidential Data Disposal. Limit 20 file boxes per customer.

We will also be collecting non-perishable food and cash donations to benefit Concern for Neighbors Food Bank. Donations are not required, but are appreciated.

Saturday, April 20th, 10am – 2pm.
4211 Alderwood Mall Blvd, Lynnwood 98036

*This is a shredding-only event. Only paper will be accepted – no electronics or recyclables.

 


Posted on April 15, 2019 at 7:01 pm
Sean Fortune | Posted in South Snohomish County |

Q4 2018 – South Snohomish County Quarterly Market Trends

2018 was a year of change and growth. The market shifted from an extreme seller’s market, but still had strong gains. Year-over-year, median price is up 9% and since 2012 has increased 85%! Over the last 19 years, the average year-over-year price increase has been 6%. This puts into perspective the growth we have experienced, resulting in well-established equity levels. In 2018, inventory averaged 1.5 months, double that of 2017. This caused the month-over-month price gains to slow, and we experienced a price correction over the second half of the year. We expect to see more average levels of price appreciation in 2019 as the market continues to balance out.

After six years of expansion resulting in an extreme seller’s market, in 2018 we encountered a market shift in the late spring. Inventory increased, interest rates took a jump, and demand took a step back to re-evaluate the new playing field. This resulted in a tempering of month-over-month price appreciation, and has established some long-awaited balance. This balance has brought opportunities for both buyers and sellers. Buyers have more selection and are negotiating terms like inspection items and concessions. Sellers are sitting on 6+ years of equity growth, and are now able to sell their home and make a move without fearing where they will land next. Interest rates are still well below the 30-year average, currently hovering just under 5%. We are seeing demand start to re-engage now that the new normal has settled in.

This is only a snapshot of the trends in south Snohomish County; please contact me if you would like further explanation of how the latest trends relate to you.


Posted on January 16, 2019 at 2:58 am
Sean Fortune | Posted in Quarterly Market Trends, South Snohomish County |

South Snohomish County Quarterly Market Trends

In September, the average days on market landed at 27 days and the original list-to-sale price ratio 98%. Since May, inventory growth has been noticeable, and has given buyers more options. This has led to more negotiations and fewer bidding wars, which is tempering month-over-month price growth to a more sustainable level. Back in April, the average days on market was 14 days and the original list-to-sale price ratio 104%; but months of inventory based on pending sales was 0.8 months, compared to 2.5 months currently. Year-over-year, prices are up 11%, still well above the historical norm of 3%-5% year-over-year gains—but note that the majority of this growth happened during the spring, due to constricted inventory levels.

Supply has increased, creating more options for buyers and helping to buffer affordability issues. Many sellers are deciding to make moves and cash in on the equity gained over the last six years. An average original list-to-sale price ratio of 98% is a positive return, yet illustrates a softening in the market after some very extreme times. With 11% price growth over the last 12-months in a seller’s favor, the increase in selection has led to more nimble moves from one house to another. Where sellers need to be careful is anticipating the month-over-month price growth we saw prior to the shift in inventory. Prospective buyers would be smart to take advantage of today’s historically low interest rates and the added inventory selection.

This is only a snapshot of the trends in south Snohomish County; please contact me if you would like further explanation of how the latest trends relate to you.


Posted on October 15, 2018 at 12:19 am
Sean Fortune | Posted in Quarterly Market Trends, South Snohomish County |