Tag Archives: Buying

Slower Market Means Homebuyers Have “Newfound ability to negotiate”

SOURCE: NWMLS

KIRKLAND, Washington (November 6, 2018) – Seven months of steadily rising housing inventory
reversed course in October when Northwest Multiple Listing Service brokers added the fewest new
listings since February, according to a new report. MLS members believe the onset of wintry weather and
transition to the holiday season are factors, but suggested the slower pace also signals improving
conditions for house-hunters.

“After months of inventory growth that more than quadrupled the number of homes buyers have to
choose from, things got back on a seasonal track with new listings and total supply falling in October,”
said Robert Wasser, a director with Northwest MLS, when comparing those metrics with September.
“Buyers are catching on to their newfound ability to negotiate. For the first time since 2012, closed sales
system-wide rose from September to October,” noted Wasser, a branch manager with Windermere Real
Estate in Bellevue.

Northwest MLS members added 8,865 new listings to inventory last month in the 23 counties it
encompasses, down from September’s volume of 10,458, but up 4.7 percent from the year-ago total of
8,466 new listings. Compared to September, last month’s number of total active listings shrunk nearly 6.7
percent, but year-over-year inventory rose 33.2 percent, from 13,680 to 18,223 offerings.

Brokers generally welcomed the bump-up in inventory.

Real estate veteran Mike Grady, the president and COO of Coldwell Banker Bain, commented on the
current “win-win” conditions. “We’re entering that time of year when historically the market slows a bit
as we head into the holidays. Buyers continue to see an improving market compared to last year with the
inventory increasingly to 2.4 months of supply in King County, compared to the year-ago figure of less
than a month (0.98),” he stated.

Area-wide there is nearly 2.3 months of inventory, slipping from more than 2.5 months in September, and
improving on the year-ago figure of about 1.5 months of supply.

The year-over-year gains in supply, while notable, are still “way off from a balanced market that provides
five to six months of inventory,” Grady remarked, adding, “Contrary to recent media reports, the sky is
not falling,” he emphasized, pointing to rising prices and strong jobs reports as factors for a positive
outlook. (The State Employment Security Department reported Washington gained 4,500 jobs in
September.)

“Home prices in King County are up nearly 8.6 percent year over year, so we’re still experiencing
significant appreciation,” Grady stated. Given continued reports of hiring by companies in the Puget
Sound region and recent increases in inventory, he expects homebuyers will continue entering the market,
adding, “And sellers can still expect to get good prices — all this without the frenzy. A win-win,” he
proclaimed.

Balance “Finally returning” to Housing Market as Buyers Welcome More Choices, Moderating Prices

Source: NWMLS

KIRKLAND, Washington (October 4, 2018) – Housing inventory continued to improve during September
while the pace of sales slowed in many counties served by Northwest Multiple Listing Service. “Balance is
finally returning to the market, and with it, slowing home price growth,” stated OB Jacobi, president of
Windermere Real Estate.

A new report from Northwest MLS shows double-digit increases in inventory in several of the 23 counties it
serves, led by a 78 percent year-over-year gain in King County. Despite improving selection in the central
Puget Sound region, a dozen counties reported drops in the number of active listings compared to last year.

System-wide, the month ended with 2.56 months of supply of single family homes and condos, well below
the 4-to-6 months analysts use as an indicator of a balanced market between sellers and buyers. The current
level is the highest since February 2015 when member-brokers reported 3.56 months of inventory. In King
County, supply exceeded two months for the first time since January 2015.

Condo inventory remains sparse, with only 0.34 months of supply area wide, despite improving inventory (up
nearly 70 percent from a year ago). The shortage is expected to ease as construction progresses on several
recently-announced high-rise projects.

Brokers added 10,458 new listings of single family homes and condos to the MLS database during
September, slightly more than the year-ago figure of 10,120. At month end, buyers could choose from 19,526
listings, a 22.9 percent improvement from twelve months ago when selection totaled 15,888 listings.

