KIRKLAND, Washington (September 9, 2019) – Depleted inventory continues to frustrate would-be
buyers in Western Washington. Many of these potential homeowners are expanding their search beyond
the major job centers in King County, according to market watchers who commented on the latest
statistics from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
The MLS report summarizing August activity shows less than two months of supply system-wide, and
only about 1.6 months of supply in the four-county Puget Sound region. The sparse selection is pushing
up prices. For last month’s sales of single family homes and condos across the 23 counties served by
Northwest MLS, prices rose nearly 6.2% compared to a year ago.
“Areas immediately outside the Puget Sound region and along the I-5 corridor continue to see double-
digit house price growth,” noted James Young, director of the Washington Center for Real Estate
Research (WCRER) at the University of Washington. He attributes the increase to high demand in these
areas “due to first-time homebuyers who struggle to afford housing in King and Snohomish counties as
well as from existing homeowners cashing out of Seattle and King County.”
“While August is always a slower time for listings and sales, what is really surprising this year is the
decrease in new listings taken, while pending sales increased,” observed Mike Grady, president and COO
of Coldwell Banker Bain.
A comparison of year-over-year statistics for August shows the volume of new listings dropped nearly
13% system-wide and 18.5% in King County. Last month’s total number of new listings (10,488)
declined 6.3% from July’s volume (11,193).
Brokers reported 10,602 pending sales (mutually accepted offers) during August for a 4.9% increase from
a year ago. Pending sales rose nearly 6.6% in the Puget Sound region, led by Snohomish County with a
gain of 15.8%. Six counties had double-digit gains while an equal number had declines.
Grady noted June and July were also lackluster this year with regard to listings “when typically they are
both still fairly active coming off spring. The pending sales numbers indicate that buyers are indeed out
there and willing to purchase, but there are simply not enough homes,” he commented, adding,
“Everything that is listed is getting sold and fairly quickly.”
The volume of total active listings is down more than 10% from a year ago, with only four of the 23
counties in the report showing a year-over-year increase (Chelan, Grays Harbor, San Juan and Whatcom).
Fourteen counties had double-digit drops. At month end there were 16,697 active listings in the MLS
database, down from the year-ago total of 18,580.
MLS figures show only seven counties have more than three months of supply, with four-to-six months
generally considered the volume needed for a balanced market.
Source: RISMedia / Jameson Doris
After weeks of debate, Republican lawmakers have finally revealed their legislation for a major tax overhaul, the largest to be proposed in decades. The bill, entitled the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, nearly doubles the standard deduction for middle-class families and makes no changes to the way 401(k) plans are treated pretax, but for REALTORS® and the consumers they serve, it’s not all good news.
Last June, House Speaker Paul Ryan warned that he would likely be unable to save all of the tax incentives that REALTORS® view as vital, The Wall Street Journal reported. We now know exactly what the Republicans were unable to salvage. Under their bill, existing homeowners can keep their mortgage interest deduction, but purchases that are made moving forward will be capped at $500,000. The bill also cuts the corporate tax rate to 20 percent (from 35 percent), as reported by The New York Times on Thursday.
“This legislation closely tracks with the House Republican Blueprint for tax reform, which threatens home values and takes money straight from the pockets of homeowners,” said National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) President Bill Brown in a statement. “REALTORS® believe in the promise of lower tax rates, but this bill is nowhere near as good a deal as the one middle-class homeowners get under current law. Tax hikes and falling home prices are a one-two punch that homeowners simply can’t afford.”
“The House Republican tax reform plan abandons middle-class taxpayers in favor of high-income Americans and wealthy corporations,” said Granger MacDonald, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), in a statement. “The bill eviscerates existing housing tax benefits by drastically reducing the number of homeowners who can take advantage of mortgage interest and property tax incentives. Capping mortgage interest at $500,000 for new-home purchases means that homebuyers in expensive markets will effectively lose this housing tax benefit moving forward.
“The House leadership killed a cost-effective plan proposed by NAHB that Ways and Means Committee leaders agreed to include in the legislation,” MacDonald said. “It would provide a robust homeownership tax credit that would have helped up to 37 million additional homeowners who do not currently itemize. Most of them are low- and moderate-income homeowners. Meanwhile, as corporations receive a major tax cut, small businesses, which generate the lion’s share of job growth, get limited relief. The bottom line: Congress is ignoring the needs of America’s working-class families and small businesses, and by undermining the nation’s longstanding support for homeownership and threatening to lower the value of the largest asset held by most American families, this tax reform plan will put millions of homeowners at risk.”
