Archive for the ‘Seattle Housing Market’ Category

Bothell Real Estate Recap – July 2007

Here’s a recap of what happened in the Bothell, Washington real estate market in July 2007. The area this information pertains to is shown on the map to the below (provided courtesy of the NWMLS). Though slightly cut-off, this area’s southwestern border is Hwy 522 (east to west) and 68th Ave NE in Kenmore (north to south). Click on the map to enlarge.

Bothell, Washington Real Estate Market Area, according to the NWMLS

Summary:

Single-family resale homes  Slightly fewer houses sold for negligibly less money in July, but took about three weeks longer to sell than those in June. Though there are slightly more buyers buying this year, there are many more sellers selling. The results are longer market times/cooling prices for sellers and greater selection/ability to negotiate for buyers.

If you’re planning to sell your home, it’s crucial to allow no less than 90 days. The average market time our area was 83 days last month, but (to echo what I said on last month’s recap) in order to sell within this timeframe your home has to be priced very competitively (i.e. 5-10% less than any brand new homes in your neighborhood, and lower than 80% or more of the homes that are direct competition to yours). With a few exceptions, no experienced agent will agree to market your home for less than 90 days given current market conditions (doing so would be a disservice to you). And while selling your home without professional representation (“For Sale By Owner”) has always been possible, it is much less likely at this time given the swell in housing inventory. Understand that buyers are still buying (the sky is by no means falling) – the Seattle market is just returning to a level of “normality” that we haven’t seen in several years.

The buyer’s market continues for this market segment.

Resale condos – Sales were down slightly vs. June but up significantly vs. last year. Condos sold about 2.5 weeks quicker last month than in June, and prices increased between 10-13%. Even more than last month it’s a good time to sell your condo and upgrade to a detached home, or roll it into another investment property via a 1031 tax-deferred exchange. Like I’ve mentioned before, the current buyer’s market means your condo’s equity may get you more home than it would have in the past. For investors, low vacancy rates all around the Sound bode well for rental demand and income. Seller’s market in this segment.

Newly-built single-family homes – Sales were up vs. both June and last year. Prices dipped very slightly, and more homes sold on the lower end of the price spectrum than the upper. Seller’s market continues in this segment.

New condos –  Sales are down vs. June but up vs. last year. With fewer units sold in July, the median price decreased and the average increased compared to June. 

Resale single-family and condominium homes: (“Resale” means pre-owned/not newly built.)

  • A total of 301 resale homes were listed for sale last month – 51 of these were condos. This brought the total number available to 963 in July.
  • 188 of these homes sold – 28 were condos.

The median selling price* of resale single-family homes was $466,592 in July, down less than 1% ($3,408) from June’s $470,000 median. The average sale price was $509,011, down negligibly ($246) from June’s $509,257 average.

The median selling price* of resale condos was $261,475 in July, up 10.5% ($24,745) from June’s $236,730 median. The average price was $276,188, up 12.7 % ($31,041) from June’s $245,147 average.

* “Median” means half the homes sold for more than this amount and half sold for less than this amount.

  • Resale single-family homes sold in July were on the market an average of 83 days – three weeks longer than in June and nearly twice as long as in July 2006.
  • Year-to-date, resale single-family home sales (in terms of total sold) are nearly exactly what they were at this time last year. (From Jan. 1 through the end of July 2006, 1,035 homes had sold; as of the same time last month, 1,034 sold.) 
  • Resale condos sold in July were on the market an average of 46 days – 17 days shorter than in June and 32 days longer than in July 2006.
  • Year-to-date, resale condo sales are 65% greater than last year at this time.

Newly built single-family and condominium homes: 

  • A total of 87 new homes were listed for sale last month – 26 of these were new condos. This brought the total number available to 495 in July.
  • 58 of these homes sold – 1 was a condo.

The median selling price of new single-family homes was $509,950 in July, down less than 1% ($1,750) from June’s $511,700 median. The average price was $548,891, down 2.5% ($14,297) from June’s $563,188 average.

The median selling price of new condos was $272,950 in July, down 7.6% ($19,173) from June’s $253,777 median. The average price was $272,950, up 7.1% ($18,107) from June’s $254,843 average.