Commenting on the wider selection, Mike Grady said buyers “are at long last now seeing properties that stay
on the market longer.” Listings that are priced appropriately, “and not based on the feverish market we saw
just a few months ago are still selling quickly, and home prices are still showing 8 percent appreciation year-
over-year – more than double the rate of inflation,” added Grady, the president and COO of Coldwell Banker
Bain.

With improving inventory, some brokers suggest the market may be showing signs of pausing, if not
softening. A market shift may be under way, but they believe activity will stay strong.

J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate, encouraged would-be buyers to “put extra
focus on October,” which he described as the last great month for new listings until March 2019. “Over the
winter, new monthly resale listings will lower by approximately 50 percent compared to summer months.” He
also noted interest rates, currently in the upper 4 percent, are projected to rise in the coming months.

“This is a more traditional yearly market cycle taking the place of the unusually overheated real estate market
of the past several years,” said John Deely, principal managing broker at Coldwell Banker Bain.

What to Expect on Closing Day

Source: Chris Knox, Sr. Loan Advisor – Fairway Mortgage Co.

When you purchase a home, the most exciting part of the process is the day you finally are handed the keys. But, before this happens, you will need to sign some important papers to close the deal. Closing day is going to be a busy one with your mind on moving into your new home, but it is important to know what will happen at the closing table so that you are prepared.

Generally, the closing will happen at the office of the settlement agent (potentially an attorney, depending on which state you close in), or the closing could take place at one of the real estate agent’s offices or my office. Your real estate agent, the seller’s agent, the title agent and a notary may be there. I will also make my best effort to be there in case you have any last-minute questions.

Be sure to bring your ID (if there is a co-signer, please make sure they have their ID as well). We will have already discussed whether you are wiring the money or bringing a certified check for costs such as down payment, taxes, insurance or other closing costs. Don’t worry; I will make sure you are well-prepared.

You can then read, ask questions about and sign the loan documents that Fairway has prepared for you. Included in this paperwork is going to be your Closing Disclosure (which we will have reviewed together before closing), the promissory note (which says you will repay Fairway for the loan amount that you are borrowing) and the deed of trust (also known as the lien on the property). If you have questions about these, please do not hesitate to ask me.

My goal is to fully prepare you for what will happen at the closing table. We will talk often before then, and I will answer questions you may have and do my best to make this a stress-free process for you.

Chris Knox
Sr. Loan Advisor
NMLS# 129636
WA# MLO-129636
Phone: (253) 905-4810

105 8th Ave. SE, Suite 102
Olympia, WA 98501
http://loansbychrisknox.com/

Paperwork Needed For Your Loan

Source: Chris Knox, Sr. Loan Advisor at Fairway Mortgage Co.

When applying for a home loan, you will need more than just an application. With today’s mortgage regulations, the paperwork listed below is required to verify all the information you provided on the loan application about you, your income, assets, credit and other real estate you may own. Delivering these documents all together, up front makes the process easier for you and helps ensure a hassle-free, on-time closing.

Depending on the type of loan you are doing and its approval requirements, we may need some or all the following paperwork for each borrower on the loan:

Income Documents

  • Most recent pay stubs covering the last 30 days of earnings with YTD totals
  • If you own 25% or more of any company or have rental property, Personal Federal Income Tax Returns for the past two years
  • All W-2s, K-1s or 1099s for the past two years
  • If self-employed and/or you own 25% or more of any company, all pages of business federal tax returns for the past two years
  • YTD Profit and Loss Statement and Balance Sheet for each company you own
  • Awards Letter from Social Security Administration for all social security
  • Income
  • Letter regarding pension/retirement income amount to be received for the year 

