Local Housing Market Data

Year_End_Infographic

This infographic, supplied by the NWMLS, quickly reflects 2017 King County real estate market statistics.

  • nearly 3% more homes (condos & houses) sold in 2017 vs. 2016
  • the median sales price was up nearly 15% county-wide
  • at the end of 2017 there was less than a one month supply of available homes
  • a 4 – 6 month supply is considered a balanced or normal  –  we haven’t seen a “normal” level of supply for 2+ years

Barely six weeks into 2018, the stats haven’t changed much. Homes are coming on the market slowly and selling quickly. Inventory still can’t meet buyer demand. The “spring” market generally opens up in mid-to-late February; hopefully there will be more condos and houses available as the weather begins to improve.

The take away . . .

  • Planning to sell? Buyer demand is high but condition & location are still important
  • Ready to buy? Position yourself to be a strong buyer. Obtain a current loan pre-approval from your lender. Work with your Realtor® to educate yourself on neighborhoods, schools, recent sales prices, list vs. sold statistics, commute times, etc. Know what you want and know what your budget will allow. Be patient. Be flexible. Be ready to move quickly.

Maybe the home that fits your lifestyle isn’t a house. Expand your options. A condo or townhouse, which can offer a single family lifestyle with lower maintenance responsibilities, is a great alternative if you don’t want a lot of yard or exterior maintenance.

I’ve specialized in condominiums and townhomes for over two decades. Find out what’s happening in your community or learn more about your future neighborhood. I have local sales and market data, information on new properties, future projects, etc. that may impact you as a seller or buyer.

 

 

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Investment Property – Time to Sell?

rent sign

flickr/Mark Moz

Interest in area rentals remains strong, but there has been a noticeable slight decline in area rents so far this year Even in high demand urban areas, rents have dipped slightly.  With thousands of new apartments recently completed, or nearing completion, and hundreds more under construction, rental supply may have begun to outpace demand.

If you own an investment property, you’ll likely find more competition the next time you negotiate a lease renewal. Hundreds of new apartments are available offering modern finishes, new appliances, high tech features and a long list of community amenities and services. Tenants may not be as quick to accept a rent increase or even a lease renewal when, for the same or less money, or attractive lease-signing incentives, they can move into newer digs.

If you’ve owned your investment property for 5+ years, this could be an excellent time to sell and maximize your return on investment and diversify your portfolio. The inventory of available homes for sale is at historic lows and buyer demand is off the charts. Properties are selling quickly, often with multiple offers. Your total return on investment could provide more long term income security than the monthly rental income. Even if a property needs cosmetic updates to rent or sell, that minor investment will result in a major return when you sell.

Need local market information? I live and work in downtown Bellevue – there isn’t much I don’t know and love about the city. A Realtor® for over two decades, I combine my knowledge of the city and extensive condominium experience to advise and guide clients through the process of buying or selling a home.

 

 

 

Selling in a Hot Market

cleaning

flickr/sgrace

Yes, its a seller’s market, but if you’re planning to sell your home, don’t think you can forego the typical prep work associated with getting your home ready to show to buyers. This is the time of year more homes are listed for sale, and more inventory brings more competition. With more to choose from buyers may not be willing to pay top dollar for a dirty, dated or poorly maintained home.

There are easy, inexpensive tasks a homeowner can complete in a weekend or two that make a big difference.

  • CLEAN (and clean again) – pay special attention to the kitchen and baths.
  • DE-CLUTTER – remove clutter in closets, cabinets, drawers and garages. “Martha Stewart” your house and show off the storage space.
  • PAINT – If a room or hallway is looking tired a fresh coat of paint is inexpensive and makes a big difference.
  • MAKE A GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION – Curb appeal is huge. The saying “you only get one chance to make a good first impression” is true in any market. Paint the entry door (if the HOA permits), install a new kick plate, toss tired winter plants and put fresh flowers and mulch in entry pots or gardens.
  • LET THE SUN SHINE IN – open window treatments, remove or replace tired drapes or blinds. Clean the windows – maximize your home’s natural light.

Some work will require professional help but its worth the investment. Have the furnace and A/C serviced. If other systems, appliances or fixtures need repair get it scheduled.

Multiple offers are common and many homes are selling quickly and for more than list price, but that doesn’t mean a free pass for neglecting repairs or cleaning. A home should be delivered to the new owner in clean and good condition.

It takes considerable time and energy to get a home ready to sell, but the payoff (return on investment) is worth the effort. I specialize in condos. I know what’s been happening in your neighborhood and your home’s market value. When its time to sell let’s talk . . . I have information and referrals for cleaners, contractors, landscapers, resources for donating or disposal and can help you maximize your return on investment.