  • New single-family homes sold in July were on the market an average of 129 days – 28 days longer than in June and 57 days longer than during July 2006.
  • Year-to-date, new single-family home sales are up 16.9% compared to the same time last year.
  • New condos sold in July were on the market an average of 48 days – 6 days shorter than in June and 6 days longer than in July 2006.
  • Year-to-date, new condo sales are up 5.9% compared to last year.

Could this data be presented in a way that’s more visually appealing and/or understandable? Do you have questions about how to interpret what’s been presented? Please let me know by leaving a response below, giving me a call at (206) 465-3698, and/or sending an e-mail to jay (dot) matthews (at) century21 (dot) com.  I’m also happy to provide the same data for specific neighborhoods outside the Bothell area by request.  

This data was taken from reports published by the NWMLS.

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Fed leaves interest rates unchanged

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At its meeting today, the Federal Reserve board voted unanimously to leave short-term interest rates unchanged despite the choppy waters some financial markets are moving through. The Fed has left the federal funds rate, currently 5.25 percent, unchanged for over a year.

This is good news for well-qualified buyers currently searching for a home, as it means the cost of financing will not likely increase in the immediate future. However as time goes by and the sub-prime meltdown continues, lenders may raise rates to maintain profit margins. If you’re shopping for a house, get a rate lock and move quickly to get your offer accepted.

Yes, we’re in a buyer’s market – but think carefully whether haggling with the sellers over a new hot water heater is really worth paying a higher interest rate over the life of your mortgage. In the worn and tired words of Larry the Cable Guy, “Git ‘er done!”

Source: Associated Press

Bothell Real Estate Recap – June 2007

Please see the Bothell Housing Market category for the most recent market reports. 

Here’s a recap of what happened in the Bothell, Washington real estate market during June 2007. The area this information pertains to is shown on the map to the below (provided courtesy of the NWMLS). Though slightly cut-off, this area’s southwestern border is Hwy 522 (east to west) and 68th Ave NE in Kenmore (north to south). Click on the map to enlarge.

Bothell, Washington Real Estate Market Area, according to the NWMLS

Summary:

Single-family resale homes Fewer houses sold for slightly less money in June, but also sold two weeks quicker (on average) than in May. Interestingly, nearly the exact same amount of these homes had sold by this time last year. The difference this year is there are many more sellers but still the same amount of buyers.

If you’re planning to sell your home, I recommend allowing no less than 90 days. The average market time in the Bothell area last month was 62 days, but in order to sell within this timeframe your home has to be priced very competitively. To me, “very competitively” means 5-10% less than any brand new homes in your neighborhood, and lower than 80% or more of the homes that are direct competition to yours. The days of the scorching hot market are gone, at least for the time being. The buyer’s market continues for these properties.

Resale condos – Sales are up significantly, but also are market times – and prices dipped between 6-8% last month. It’s still not a bad time to sell and upgrade to a detached home though. A buyer’s market for resale homes means the equity in your condo may get you more home than it would have in the past.

New single-family homes – Compared to last month, fewer of these homes sold. As a result, the median price fell slightly and average price increased slightly. Year-to-date however, new home sales are up significantly over last year. The Seller’s market waned for this housing type, and if July’s numbers mirror June’s we may see an emergence of a buyer’s market in this segment.

New condos –  More new condos are being sold this year than last year, though June prices dipped compared to May’s. It’s still not a bad time to consider investing in a new condo as a rental. As interest rates rise, vacancy rates decrease (more people rent because the cost of borrowing on a house goes up). Currently vacancy rates are very low in many local areas.

Resale single-family and condominium homes: (“Resale” means pre-owned/not newly built.)

  • A total of 308 resale homes were listed for sale last month – 38 of these were condos. This brought the total number available to 936 in June.
  • 198 of these homes sold – 47 were condos.

The median selling price* of resale single-family homes was $470,000 in June, down 2% ($9,975) from May’s $479,975 median. The average sale price was $509,257, down 0.6% ($2,897) from May’s $512,154 average.

The median selling price* of resale condos was $236,730 in June, down 8% ($20,770) from May’s $257,500 median. The average price was $245,147, down 6.4% ($16,766) from May’s $261,913 average.