Asset Documents

  • All pages of checking and savings account statements for the past two months
  • For any large, unidentified deposits, a letter of explanation for the deposit and a copy of the item(s) that were deposited (we will let you know the threshold on this)
  • If the money transferred from another account, all pages of the statements for that account as well
  • All pages of the most recent statement for any other assets, such as bonds, stocks, cash value life insurance or money saved in retirement programs that will be used for cash to close or reserve funds
  • If using retirement account funds for the loan, the generic “terms of withdrawal” for the account along with the loan or withdrawal documentation
  • Copy of current mortgage statement(s) for all real estate you already own: current home, rental properties or vacation home. If these mortgages are not escrowed for taxes and insurance, provide the most recent annual tax bill and insurance declaration page with premium as well. Also, if the property has HOA dues, a copy of the most recent HOA dues bill.
  • If any part of the down payment or closing costs are coming from a gift from an eligible source, a Gift Letter along with proof of receipt of gift funds

Personal

  • Driver’s license(s) or passport
  • All pages of separation agreement, divorce decree or court order, if applicable
  • Name and phone number of your current landlord, if applicable
  • Most recent student loan statement(s) listing the minimum monthly payment amount. If you are currently in deferment (no payments due), proof of the payment amount(s) once they come out of deferment.
  • All pages of bankruptcy, foreclosure, short sale or deed in lieu of paperwork 

Home Purchase

  • Sales Contract for the purchase of a new home
  • Homeowners insurance agent’s name and contact info
  • Homeowners’ association information with contact information if property is a condo or part of a homeowners’ association
  • Purchase Contract for current home being sold

Home Refinance

  • Copy of first mortgage statement on current home
  • If you have a second mortgage or equity line, copy of statement, note/equity line agreement
  • Copy of title insurance policy from previous closing or HUD-1 Settlement Statement
  • Copy of your homeowners insurance declarations page

Please note that additional documentation may be required upon further review of your file. I will explain the steps of the loan process and review with you what documents are needed and if we require anything else. My job is to guide you through the lending experience for the best possible result!

Chris Knox
Sr. Loan Advisor
NMLS# 129636
WA# MLO-129636
Phone: (253) 905-4810

105 8th Ave. SE, Suite 102
Olympia, WA 98501
http://loansbychrisknox.com/

Everything You Need To Know About Down Payments!

Source: Chris Knox, Fairway Independant Mortgage Corp.

For homebuyers purchasing their first house, the biggest obstacle to overcome is often the down payment. Making sure you fully understand the down payment and closing costs will help you throughout the home mortgage loan process. Many options for first-time homebuyers allow for little or no down payment on your home, and I am here to help answer any questions.

Depending on the loan program, the down payment may not have to come from your savings. A family member can sometimes make a “gift” to you to cover the down payment, or you could choose to pull money from your retirement plan. A mortgage planner can help you understand ways to take money from a retirement plan to buy your first house, without paying any tax penalties. If you choose a down payment of more than 5% but less than 20%, you will have to pay private mortgage insurance. Known as PMI, private mortgage insurance protects the lender in the event the loan goes into default.

In addition to the down payment on your mortgage, closing costs and pre-paid expenses are also involved with a home purchase. You usually must pay lender costs, an appraiser and legal fees associated with transferring the title on the house from the seller to you, the buyer. In addition, you will pay homeowners insurance for one year in advance, and the lender will establish an escrow account, which will take a portion of your monthly payment and save it to pay your future property tax bills and homeowners insurance bills. Most first-time homebuyer loans will require you to have an escrow account to pay for the future tax and insurance bills.

Some first-time homebuyer programs allow negotiation with the seller of the home to have them pay a portion of the closing costs. Doing so can help reduce how much money is needed to purchase your first house. Be sure to talk with your real estate agent before making an offer to negotiate that into the deal. It is always a great idea to talk with a lender first, so you can understand exactly what the closing costs will be and how much you will need the seller to pay.

As qualified FHA, VA and USDA mortgage lenders, the licensed mortgage professionals at Fairway can help you determine the best loan program to use for your first home. I will help you decide which loan program is best for you, the right amount for your down payment and how much the seller should pay for your closing costs, and I will give you other considerations to make sure you get the best financing for your first home purchase. You can trust me to make your home loan as stress-free as possible. Call me today to set up an appointment.