“The tax reform legislation proposed by House Republican leaders takes a historic step in directly revising the mortgage interest deduction (MID), a $70 billion annual tax expenditure that primarily benefits higher income households—including the top 1 percent of earners in the country,” said Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), in a statement. “The Republican tax proposal makes sensible reforms in lowering the amount of a mortgage against which the MID can be claimed to $500,000 for new-home loans and doubling the standard deduction. This change to the MID would impact fewer than 6 percent of mortgages nationwide and would save an estimated $95.5 billion over the first decade; however, the legislation uses the savings generated by the MID reform to pay for lower tax rates for billionaires and corporations without addressing the affordable housing crisis in America. This proposal is a non-starter.
“Instead, Congress should reinvest the savings from the MID reform into affordable housing solutions, like the national Housing Trust Fund, rental assistance, or a renter’s credit, that would help the lowest income people in America—including seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, and other vulnerable populations—who too often struggle to pay the rent and make ends meet.
“The National Low Income Housing Coalition has significant concerns with other provisions in the overall tax bill and further analysis is needed to determine the impact,” Yentel said.
The California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) echoed similar concerns. “We are currently reading through the bill proposed [on Thursday] to determine the exact impact it will have on California homeowners and its housing market,” said C.A.R. President Geoff McIntosh. “From what we have seen so far, limiting the mortgage interest deduction to $500,000 will no doubt hurt homeownership in states with high housing costs such as California.
“Any change that would make home-buying less attractive will be detrimental to the housing industry and the nation’s economy because of the 2.5 million private-sector jobs created by the industry in an average year,” McIntosh added.
It’s important to keep in mind, however, that this legislation will be aggressively contested and debated over the next several weeks as Republicans fight to have a finalized version on President Trump’s desk by Christmas. That version stands to be unrecognizable to what was announced today, due to battles various lobbying groups are about to wage.
NAR had already begun fighting before the legislation was announced. Recently, the Association deployed digital ads in every district of House Ways and Means Committee members asking constituents in those areas to remind their lawmakers not to “let tax reform become a tax increase for middle class homeowners.”
The Association has now announced that it will expand these efforts to Senate Finance Committee members’ states by the end of the week.
In the immediate future, things will move rapidly and countless groups will come forward to have their opinions heard. This is one area where NAR has a distinct advantage. Not only does it carry the influence of being the largest association; it also represents one of the most coveted voting blocs in the country: homeowners.
Source: CBS News
DALLAS (CBS11) – The Trump administration’s increased military strikes might cause fear for some people. But for one North Texas man, it means big bucks.
Nora Holloway of Dallas is one of those folks who is concerned about the state of the world.
Citing the recent bombings in Syria, Afghanistan and the growing tension with North Korea, Holloway posted online to see if anyone wanted to “go in” on an underground bunker.
“I’m in no position to buy one,” said Holloway. “However, I think that for a lot of people that is a serious concern and a lot of people have done so and will be doing so.”
The interest level Holloway is expressing is an understatement.
“If I took 30 people and I worked 7 days a week and 24 hours a day, I still wouldn’t be caught up right now,” said Clyde Scott of Rising S Bunkers in Murchison, Texas.
Scott said there is around a three-month backlog for one of his subterranean shelters.
“They don’t really call me and ask me about the price or colors,” said Scott. “They say how fast can they get it.”
The list is only growing with each bomb dropped and threat levied.
“You should have got it 6 months ago,” said Scott. “You shouldn’t wait until the threat, until the fuse is lit on the rocket.”
The most basic model is 100 square feet of protection that is installed for around $45,000.
Scott said the most common is a 500 square-foot model for a family of four that runs for around $120,000.
The bunkers have all the amenities of home, are solar powered and surrounded by 100 percent steel.
Scott said only an imagination and wallet stand in the way.
“Doomsday crazy person, ‘prepper’ that’s all kind of nutty that people make them out to be…they don’t have $3.5 million to by a 5,500 square-foot bunker. Right?” questioned Scott.
