Monthly Archives: March 2015

Renters Feeling Heat From Increased Housing Costs

Source: RISMedia

The gap between rental costs and household income is widening to unsustainable
levels in many parts of the country, and the situation could worsen unless new home
construction meaningfully rises, according to new research by the
National Association of REALTORS®.

NAR reviewed data on income growth, housing costs and changes in the share of
renter and owner-occupied households over the past five years in metropolitan

statistical areas across the U.S.. The findings reveal that renters are being
squeezed in many metro areas throughout the country due to the disproportionate
growth in rental costs to incomes. New York, Seattle, and San Jose are among
the cities where combined rent growth is far exceeding wages.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the disparity between rent and income
growth has widened to unhealthy levels and is making it harder for renters to
become homeowners.”In the past 5 years, a typical rent rose 15 percent while
the income of renters grew by only 11 percent. The gap has worsened in many
areas as rents comtinue to climb and the accelerated pace of hiring has yet
to give workers a meaningful bump in pay.”

Early Spring Brings Bumper Crop of Homebuyers Who Face Inventory Drought

Source: NWMLS

KIRKLAND, Washington (March 5, 2015) – Favorable weather and restored confidence are propelling
home buying activity around Western Washington to the highest level in nearly a decade, according to
Northwest Multiple Listing Service sources.

“The pent-up demand being unleashed has rocketed pending sales back to the levels of our record year in
2006,” said Ken Anderson, president/designated broker at Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty in
Tumwater. Buyers have come off the sidelines, the former MLS director commented, adding “At the
same time, homes for sale are near a 10-year low.”

Northwest MLS figures show pending sales system-wide surged 18.7 percent in February compared to the
same month a year ago, rising from 7,247 mutually accepted offers to 8,599. Twenty of the 23 counties in
the service area reported double-digit increases in pending sales.

Those numbers might be even higher given the ample supply of buyers, but inventory is far from ample.

“Listings are flying off the shelf faster than allergy medicine in this early spring market,” quipped MLS
director Frank Wilson, the branch managing broker at John L. Scott, Inc. Poulsbo. He said the brisk
activity is posing challenges for buyers. “They will probably make several offers before one is accepted
and they just need to expect to be competing with others,” he cautioned.

Northwest MLS broker-members added more news listings to the database during February than 12
months ago (7,852 last month versus 7,234), but the higher sales volume kept inventory levels well below
year-ago totals. The MLS reported 16,946 total active listings at month end. That compares to a total of
19,273 for the same month a year ago for a drop of about 12 percent.

John Deely, principal managing broker at Coldwell Banker Bain, also commented on the imbalanced
market. “The early spring weather has brought a bumper crop of buyers to a market experiencing a
drought of listings.” The MLS director said activity in Seattle continues to move “at the fastest pace in
memory.” It is not uncommon for weekend open houses to draw upwards of 100 group visits and bidding
competitions, he reported.”Multiple offers rule the day, with many bids at 20 percent over well-priced
properties around Greater Seattle.”

For the 4,761 sales of single family homes and condominiums that closed during February, the median
price was $280,000. That reflects a gain of about 6.5 percent from the year-ago sales price of $263,000.
The volume of closed sales jumped about 13.5 percent from a year ago. Brokers reported 4,761 closed
sales last month, which compares to 4,196 for the same month a year ago.

For single family homes, which accounted for 86 percent of all sales, the median price system-wide
jumped about 7.4 percent, rising from $270,000 to $289,925.

Pending Home Sales in January Reach Highest Level Since August 2013

Souce: RISMedia

Improved buyer demand at the beginning of 2015 pushed pending home sales in January to their highest level since August 2013, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. All major regions except for the Midwest saw gains in activity in January.

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings climbed 1.7 percent to 104.2 in January from an upwardly revised 102.5 in December and is now 8.4 percent above January 2014 (96.1). This marks the fifth consecutive month of year-over-year gains with each month accelerating the previous month’s gain.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says for the most part, buyers in January were able to overcome tight supply to sign contracts at a pace that highlights the underlying demand that exists in today’s market. “Contract activity is convincingly up compared to a year ago despite comparable inventory levels,” he says. “The difference this year is the positive factors supporting stronger sales, such as slightly improving credit conditions, more jobs and slower price growth.”