Isn’t our market supposed to have more houses and condos for sale by this time of the year? I hear that question a lot these days, and in years past, the answer would be yes, but this is the new Seattle real estate market.
Over the past 18 months we have seen the level of on the market active properties steadily decrease (with the exception of some short bursts of new listings here and there). But we have seen the number of pending home sales slightly increase over the same period. This demand is mostly fueled by job growth locally which is causing a growth in our population as well. A recent report by the Census Bureau tells a story of Seattle being the fasted growing major populous city in the country from 2012 to 2013 at 2.8% growth which is roughly 18,000 people. Yes, I typed that correctly Seattle was THE fasted growing city. Our city also saw a growth of jobs by 15,000 during the same period according to Seattle’s Office of Economic Development.
So with pending sales up (fueled by population and job growth), and the number of new listings coming to the market down, it’s not hard to guess how the rest of our “busy season” will go this summer.
My prediction for the rest of 2014?
Hold on for a fun ride if you are a seller, and get your boxing gloves on if you are a buyer.
Buyers should continue to expect to compete with other buyers for the same desirable properties, and be prepared to get creative with your offer strategies in order to win out over the competition, although this may be cooling slightly. Buyers are getting frustrated with the competitive environment with multiple offer situations where the winning buyers are sometimes all cash buyers that will pay 5%, 10% or even up to 20% above the list price for very desirable properties. I think this will cool down as buyers will find ways to avoid this. I think buyers will start to focus on other houses or condos that might not be totally dialed in and turnkey, and direct their attention to the ones that have been sitting on the market due to being overpriced or needing some updates. I think we will see a growth in the number of buyers using rehab loan products from a few local banks that offer a creative loan option where you can buy a house our condo needing some repairs or updates and the finance the remodel to make it your own. Less desirable properties often means less competition.
For sellers, it’s a great time to sell frankly, but don’t get to cocky. The house or condo still needs be priced correctly to garner the attention needed to get buyers competing for your pad. You still need to detail, fix up things that need attention, stage the spaces, and prepare the condo or house appropriately. Some foolish sellers are finding this out the hard way by overpricing their properties and at the same time neglecting to present the home well. Don’t be a foolish seller; buyers still want a nice home that is priced appropriately. They’ll compete for that, but will skip over houses and condos that are obviously poorly cared for and priced on a wing and prayer.
Overall Market Prediction:
Inventory will remain low through the rest of 2014, pricing in most neighborhoods and most price points will still continue to rise for the rest of the year. Don’t wait for something to change, if you are in a position to buy, do it now before things get more expensive, if you are thinking of selling, please let’s get you on the market. We need your house or condo on the market, and don’t worry about not finding a home. Be creative, be flexible, and it will happen. I have yet to hear of a client that is homeless. It always just seems to fall into place.
To chat about possibly selling your home or condo, drop me a note or call. For buyers don’t fear the market, pricing is still low compared to historical highs before the recession, and interest rates are again at all-time low which stretches what you can afford.