Your Queen Anne Market Report for March 2020

“As the economic storm clouds on the horizon in early 2019 cleared up, we saw buyers return in droves, taking advantage of ultra-low mortgage rates,” said Zillow economist Jeff Tucker. “Our first look at 2020 data suggests that we could see the most competitive home shopping season in years, as buyers are already competing over near-record-low numbers of homes for sale. That is likely to mean more multiple-offer situations, and that buyers will have a harder time finding the perfect fit for their families. The good news for buyers is that low mortgage rates are helping to make home ownership more affordable, and home builders are responding to the hot housing market by starting construction on more homes than at any time since 2007.”-Zillow

I could not agree more and I liked the way the above was concisely written so I thought I would pass it along. So far this year, what I am seeing on the Hill is much more demand than last year at this time. While January and February are always low inventory months, this year the demand is much greater and as a result, I think this spring is going to be gangbusters again as I said in last month’s newsletter. Homes priced under $1M sell especially fast. As an example, 1916 11th West, a busy section of 11th going down to 15th West, listed for $900K, sold in less than a week. It had 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, unfinished basement, no yard and the back of the home was next to a new condominium project. It was so close that if you wanted to borrow some mustard from the neighbor, you wouldn’t even have to leave your home to do it.

Insanely low interest rates are a major part of this demand as they are at their lowest in 50 years. This is mainly due to the stock market suffering from corona virus fears and investment money flowing into 10-year Treasuries for safety. I see these low interest rates staying around probably through the rest of the year. Mortgage brokers are swamped with requests for re-financing which is what happens when rates go this low. Also, first time buyers are getting into the market now with larger numbers because rents are not going down and at a certain point, they can buy a home for not much more per month than the rent they are currently paying (if they have the down payment). In short, I am predicting that this spring will be crazier than last spring, so great for sellers (and buyers if they can get into contract on a home).

I have posted a video below that shows you a short video on the current Seattle market from our Windermere economist, Matthew Gardener. He addresses the virus outbreak and his prediction on how it will affect our market. 

The winner of last month’s home that went most over list price is 2900 1st North, a beautiful Craftsman, listed for $1.395M and selling for $1.685M! The demand is back in force!

Read the full report by clicking here.

And that’s the way Steve sees it…

Make it a great month and stay healthy!

Posted on March 11, 2020 at 10:35 pm
Stephen Hicks | Category: Market News | Tagged , , , , , ,

Your Queen Anne Market Report for February 2020

Well we have gone from only 5 active listings last month to 15 currently. Looking at the last 30 days of sales on the Hill, it looks like we are going to have another great spring market due to how quickly new listings coming on the market have gone into escrow. We have had 10 sales in the last 30 days with an average market time of only 8 days. This certainly demonstrates that demand is alive and well for Queen Anne homes. The low inventory is the only factor that is keeping the sales from going even higher. The most popular price ranges for these sales is under $1.5M and especially active is anything listed under $1M. This makes sense of course because there are more buyers in this range than in price ranges over $1.5M. You can look at the data in the attachment if you like.

The national and local economy is very strong which is also underpinning this activity. Interest rates have been declining for the last six weeks or so due to all the money going into safe haven 10 year Treasury bonds. The more money that flows into those bonds, the lower their yields and consequently mortgage rates which stand around 3.5% (for a conforming loan amount for buyers with at least a 760 credit score and sufficient income). As long as tariffs are an issue and the corona virus, I see rates staying at this level. With rents skyrocketing and with mortgage rates this low, more younger buyers are moving into the market place instead of renting. The problem is usually lack of down payment, so I have started to see some banks offering zero down loans again. I do hope we have learned from our mistakes in 2007! Frankly, looking at the big picture, as long as unemployment stays low(3.6%), inflation remains under control(1.6%) and interest rates stay low, business and employment will continue to be profitable and consumers will continue to spend money which accounts for about 67% of our national GDP. As a small example of how optimistic I am about this spring, the home that sold for the most over list price in the last 30 days was 112 West McGraw, listed for $1.15M and selling for $1.345M! This is very positive considering it was in the dead of winter and on a very busy street!

As an side, I want you to know that this year, I will be offering a $2,000 credit towards staging, plus a custom movie and colorized floor plans in addition to professional high resolution photos for any new listings. I am trying to give you as much value as possible to help you sell your home for maximum dollar.

And that’s the way Steve sees it…
Make it a great month!

Click here to view the full report

Posted on February 17, 2020 at 11:40 pm
Stephen Hicks | Category: Market News | Tagged , , , , , ,

MATTHEW GARDNER – WILL THERE BE A RECESSION IN 2020?

Windermere Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, answers the most pressing question on everyone’s minds: Will there be a recession in 2020? Here’s what he expects to see.

Posted on January 19, 2020 at 2:35 am
Stephen Hicks | Category: Market News, Matthew Gardner Report | Tagged , , , , ,

Your Queen Anne Market Report for January 2020 with 2019 Market Summary

I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday season and were able to take a break from work for a few days to relax and re-group! Now, let’s jump right in and look at a summary of the homes sold on Queen Anne for 2019. This data comes from the NWMLS and does not include condominiums or multi-family dwellings and contains only single family homes on the Hill that sold in 2019.