* “Median” means half the homes sold for more than this amount and half sold for less than this amount.

  • Resale single-family homes sold in June were on the market an average of 62 days – two weeks less than in May and two weeks longer than during June 2006.
  • Year-to-date, resale single-family home sales (in terms of total sold) are nearly exactly what they were at this time last year. (From Jan. 1 through the end of June 2006, 873 homes had sold; as of the same time last month, 874 sold.) 
  • Resale condos sold in June were on the market an average of 63 days – 23 days longer than in May and 40 days longer than during June 2006.
  • Year-to-date, resale condo sales are 81% greater than last year at this time.

New single-family and condominium homes: 

  • A total of 79 new homes were listed for sale last month – 2 of these were new condos. This brought the total number available to 400 in June.
  • 56 of these homes sold – 4 were condos.

The median selling price of new single-family homes was $511,700 in June, down 3.5% ($18,300) from May’s $530,000 median. The average price was $563,188, up 1.3% ($7,214) from May’s $555,974 average.

The median selling price of new condos was $253,777 in June, down 6% ($16,213) from May’s $269,990 median. The average price was $254,843, up 16.5% ($36,180) from May’s $218,663 average.

  • New single-family homes sold in June were on the market an average of 101 days – 19 days shorter than in May and 12 days longer than during June 2006.
  • Year-to-date, new single-family home sales are up 18.2% compared to the same time last year.
  • New condos sold in June were on the market an average of 54 days – 27 days longer than in May and 17 days less than in June 2006.
  • Year-to-date, new condo sales are up 31% compared to last year.

Could this data be presented in a way that’s more visually appealing and/or understandable? Do you have questions about how to interpret what’s been presented? Please let me know by leaving a response below, giving me a call at (206) 465-3698, and/or sending an e-mail to jay (dot) matthews (at) century21 (dot) com.  I’m also happy to provide the same data for specific neighborhoods outside the Bothell area.  

This data was taken from reports published by the NWMLS.

Bothell Real Estate Recap – May 2007

Please see the Bothell Housing Market category for the most recent info on the local real estate market.

Bothell, Washington Real Estate Market Area, according to the NWMLSBothell, Washington Real Estate Market Area, according to the NWMLSBothell, Washington Real Estate Market Area, according to the NWMLSBothell, Washington Real Estate Market Area, according to the NWMLSBothell, Washington Real Estate Market Area, according to the NWMLSHere’s a recap of what happened in the Bothell, Washington real estate market during May 2007. The area this information pertains to is known to real estate professionals as market area 610, and is shown on the map to the left (provided courtesy of the NWMLS). Though slightly cut-off, this area’s southwestern border is Hwy 522 (east to west) and 68th Ave NE in Kenmore (north to south). Click the map to enlarge.

Summary:

Single-family resale homes more houses sold for slightly more money in May, bouncing back after a slight dip in April. If you’re planning to sell your home, you need to allow no less than 90 days. The average market time in our area last month was 76 days, a slight drop from April’s 78 day average. Higher inventory levels indicate continuation of a buyer’s market for these properties.

Resale condos – prices continue to climb. It’s a great time to be selling if you own a condo – indicators point to it being a seller’s market for this property type. Take that equity and upgrade to a larger, detached home!

New single-family homes There are fewer of these homes on the market than in April, and they seem to be selling quicker. The median price climbed slightly and average price dipped slightly. Seller’s market continues for this housing type.

New condos –  More new condos are being sold this year than last year, though prices dipped last month. Not a bad time to consider investing in a new condo as a rental.

Resale single-family and condominium homes: (“Resale” means not newly built.)

  • A total of 308 homes were put up for sale last month – 44 of these were condos. This brought the total number of resale homes available in May to 903.
  • 215 of these homes sold – 33 were condos.

The median selling price* of resale single-family homes was $479,975 in May, up 5.7% ($25,975) from April’s $454,000 median. The average sale price of these homes was $512,154, up 4.2% ($20,615) from April’s $491,539 average.

The median selling price* of resale condos was $257,500 in May, up 1.6% ($4,050) from April’s $253,450 median. On average these condos sold for $261,913, down 5.6% ($15,478) from April’s $277,391 average.