Chris Knox
Sr. Loan Advisor
NMLS# 129636
WA# MLO-129636
Phone: (253) 905-4810

105 8th Ave. SE, Suite 102
Olympia, WA 98501
http://loansbychrisknox.com/

Become An Excellent Homebuyer in 10 Easy Steps

Source: Chris Knox – Fairway Mortgage

Buying a home can be the start of the best decision you have ever made. However, between finding the right place, securing the loan and moving in, you are likely going to experience some stress. Purchasing a home is a large commitment, and the emotions of making such a personal investment require a great team behind you, which is why Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation is here to help.

Here are 10 tips that will help make you a successful homebuyer:

  1. Have the Right Partners – You will work with your mortgage planner and real estate agent a great deal throughout the process, so working well together is crucial. Take the time to select a great team in the beginning, and your first home purchase will be a pleasing and memorable experience.
  2. Income + Lifestyle = Mortgage Payment – Be open, honest and up front with your real estate agent and mortgage planner when discussing your income level and living expenses. Take in to account future considerations such as children and plans you may have for repairs and upgrades for the house. Your dream home is certainly worth a sacrifice, but don’t mortgage your entire future.
  3. Utilize Your Team – Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your mortgage planner and real estate agent are there to support you and work together for your benefit.
  4. View Several Homes – See multiple properties. With your agent’s help, you should be able to view enough properties to have a good overall perspective of the home market.
  5. Imagine the Property Vacant – Your furnishings and decorations will be the ones filling this residence, so don’t be swayed by beautiful furniture that leaves with the owner.
  6. Be Thorough – Explore all costs and expenses before you commit. These include utilities, taxes, insurance, maintenance and homeowners association dues.
  7. Inspect, Inspect, Inspect! – Ensure that the inspection report was completed by a professional and examine it carefully. For condo purchases, review the bylaws and association fees.
  8. If It is Not in Writing, It Does Not Exist – All promises and discussions should be in writing. Don’t make any assumptions or believe any verbal assurances. Have your real estate agent keep an ongoing log in writing of all discussions and acquire the seller’s written approval on all agreements.
  9. Complete a Final Walkthrough – Visit the property after all furnishings have been moved out, to be sure that there are no surprises. Be certain that the property was left exactly as you agreed upon in the contract. Ensure that all utilities are turned on during your walkthrough, so you can inspect everything in working order.
  10. Plan for Flexibility – Closing dates are not written in stone. Allow for contingencies and have a backup plan. If you or the sellers need a little more time to conclude the final arrangements, do not let delays upset or frustrate you.

Many steps are involved when purchasing a home. While there may be some bumps in the road, I am always here to help in any way I can. Call me today to schedule an appointment to review your financial plans. I look forward to the opportunity to help you make the best home loan decision and show you the path toward homeownership.

Chris Knox
Sr. Loan Advisor
NMLS# 129636
WA# MLO-129636
Phone: (253) 905-4810105 8th Ave. SE, Suite 102
Olympia, WA 98501
http://loansbychrisknox.com/

The Biggest Homeownership Hurdles for Millennials

Source: Liz Dominguez-RISMedia

Millennials should be making a sizable stamp in homeownership, but they have been largely absent from the housing space. Why is it that the largest generation in U.S. history isn’t participating in real estate as heavily as its predecessors? There are many difficulties standing in their way, according to new research.

A recent report by the Urban Institute, “Millennial Homeownership: Why Is It So Low, and How Can We Increase It?” delves deeper into the generational home-buying gap to assess the factors that are holding millennials back from their homeownership goals. When looking at the 25-34 age group, millennials are behind Gen Xers and baby boomers in homeownership rates by 8-9 percentage points, according to the report. When comparing overall homeownership rates in 2015, millennials were behind baby boomers by 42.8 percent and Gen Xers by 28.2 percent.