While all of his clients are kept confidential, Scott said everyone from star athletes, Forbes 500 CEOs and maybe even an unsuspecting next door neighbor is investing underground without anyone noticing.
“I’ve sold to billionaires and I’ve sold to average Joes,” said Scott.
Holloway said she does not have the money but can at least dream.
“It would prepare people, myself specifically for what could and very well may happen in the future,” said Holloway.
http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2017/04/14/military-strikes-cause-boom-underground-bunker-business/A list of models can be found here.
The most expensive model being offered is “The Aristocrat.”
For $8.3 million, the model comes with a pool, bowling alley and gun range.
Home prices nationally kept on the upswing in February, rising 1 percent month-over-month and 7 percent year-over-year, according to CoreLogic®’s recent Home Price Index (HPI™). The HPI Forecast™ projects prices to rise 0.4 percent in March and 4.7 percent by February 2018.
“Home prices continue to grow at a torrid pace so far in 2017 and these gains are likely to continue well into the future,” said Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic, in a statement on the Index. “Home prices are at peak levels in many major markets and the appreciation is being driven by a number of dynamics—high demand, stronger employment, lean supplies and affordability—that will continue to play out in the coming years. The CoreLogic Home Price Index is projecting an additional 5 percent rise in home prices nationally over the next 12 months.”
“Home prices and rents have risen the most in local markets with high demand and limited supply, such as Seattle, Portland and Denver,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “The rise in housing costs has been largest for lower-tier-priced homes. For example, from December to February in Seattle, the CoreLogic Home Price Index rose 12 percent and our single-family rent index rose 6 percent for all price tiers compared with the same period a year earlier. However, when looking at only lower-cost homes in Seattle, the price increase was 13 percent and the rent increase was 7 percent.”
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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.
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.
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Persistent supply shortages throughout the country led to slightly faster home price appreciation during the third quarter, according to the latest quarterly report by the National Association of REALTORS®. The report also revealed that seven of the 10 most expensive housing markets in the U.S. are in the West, including San Jose, Calif., which had a median single-family home price of $1 million for the second straight quarter.
The median existing single-family home price increased in 87 percent of measured markets, with 155 out of 178 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) showing gains based on closed sales in the third quarter compared with the third quarter of 2015. Twenty-two areas (12 percent) recorded lower median prices from a year earlier.
There were a growing number of rising markets in the third quarter compared to the second quarter of this year, when price gains were recorded in 83 percent of metro areas. Twenty-five metro areas in the third quarter (14 percent) experienced double-digit increases—unchanged from the second quarter of this year. A year ago, 21 metro areas (12 percent) saw double-digit price appreciation.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says prospective buyers faced a very challenging market during the third quarter. “Mortgage rates around historical lows and solid local job creation created a winning formula for sustained home-buying demand all summer long,” he says. “Unfortunately, for house hunters in several of the top job producing metro areas around the country, deficient supply levels limited their options and drove prices higher—especially in markets in the West and South.”
The national median existing single-family home price in the third quarter was $240,900, which is up 5.2 percent from the third quarter of 2015 ($228,900), surpassing this year’s second quarter ($240,700) as the current peak quarterly median sales price. The median price during the second quarter increased 4.9 percent from the second quarter of 2015.
Total existing-home sales, including single-family and condos, slid 2.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.38 million in the third quarter from 5.50 million in the second quarter of 2016, and are 0.4 percent lower than the 5.40 million pace during the third quarter of 2015.
“After climbing to their highest annual pace in over nine years in June, sales sputtered in the third quarter because inventory could not catch up with what was being quickly sold,” says Yun. “Only a decent rebound in September kept the monthly and annual sales declines from being even larger.”
At the end of the third quarter, there were 2.04 million existing homes available for sale, which was 6.8 percent below the 2.19 million homes for sale at the end of the third quarter in 2015. The average supply during the third quarter was 4.6 months, down from 4.9 months a year ago.
Despite faster price growth last quarter, the decline in mortgage rates and an uptick in the national family median income ($70,306) slightly improved affordability compared to a year ago. To purchase a single-family home at the national median price, a buyer making a 5 percent down payment would need an income of $51,661; a 10 percent down payment would require an income of $48,942; and $43,504 would be needed for a 20 percent down payment.
