Are we keeping pace with 2019: A Look at Weekly Sales Activity Amid the Stay at Home Orders

There have been a lot of questions that I have encountered about the stability of the housing market due to the global health crisis of COVID-19. I have kept close track of the statistics and daily activity in our market in order to help keep my clients well informed. Inventory levels remain very tight and buyer demand has started to return since the Stay Home Orders were put in place.

Interest rates are at the lowest point they have ever been, providing amazing opportunities for both buyers and sellers. Interest rates continue to fuel buyer demand and create an audience for home sellers. Recently, rates were as low as 3.33%, which is historic.

Below is a chart that shows the amount of weekly pending sales in 2020 in relation to the weekly pending sales during the same week in 2019.

In King County, you can see that we started the year off with activity similar to the robust year of 2019. In February 2020, there were more sales, but that was due to “Snowmageddon” in February 2019. March 2020 started off in concurrence with 2019, but once the Stay Home Orders were put in place there was a dramatic and expected drop in pending sales activity.
When the Stay at Home Orders were first put in place, showings were not allowed, causing a legitimate pause in transactions. The following week, the orders were adjusted to allow for showings and since then the amount of pending sales has increased each week. Protocols for showings include only two people in the home at one time, by appointment only, while practicing 6-foot social distancing.

These protocols, along with virtual showings and many different digital tools using video, have helped buyers and sellers safely come together in transactions. Agents are getting creative in order to best serve their buyers and sellers during this unique time. This has helped quell demand brought on by interest rates and the many industries still thriving despite recent unemployment numbers. See this video from Matthew Gardner regarding the latest unemployment report and his forecast.

Snohomish County followed the same initial pattern as King County, but has seen a quicker return to 2019 sales levels. This is due in part to the more affordable price points in Snohomish County compared to King. In fact, the days on market for closed sales in April 2020 were quicker by 34% at 21 days, and the list-to-sale price ratio was up 1% to 101% over April 2019. Additionally, the median price is up 3% complete year-over-year. In King County, the median price was up 1% complete year-over-year and days on market quicker by 41% at 17 days, and a flat list-to-sale price ratio of 101%.

Tight inventory started in January and continued due to sellers holding off coming to market amid COVID-19. Available inventory is currently not meeting the buyer demand in the market, especially in the lower to middle price ranges. The higher price points have been affected by the increased cost to obtain a jumbo loan, but are still seeing movement. We anticipate more homes coming to the market as we enter into the different phases Washington State has planned to reopen the economy and remain as safe as possible.

For some, now is the right time to sell, and for some it will be later down the road. The timing, safety, and comfort all need to be assessed along with the market data. What I’m pleased to report is that our market is not crashing. In fact, it is adapting! We will most likely find a balance as we head into the remainder of Q2 and start Q3. Many jobs are set to return as the phases unfold. Unlike the 2008 Great Recession, this is a health crisis, not a housing crisis; see this video from Matthew Gardner on this topic. The numbers are telling that story and so is the recent activity.

I strive for excellence when it comes to educating my clients, especially during these historic times that have created uncertainty. I am committed to providing accurate data and real-time information. Please reach out if you’d like to discuss this information and how it relates to your investment and lifestyle. It is simply my goal to help keep you informed and empower strong decisions. Be well!

 

 

We couldn’t have done it without you! Thanks to your generosity, we have surpassed our fundraising goal to benefit local food banks. The Windermere Foundation is matching every dollar up to $3,500, so we will be able to give a total of $7,500 to help feed our neighbors in need.

A portion of this money will go towards buying vegetable starts for the Martha Perry Veggie Garden, which will provide thousands of pounds of fresh produce to local food banks through the summer. Our office will soon get to work helping plant those starts along with the Snohomish Garden Club. We will be in small groups practicing proper social distancing over the course of several days in order to efficiently and safely get this acre of land planted. The rest of the funds will go to the Volunteers of America, who will stretch every dollar to its fullest extent throughout many food banks and food pantries across the county.