In looking at the data above, the first thing you will notice is that statistically there was no average appreciation during 2019 from 2018. I am flabbergasted at that number because I know many homes did appreciate last year. I know my raw data from the NWMLS is correct and complete. One factor in this lower average appreciation number is there were 65 homes that sold for less than $1M which is 28% of the total annual sales; a number larger than most previous years. This larger percentage has worked to counteract any increase in the average sold price of all homes sold. It is related to the significant number of price reductions homes have had this year before going into escrow. Another indicator is to look at the median sold prices between the two years. The median, as you probably know, is the price that an equal number of homes on the Hill sold for above and below that $1.265M median. This number does indicate a small gain of about 1% in price over last year. Please see attachment for all of the 234 homes that sold on the Hill last year with the details of each. (The computations have been made by the MLS computer so no chance of mathematical error on my part if you happen to be wondering that!)

At present, we have only 5 active homes listed for sale on the Hill.  This number will be increasing over the next three months as we approach spring and prices begin to rise once again with increasing demand. BTW, the grand prize for the home that sold for most over list price in 2019 goes to 2120 2nd Avenue West, a fixer on a large lot in a wonderful location listed at $1M and sold for $1.250M. Last year, 45 homes sold for more than list price although many of them sold for just slightly more. With a strong local and national economy, I am confident we will see more appreciation in prices this year. Also, the state excise tax on the sale of a home has actually gone down for homes at $1.5M or less. Over $1.5M it has doubled. “A man’s money is never safe when the legislature is in session”-Mark Twain.

View Full Report Here

And that’s the way Steve sees it… Don’t forget to have a little fun every day.

Posted on January 19, 2020 at 2:33 am
Stephen Hicks | Category: Homeowner, Market News | Tagged , , , , ,

Matthew Gardner’s 2020 Mortgage Rate Forecast

Each year Windermere’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, forecasts into the next. Here’s what he expects for Mortgage Rates in 2020.

 

Posted on December 21, 2019 at 9:39 pm
Stephen Hicks | Category: Market News, Matthew Gardner Report | Tagged , , , , ,

Your Queen Anne Market Report for December 2019

First off, I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends and family!

Now let’s leap into what has happened on the Hill since my last report:

Sales during the Holidays and into January usually slow, but this year, at least in November, sales in King County are up 7% over this time last year according to the NWMLS. This is surprising news and confirms what my colleagues and I have been observing in our local market. In Ballard, Wallingford, Fremont, Crown Hill and most of the other near north end neighborhoods with average prices under $1Million, the competition among buyers is fierce. A very nice Craftsman bungalow in Wallingford that I looked at for a buyer last month had 8 offers on it listed at $985,000! Another home in Magnolia priced at $1.05M has had 8 pre-inspections before they are looking at offers. Much of what is causing this is traditional low inventory this time of year and amazingly low interest rates both which I expect to continue into the spring market. In looking at the data, it seems that homes listed over $1.2M are not experiencing this sales rapidity but are selling with an average on market of around 54 days. Currently, we have  16 active listings for sale on the Hill and the average sold price has been consistently right around $1.2M for a 2500 square foot home. Average price/square foot for the last 30 days has risen slightly to $525.00 November 2019 QA Pendings and solds for more details. Also, below is the 2020 real estate projection from Windermere’s economist Matthew Gardener. I encourage you to view his 4 minute video.

Finally, the home on the Hill that sold for most over list price was 3017 10thAvenue West, listed for $875,000 and sold for $913,700. Certainly not the overage we were used to seeing in the recent fast markets, but it was a major fixer in a Queen Anne Park and had been in very rough shape for years, so I am sure the neighbors are thrilled!

And that’s the way Steve sees it…

Have a magical Holiday season!

Posted on December 12, 2019 at 6:15 pm
Stephen Hicks | Category: Market News | Tagged , , , , ,

Queen Anne Market Report for November 2019

Are you being besieged by offers to purchase your home? I must get 4-6 postcards and letters a month to do just that. It makes me wonder if a national seminar rolled through the NW teaching people how-to low-ball owners on the value of their homes and then try to re-sell them for a profit. Speaking of that, I was on the Zillow site yesterday looking at a Zestimate of a home and noticed that Zillow is now buying homes and re-selling them! Though not in Washington yet, they are in 26 US markets. As a test, I called them on a rental home I have in Palm Springs to get an offer to purchase. That is in progress and I will let you know how that turns out in my next newsletter. I suspect their model is to purchase homes below market, add a fee due from the seller and then attempt to re-sell them in a very short time frame. One of the appeals, of course, is that there are no realtor commissions and no bank loans. The huge downside in all of this for the owner is that the home is not presented to the market at large and therefore, the owner runs the risk of selling it for less, or far less, than its real market value.  I think we all agree that “Zestimates” are not exactly reliable estimates of your home’s value so why should rely on Zillow to give you a reasonable offer? I have always maintained that an experienced real estate agent is well worth the commissions paid in getting you the highest, feasible price on your home through the extensive exposure the agent can garner. Time after time, I have seen that even after commissions are paid, the seller still has a higher net than selling without testing the market place.

