KIRKLAND, Washington (July 6, 2017) – For frustrated house hunters, there’s hope: the volume of new
listings added to inventory during June (13,658) was the highest total for any single month since May
2008 (14,176 new listings), according to the latest statistics from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
“This time of year we see more new listings coming on the market than pending sales, and June didn’t
disappoint,” stated J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott.
Noting the pace of sales is slowing and the number of multiple offers is moderating, broker Gary O’Leyar
suggested a summer breather is under way (as anticipated), which could yield “the season for a successful
purchase” for weary shoppers. O’Leyar, the designated broker/owner at Berkshire Hathaway
HomeServices Signature Properties, said this mid-summer real estate market “seems to be following a
fairly typical seasonal cycle” even though inventory is significantly lower than a year ago.
Northwest MLS director George Moorhead also commented on the “typical summer slowdown,” but said
it is more noticeable in outlying areas. “The hot core areas are still quite active as buyers vie for a new
home.” He also detected a slight increase in the time it is taking to market a home, and reported some
cooling off in the luxury market, saying prices may be reaching a plateau.
For many brokers, rising prices are an ongoing concern, with one industry leader describing the ever-
increasing prices as “startling.”
While the number of new listings was up about 7 percent year-over-year, total inventory lagged. Brokers
reported 14,482 active listings of single family homes and condos at the end of June, which is down 14
percent from twelve months ago when would-be buyers could choose from 16,838 listings. Compared to
the previous month, however, inventory jumped up 16 percent (12,481 vs. 14,482).
System-wide there was just over 1.4 months of inventory, but the supply varied across the 23 counties in
the MLS market area. King County continued to have the tightest inventory, with less than a month of
supply (0.84). Six other counties reported less than two months of supply (Cowlitz, Douglas, Kitsap,
Pierce, Snohomish, and Thurston). In general, four-to-six months is considered to be a balanced market.
“Inventory continues to go lower as prices continue to climb in Kitsap County, leaving us with about 1.5
months of supply and home prices that are up more than 12 percent from a year ago,” said MLS director
Frank Wilson, branch managing broker at John L. Scott in Poulsbo.
“Unlike a normal market for buyers, today’s market is not about the current inventory, rather it’s about
inventory that is coming on the market,” Wilson commented. “The real story is the increased number of
homes that will become available next month, and the month after.” He recommends buyers work out a
success strategy with their real estate professional before even looking at their first house.
The National Association of REALTORS has been studying home buyers and sellers by generation since 2013. The Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report looks at both the differences and similarities of the generations. The report also looks at how the generations affect the real estate industry. This report is very important because it details who is increasing in numbers in the market and who is decreasing. This is critical information for builders, developers, real estate agents and remodelers. Some of the highlights include the following:
- The largest share of home buyers over the past four years has consistently been the Generation Y demographic (Millennials 36 years old and younger). They represent over 34% of all buyers in the market place.
- The Millennials also had a large student debt burden. Over 46 percent of buyers in this demographic had student loan debt with a median loan balance of $25,000.
- Buyers aged 37 to 51 also were burdened by student debt but a smaller number of this age group totaling 27 percent have student loan debt. Their student loan debt median balance is even higher than the Millennials at $30,000.
- The buyers in the 52 to 61 year old age group were the buyers most likely to buy a multi-generational home.
- Buyers in the 62 to 70 year old age group are the most likely to move out of their original area with more flexibility when choosing their new location to live. Many are moving closer to children or relatives and some are even choosing to move out of state.
- The most important finding had to do with how these generations prefer to find their home and ALL generations said they preferred to work with a real estate agent. In an industry where everyone seems to want to take a piece of the real estate agents earning pie, this is great news. Real estate agents are a very important part of the real estate transaction and buyers of all generations unanimously agree with that.
So the next time anyone tells you that real estate agents will soon be a thing of the past…ignore it!
It’s a seller’s market out there, and for homebuyers, the struggle this spring is real: few affordable options, and price growth that just won’t quit.