While factors such as parental wealth and creditworthiness play a role, there are more overarching influences on the millennial homeownership rate. The biggest obstacles?

Settling down is being pushed further out.
Millennials are delaying major life events such as marriage and childbearing. These milestones are typically associated with higher homeownership rates; in fact, the possibility of owning a home increases by 17.9 and 6.2 percentage points, respectively, for those who are married or have children.

According to the 2015 American Community Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, 40 percent of millennials are married. This is 7.5 percent lower than the 2000 rate for similar age groups, and 13.8 percent lower than the 1990 rate. The average marriage age is being pushed out further out: Between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of 18- to 34-year-olds who never married increased by nearly 20 points to 53.9 percent. Many millennials are also waiting longer to have children. Between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of married households with children (with a household head age group of 18-34) decreased from 36.9 percent to 25.7 percent.

High student loan debt is tightening millennials’ wallets.
When compared to preceding generations, millennials are more likely to pursue higher education. According to 2015 rates, 65.8 percent of millennial household heads received some level of college education, a 10.1 percentage point increase from 1990 and a 13.3 point increase from 2000.

However, rising education costs have far exceeded income increases, creating a debt challenge. An estimated 36 percent of millennials have student loan debt, compared to 18 percent of Gen Xers and 4.1 percent of baby boomers.

Data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York show that a 25-year-old’s average education debt has increased from $4,516 in 2003 to $10,033 in 2015. These high levels of debt are proving to be homeownership barriers for millennials who are struggling to save for a down payment while paying off their loans. They also increase debt-to-income ratios, potentially making it more difficult for them to obtain a mortgage.

Exorbitant home values are pricing them out of homeownership.
Members of the millennial generation, especially those with higher levels of education, typically flock to more populous locations, such as New York City and San Francisco, in search of high-skilled cities with employment opportunities and urban amenities. These areas tend to be more expensive, with low housing elasticity due to a shortage of new construction for starter homes, the report states.

Additionally, many millennials are rent-burdened, paying more than 30 percent of their income toward rent, leaving them less room in their budget to save for a down payment. According to research by the Pew Charitable Trust, the transition to homeownership is slower for rent-burdened individuals. The demand and pricing for rental housing dramatically increased after the financial crisis.

The racial divide remains a far-reaching challenge.
Millennials are the most racially and ethnically diverse generation. The increasing share of minority members, and the added home-buying challenges they experience, is lowering millennial homeownership rates on average, cites the report. According to 2015 statistics, white households represent the highest share of homeowners, making up 39.6 percent of all households. Meanwhile, the Hispanic homeownership rate decreased to 24.6 in 2015, and the black homeownership rate has been in continuous decline since 2000, sitting at 13.4 percent in 2015. The Asian household rate has fluctuated, dropping between 1990 and 2000 from 30.6 to 26.6 percent, before increasing to 27.2 percent in 2015.

How can the industry overcome these challenges?
According to the report, many potential homebuyers are not aware of down payment assistance, especially first-time buyers. The first step to correcting this problem? Increasing awareness of government-sponsored programs through financial education as part of a high school or college curriculum.

Additionally, the Urban Institutes proposes a streamlined and tech-centered mortgage application that shortens the process and more thoroughly assesses risk. The underwriting process should also be revised to include factors not typically within a credit score assessment, such as rental payment history, in order to assist consumers with low credit or a lack of credit history. Other proposed solutions take the form of revised student loan debt reporting, changes to land-use and zoning regulations, and reduced racial and ethnic disparities.

June Is National Homeownership Month

Source:  Liz Dominiguez/RISMedia

June is National Homeownership Month, and the industry is recognizing the importance of homeownership as a milestone of the American Dream.

