While daily life may seem unpredictable, the local real estate market remains extremely stable. Activity in September acted more like the traditional peak spring market with home sales soaring and prices hitting record highs. Inventory remains very tight and new listings are selling quickly in every price range.
There just aren’t enough homes on the market to meet demand. King County had about half the inventory of a year ago. Snohomish County had 63% fewer available homes. On the other hand, the number of condos on the market in King County jumped by 24% over last September. Brokers attribute the flood of new inventory to COVID remote workers looking to trade their in-city condo for more living space. Despite the increase in inventory, condo prices rose 8% in September and pending sales — the best indicator of current demand — shot up 36% over the same period last year.
The slim supply of single-family homes means bidding wars and all-cash offers were the norm, driving prices to record highs. King County saw the third consecutive month of record-setting values. The median home price hit $753,600 in September, a 14% jump over last year. Prices in Snohomish County soared 16% from a year ago to $569,997, just shy of its all-time high of $575,000. For both counties, half the homes sold for over list price in September as compared with just a quarter of the homes a year ago.
The market doesn’t show signs of cooling off any time soon. In September the greater Northwest area saw the highest number of transactions since June 2018. Pending sales were up 32% in King County and 29% in Snohomish County. Interest rates continue to be at historic lows. With the area posting some of the fastest population growth in the country, expect the market to stay unseasonably hot.
The charts below provide a brief overview of market activity. If you are interested in more information, every Monday Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner provides an update regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the US economy and housing market. You can get Matthew’s latest update here.
This post originally appeared on GettheWReport.com
Pictured foreground to background: Zoe Brady, Kim Hyland, Angela Cherbas. – Eugene, OR
Preparing for the Holiday Season – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
On August 29, Windermere’s Coeur d’Alene offices donated $500 to Heart Reach, Inc., the non-profit food bank of the local Heart of the City Church, in support of their 2020 Turkeys and More program. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, this donation will help Heart Reach jumpstart their program year. Heart Reach will work with the United Way to identify and assist 1,700 families facing financial hardship in Kootenai County and provide them with food this holiday season.
Pictured L to R: Evalyn Adams, Heart Reach Inc. coordinator for Turkeys and More, agents Rich Dussell, Karen Hansen and Vicky Houle of Windermere Coeur d’Alene Realty. – Coeur d’Alene, ID
Let the Kids Play! – Seattle, WA
On August 5, the Windermere Sand Point office held their own Community Service Day at Thornton Creek Elementary school, readying the playground for use when school is back in session. Broker Tammy Heldridge led talks with the school district to put the event together, taking proper precautions to follow COVID-19 guidelines. Along with additional help from Heather Curiel, Brixton Ward, and Kate Chamberlin from the Windermere Northgate Office, the brokers, staff, and volunteers worked hard weeding, leveling sand, spreading wood chips and moving planters. Representatives from Seattle Public Schools’ Facilities Department lent a helping hand and by the end of the day, the playground was ready for play.
Above: Pictured L to R: Tammy Heldridge and Kian Pornour
Below: R: Renee Menti Ruhl – Thornton Creek Elementary – Seattle, WA
Gardening For Food Access – Lane County, Oregon
Over the course of three Fridays in August, staff and agents from Windermere Real Estate Lane County worked to transform the gardens of local food bank Food For Lane County, whose mission is to “Reduce Hunger by engaging our community to create access to food.” Working in groups of no more than ten and wearing masks, the teams took to the fields, shoveling dirt and hauling wheelbarrows, breathing new life into gardens that provide food for the community. Even though their original Community Service Day was canceled, “we still wanted to find a way to help the community, especially in a time like this when so many families are having a hard time putting food on the table due to Covid-19,” said Administrative Assistant, Whitney Schmidbauer.