Another issue’s working against them, too: timing.
According to a recent analysis by Zillow, the best time for buyers isn’t spring, but summer—the end of summer, that is. Why? There’s more supply as the season winds down, specifically in August, and sellers who weren’t so lucky earlier on become anxious to unload, cutting prices before the weather changes and the school year starts.
In the analysis, August had more listings than any other month (8,000 more in L.A., for instance), and saw the highest share of listings with lowered prices. Comparing reductions over the spring and summer months:
“In such a competitive housing market, it’s easy for buyers to get frustrated when they are putting in multiple offers without success,” says Dr. Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow. “Buyers who start their home search in the spring may still be looking months later—but for those who can wait it out, the end of summer will bring more favorable conditions. Homes that may have been overpriced earlier in the year are more likely to have a price reduction, and those listings passed over in earlier months may look better with a fresh perspective.”
For more information, please visit www.zillow.com.
Source: Pemco Ltd.
The home appraisal is the one real estate-related process that can provoke a variety of emotions, ranging from positive to negative. While many are aware of what an appraisal is and its purpose, that awareness doesn’t always translate to a clear understanding of what is factored into the appraisal process. At the end of the day, an appraisal is an opinion derived from housing and neighborhood data.
PEMCO Valuations has managed over 132,000 appraisals nationwide since 2004 and based on feedback from some of our appraisers, we’ve decided it was time to shed some light on home appraisal myths.
Myth # 1: Home Appraisal = Home Inspection
This is probably the biggest myth and it’s understandable: home inspections and home appraisals are both used to determine a property’s condition as safeguards for the buyer and buyer’s lender. Appraisers and inspectors both inspect the property, but the similarities end here. The home inspector’s job is to poke and prod to uncover any and everything that’s problematic or potentially problematic. The appraiser’s job is to find the objective market value based on the condition of the home.
Myth # 2: The bigger the list of amenities, the higher the valuation
An investment of $100,000 in upgrades doesn’t equal to a $100,000 bump in appraisal value, especially when the amenities don’t exist in surrounding homes because appraiser simply doesn’t have nearby sales data to decide on the value of the amenities. This also applies to décor and staging, these are subjective and doesn’t get factored into the valuation. Their value judgement will come from quantifiable aspects: square footage, room count and other measurable data.
Myth # 3: More square footage means the higher the valuation
The value of the home is determined as if something like the surrounding homes were built on the appraised home lot. This means there’s no guarantee that a super-sized house on an average-sized lot in a modest neighborhood will appraiser for much more than neighboring homes.
Myth # 4: Amenities are the same
For instance, take two houses with similar square footage. Both have the same additions: a mother-in-law suite or home gym. One home has a two-car garage, the other has a garage that was converted into the mother-in-law suite or home gym. Removing one amenity (the garage) and replacing it with another amenity (the mother-in-law suite or home gym), isn’t an apple to apple comparison. Buyers look for homes with a garage for a reason, to use it as a garage, which the appraiser might assign a higher value to.
Myth # 5: Appraiser will match what the buyer will pay
Appraisals are not the result of exact science, it’s an opinion of the value of the home. This has nothing to do with what the buyer will pay or what the seller should accept. Buyers can not hire appraisers and therefore speak to them about valuation opinions on a house they are purchasing. This would undermine appraiser independence. The Dodd-Frank Act addresses appraiser independence, requiring arm length transactions between appraisers, lenders and buyers.
Myth # 6: The appraiser works for the buyer
Often, the appraiser works for an Appraisal Management Company (AMC) and the lender orders appraisals from these companies. Regardless if the seller and buyer have agreed on price, the appraisal would have to reflect the fair market value and cannot be influenced by any party.
Confidence in home-buying is springing back, with more buyers optimistic about their ability to move off the fence and into the market, according to the recently released Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI) for April.