As far as the Queen Anne market goes now, 80% of the homes listed since my last report have gone into escrow or have closed. That is very respectable number. 36% of those sold homes had to reduce their original list price to get into escrow, so list prices generally have been declining. BTW, the home that sold for most over list price was 506 Galer, listed for $989,000 and sold for $1,030,000, not much of a difference and reflects the fact that on the Hill, prices are not being run up over list like they once were. Of course, one reason for that is that most of the homes on the Hill are listed for over $1M. Homes priced for less in other neighborhoods are still seeing more activity. Please see the attachment for the data for the last 30 days on the Hill.

Finally, for the last 20 years, I have spent the winter months from November until March in Palm Springs where I have a home. I have had a California real estate license for over 12 years, but have not affiliated with a brokerage until now. I am happy to tell you that I will be selling homes there this winter and if you, or someone you know, would like to purchase a home there and get out of the grey, wet winter weather, please let me know. Prices are much lower than Seattle BTW. Same phone number and email address as always. In March, I will return to Seattle to once again be listing and selling homes on the Hill. I am always available during the winter months to assist you and have a realtor partner in Seattle, so don’t hesitate to call. And that’s the way Steve sees it.

View Full Report Here.

Posted on November 13, 2019 at 8:13 pm
Stephen Hicks | Category: Market News | Tagged , , , , ,

Q3 Market Report for Seattle

Posted on October 25, 2019 at 7:24 pm
Stephen Hicks | Category: Market News, Matthew Gardner Report | Tagged , , , , ,

Your Queen Anne Market Report for September

You probably have felt it in the air over the last 90 days-home prices are coming down. Ah the good old days when a home would come onto the market and be sold in less than a week with multiple offers. Not happening now. Our Windermere economist is indicating that, on average, home prices are down 7-10% over this time last year.

No need to panic, because mortgage rates are low and will probably fall a little more over the next month, so that keeps buyers in the market. There is no one reason for this transition in prices. Perhaps prices just got too high for buyers to qualify or feel comfortable with their monthly mortgage payment? Perhaps the bulk of buyers have already purchased and are not being replaced at the same crazy rate that they were over the preceding seven years? Perhaps there are so many new rental apartments now with managers offering major incentives to prospective tenants that that has lessened demand, not to mention that as rents become much less than mortgage payments, folks may decide to stay in their apartments. Perhaps they are locked into a one year lease with ten more months to go? And we cannot forget the unusually higher volume of homes that came on the market in late April and  continued through June which contributed to the price decline.

Despite the above, I am still very bullish on the future of Queen Anne popularity and pricing. If we follow the usual annual cycle, I expect this market to continue at basically this value level until next Spring when we will be off to the races again from March-June(or longer)!

Don’t forget: WS Excise taxes are going up starting January 2020 and really impact homes closing for $1.5M or more. Please see the attachment for details.

There were very few homes that sold over their list prices in August, but there was one standout: 1407 Bigelow was listed at $1.495M and sold for $1.7M.

And that’s the way Steve sees it…Click here to view report, and Click here to view the current Excise Tax rates.

Make it another great month!

 

 

Posted on September 12, 2019 at 10:14 pm
Stephen Hicks | Category: Buying, Market News | Tagged , , , , , ,

Your Queen Anne Market Report for August 2019

The only positive aspect of the current trade war that I can determine is that it is scaring investors into the bond market and consequently lowering yields and mortgage rates. The other “secure” investment, gold, has risen significantly and now has a market price of around $1500/ounce, up from $1250/ounce prior to about 90 days ago. Lower interest rates are always good for buyers and sellers of course. I expect mortgage rates to be at this level through the rest of the year.

Despite the low rates, home prices in King County have fallen 7% in the last year primarily due to rising inventory which has increased an average of 12%. This has also increased market times. Market times for QA homes have risen from 28 days to 39 days for the past 45 day period. Remember when our market time was about 6 days(or less)? Fortunately, homes on Queen Anne have continued their upward trend, although certainly more slowly than the preceding 6 years. I did a sampling of homes that sold in 2018 from 1/1/18-7/1/18 and we had 135 sales of single-family homes.

For the same period this year, that figure was 169, a 25% increase. Currently we have 38 homes for sale on the Hill as of today and 16 pending sales in the last 45 days which signals a 42% pendings/actives ratio(see attachment). That still indicates a seller’s market. Wages in Washington have risen 5.5% which if rates stay low, will help buyers purchase higher priced homes.

The home that sold for the most over list in the last 45 days was 2435 1st North, listed for $998,000 and selling for $1,050,000. Multiple offers are down in properties over $1.2M and when they occur, do not significantly raise purchase prices like they used to.

And that’s the way Steve sees it…Click here to view report.

Have a great month!

 

 

Posted on August 13, 2019 at 6:43 pm
Stephen Hicks | Category: Buying, Market News | Tagged , , , ,