Above: Pictured foreground to background: Zoe Brady, Kim Hyland, Angela Cherbas. Below: Angela Cherbas – Eugene, OR
Feeding Ronald McDonald House Families – Seattle, WA
Through the Windermere Foundation, Windermere Wedgwood donated 50 chicken dinners on August 19 to Ronald McDonald House through local restaurant Wedgwood Broiler. The office was originally scheduled to make dinners for the families at the Ronald McDonald House kitchen earlier this spring. But since the pandemic put a strain on visitors and in-house meal prep, they asked for meals to be packaged and brought in for the families to enjoy. Wedgwood Broiler stepped up with meals of roasted chicken, rice pilaf and fresh veggies.
Pictured L to R: Ann O’Neil, Jay Nemitz, and Michele Flinn picked up the meals and delivered them to Ronald McDonald House – Seattle, WA
This post originally appeared on the Windermere.com Blog
The following analysis of the Western Washington real estate market is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. We hope that this information may assist you with making better-informed real estate decisions. For further information about the housing market in your area, please don’t hesitate to contact your Windermere agent.
REGIONAL ECONOMIC OVERVIEW
It appears as if the massive COVID-19 induced contraction in employment that Washington State — along with the rest of the nation — experienced this spring is behind us (at least for now). Statewide employment started to drop in March, but April was the real shock: total employment dropped almost 460,000 between March and April, a decline of 13.1%. However, this turned around remarkably quickly, with a solid increase of 52,500 jobs in May. Worthy of note is that, in May alone, Western Washington recovered 43,500 of the 320,000 jobs that were lost in the region the prior month. Although it is certainly too early to categorically state that we are out of the woods, the direction is positive and, assuming we respect the state’s mandates regarding social distancing and mask wearing, I remain hopeful that Washington will not have to re-enter any form of lockdown.
- There were 17,465 home sales during the second quarter of 2020, representing a drop of 22.2% from the same period in 2019, but 30.6% higher than in the first quarter of this year.
- The number of homes for sale was 37% lower than a year ago, but was up 32% compared to the first quarter of the year.
- Given COVID-19’s impacts, it’s not surprising that sales declined across the board. The greatest drops were in Whatcom and King counties. The smallest declines were in Grays Harbor and Cowlitz counties.
- Pending sales — a good gauge of future closings — rose 35.7% compared to the first quarter of the year, suggesting that third quarter closings will grow as well.
- Home-price growth in Western Washington rose by a relatively modest 3.5% compared to a year ago. The average sale price in the second quarter was $559,194.
- Compared to the same period a year ago, price growth was strongest in Grays Harbor County, where home prices were up 14.3%. Clallam County also saw a double-digit price increase.
- It was interesting to note that prices were up a significant 6.6% compared to the first quarter. This suggests that any concern regarding negative impacts to home values as a function of COVID-19 may be overblown.
- I will be watching for significant price growth in less urbanized areas going forward. If there is, it may be an indication that COVID-19 is affecting where buyers are choosing to live.
DAYS ON MARKET
- The average number of days it took to sell a home in the second quarter of this year matched the second quarter of 2019.
- Across the entire region, it took an average of 40 days to sell a home in the second quarter. I would also note that it took an average of 14 fewer days to sell a home than in the first quarter of this year.
- Thurston, King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties were the tightest markets in Western Washington, with homes taking an average of only 17 days to sell. All but two counties, Grays Harbor and Cowlitz, saw the length of time it took to sell a home drop compared to the same period a year ago.
- Market time remains well below the long-term average across the region. This is due to significant increases in demand along with the remarkably low level of inventory available.
This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s real estate market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors.
What a difference a quarter makes! Given that demand has reappeared remarkably quickly and interest rates remain historically low, it certainly remains a seller’s market and I don’t expect this to change in the foreseeable future.
The overall housing market has exhibited remarkable resilience and housing demand has rebounded faster than most would have expected. I anticipate demand to remain robust, but this will cause affordability issues to remain as long as the new construction housing market remains muted.
ABOUT MATTHEW GARDNER
As Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, Matthew Gardner is responsible for analyzing and interpreting economic data and its impact on the real estate market on both a local and national level. Matthew has over 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.
In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Matthew sits on the Washington State Governors Council of Economic Advisors; chairs the Board of Trustees at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington; and is an Advisory Board Member at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington where he also lectures in real estate economics.
This post originally appeared on the Windermere.com Blog