Tag Archives: Prices

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.

Improving Supply Helps Slow Escalating Home Prices in Western Washington

SOURCE: NWMLS

KIRKLAND, Washington (September 7, 2018) – House-hunters in Western Washington can choose from
the largest supply of homes in three years, and they are facing fewer bidding wars, according to officials
from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

New statistics from the MLS show prices appear to be moderating (up about 6.7 percent overall), but
brokers say they are not bracing for a bubble, or even anticipating a quick shift to a buyers’ market.

“There have been incremental increases in listing inventory the past few months,” noted Gary O’Leyar, the
designated broker/owner at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Signature Properties, but, he added, “By no
means have inventory levels reached a point that is deemed to be a balanced market.”

Area-wide, the number of active listings of single family homes and condos (combined) rose 16.2 percent,
but 16 counties reported year-over-year drops in inventory; of those, nine had double-digit decreases from
twelve months ago. At month end there were 18,580 active listings, the highest level since September 2015
when buyers could choose from 19,724 listings. Compared to July, inventory was up nearly 11 percent.

The latest numbers from Northwest MLS show wide-ranging changes in the volume of active listings when
comparing the 23 counties in the report. In Clark County, inventory doubled from a year ago to lead the list
based on percentage gains. King County was runner-up with a 74.3 percent increase, rising from 3,329
active listings a year ago to 5,803 at the end of August.

System-wide there is about two months of supply, but less than that in the four-county Puget Sound region
– well below the “balanced market” range of four-to-six months.

Supply was replenished in part by the addition of 11,994 new listings during the month, up slightly from the
year-ago total of 11,781.

A slower pace of sales also contributed to the boost in supply. Brokers reported 10,109 mutually accepted
offers last month, a drop of 14.8 percent from a year ago when they tallied 11,867 pending sales.

“The Puget Sound residential housing market remains positive, though the market has transitioned from a
frenzied state to one of strong sales activity,” remarked J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott
Real Estate. “We are seeing stability in the affordable and mid-price ranges in all market areas,” he said,
citing “one of the best job growth markets in the nation” and favorable interest rates as contributing factors.

George Moorhead, designated broker at Bentley Properties, commented on buyers “still sitting on the
sidelines despite clear indicators.” He believes, “This is the best time in three years to be aggressive in the
marketplace” given rising inventory, a significant increase in the number of cancelled and expired listings,
and more incentives being offered by builders. “We are now seeing price reductions in new home
communities as builders try to move inventory of completed homes,” he noted.

Brokers Seeing “Simple Economic Recipe For a Softening Housing Market”

Source: NWMLS

KIRKLAND, Washington (July 5, 2018) – Home buyers around many parts of Washington state had
more choices and less competition during June, prompting some industry leaders to comment on “a
feeling of change in the market.”

“Inventory is up and demand has dropped,” reported Robert Wasser, an officer with the board of directors
at Northwest Multiple Listing Service. That combination is “a pretty simple economic recipe for a
softening market,” he added in commenting on the latest MLS statistics.

Figures for June show a 5.2 percent improvement in the number of active listings system-wide, coupled
with drops in the volume of pending sales (down 8.4 percent) and closed sales (down .07 percent)
compared with a year ago. Despite the shift of some indicators favoring buyers, prices area-wide
continued to rise, increasing more than 10 percent from twelve months ago.

“There was a feeling of change in the market this June and the numbers supported that feeling,” remarked
John Deely, principal managing broker at Coldwell Banker Bain. He noted many brokers also reported an
increase in properties going past their offer review date, more price reductions, and an increase in reverse
prospecting (a tool that allows the listing broker to view a list of brokers with potential buyers for that
listing). “We’re also experiencing a decrease in multiple offers and the number of buyers participating in
multiple offers,” added Deely.

Northwest MLS brokers added 13,153 new listings to inventory during June, a drop from both a year ago
when they added 13,658, and from May when 14,524 new listings were added. With new listings
outgaining sales, total inventory as measured by active listings and months of supply improved.

At month end, Northwest MLS reported 15,234 active listings and 1.5 months of supply. Inventory of
single family homes and condos reached its highest level since October. The supply of active listings in
King County surged 47 percent from a year ago, boosting the months of supply to just under 1.3 months –
the highest level since September 2016 when there was 1.37 months of supply.

“Although still a quick response market, with more new listings coming on the market during the summer
months, we experienced dispersed buyer energy due to the greater availability and selection,” stated J.
Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate. He estimates sales activity is off 15-to-20
percent for each new listing’s first 30 days on the market. “Now through October will be the best time of
year for homebuyers,” he remarked.

“Sellers are becoming more active in the market as they sense buyers pulling back,” suggested George
Moorhead, designated broker and owner at Bentley Properties. Improving supply, a marked increase in
expired or cancelled listings, and market times almost doubling are factors he mentioned when describing
the market as “more than just lackluster” with summer showing no sign of improvement.

