Monthly Archives: March 2017

Ahead of the Curve: Home Price Growth Outpaces Inflation

Source: RISMedia

Home prices continue to chart growth, rising on an annual basis to outpace inflation, according to CoreLogic’s recently released Home Price Index (HPI) for January 2017. Prices increased 0.7 percent month-over-month and 6.9 percent year-over-year.

A combination of factors is driving momentum ahead of the curve, says Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist of CoreLogic.

“With lean for-sale inventories and low rental vacancy rates, many markets have seen housing prices outpace inflation,” Nothaft says. “Over the 12 months through January of this year, the CoreLogic Home Price Index recorded a 6.9 percent rise in home prices nationally and the CoreLogic Single-Family Rental Index was up 2.7 percent—both rising faster than inflation.”

Accounting for limited available inventory, CoreLogic’s HPI Forecast expects home prices to rise 0.1 percent month-over-month from January to February, and 4.8 percent year-over-year from January 2017 to January 2018.

“Home prices continue to climb across the nation, and the spring home-buying season is shaping up to be one of the strongest in recent memory,” says Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “A potent mix of progressive economic recovery, demographics, tight housing stocks and continued low mortgage rates are expected to support this robust market outlook for the foreseeable future. We expect the CoreLogic [HPI] to rise 4.8 percent nationally over the next 12 months, buoyed by lack of supply and continued high demand.”

The spring home-buying season came early this year, according to®, which expects record-high home prices and record-low days on market for February.

Source: CoreLogic

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Housing Inventory Reaches Record Low, But Brokers Expect Spring Bounce

Source: NWMLS

KIRKLAND, March 6, 2017) – Home buyers are in a spring mood, but sellers are still hibernating,
suggested one broker while commenting about the latest statistics from Northwest Multiple Listing
Service. Figures for February and feedback from brokers indicate record-low inventory is spurring
multiple offers, rising prices, fewer sales, and frustrated house-hunters.

Year over-year pending sales (mutually accepted offers) declined for the first time since March 2016,
falling 8.9 percent. Eight counties, including King and Snohomish, reported double-digit drops in pending
sales as the volume of new listings couldn’t keep pace with demand.

During the past three months, brokers have added 17,572 new listings to inventory, down only 5.7 percent
when compared to the same three-month period of a year ago. During the latest December-to-February
timeframe, MLS members reported 22,393 pending sales, far outpacing the number of new listings.

“Our robust market has created extreme conditions, and we’re seeing frenzy hot activity on each new
listing coming on the market,” reported J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott. “We’re also
experiencing some of the lowest inventory levels on record,” he noted.

In fact, a check of Northwest MLS records dating to 2004 shows no other month when the number of
active listings dipped below the 10,000 mark – until last month.

At the end of February, there were 9,091 active listings in the Northwest MLS system, which
encompasses 23 counties. That represents a drop of nearly 25 percent from the year-ago total of 12,107.
“Home sellers and buyers are complaining equally about the current market’s low inventory,” remarked
MLS director George Moorhead, designated broker at Bentley Properties. “Sellers are frustrated when
they cannot find another home to match their current needs, or when a home goes off market so fast that
the option of a contingent sale is not even considered,” he stated.

Buyers have been grumbling about the market for the past two years, Moorhead said. “That mood has
escalated into a panic as other buyers up the ante – at times to a level that even causes real estate
professionals to shake their heads,” he remarked.

Brokers believe seasonality is a factor, with several saying they are expecting an uptick in listings.
“For buyers, hope springs eternal, but the sellers are still hibernating,” suggested John Deely, the
principal managing broker at Coldwell Banker Bain. “We’ve been experiencing continued high buyer
demand as the spring market takes off early but sellers are on a more traditional schedule as listings
slowly ramp up,” he reported, adding, “Sellers that have come to market ahead of the traditional spring
market are reaping the benefits of less competition [from others who are selling] and a highly competitive
buyer pool.”


Call Before You Dig! Guidelines For Preventing Underground Utility Damage

Preventing Underground Utility Damage

The only way you can be sure that you are digging safely is to Call 811 Before You Dig, and request a FREE underground utility locate.

How to Request a Locate

At least two business days before you plan on digging:

Be sure to provide the following information:

  • Where you’re planning to dig, and
  • What type of work you will be doing.

Affected local utility companies will be notified about your intent to dig. They will send a locator to mark the approximate location of your underground utilities, following the color codes to the right, so you’ll know what’s below – and be able to dig safely.

Digging anywhere in the state of Washington without calling for a utility locate is against state law. Failure to call may result in fines, charges for damages, and criminal convictions.

For more information, visit

Smart Digging

When digging within two feet of the marked area, only use small hand tools such as a garden trowel to carefully expose the utility line. Keep in mind that utility installation is not the same for all utilities and requirements have changed through the years. Not all utilities are installed with protective casings and can be vulnerable to damage by tools as simple as a shovel. Always proceed with caution when digging around utility lines.

Utility Locate Problem?

