Glassquesters your clue ball can be found where “Old Glory” flies high! I will have a ball hidden at the North, Middle and South end of the Island where you find the Red, White and Blue. You will also be able to see the beauty of Camano Island and why you may want to move here!
For the official rules of The Great Northwest Glass Quest visit the website https://thegreatnwglassquest.com or stop into either Windermere office and pick up an Official Glass Quest booklet.
Good Luck Questers!
The following analysis of the Western Washington real estate market is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner. We hope that this information may assist you with making better-informed real estate decisions. For further information about the housing market in your area, please don’t hesitate to contact your Windermere agent.
Employment in Washington State continues to soften; it is currently at an annual growth rate of 1.7%. I believe that is a temporary slowdown and we will see the pace of employment growth improve as we move further into the new year. It’s clear that businesses are continuing to feel the effects of the trade war with China and this is impacting hiring practices. This is, of course, in addition to the issues that Boeing currently faces regarding the 737 MAX.
In the fourth quarter of 2019 the state unemployment rate was 4.4%, marginally lower than the 4.5% level of a year ago. My most recent economic forecast suggests that statewide job growth in 2020 will rise 2.2%, with a total of 76,300 new jobs created.
- There were 18,322 home sales registered during the final quarter of 2019, representing an impressive increase of 4.7% from the same period in 2018.
- Readers may remember that listing activity spiked in the summer of 2018 but could not be sustained, with the average number of listings continuing to fall. Year-over-year, the number of homes for sale in Western Washington dropped 31.7%.
- Compared to the fourth quarter of 2018, sales rose in nine counties and dropped in six. The greatest growth was in Whatcom County. San Juan County had significant declines, but this is a very small market which makes it prone to extreme swings.
- Pending home sales — a barometer for future closings — dropped 31% between the third and fourth quarters of 2019, suggesting that we may well see a dip in the number of closed sales in the first quarter of 2020.
- Home price growth in Western Washington spiked during fourth quarter, with average prices 8.3% higher than a year ago. The average sale price in Western Washington was $526,564, 0.7% higher than in the third quarter of 2019.
- It’s worth noting that above-average price growth is happening in markets some distance from the primary job centers. I strongly feel this is due to affordability issues, which are forcing buyers farther out.
- Compared to the same period a year ago, price growth was strongest in San Juan County, where home prices were up 41.7%. Six additional counties also saw double-digit price increases.
- Home prices were higher in every county contained in this report. I expect this trend to continue in 2020, but we may see a softening in the pace of growth in some of the more expensive urban areas.
DAYS ON MARKET
- The average number of days it took to sell a home dropped four days compared to the third quarter of 2019.
- For the second quarter in a row, Thurston County was the tightest market in Western Washington, with homes taking an average of 29 days to sell. In nine counties, the length of time it took to sell a home dropped compared to the same period a year ago. Market time rose in four counties and two were unchanged.
- Across the entire region, it took an average of 47 days to sell a home in the fourth quarter. This was up nine days over the third quarter of this year.
- Market time remains below the long-term average across the region, a trend that will likely continue until we see more inventory come to market — possibly as we move through the spring.
This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s real estate market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors.
The housing market ended the year on a high note, with transactions and prices picking up steam. I believe the uncertainty of 2018 (when we saw significant inventory enter the market) has passed and home buyers are back in the market. Unfortunately, buyers’ desire for more inventory is not being met and I do not see any significant increase in listing activity on the horizon. As such, I have moved the needle more in favor of home sellers.
ABOUT MATTHEW GARDNER
As Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, Matthew Gardner is responsible for analyzing and interpreting economic data and its impact on the real estate market on both a local and national level. Matthew has over 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.
In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Matthew sits on the Washington State Governors Council of Economic Advisors; chairs the Board of Trustees at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington; and is an Advisory Board Member at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington where he also lectures in real estate economics.
New Technology is great but it seems to be advancing so fast that the average person can’t keep up!! What good is all this “good” stuff if we don’t have the training, time or energy to learn what it’s all about?! We don’t really! Relax! We just need to do our best to keep up with what our own particular needs and environment request! Some of us need to know more than others and some of don’t need to know any at all. That is, we don’t all have to know the latest and the greatest but just those things that can keep “our” everyday business, life and families up-to-date and current with the technological world. The more I learn the more I see how it can benefit almost anyone in any profession. It does seem a little overwhelming with everything from: I-phone, X Box, Wii, W 7, QR codes, GPS, Blackberry, Droid, Web, Blog, Bluetooth, MP3 and things I can’t even imagine or comprehend! Windermere just updated all the personal agent websites last week! A majority of us don’t like change and the websites are a little more difficult than they were presented to be but we are figuring them out! Of course, at first we like to whine and complain a little but in the long run, these new sites are going to be great! Next Windermere will change their main Home Page and search Website to be more user friendly and combine some of the most popular attributes from other sites that clients are demanding. The best of all worlds! Before the end of the year our franchise Windermere/CIR for Camano Island and Stanwood will hopefully be reorganized with a type of “cloud” web sharing for our agents which will be another change! A lot of changes coming before the end of the year to get up and running for a great start to 2012! It seems like a lot of things all at once but we just have to take them as they come, do what we can, learn as much as we can in the time we have, move on and keep going. In addition to last week’s blog of staying positive, it is much easier to embrace the new ideas, technology and changes coming our way. Real Estate has and is changing as well. We can now be at home or any hot spot on our computers and look at every entire property For Sale in any State or City, we can use our I-phones, Blackberry’s or Droids and the QR codes to go to any listed property and shop for exactly what we want. We can drive around and use our GPS on our phones or handhelds and know where all the listings are located, then use the QR codes again to get either agent information and/or home information. We can get our I-Pads or Notebooks to go “On Line” as well and get all the information we are looking for from almost anywhere. Another reason why we as agents need to keep up with as much technology as possible to keep up with our technologically driven clients and the world!