 

This is a portion of a larger fundraiser throughout the Windermere network. The funds are still being counted, but the total amount being given to local food banks is currently over $600,000!

 

Thank you!


Posted on May 13, 2020 at 11:06 am
Cori Whitaker | Posted in Community Events & News, Market Trends and Statistics, Monthly Newsletter |

South King 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: 43% of homeowners in King 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 11:20 am
Cori Whitaker | Posted in Market Trends and Statistics |

Eastside 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: 43% of homeowners in King 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 11:19 am
Cori Whitaker | Posted in Market Trends and Statistics |

Seattle Metro 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: 43% of homeowners in King 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 11:19 am
Cori Whitaker | Posted in Market Trends and Statistics |

North King 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: 43% of homeowners in King 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 11:18 am
Cori Whitaker | Posted in Market Trends and Statistics |

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 11:17 am
Cori Whitaker | Posted in Market Trends and Statistics |

North 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 11:16 am
Cori Whitaker | Posted in Market Trends and Statistics |

COVID-19 & the Real Estate Market – where we are now

I hope this newsletter finds you and yours feeling well and making the best of the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order. It has been my goal as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic to help keep my clients informed on how this is affecting real estate. I have received many inquiries asking about how the real estate market in our area is faring during this time. Fortunately, I have access to Matthew Gardner, Windermere’s Chief Economist on a weekly basis. Matthew’s one of the most respected economists in the nation, specifically in relation to housing. Last week, I had the opportunity to sit in on a Zoom meeting with him and my colleagues to learn more about COVID-19 and the Western Washington real estate market, and I found his outlook reassuring. Below is the latest edition of a weekly video series that he is recording each Monday to help keep everyone informed and connected to meaningful data. Matthew Gardner and Steve Harney, another economist on the East Coast, are who I am looking to for answers in contrast to just turning on the news or reading the latest headlines. Please click on the image below to listen to Matthew. If you have any questions or want to discuss how this might affect your real estate position specifically, please reach out! It has always been my goal to help keep my clients informed and empower strong decisions, now more than ever.
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have surely been felt economically. A common question that I have been asked is, “Is this 2008 all over again?” The answer is “No!” As Matthew touched on above, this is a health crisis, not a housing crisis. Yes, we are headed toward a recession, but not one that is based in housing like The Great Recession of 2008. That recession was primarily based on predatory lending practices that put people into homes they could not afford with little to no down payments and horribly vetted credit. In fact, of the last five recessions, three did not see price depreciation in housing.

Take a look at the graph to the right, which shows the homeowner households in King County with more than 50% equity in their home. In Q4 of 2019, 43% of homeowners in King County were in a very healthy equity position, owing less than 50% of what their home was worth. I have been tracking sales weekly since March 1st, and prices remain strong. We have a very limited amount of inventory, rates remain low, and buyer demand is being fueled by these positive components. Our economy was formidable prior to this, indicating solid bedrock for recovery once we weather this storm that needs to be waited out. The Greater Seattle Area is particularly fortunate as many of our large businesses are centered in information technology and Amazon, which have both stayed active during this time.

Another aspect that is different from the 2008 Great Recession is that some banks and mortgage investors (servicers) are working with homeowners to provide mortgage relief. With the shutdown of so many businesses and services, job losses have been abundant. If you or someone you know would benefit from setting up a mortgage forbearance program or loan modification in order to alleviate the pressure of monthly payments right now, click on this link and have them contact their mortgage servicer today. The available programs that are offered will vary from one loan servicer to another, and are primarily available for loans that are owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (click on the appropriate link to help research who owns your loan). Make sure you consider the details and payback terms for your long-term financial health. The ability to protect this asset while waiting this out will protect one’s equity. This is a milestone opportunity and will ensure a strong housing market moving forward.