“If mortgage rates start to rise heading into next year, prospective buyers could face weakening affordability conditions in their market, unless supply dramatically improves,” adds Yun. “That’s why it’s absolutely imperative that homebuilders ramp up the production of more single-family homes to meet demand and slow price growth.”
The five most expensive housing markets in the third quarter were the San Jose, Calif., metro area, where the median existing single-family price was $1,000,000; San Francisco at $835,400; urban Honolulu at $745,300; Anaheim-Santa Ana, Calif., at $740,100; and San Diego at $589,300.
The five lowest-cost metro areas in the third quarter were Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio, at $90,300; Cumberland, Md., at $94,400; Decatur, Ill. at $99,400; Elmira, N.Y., at $109,400; and Rockford, Ill., at $111,900.
Metro area condominium and cooperative prices—covering changes in 59 metro areas— showed the national median existing-condo price was $225,100 in the third quarter, up 4.6 percent from the third quarter of 2015 ($215,200). Forty-one metro areas (69 percent) showed gains in their median condo price from a year ago; 17 areas had declines.
NAR President Tom Salomone says the Federal Housing Administration’s recently-announced rule change to lower the owner-occupancy requirement for approved condominium buildings from 50 percent to 35 percent under certain conditions is a step forward for prospective buyers considering a condo.
“Condos have typically been an attractive and viable option for first-time buyers, and recent NAR data are showing that they’re having a little more success,” he says. “With this lower owner-occupancy requirement, Realtors® will have more options for their clients looking to purchase a condo with an FHA mortgage. While we believe all condo buildings should have the rules applied to them equally, we also believe FHA has heard the concerns of Realtors® and is moving in the right direction.”
Total existing-home sales in the Northeast dropped 7.5 percent in the third quarter and are now 1.9 percent below the third quarter of 2015. The median existing single-family home price in the Northeast was $272,600 in the third quarter, up 1.2 percent from a year ago.
In the Midwest, existing-home sales decreased 4.2 percent in the third quarter, but are 1 percent above a year ago. The median existing single-family home price in the Midwest increased 5.6 percent to $191,200 in the third quarter from the same quarter a year ago.
Existing-home sales in the South declined 2.7 percent in the third quarter and are 0.9 percent lower than the third quarter of 2015. The median existing single-family home price in the South was $213,700 in the third quarter, 6.5 percent above a year earlier.
In the West, existing-home sales increased 4.6 percent in the third quarter and are unchanged from a year ago. The median existing single-family home price in the West increased 7.6 percent to $349,200 in the third quarter from the third quarter of 2015.
For more information, visit www.realtor.org.
Single-family housing starts came in above estimates in September, signaling sustained strength in the owner-occupied housing sector.
The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reports single-family starts in September at a rate of 738,000, or 8.1 percent more than the estimate of 724,000. Units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 250,000 over the same period.
Privately-owned starts, however, stumbled, down 9 percent at 1,047,000 from an estimate of 1,150,000 and below last September’s rate of 1,189,000—an 11.9 percent decline. Single-family housing completions, in addition, fell 8.8 percent below estimates in September, at 687,000 from 753,000. Privately-owned completions also moved downward 8.4 percent, to a rate of 951,000 from the 1,038,000 estimate.
“[The September] data spawned some ominous headlines, but if you look closer this is actually a very encouraging report about new construction to come in the months ahead,” says realtor.com® Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke. “True, housing starts dropped—but we have to take that with a grain of salt because it came from such thin data. On the other hand, the permitting data released today blew by analysts’ expectations. It also showed that this year’s most troubling trend in new construction has clearly reversed: Permits are outpacing starts, which indicates that developers and builders are finally planning for more growth ahead. That’s great news for both the economy and the consumer.”
“The headline number in this month’s report doesn’t tell the full story,” says Bill Banfield, vice president at Quicken Loans, of the decline in privately-owned starts. “Single-family starts made significant gains in September, which is welcome news to a housing market that has continued to lack inventory, especially in entry-level sectors.”
“A persistent lack of growth in new construction has given us low vacancies in rentals and very low inventories of homes for sale,” Smoke adds. “That has produced above-average increases in rents and prices—but [the September] data is a good sign that we could be turning the page on this troubling scenario. Let’s hope this trend persists!”
For more information, visit www.hud.gov.