This year’s theme, set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), is “Find Your Place.” HUD is one of many agencies that provide resources to help consumers obtain and sustain homeownership. Through its network of housing agencies, consumers can seek out counselors for homeowner education, foreclosure prevention and budgeting assistance. With mortgage options through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), consumers with low credit or low-down payment funds can reach their homeownership goals faster—a significant method of aid for millennials and upcoming buyer generations flooded with student loans, making it difficult to amass the funds needed for conventional financing. According to HUD, over 47 million homeowners since 1934 purchased a home with a mortgage insured by FHA, and around 40 percent of all borrowers purchase their first home using an FHA loan.

“Homeownership serves as an enduring symbol of security and prosperity, and it provides many Americans with a legacy they can pass down to their children and grandchildren,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson in a statement. “During National Homeownership Month, we recognize the abiding value of owning a home, and we rededicate ourselves toward helping hard-working families to find their place in the American dream.”

Although homeownership rates are currently stalled at 64.2 percent, experts say the lack of dramatic increase is a reflection of a market that is withstanding challenges such as low inventory and rising interest rates. While the number has not moved much since the first quarter of 2017, there have been gradual increases since 2016, following a significant drop after the housing crisis.

While the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) celebrates its commitment to homeownership year-round through resources provided on its Homeownership Matters and HouseLogic sites, NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall recognized June as a pivotal time to reaffirm the association’s mission to promote homeownership.

“National Homeownership Month is a time to celebrate and promote the modern American Dream of owning a home,” said Mendenhall in a statement. “Homeownership changes lives and enhances futures, and many Americans see it as one of their greatest hopes. These individuals are counting on the nation’s 1.3 million REALTORS® to champion and protect homeownership and help make it more affordable, attainable and sustainable. REALTORS® pledge to continue to lead efforts to ensure that the dream of homeownership is not only possible, but very real, for any and all who want to achieve it, so they can have a place of their own to make memories, start growing their financial futures, and build strong communities.”

In addition, Freddie Mac’s website for National Homeownership Month provides valuable resources for homeowners, such as educational articles, homeownership program statistics and opportunities consumers can take advantage of in order to make their homeownership dream a reality.

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), primary residences are ahead of all other financial assets, business interests and retirement accounts, accounting for nearly one-quarter of all assets held by households in 2016, as reported in the latest edition of the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances.

“Homeownership is a primary source of net worth for many Americans, and is an important step in accumulating personal financial assets over the long term,” said Randy Noel, chairman of the NAHB, in an interview on NAHBNow.

In recognition of National Homeownership Month, NAHB is making a toolkit available for its members; the toolkit includes a video on the value of homeownership, sample social media posts, radio scripts and other talking points, relevant articles, and even print ads showcasing the benefits of homeownership.

Citing the passing of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act and this past year’s tax reform bill as recent progress, President Donald Trump released a statement pledging the administration’s commitment toward increasing homeownership incentives across the country:

“During National Homeownership Month, we affirm the joy and benefits of homeownership. For millions of Americans, owning a home is an important step toward financial security and achieving the American Dream. My Administration is committed to fostering an economic environment in which every family has the opportunity to enjoy the sense of pride and stability that can come with owning a home.”

Special Financing Terms for Veterans

 

 
Land Home Financial Waives Our Upfront Origination
Fee to Help Support Our Military Veterans! **
You have served our country and made sacrifices to help protect our way of life. Land Home appreciates all you have done, and to thank you for your service we would like to take an opportunity to give back to you.

A veteran who obtains VA financing through Land Home Financial is not charged an origination fee, therefore can pay up to 1% of the sales price in non-allowable fees. This eliminates the need for a seller credit to cover these costs. This levels the playing field and our Veterans offer is as strong as other home financing programs.