On Saturday, March 28th, Governor Inslee adjusted the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order in relation to how real estate services can be provided. The point of this was to get the 17,000 pending transactions in our state headed towards a successful close. This also opened up the option for real estate to transact in order to help homeowners who need to sell to become unstuck, and buyers who need housing to be placed. The adjustments were focused on creating safe housing and addressing economic needs. This is not business as usual and now more than ever, entering into a real estate purchase or sale takes a well-thought-out strategy. Public health and safety have become a part of that strategic plan and are of the highest priority to consider along with housing and financial needs. In fact, waiting it out will be the best choice for some. If you or someone you know needs some guidance or is in a position to buy or sell during the Stay Home, Stay Healthy orders, please reach out. Also, see below the restrictions that are in place to help ensure all of our safety.
The uncertainty of COVID-19 and all of its repercussions may leave you feeling helpless or anxious. Sometimes it might feel like the only thing we can do is stay home and wait. The good news is that there are some practical ways we can all help.

1. Give blood, if you can. Blood banks nationwide are in a state of crisis, with severe shortages due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations. Even if your area has ordered residents to stay at home, going out to give blood is allowed as a volunteer activity to help meet essential needs. Go to Bloodworks Northwest or The American Red Cross to schedule an appointment.
*Blood banks are operating by appointment only to meet social distancing orders. Important note: Coronavirus has not been shown to be transmitted through blood transfusion.

2. Give to your local food bank. Cash or food donations are imperative right now, with so many of our neighbors out of work and facing economic uncertainty. You can do an online search for the closest food bank to you, or check out one of these local pantries.
Concern for Neighbors (Mountlake Terrace)
Lynnwood Food Bank
Edmonds Food Bank
Mukilteo Food Bank
Volunteers of America (Everett)
Snohomish Food Bank
Woodinville Storehouse
Canyon Hills Food Bank (Bothell)
Hopelink (Shoreline)

3.Donate to health care workers. Now more than ever before, we need to support our front-line healthcare workers, who are so bravely fighting COVID-19 and taking care of our sick loved ones. Most hospitals have a donation page, outlining what they are currently in need of. Not only are they desperate for personal protection equipment such as gloves and masks, but many facilities are also accepting food (snacks for health care workers), notes of encouragement, or monetary donations. Do a quick search for the hospital nearest you to see what they are lacking and how you can help. Here are a few to get you started.
UW Medicine
Swedish Hospital
Evergreen Hospital

4. Support local businesses. It is often said that small businesses are the backbone of America. Well, now is the time for us to rally and support the bedrock of our communities. Many restaurants are still open for take-out or delivery (have you tried Uber Eats, or Grubhub? These are great options, as you are not only supporting the corner pizza place, but the delivery driver as well), and many local shops are still selling online or offering curb-side pickup.
Some cities are rallying around their restaurants and shops by putting together a one-stop resource for who is open and what services are still available. I have linked a couple of local city’s lists below, including a very cool interactive map for the city of Seattle. For information on your city, try searching Facebook or looking up the city’s Chamber of Commerce website.
Seattle
Edmonds
Bothell / Kenmore
Everett

Take the challenge: the next time you think about ordering something on Amazon, stop and take a minute see if a local small business can fill that need for you instead.


Posted on April 1, 2020 at 3:06 pm
Cori Whitaker | Posted in Market Trends and Statistics, Matthew Gardner Economic Reports, Monthly Newsletter |

South King County Quarterly Market Trends – Q4 2019

In the fourth quarter of 2019, there were 9% fewer new listings that came to the market compared to the fourth quarter of 2018, but pending sales outpaced inventory levels with a 7% 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 King 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 8:25 pm
Cori Whitaker | Posted in Market Trends and Statistics |

Eastside Quarterly Market Trends – Q4 2019

In the fourth quarter of 2019, there were 17% fewer new listings that came to the market compared to the fourth quarter of 2018, but pending sales outpaced inventory levels with a 17% 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 (despite the 2018-2019 correction), 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 on the Eastside; 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 8:24 pm
Cori Whitaker | Posted in Market Trends and Statistics |