The HPSI bounced back 2.2 percentage points to 86.7 last month, up from 84.5 in March. Those surveyed for the Index who reported it being “a good time to buy a house” climbed 5 percentage points to 35 percent—but those who reported it being “a good time to sell” shifted 5 percentage points in the opposite direction, down to 26 percent.
“The Home Purchase Sentiment Index returned to its longer-term tread line after reclaiming ground lost last month,” says Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “Historically strong inflation-adjusted house price gains are tempering consumer sentiment, whereas consumer optimism regarding the ease of getting a mortgage reached a survey high.”
Those surveyed who believe home prices will rise inched up one percentage point to 45 percent. More of those surveyed believe mortgage rates will go down in the next 12 months, ticking up three percentage points to -57 percent.
On a wider level, just 13 percent of those surveyed reported that their earnings are “significantly higher” than one year ago. In many housing markets, incomes have yet to catch up to home prices.
Seventy-seven percent of those surveyed, however, are “not concerned about losing their job”—a sense of security that can be a prerequisite for home-buying or -selling.
“On balance, housing continues on a gradual track,” Duncan says.
Source: Fannie Mae
For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.
Source: RISMedia/NHP Foundation
Baby boomers are doubly worried about housing affordability—for themselves, and the next generation of homeowners and renters.
A new report by The NHP Foundation reveals 30 percent of those aged 55-plus feel “anxiety” about affording housing in their area at least once per month, and 64 percent also feel concern about their adult children affording housing. Affordability recently fell to its lowest level since 2008, and a recent analysis reveals the average homebuyer needs to spend more than two-thirds of their annual income to afford a 20 percent down payment.
“The anxiety is now multi-generational,” says Richard Burns, CEO of The NHP Foundation.
The majority of those surveyed in the report have “great” or “substantial” anxiety about housing affordability as a result of the new administration—eased only if policies deliver benefits like protections from mortgage and/or rent increases, secure employment and “stable” property taxes. Fourteen percent believe more affordable construction would also lessen anxiety.
Location plays a role in the level of anxiety baby boomers feel, according to the report. Twenty percent of those living in the Midwest are concerned about housing payments, compared to 38 percent of those living in the South. A recent forecast projects home prices in the Midwest to rise 3.4 percent in 2017, with those in the South to rise 3.5 percent. Those in the West—where home prices are expected to rise just 1 percent—feel the lowest level of anxiety.
“Though housing insecurity is a national problem, these geographic differences demonstrate the need to tailor housing options to the unique needs of each region,” says Stefano Rumi, an advisor to The NHP Foundation and a senior fellow at the Batten Center for Social Policy at the University of Virginia. “The winning solutions will incorporate private and public partnerships to finance affordable housing. This means a ‘YIMBY’ attitude on the part of local communities and elected officials.”
Source: The NHP Foundation
KIRKLAND, Washington (Feb. 6, 2017) – Western Washington’s “high velocity” market continued
during January with the number of pending sales (7,745) outgaining the number of new listings (6,507),
according to new figures from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
“Properties are moving through the market at an unusually fast pace,” remarked John Deely, chairman of
the board at Northwest MLS and the principal managing broker at Coldwell Banker Bain. “Although we
have a high number of new listings, they are moving into a pending or sold status within the typical 30-
day reporting period. This phenomenon causes a low active listing count,” he added.
Brokers added 6,507 new listings to inventory last month (163 fewer than during the same period a year
ago), while year-over-year pending sales jumped by 492 transactions for a gain of about 6.8 percent. New
listing volume was the highest monthly total since October when members added 7,591 properties.
At month-end, there were 9,752 active listings in the MLS service area, which encompasses 23 counties.
That total was 2,605 fewer than the year-ago volume of 12,357, a decline of 21 percent. Only three
counties (Ferry, Jefferson and Kitsap) reported improvements in the number of active listings compared
to the same month last year.
Measured by months of inventory, the selection is at historic lows in many counties. At month end, there
was just under 1.7 months of supply system-wide, which compares to the year-ago figure of about 2.5
months of supply. Both King and Snohomish counties have less than one month of supply.