Eastside Condo Market is on Fire

Bellevue skyline from Lake WA #1In the past condo sales and values lagged a bit behind single family homes – not anymore. Eastside condo sales have accelerated in recent months with record attendance at open houses, shorter market time (less than 10 days), multiple offers and sales prices averaging 5% over list prices.

The number of available resale condos downtown is at an all time low. Since the first of the year 59 condos have sold (an average of 20 per month). With just 20 resale condos currently listed for sale, that’s just a one month supply to choose from. There are 20 pending condo sales, so you can easily see the available inventory is being gobbled up as soon as it comes on the market.

Downtown Kirkland is no different  –  since January 1st 54 condos have sold and there are currently only 21 active listings, or a 1.1 month supply of inventory, but with 37 pending sales, those 21 active listings clearly won’t satisfy buyer demand. With the continued hiring pace at Google, new companies moving into the office space at Kirkland Urban in the next 18 months, plus the new retail and dining experience Kirkland Urban will offer, there are a lot of reasons for wanting to be in Kirkland.

If you’re a seller, you’re in the driver’s seat, but you need to be ready to move quickly and have your rental or new purchase lined up for quick occupancy. Investors should seriously think about selling in this market to maximize their return on investment. Buyers . . . there are a lot of cash offers out there, but they don’t always offer the best price or the best terms for sellers. Get your financing together, listen to your Realtor® (if you don’t have a Realtor®, find a good one), be flexible, realistic, creative and patient. Prices aren’t going to go any lower and with 1,000 people a week moving into the Puget Sound region, demand will continue. Now is the time to get your foot in the door of home ownership, move-up for more space or a view or downsize to a lower maintenance lifestyle. Its not a secret anymore . . . this is a great place to live.

Continued Seller’s Market in 2017

Population growth in the Puget Sound region continues to exceed the national rate. With Bellevue’s population and employment growth, its projected the local real estate market will remain strong this year. The continued development in Bellevue’s central business district, the addition of  jobs, amenities and services, access to award winning schools, transportation and future light rail will all continue to make this a highly sought after place to live.

For the past few years housing has struggled to keep up with job and population growth, creating a housing crunch and driving up prices. Inventory  levels should pick up as we head into spring, but the increase won’t be enough to meet demand. It will continue to be a seller’s market this year with property values expected to increase    7-8% over the next 2-3 quarters. What does this mean for buyers? They will still need to position themselves to compete n this market. Start the loan process early, be fully vetted and approved for a mortgage, have patience and follow the advice of your loan consultant and Realtor®. Sellers will have the market edge again this year but homes still need to be prepared for the market with repairs completed, an appealing presentation and market-appropriate price. While cash offers will still be common, but sellers need to know a cash offer isn’t always the best offer. (Cash buyers should be vetted and funds verified to prevent delays in closing.) Buyers using financing are still a big part of the market; lenders, underwriters and appraisers will still be involved in the successful sale of many homes in our area.

There is good news. There are condo and townhome communities planned in downtown Bellevue that will break ground in the coming weeks/months and others that are in the planning and design phase. I live and work in downtown Bellevue. A Realtor® and condo specialist, I keep tabs on what’s happening, and what’s about to happen, in the marketplace. Contact me for information about new communities and projects planned in and around the central business district.

Condo Pet and Rental Restrictions

dog and cat

Flickr/ by meknlts

Its easy to get excited about the perfect condo when searching for a home, but condos have many moving parts. One of the most important, and often overlooked issues, are the HOA rules and regulations, particularly as they relate to pets and non-owner occupied units.

Some communities restrict all pets, others allow only cats, and some have weight or breed restrictions for dogs. The Puget Sound region is rated as one of the top in dog ownership in the country  –  don’t fall in love with a condo only to discover your family pet isn’t welcome. Pet restrictions can (and do) have an impact on resale  –  buyers may eliminate communities that won’t permit them to bring four legged family members.

Rental restrictions need to be disclosed and understood up front as well. If purchasing a condo as an investment, or if you hope to rent down the road, research and understand community rental restrictions or limitations on use. Sellers should disclose rental or use restrictions at the time a property is listed for sale to avoid buyer misunderstandings, delays in closing or a failed transaction.

Condos have many moving parts. Work with an industry expert who knows the local market and is familiar with the rules and regulations that apply to ownership in specific communities. A condo expert can help you find the right condo and community for your lifestyle and investment goals and guide you through the issues specific to condominiums and HOAs.

Downtown Bellevue by the Numbers

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