* “Median” means half the homes sold for more than this amount and half sold for less than this amount.

  • Resale single-family homes sold in May were on the market an average of 76 days – 28 days longer than a year before.
  • Year-to-date, resale single-family home sales are nearly exactly what they were at this time last year. (From Jan. 1 through the end of May 2006, 721 homes had sold; as of the same time last month, 723 have sold.) 
  • Resale condos sold in May were on the market an average of 40 days – 4 days longer than a year before.
  • Year-to-date, resale condo sales are 69.9% greater than last year at this time.

New single-family and condominium homes: 

  • A total of 83 new homes were listed for sale last month – 5 of these were condos. This brought the total number of new homes for sale in May to 392.
  • 82 of these homes sold – 3 were condos.

The median selling price of new single-family homes was $530,000 in May, up 4.5% ($22,803) from April’s $507,197 median. The average sale price of these homes was $555,974, down 2.1% ($12,139) from April’s $568,113 average.

The median selling price of new condos was $269,990 in May, down 2.4% ($6,510) from April’s $276,500 median. The average price of these condos was $218,663, down 26.8% ($80,150) from April’s $298,813 average.

  • New single-family homes sold in May were on the market an average of 120 days – 44 days longer than a year before.
  • Year-to-date, new single-family home sales are up 14.6% compared to last year.
  • New condos sold in May were on the market an average of 27 days – 53 days less than a year before.
  • Year-to-date, new condo sales are up 18.2% compared to last year.

Could this data be presented in a way that’s more visually appealing and/or understandable? Do you have questions about how to interpret what’s been presented? Please let me know by leaving a response below, giving me a call at (206) 465-3698, and/or sending an e-mail to jay (dot) matthews (at) century21 (dot) com.  I’m also happy to provide the same data for specific neighborhoods outside the Bothell area.  

This data was taken from reports published by the NWMLS.

Bothell Real Estate Recap, April 2007

Please see the Bothell Housing Market category for the most recent info on the local real estate market.

Bothell, Washington Real Estate Market Area, according to the NWMLSHere’s a recap of what happened in the Bothell, Washington real estate market in April 2007. The area this information pertains to is shown on the map to the left as area 610, provided courtesy of the NWMLS. Though slightly cut-off, this area’s southwestern border is Hwy 522 (east to west) and 68th Ave NE in Kenmore (north to south). Click the map to enlarge.

Resale single-family and condominium homes: (“Resale” means not newly built.)

  • A total of 357 homes were put up for sale last month – 47 of these were condos. This brought the total number of resale homes available in April to 847.
  • 162 of these homes sold – 25 were condos.

The median selling price* of resale single-family homes was $454,000 in April, down 6% ($29,176) from March’s $483,176 median. The average sale price of these homes was $491,539, down 0.4% from March’s $493,400 average.

The median selling price* of resale condos was $253,450 in April, up 7% ($16,500) from March’s $236,950 median. The average condo sold for $277,391, up 14.8% ($35,667) from March’s $241,724 average.

* “Median” means half the homes sold for more than this amount and half sold for less than this amount.

  • Resale single-family homes sold in April were on the market an average of 78 days – 34 days longer than a year before.
  • Year-to-date, resale single-family home sales down 4.9% from the same time last year.
  • Resale condos sold in April were on the market an average of 50 days – 34 days longer than a year before.
  • Year-to-date, resale condo sales are 78.6% greater than last year at this time.

New single-family and condominium homes: 

  • A total of 99 new homes were put up for sale last month – only 1 of these was a condo. This brought the total number of new homes for sale in April to 410.
  • 53 of these homes sold – 3 were condos.

The median selling price of new single-family homes was $507,197 in April, down 4.3% ($22,593) from March’s $529,790 median price. The average sale price of these homes was $568,113, up 5.6% ($30,098) from March’s $538,015 average.

The median selling price of new condos was$276,500 in April. The average price of these homes was $298,813. No new condos were sold in the Bothell Market Area in March.