VA Loan Benefits:
  • No Money Down Financing Option Available.
  • Mortgage insurance not required.
  • Flexible qualifying guidelines.
  • Conforming loan amounts: $424,100 in the Continental US, and $636,150 in
    Hawaii and Alaska.
  • Competitive interest rates.
  • Buyer is not responsible for certain closing costs, for example: escrow fees, notary fee, and processing fee.
Call Today and Let Me Help Turn Your
Dreams Into a Reality.
Kenton Becker Kenton Becker
Sr. Mortgage Consultant
NMLS #123961Office: 425.289.1102
Cell: 206.423.2552
Fax: 206.309.4736
Email: kenton.becker@lhfs.com22525 SE 64th Place, Suite 220
Issaquah, WA 98027
Land Home Financial
Land Home Financial Services, Inc. is an Equal Housing Opportunity Lender. Equal Opportunity Lender The rates, loan programs, fees, options and guidelines in any loan scenario shown: (i) are for illustrative purposes only; (ii) are subject to change without notice; (iii) are subject to restrictions; (iv) will not apply to all borrowers or situations; and (v) do not represent a commitment to lend. Contact a Mortgage Loan Originator for details. Land Home operates only in states where it is authorized to conduct business. Branch location: 22525 SE 64th Place, Suite 220, Issaquah, WA 98027. Licensed by the WA State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) (Consumer Loan Branch Office License #CL-89331). Corp. NMLS #1796. To view state licenses go to www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org

*Must meet VA eligibility to qualify for a VA loan. Cannot be used in conjunction with a Community Lending Program. **No Origination, Processing or Land Home Admin Fees. Land Home Financial Services, Inc. is licensed nationally, but its Loan Originators can only assist consumers with property located in state(s) where the Loan Originator is licensed. Click on the NMLS link above to view a complete list of the Loan Originators licenses. 

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Rev – 5-2017

 

 

Key Indicators for Western Washington Housing Still Rising, But Brokers Detect Slowdown & Uncertainty

Source: NWMLS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 6, 2017

KIRKLAND, Washington (November 6, 2017) – Early seasonal snow and questions swirling around the
tax plan unveiled last week by House Republicans could make the usual seasonal slowdown more
pronounced, say industry leaders from Northwest Multiple Listing Service. For October, however, key
indicators trended upwards.

Pending sales rose nearly 8 percent from a year ago, closed sales were up 5.2 percent, and prices jumped
about 8.2 percent, with 14 counties reporting double-digit gains. Even the number of new listings
improved on the year-ago total.

Northwest MLS figures for the 23 counties it serves show members added 8,466 new listings to inventory
during October, outgaining the year-ago total of 7,575 by 11.8 percent. Buyers outnumbered new listings,
with 10,586 of them having their offers accepted. That number of pending sales was up nearly 8 percent
from the same month a year ago.

“The challenge for buyers actually isn’t lack of choice, it is the rapid pace of sales,” suggested Ken
Anderson, president/owner of Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty.

“The market in Thurston County has never been better for sellers, and they’re getting the message,”
Anderson remarked. His analysis revealed a 10-year high for sellers coming to market during October.
“These savvy sellers are not waiting until spring to sell. They are taking advantage of today’s great
market and making their move now,” he reported.

Buyers may find themselves in a quandary as the year winds down as they contemplate limited supply,
possible upticks in interest rates and tax reform. Last week’s announcement of a provision in a GOP tax
proposal to cap the mortgage interest deduction is concerning to buyers, brokers and builders.

“Imagine if the proposed plan to cap the mortgage interest deduction at $500,000 is approved in a market
that is starved for homes and where the median price [for a single family home in King County] is now
$630,000,” said O B Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate. “Homeowners may be less likely to
sell because they would be giving up their grandfathered tax credit on their current home. That’s fewer
homes for sale in a market where we really need them,” he stated, adding, “There could also be a flood of
new buyers trying to purchase before the plan is passed, adding to the already hyper-competitive market
conditions.”

The president of the National Association of REALTORS® also weighed in, saying details are currently
under review, but stated, “Eliminating or nullifying the tax incentives for homeownership puts home
values and middle class homeowners at risk, and from a cursory examination this legislation appears to do
just that.”

Northwest MLS data show 66 percent of single family homes sold so far this year (Jan. – Oct.) in King
County had selling prices of $500,000 or higher.