“If home buyers were hoping that January would start to bring more balance to the housing market,
they’re going to be sorely disappointed. The number of homes for sale remains at record lows, and the
growth in pending sales tells us that sellers are still firmly in the driver’s seat,” said OB Jacobi, president
of Windermere Real Estate.
MLS director George Moorhead echoed Jacobi, pointing to five years ago when buyers could choose
from 5,378 listings of single family homes in King County versus last month’s selection of 1,569 listings.
“The real question is whether there will be relief in the near future, and the unfortunate answer is no,”
said Moorhead, the designated broker at Bentley Properties, citing the combination of new jobs, a
shortage of new homes, and a reluctance of sellers to list their home for fear of not being able to find their
Commenting on “typical seasonal and beginning of the year adjustments,” one company president said he
is encouraged by new listing activity. “There is no indication that the annualized trend of shrinking active
inventory will reverse itself anytime soon, but we’re seeing momentary bubbles of increased inventory for
buyers currently in the market” noted Mike Grady, president and COO of Coldwell Banker Bain.
“List it and they will come” is the new mantra as new listings come on the market, commented J. Lennox
Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott. Despite having more sales than new listings over the past few
months, Scott said there is hope for homebuyers. “As the days start getting longer the future will look
brighter for the backlog of buyers waiting to find a home.” Describing February as the bridge month
between winter and spring markets, Scott expects to start seeing an increase in the number of new listings.
“Buyers who are properly positioned to make quick decisions, and who have the proper negotiation
tactics and guidance are finding success in this high velocity market,” Deely reported.
Not surprisingly given the imbalance in supply and demand, prices continue to rise. Last month’s median
price for the 5,874 completed sales of single family homes and condominiums was $327,175, up 9
percent from the year ago figure of $300,000. There were 889 more closed sales in January than for the
same month a year ago for a 17.8 percent increase.
Single family home prices (excluding condos) increased 9 percent, rising from $309,950 to $338,000. The
median price for single family homes that sold in King County last month was $525,000, up more than
6.9 percent from the year-ago sales price of $490,970. Several outlying counties reported double-digit
“The softening of single family home prices in King County over the last few months, combined with the
relatively large price increase in Snohomish County (8.2 percent) suggests buyers are migrating north in
order to find more affordable housing,” said Jacobi.
Brokers in Pierce and Kitsap counties also reported price hikes larger than King County’s. The median
price of a single family home in Pierce County jumped nearly 11.6 percent from a year ago while the
year-over-year price in Kitsap was up 9.4 percent.
Condo prices rose 5.5 percent in January compared to a year ago, increasing from $255,750 to $289,900.
King County condo prices surged more than 9.8 percent, from $282,250 to $310,000.
“For buyers, it is a good news/bad news scenario in Kitsap County,” reported MLS director Frank
Wilson. “More houses came on the market last month than a year ago, but pending sales surpassed that
number to keep the market tight. Brokers navigated these challenges and buyers endured, “but the
tightness will likely be magnified during 2017,” said Wilson, the branch managing broker at John L. Scott
Wilson said open house traffic has “started off with a bang” as more buyers have decided now is the time
to buy, believing that prices will only continue to rise .” He expects escalation clauses, multiple offer
situations and backup offers to “be the norm during the first quarter. The hierarchy of purchasers: cash,
conventional loan, VA loan, and FHA financing will continue to be the pecking order,” he stated.
“We’re seeing the frenzy change to a fanatical desire to own a home as buyers scramble to beat increasing
interest rates,” reported Moorhead. He expects the Feds to increase rates two more times between now
and April, “and that will only increase buyers’ aggressive tactics to secure a home,” he suggested.
Moorhead also noted sellers are able to “get away with putting homes on the market in conditions that
historically would be rejected by buyers.” Now, however, Moorhead said buyers are willing to turn a
blind eye to repairs and future maintenance.
Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service
MLS in the Northwest. Its membership of nearly 2,100 member offices includes more than 25,000 real
estate professionals. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 23 counties in the state.
Buying a home is more affordable than renting one in 66 percent of housing markets in the U.S., with Cook County, Ill., Maricopa County, Ariz. and Miami-Dade County, Fla. among those with the highest buy affordability, according to ATTOM Data Solutions’ 2017 Rental Affordability Report. Renting a home, to compare, is more affordable than buying one in 34 percent of markets, with Dallas County, Texas, Kings County, N.Y. and Santa Clara County, Calif. among those with the highest rent affordability.
Predominantly impacting affordability are stagnant wages, which have lagged at a growth rate of 2.2 percent since one year ago, compared to home prices, up 5.7 percent, and rents, up 4.2 percent.
Rising mortgage rates, according to ATTOM Senior Vice President Daren Blomquist, could deal another blow to affordability. Average rates, which retreated since charging forward following the election, are currently above 4 percent.
“While buying continues to be more affordable than renting in the majority of U.S. markets, that equation could change quickly if mortgage rates keep rising in 2017,” says Blomquist. “In that scenario, renters who have not yet made the leap to homeownership will find it even more difficult to make that leap this year. Additionally, renting may end up being the lesser of two housing affordability evils in a growing number of high-priced markets.”
Home price growth outpaced wage growth in 79 percent of the counties analyzed in the report, while rent growth outpaced wage growth in 62 percent. Both percentages include Harris County, Texas, and Los Angeles County and San Diego County, Calif. Wage growth, however, outpaced home price growth in 21 percent of the counties analyzed, and outpaced rent growth in 38 percent.
A monthly house payment on a median-priced home will require 36.6 percent of average wages, according to the report; a monthly fair market rent will require 38.6 percent.
The most affordable rental markets in 2017, based on the percentage of average wages needed to pay fair market rent, are:
- Madison County, Ala. (23.9 percent)
- Allegheny County, Pa. (24.4 percent)
- Fulton County, Ga. (24.8 percent)
- Anderson County, Tenn. (25.1 percent)
- Rock Island County, Ill. (25.3 percent)
The least affordable rental markets in 2017:
- Marin County, Calif. (77.3 percent)
- Spotsylvania County, Va. (73.7 percent)
- Monroe County, Fla. (72.2 percent)
- Honolulu County, Hawaii (70.7 percent)
- Maui County, Hawaii (70.6 percent)
Source: ATTOM Data Solutions
For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.
Our real estate needs are just as they were prior to the election—the demand’s there, even with the uncertainty of what’s to come.
That’s according to a just-released report by realtor.com®, which surveyed its homebuyer users’ perceptions toward housing in the wake of the election. Seventy-nine percent of those surveyed said the election had “no impact” on their plans to buy a home, and, in fact, 10 percent said they were more likely to buy a home now that the new administration has been determined—distributed primarily among those aged 45-64, men and those in red states. The opposite (those under 45, women and those in blue states) said they were less likely to buy, with millennials posting the highest percentage.
The non-effect of the election is also reflected in the traffic patterns on realtor.com—according to the report, listing views on the site have tracked back up to 15 percent since the election, in line with the growth experienced over the summer. Listing views tend to lead demand.
Traffic from certain areas abroad, as well—which reflects international demand—fell post-election, notably traffic from Hong Kong, which dropped 23.5 percent year-over-year, India, 21.0 percent, and the UK, 7.7 percent. International traffic picked up, though, from Russia (81.7 percent), Colombia (72.1 percent) and Spain (61.6 percent).
The more impactful post-election effect—the spike in mortgage rates—could diminish buying power. According to the report, mortgage payments have increased by 7 percent since the election, totaling $750 more in interest each year for a median-priced home.
The takeaway? Would-be homebuyers are forging ahead with their plans to purchase, unshaken by the outcome of the election.
For more information, please visit www.realtor.com.
For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.