  • New single-family homes sold in April were on the market an average of 118 days – 60 days longer than a year before.
  • Year-to-date, new single-family home sales are up 2% from the same time last year.
  • New condos sold in April were on the market an average of 24 days. No new condos were sold during April last year.
  • Year-to-date, 10 new condos have been sold in the Bothell Market Area. 4 new condos had sold by the same time last year.

Could this data be presented in a way that’s more visually appealing and/or understandable? Do you have questions about how to interpret what’s been presented? Please let me know by leaving a response below, giving me a call at (206) 465-3698, and/or sending an e-mail to jay (dot) matthews (at) century21 (dot) com.  I’m also happy to provide the same data for specific neighborhoods outside the Bothell area.  

This data was taken from reports published by the NWMLS.

Some Perspective on the Housing Bubble

Don’t click or it’ll pop!This morning I came across an article on the financial troubles facing publicly-traded companies that build new homes. It inspired me to talk a little about the housing “bubble” and hopefully convey some perspective on what’s happening with real estate both nationally and locally.

Written by Oxford-educated financial analyst Judith Levy, the article cited rising foreclosures “particularly among sub-prime borrowers…and a corresponding tightening of credit standards among [mortgage] lenders” as the reasons for the rise in unsold inventory and decline in new home sales nationwide.

Unfortunately, the consequences of this scenario effect more than just these companies’ bottom lines – some consumers also suffer. When new homes don’t sell quickly, downward pressure is put on resale home prices as builders offer deep discounts to get their homes sold. This means the average seller gets less money for their home. Buyers fare better however – they pay less for a home and can sometimes negotiate concessions like seller-paid closing costs.  

Looking at the national real estate market, things aren’t pretty in some areas. Las Vegas, parts of Southern California and Florida have been among the hardest hit by negative price changes. Many who bought homes in these areas over the last 4 years or so are having trouble selling for what they paid. It’s generally agreed that the two main contributing factors to this “bubble” were/are easy money and rampant speculation. 

Around 2003, it became much easier for those with marginal credit and income to get a mortgage. Unfortunately many of these mortgages had a short-term fixed “teaser” rate which changed to an adjustable rate 1-3 years later. (Imagine a mortgage payment of $1200-1500 the first 1-3 years in your new home, followed by payments that jumped to $1700-2000 or more as rates increased. Frightening, eh?) It’s now obvious to many that this money was irresponsibly (or even unethically) lended.

Speculation is also to blame. It’s my impression that many so called “investors” with little or no property investment experience and perhaps at the prodding of unscrupulous real estate agents made some (very) bad decisions. The statement, “there’s no way this property will ever go down in value – get it now, make a bundle on appreciation, then sell it” was likely said in many ways on occasions too numerous to count.

Late last year I had a listing appointment with a seller in West Seattle who purchased a home in May 2006 for 270k. She paid a contractor to completely renovate it and put it on the market 4 months later for $465k. 2 different agents, an attempt to sell it herself, and price drops totaling more than $100k haven’t accomplished much – it’s still on the market! When I entered the picture she was interviewing her second round of agents. She didn’t like what she heard when I told her what it was likely to sell for, and listed with someone else. It was my impression that she financed the renovations and continues to borrow to make the monthly mortgage payment.  She’s an unfortunate example of a speculator who got burned – badly.

What does all this mean for the Seattle-area market, and specifically for the Bothell micro-market? According to the article Getting Real About Real Estate in Fortune magazine’s 2007 Investor Guide, not much. In fact, it predicted 3 of the 5 strongest western markets during 2007 and 2008 would be right here in the Northwest – Tacoma, Seattle/Bellevue, and Portland (in that order). And as for whether new home sales are slumping in the Bothell market area, the answer is a resounding no. Quadrant Homes, the state’s largest builder, reported stronger-than-expected sales last month, and the stats support their claim – February’s new home sales were up 9% over the same time last year in our immediate area. As Quadrant Homes president Peter Orser noted in the comments section of this post, housing affordability poses a much bigger challenge to our market then any “bubble.”

Mortgage Rate Update and Fed Primer

Mortgage Rate Trends, 2000-2007Good news for anyone shopping for a new home – at its meeting last week, the Federal Reserve decided to leave interest rates unchanged.

The chart to the left shows mortgage rate trends since 2000. The second (below) shows rate fluctuations this month. (Click to enlarge.)