Home Prices: Boom Continues, but Leveling Out Needed

Source: RISMedia

The boom is continuing for home prices, with a gain in March of 6.5 percent, according to the S&P CoreLogic/Case-Shiller Indices.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index’s 10-City Composite, which is an average of 10 metros (Boston, Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.), rose 6.5 percent year-over-year, an increase from 6.4 percent in February. The 20-City Composite—which is an average of the 10 metros in the 10-City Composite, plus Atlanta, Charlotte, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Portland, Seattle and Tampa—rose 6.8 percent year-over-year, which is comparable to February. Month-over-month, both the 10-City Composite and the 20-City composite rose, 0.9 percent and 1 percent, respectively.

“The home price increases continue, with the National Index rising at 6.5 percent per year,” says David M. Blitzer, chairman and managing director of the S&P Dow Jones Indices Index Committee.

“Looking across various national statistics on sales of new or existing homes, permits for new construction, and financing terms, two figures that stand out are rapidly rising home prices and low inventories of existing homes for sale,” Blitzer says. “Months-supply, which combines inventory levels and sales, is currently at 3.8 months, lower than the levels of the 1990s before the housing boom and bust.

“Until inventories increase faster than sales, or the economy slows significantly, home prices are likely to continue rising,” says Blitzer. “Compared to the price gains of the last boom in the early 2000s, things are calmer today.”

“The solid gain in home prices of 6.5 percent in March added roughly $150 billion to housing wealth during the month,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), in a statement. “The continuing run-up in home prices above the pace of income growth is simply not sustainable. From the cyclical low point in home prices six years ago, a typical home price has increased by 48 percent, while the average wage rate has grown by only 14 percent. Rising interest rates also do not help with affordability; therefore, more supply is needed to level out home prices. Homebuilding will be the key as to how the housing market performs in the upcoming years.”

The complete data for the 20 markets measured by S&P:

Atlanta, Ga.
Month-Over-Month (MoM): 0.8%
Year-Over-Year (YoY): 6.2%

Boston, Mass.
MoM: 1.2%
YoY: 5.8%

Charlotte, N.C.
MoM: 1%
YoY: 6.2%

Chicago, Ill.
MoM: 1.1%
YoY: 2.8%

Cleveland, Ohio
MoM: 0.3%
YoY: 4.6%

Dallas, Texas
MoM: 0.7%
YoY: 5.8%

Denver, Colo.
MoM: 1.4%
YoY: 8.6%

Detroit, Mich.
MoM: 1.1%
YoY: 7.9%

Las Vegas, Nev.
MoM: 1.5%
YoY: 12.4%

Los Angeles, Calif.
MoM: 0.9%
YoY: 8.1%

Miami, Fla.
MoM: 0.7%
YoY: 5%

Minneapolis, Minn.
MoM: 1.7%
YoY: 6.1%

New York, N.Y.
MoM: 0.1%
YoY: 5.2%

Phoenix, Ariz.
MoM: 0.9%
YoY: 6.8%

Portland, Ore.
MoM: 1%
YoY: 6.7%

San Diego, Calif.
MoM: 1%
YoY: 7.7%

San Francisco, Calif.
MoM: 2.1%
YoY: 11.3%

Seattle, Wash.
MoM: 2.8%
YoY: 13%

Tampa, Fla.
MoM: 0.6%
YoY: 7.5%

Washington, D.C.
MoM: 1.1%
YoY: 3%

Home buyers, sellers feel “looming pressure” but Western Washington market stays strong

Source: NWMLS

KIRKLAND, Washington (March 6, 2018) – Interest rates are creeping up, inventory is still squeezed, and
some feared revised tax laws would have a chilling effect on home sales, but Northwest Multiple Listing
Service leaders say the local market remains competitive.

“It seemed like there would have been a chilling effect on the real estate market at the start of 2018 with the
newly revised tax laws limiting mortgage interest deductions,” suggested Gary O’Leyar, designated broker
and owner at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Signature Properties. “Not only did the revisions not have
a chilling effect, if anything, the local market has been even hotter and more competitive than last year at
this time,” he added in commenting on new MLS numbers summarizing February activity.

Northwest MLS figures for last month show a slight year-over-year decrease (about 2.8 percent) in overall
pending sales, a likely consequence of inventory being down nearly 12.9 percent. Other key indicators of
the market – new listings, closed sales, and selling prices – all showed gains in February compared to 12
months ago.

The just-released report from Northwest MLS shows 7,980 pending sales last month, down from the
year-ago volume of 8,209 mutually accepted offers for single family homes and condos. Thirteen of the 23
counties in the report had more pending sales than at this time last year.