If a locate was late, inaccurate, or incomplete – report it to the UTC. Call 1-888-333-WUTC (9882) or email You can also file a complaint with the Washington Dig Law Safety Committee.

Dig Law Safety Committee

Iif you feel a violation of the state dig law has occurred, you can file a complaint with the Washington Dig Law Safety Committee. The committee, created by statutory requirement, is made up of 13 members representing a variety of stakeholders throughout the digging and utility industry. The committee will hear complaints and make recommendations to the UTC for enforcement action. If you want to file a complaint with the Dig Law Safety Committee, visit:

Call Before You Dig Videos

    • “Don’t Be Like Me” Public Service Announcements 

Safe Digging Month

Housing Prices & Consumer Inflation Move Higher – Confidence Is High

Source: Michelle Wickett, Axia Home Loans

Housing prices posted strong gains through the end of 2016. The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city Home Price Index saw a 5.6 percent annual gain from December 2015 to December 2016, as low housing inventory continued to fuel rising home prices. Within the index it showed that Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon; and Denver, Colorado had the largest year-over-year gains.

Pending Home Sales, which is a future-looking indicator based on contract signings, were down a disappointing -2.8 percent in January, below the 0.9 percent expected, per the National Association of REALTORS®. December Pending Home Sales also were revised lower to 0.8 percent from 1.9 percent.

In economic news, the second reading of fourth quarter 2016 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) matched the first reading of 1.9 percent, just below the 2.1 percent expected even though consumer spending surged. GDP is the value of goods and services produced by the nation’s economy and it’s considered one of the broadest measures of economic health.

Inflation data ticked up in January as Core Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE), which strips out volatile food and energy prices, rose 0.3 percent from December. The headline PCE index (which includes food and energy) rose to 1.9 percent year over year, the biggest 12-month gain since October 2012.

Higher inflation can take a toll on Mortgage Backed Securities, reducing their value and negatively affecting the home loan rates tied to them. The record high Stock rallies experienced with the Dow, NASDAQ and S&P 500 also weigh down Bonds.

For those in the market for a new or existing home, home loan rates remain in historically low territory despite recent market volatility.

If you or someone you know has any questions about current home loan rates or products, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Michelle Wickett

Senior Loan Originator

Axia Home Loans

(360) 791-0513


Case-Shiller: Pace of Home Price Growth ‘Not Alarming’

Source: RISMedia

Home prices in the U.S. hiked to their highest level in more than two years in December, posting a 5.8 percent annual gain, according to the recently released S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index. Their pace, though substantial, is not “not alarming,” says David M. Blitzer, S&P Dow Jones Index Committee chairman and managing director.

“Home prices continue to advance, with the national average rising faster than at any time in the last two-and-a-half years,” Blitzer says. “With all 20 cities seeing prices rise over the last year, questions about whether this is a normal housing market or if prices could be heading for a fall are natural. In comparing current home price movements to history, it is necessary to adjust for inflation. Consumer prices are higher today than 20 or 30 years ago, while the inflation rate is lower. Looking at real or inflation-adjusted home prices based on the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Index and the Consumer Price Index, the annual increase in home prices is currently 3.8 percent. Since 1975, the average pace is 1.3 percent; about two-thirds of the time, the rate is between -4 percent and +7 percent. Home prices are rising, but the speed is not alarming.”

Home price growth in December was led by activity in Denver, Portland and Seattle, with annual gains of 8.9 percent, 10 percent and 10.8 percent, respectively. Prices for higher tier homes in Portland (more than $411,335) and Seattle (more than $532,716-plus) have been “stable” in the past five years, while prices for lower tier homes in Portland (less than $296,361) and Seattle (less than $335,111) have been “volatile”—movement that, according to Blitzer, signifies normality in the market.

“In the boom-bust of 2005-2009, prices of low, medium, and high tier homes moved together, while in other periods, including now, the tiers experienced different patterns,” says Blitzer.

The Index’s 10-City Composite posted a 4.8 percent annual gain and a 0.9 percent monthly gain, while the 20-City Composite posted a 5.6 percent annual gain and also a 0.9 percent monthly gain.

Home prices are continuing to be pressured by rising rates and supply shortages.

“One factor behind rising home prices is low inventory,” Blitzer says. “While sales of existing single-family homes passed 5 million units at annual rates in January, the highest since 2007, the inventory of homes for sales remains quite low with a 3.6 month supply. New-home sales at 555,000 in 2016 are up from recent years, but remain below the average pace of 700,000 per year since 1990.

“Another factor supporting rising home prices is mortgage rates. A 30-year fixed rate mortgage today is 4.2 percent, compared to the 6.4 percent average since 1990.”

Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices

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New and Existing Home Sales Remain Solid

Source: Michelle Wicketts, Senior Loan Originator, Axia Home Loans


Existing Homes Sales hit 10-year highs, the National Association of REALTORS reported. January Existing Home Sales surged by 5.69 million annualized units, up 3.3 percent from December to highs not seen since February 2007. All major regions across the nation saw gains, with the exception of the Midwest. The median existing home price rose 7.1 percent from January 2016. Overall inventory of existing homes remained low, however, at just a 3.6-month supply.