The Federal Reserve’s primary function is “to influence the availability and cost of money and credit to help promote national economic goals.” The Fed accomplishes this is by raising interest rates, lowering them, or leaving them unchanged. When rates are increased, the amount money available nationally is reduced, which in turn slows inflation. (Inflation is a side-effect of a strong economy.) When rates are cut, more money is made available which in turn stimulates the economy. 

Short-Term Mortgage Outlook March 2007 rate trend

This Friday the Personal Consumption Expenditure Index (or PCE) will be released. This monthly report compiles nation-wide data on the average increase in prices for all domestic personal consumption for the prior two months. “Domestic personal consumption” includes things like the food we buy, the energy we use to heat our homes, and the gas we put in our cars. Many analysts believe the Fed relies heavily on this report to gauge inflation, with any decision to raise or cut rates being intimately tied to it.

If the index shows the average American spent less on personal consumption over the last two months, and this trend continues until the Fed meets again on May 9th, it may resolve that inflation is in check and lower interest rates accordingly.

Source Info:

“The Mortgage Market This Week” from The Bond Rate Monitor, 3/26/07

The Federal Reserve’s website

Freddie Mac’s website

(Thanks to Chris Benfield at Century 21 Mortgage for providing a portion of the source material.)

Bothell Real Estate Recap – Feb. 2007

Please see the Bothell Housing Market category for the most recent info on the local real estate market.

Bothell, Washington Real Estate Market Area, according to the NWMLSHere’s a recap of what happened in the Bothell, Washington real estate market during February 2007. The area this information pertains to is shown on the map to the left as area 610, provided courtesy of the NWMLS. Though slightly cut-off, this area’s southwestern border is Hwy 522 (east to west) and 68th Ave NE in Kenmore (north to south). Click the map to enlarge.

Resale single-family and condominium homes: (“Resale” means not newly built.)

  • A total of 226 homes were newly listed/put up for sale last month – 39 of these were condos. This brought the total number of resale homes available in February to 685.
  • 129 of these homes sold – 29 were condos.

The median selling price* of resale single-family homes was $462,636 in February, a drop of 1.9% (about $9,000) from January’s $471,708 median price.

The median selling price* of resale condos was $211,000 in February, a drop of 18.8% (about $49,000) from January’s $260,000 median price.

* “Median” means half the total homes sold for more than this amount and half the homes sold for less than this amount.

  • Resale single-family homes sold in February were on the market an average of 84 days – 32 days longer than a year before.
  • Year-to-date, resale single-family home sales are 4.2% less than in February 2006.
  • Resale condos sold in February were on the market an average of 49 days – 14 days longer than a year before.
  • Year-to-date, resale condo sales are 108% greater than in February 2006.

New single-family and condominium homes: 

  • A total of 87 new homes were put up for sale last month – 5 of these were condos. This brought the total number of new homes for sale in February to 383.
  • 73 of these homes sold – 5 were condos.

The median selling price of new single-family homes was $527,475 in February, a drop of 1.1% (about $6,000) from January’s $533,458 median price.

The median selling price of new condos was $333,995 in February, an increase of 21.3% (about $41,000) from January’s $275,350 median price.

  • New single-family homes sold in February were on the market an average of 115 days – 33 days longer than a year before.
  • Year-to-date, new single-family home sales are 8.9% greater than in February 2006.
  • New condos sold in February were on the market an average of 287 days – 225 days longer than a year before.
  • Year-to-date, 7 new condos have been sold in the Bothell area. 2 new condos had sold by the same time last year.

Could this data be presented in a way that’s more visually appealing and/or understandable? Do you have questions on the data presented? Please let me know by leaving a response below. If you’re outside the Bothell market area, I’m happy to provide the same data for your specific neighborhood. Send an e-mail to jay (dot) matthews (at) century21 (dot) com, or leave a reply here. 

This data was taken from reports published by the NWMLS in March 2007.

Bothell Real Estate Recap – Jan. 2007

Please see the Bothell Housing Market category for the most recent info on the local real estate market. 

Beginning with the February Recap, I’ll be posting these snapshots of local market activity here on About Bothell. To have a look at January’s Recap, click here.