Closed sales outgained last year’s volume, 5,548 to 5,358, for an increase of nearly 3.6 percent. Median
prices on those sales surged almost 14.8 percent area-wide, rising from the year ago figure of $335,515 to
last month’s price of $385,000.

Among the four Puget Sound area counties, Snohomish had the largest year-over-year price increase at 18.8
percent. Its countywide median price for February’s sales spiked to $460,000 from $387,250, but that is
$130,000 below the $590,000 median price for transactions that closed in King County last month.
For single family homes (excluding condos), prices rose 13.7 percent overall, from $343,000 to $390,000.
Within King County, the median price was $649,950, with three areas (Mercer Island, Bellevue west of
I-405, and Kirkland-Bridle Trails) reporting median prices of more than $1 million for single family homes.
“As was the case the last two years, home values spiked in February, thanks to a cyclical low point in
supply,” commented Robert Wasser, owner/broker at Prospera Real Estate. Prices are now back around the
peak levels of last summer, and cyclically speaking, are headed for additional increases until summer
arrives,” commented Wasser, a board member at Northwest MLS.

Brokers added 7,284 new listings of single family homes and condos during February, an improvement of
nearly 6.4 percent from a year ago when they added 6,848 new listings. Like many months during 2017, last
month’s pending sales (7,980) outgained new listings (7,284), keeping inventory depleted in many areas.

Report: Homeownership Is More Than Just the Facts

Source: RISMedia

Homeownership is the epitome of the American Dream not only for its advantages as a financial asset, but also for its sociocultural value—in fact, most renters associate owning a home with the ultimate ideal, despite having some difficulty affording it.

A recent report by cost information website HowMuch.net reveals the goal is within reach—for some—and most are set on realizing it regardless of cost.

In a side-by-side analysis of monthly housing costs, the slimmest gaps between owning and renting are shown to be in the Rust Belt and the Southeast. Homeownership in West Virginia is the most easily achievable, requiring only $297 above and beyond the cost of renting. A home in Indiana, Arkansas, Florida and South Carolina is also relatively attainable.

Credit: “Buying vs. Renting a Home by State” by HowMuch.net

Many states favor renters expense-wise—the Garden State having the starkest contrast between renting and owning—but the intangible implications of homeownership, such as privacy and security, are outweighing cost barriers. The report cites recent Census data showing that although the homeownership rate is idling, owner household formation is occurring faster than renter household formation.

Still, the monthly cost of owning is, for many would-be homeowners, a non-issue. The report concludes:

That ideal vision of “home” is strong enough to convince over half of all Americans to stretch their budgets in search of the yard with white picket fences. In all, no amount of data can overcome the perfect image of the ideal home.

Source: HowMuch.net

Home Prices Keep on Upswing in February

Source: RISMedia

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.”

Source: CoreLogic

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Home Prices on a 31-Month Hot Streak

Source: RISMedia

Home prices are on a hot streak, reaching a 31-month high in January in the recently released S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices.

Prices fired up 5.9 percent year-over-year in the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, an increase from 5.7 percent the month prior. The Index’s 10-City Composite rose 5.1 percent, while its 20-City Composite rose 5.7 percent. The 10-City Composite eked out a 0.3 percent increase month-over-month; the 20-City Composite, 0.2 percent month-over-month.

Denver, Colo., Portland, Ore., and Seattle, Wash., once again led the tear, with Seattle showing the most gains at 11.3 percent year-over-year.

The trend could be disrupted if the Federal Reserve decides to raise the key interest rate three or four more times this year, which would result in a significant impact to mortgage rates, says S&P Dow Jones Indices Chairman and Managing Director David M. Blitzer. The Fed raised the rate in December 2015, December 2016, and, most recently, in March.

“Housing and home prices continue on a generally positive upward trend,” Blitzer said in a statement. “The recent action by the Federal Reserve raising the target for the Fed funds rate by a quarter percentage point is expected to add less than a quarter percentage point to mortgage rates in the near future,. Given the market’s current strength and the economy, the small increase in interest rates isn’t expected to dampen home-buying. If we see three or four additional increases this year, rising mortgage rates could become [a] concern.”

The story continues to center on inventory, which, according to Trulia, hit a new low at the beginning of the year, with starter home supply especially tight.

“Tight supplies and rising prices may be deterring some people from trading up to a larger house, further aggravating supplies because fewer people are selling their homes,” said Blitzer. “The prices also hurt affordability as higher prices and mortgage rates shrink the number of households that can afford to buy at current price levels. At some point, this process will force prices to level off and decline; however, we don’t appear to be there yet.”

What will end the upward spell? According to Bill Banfield, vice president at Quicken Loans, more new home construction is needed to release the pressure.

“Home prices continue to reach new heights, propelled by the lack of available housing,” said Banfield in a statement. “This is the narrative we have heard many times, and it is likely to continue until construction increases and provides more options both move-up and first-time buyers.”

Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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.”