Persistent Perseverance! The act of persisting, tenacity, The state or quality of being persistent; persistency, Continuance of an effect after the cause is removed; Steady persistence in adhering to a course of action, a belief, or a purpose; steadfastness, continued steady belief or efforts, withstanding discouragement or difficulty; persistence. These are the two dictionary definitions of the first two words. In life, work, school, love these could be two of the most important words! Sort of like “Try, try again”, we have all heard this and this very historic statement culminates in persistence! As in “Where there is a will, there is a way” and “Survival of the fittest”, these two even older phrases could be summed up in the one word of perseverance! Put them together and you have an unstoppable, undeniable will and spirit to overcome all obstacles and roadblocks. “Hang in there”, “don’t give up”, “never say die”, are all very highly used sayings of encouragement and support. As one of my clients and I found out this week! We had started our listing nearly one year ago on October 22, 2010. I scrutinized the price and the Sold Comparables and came up with a great list price(or so I thought). I had done the usual and more advertising with the office tour, Brokers Open House, Public Open House, NWMLS, Windermere website listing, Google, Trulia, Zillow, Realtor.com and more. We had wonderful showings and quite interested buyers but no offers. We started to lower the price. We did two large price reductions after the first six months. We had a few more showings but they were slowing tremendously. Most of the other comparables had already sold. We were experiencing one showing every 3-4 weeks. Finally, coming up on nearly a year we were due to expire at the end of September 2011. I thought I had no chance to convince my client to continue the listing. They called that day and surprisingly wanted to keep the listing going for a few more months. The very next week; an offer!!! This just goes to show me that even in the overall down economy, the Stanwood and Camano Island Real Estate markets are still healthy. Clients are buying and homes are selling. There are currently 38 Pending Sales on Camano alone. We are still getting new inventory and new buyers! It doesn’t matter how long a property has been on the market, don’t discount it. Don’t wait until the home you wants is Pending with another buyer. A property is worth how much a buyer is willing to pay! We can do it!!
REALLY??!! October??!! Yikes!! To me this all means the end of summer and start of the real Fall/Winter Holiday season. Although one of my most favorite times of the year, the slow and moderate Spring/Summer we had makes the transition a little less than historically exciting. Not the summer has been lazy by any means but now it is time to pick up the pace with ourselves and our families and gear up to get involved with all the exciting events and year-end. We have already noticed the change in scenery; the maple leaves falling, the chill in the night air and the gorgeous, cool sunrises over the Cascades. The fall colors of lemon, mustard, pumpkin, burnt sienna, hunter, oak and mahogany are all my favorites! Of course, first we have Halloween this month with decorating, baking, making costumes and the culmination of the “Big Night”!! The children’s treasure trove usually last until they can restock at Christmas! The smells of those outdoors fires, fall stews, hot ovens, pumpkin pie spice, apple cider, cobblers and wood burning fireplaces bring childhood memories as well as more recent. Then after Halloween, gratefully, Thanksgiving has not become as commercial as the previous and post holidays to it, so it brings a family togetherness and a time to relax, enjoy, prepare and actually plan the big doings of December. I love Thanksgiving for that very reason; it has stayed less retail and I can enjoy cozy weekends watching movies, playing board games and just spending time with my family! No sooner do you get that Turkey out of the oven it seems as if overnight, “tis the season,” so to speak with the countdown to Christmas!! With kids it’s kind of hard not to get caught up in it all; more decorating, baking, parties, shopping, friends and family!! Christmas Day and the week following is the last breather prior to another New Year! Hopefully it will be a good year to come! As for the Real Estate market in Stanwood and Camano Island as well as the rest of the country, this all means the start of our fourth and final quarter for the year. For our own sakes and the down economy, we need to continue and increase our Pending sales and finish out the sales year strong. We need to set up and prepare those coming listings for the start of the New Year as well! We have been on an upward trend in the third quarter and if we can continue strong, we should have a year-end result better than that of 2010! Continued low-interest rates and low home prices give hope to the finish of a great year!