New Home Sales rebounded in January. The Commerce Department reported New Home Sales rose 3.7 percent from December to an annual rate of 555,000. The increase was below the 566,000 expected, but it comes after a 7 percent decline in December. Sales also were up 5.5 percent from January 2016. The median sale price was up 7 percent from a year ago. Inventories were unchanged at a near-normal 5.7 months’ supply.

For those in the market for a new or existing home, home loan rates remain in historically low territory despite the volatility in Stock and Bond markets over the last few weeks.

If you or someone you know has any questions about current home loan rates or products, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Michelle Wickett
Senior Loan Originator
Axia Home Loans
Phone: (360) 791-0513

Spring Home-Buying Season Gets an Early Start

Source: RISMedia

Housing is set to smash records in February, with® forecasting both the fewest days on market since the recession and the month’s highest list prices—an early start to the spring home-buying season, says Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke.

“The spring buying season is off to a booming start,” Smoke says. “Not only is the season starting a month early, February is also expected to see the fastest-moving inventory in a decade, as well as the highest home prices the month has ever seen. Homebuyers, take note: This year is shaping up to be even more of a seller’s market than last year.”

Data from indicate the median list price will be $250,000 in February—a record-setter—and listing inventory will be up 2 percent from January to 425,000. The median age of inventory for February, in addition, will be 91 days, a 5 percent dip from both January 2017 and February 2016.

Based on the data, the hottest markets in terms of median age of inventory will be Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif. (33 days), San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif. (27 days) and Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas (44 days).


For more information, please visit

For the latest real estate news and trends,


The Ideal Time to List a Home for Sale

Source: RISMedia

Numerous factors impact the sale of a home—including timing.

The ideal time to list a home for sale this year is between May 1-15, according to a recent analysis by Zillow. Homes listed within the two-week window sell for 1 percent more than the average home for sale, and also nine days sooner.

The window varies, however. In Baltimore, Md., homes listed at the market’s ideal time—April 1-15—sell 21.5 days sooner, the fastest of the top 25 metro areas; homes in San Francisco, Calif., listed at its ideal time, May 16-31, sell only 5.5 days sooner.

Home sellers in Portland, Ore., Sacramento, Calif., and Seattle, Wash., gain the highest average premiums by percentage when listing at their market’s ideal time, at 2 percent in Portland and Sacramento and 2.5 percent in Seattle. Sellers in the New York-Northern New Jersey metro area, Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Phoenix, Ariz., gain the lowest, at 0.7 percent in New York and Northern New Jersey and Miami-Fort Lauderdale and 0.8 percent in Phoenix. The premium, naturally, is relative to the market. A 1.3 percent premium in San Francisco equates to $10,200, while the same premium equates to $2,500 in Chicago, Ill., and $1,800 in St. Louis, Mo.

The analysis also identified ideal days of the week for listing a home based on Zillow data. Homes new to Zillow on Saturdays are viewed 20 percent more in their first week on-market than those new to Zillow earlier in the week.

“With 3 percent fewer homes on the market than last year, 2017 is shaping up to be another competitive buying season,” says Dr. Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow. “Many homebuyers who started looking for homes in the early spring will still be searching for their dream home months later. By May, some buyers may be anxious to get settled into a new home—and will be more willing to pay a premium to close the deal.”

Ideal times and premiums for the top 20 metros:


For more information, visit zillow                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark









Priced Out: Gender Pay Gap Spills Over to Housing

Source: RISMedia

Single homebuyers have a tougher time than most affording a house—and a new report shows single women have it harder than single men.

A joint report by PropertyShark and RENTCafé reveals housing in 23 of the nation’s top 50 metropolitan areas is out of reach for single women, while housing in 14 areas is out of reach for single men. Austin, Texas; Boston, Mass.; Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose, Calif.; Miami, Fla.; New Orleans, La.; New York, N.Y.; Philadelphia, Pa.; and Washington, D.C. are unaffordable to singles regardless of gender—but Chicago, Ill.; Denver, Colo.; Fort Worth and Houston, Texas; Memphis and Nashville, Tenn.; Milwaukee, Wis.; Sacramento, Calif.; and Seattle, Wash. are, in addition, unaffordable to single women. The starkest pay gap of the nine areas unaffordable to single women—but affordable to single men—is in Fort Worth, Houston and Seattle, spanning 70-73 cents on the dollar.

singles 1

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The areas where single women face the lowest housing affordability are New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and Miami, according to the report. In New York, monthly housing costs take up 119 percent of the average single woman’s income, while in Los Angeles, monthly housing costs take up 104 percent—a full-on shut-out.  Monthly housing costs for single men in these areas take up just shy of 100 percent.

There are areas where single women can afford to buy a home: Detroit, Mich.; Wichita, Kan.; Indianapolis, Ind.; and Tulsa and Oklahoma City, Okla., according to the report. The monthly housing cost in Detroit takes up just 4 percent of the average single woman’s income, while monthly housing costs in Wichita and Indianapolis take up 10 percent.

View more from the report here.