Time flies! Isn’t that what we all say? It sure does! This weekend I celebrated my 30th High School Reunion! It certainly does not seem like that long. Where does it go? Most of us, as children don’t focus on work or a talent or the future paths we need to prepare for. Most kids just go to school, socialize, play and don’t think about much of anything until we reach high school. Most of us procrastinate; say we will do it tomorrow, etc. As we get older, week after week goes by and one day we turn around and 30 years have gone by. What have we done? What do we have to show for our work, our efforts for the past years? Do we have a plan? Do we have goals? Do we have time to do the things we want or need to get done? Time management may be one our most important skill sets. Carpe Diem! Seize the day! Being that “Type A” personality, I always want to work smarter and get more done. I feel like I am constantly working and never spending the time I want with my growing and aging family. I get a little frustrated with myself when it feels like I am constantly working and not getting any of my personal goals accomplished. As with life, families, personal, we especially need to time manage work. We need to work more efficiently in the fast paced world. Take assessment of those actions that we do each day and analyze if those actions are productive and contributing to our goals for the days, weeks, and months. There is no waiting as we need to make urgent, deliberate decisions to affect our work lives to give us more personal lives. Time is not waiting for us. We as Real Estate agents are also trying to communicate the urgency to our clients about their Real Estate decisions. We have clients every day that we feel or know like a particular property and then say things like “I need to think about it”, or “It has been on the market for a long time, I can wait”. Uncannily it seems every time we hear this, suddenly there are two or more others interested in the same property and it sells! Indecision and procrastination changes our clients and our choices, our direction. None of us knows what will happen a few months from now, next year or the year after. With the home prices low and the interest rates low, we need to communicate to our clients that it is a good time to buy. A property is only worth what someone is willing to pay. Of course, we all understand that the market has been in a huge decline but we hope that we are at the bottom of the downward trend and in a “leveling” out period before we start our recovery. We hope our fourth quarter for 2011 will be a good end to this year and in 2012 start our incline to a healthy housing market. Another reason to urge our clients to continue to purchase and not wait is to stimulate that recovery. Without continued sales there can be no turn around. We can’t wait! We can’t afford to think about it! We need to seize the day! We need to buy now! With our local expert Brokers, if you want to purchase any property, we can find it for you. Come in today and let us show you the inventory! Talk to our preferred lenders and see how and what you can do! Carpe Domus?
It never ceases to amaze me what a small world it is and how much smaller it gets all the time! Obviously with the increase in technology, the cyber world and “air space” is most definitely smaller, quicker and easier! But our actual physical connection to people and places is also seemingly smaller. Is it really or is that only what adults say? Do children in today’s world feel it too? Is it only because I am bigger, older? In any case, our lives are connected in ways we don’t even realize or always see. Any person, at any time either walking next to you or past you could have known someone you’ve known or may know currently. There may be a previous or future connection with someone within arm’s reach. As in my favorite movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life” you will never know how many lives you will affect everyday and what would happen if you never touched them. So a man drove past the office with a new landscape business and came by to introduce himself. He starts saying how he got a wonderful owner contract on a property on the Island and on and on. Come to find out that the previous owner is a very good friend of mine! Another client called my phone number from a sign and came by later to chat about Real Estate and remembered that he chatted with my husband over the phone a few weeks previous! What are the odds that he would call my number from a random sign? A conversation while a couple was waiting in a line hundreds of miles away brings them to Camano; they stop by the office just to get a recommendation and information on a Bed and Breakfast. The conversation in the line was with a Camano Island resident who said how wonderful she loved her new home up here and that they should definitely visit. The resident I sold a home to several months earlier!! Real Estate activities and Pending sales have and continue to stay up now at 44 from 50 last week for Camano Island!! Those missing 6 Pending, went to closed sales which is still nearly one a day!! Strange, fascinating and such coincidental meetings and connections! I love my job! I meet so many interesting and unique people and most have become not only clients but friends for years. The continued stream of buyers in the current market continues not only on Camano but as well in Snohomish! With more and more people coming to the area, I am anxious to see what new connections will come and who I will meet next!! We will only be having our Club Friday for the next three weeks. This week the 23rd, I will be open without a sponsor due to some other engagements and next week, September 30th with a double Open House between Windermere and the Country Club Fire Station 4033 Local Fire Fighters!! We will end our season with Greenworks of Washington on October 7th. Come in Friday or any day of the week to see who you might meet!!
Labor Day has come and gone. Now we remember 911! It never struck me before but did they plan the attack the same week as one of the biggest “American” Holidays? Was it supposed to be the week prior? It is a somber and inspirational day! Somber for the obvious reasons, yet inspirational that our people, our government however, clumsily or haphazardly pulled through strong and sound from the greatest homeland attack in our nation’s history from another country! Remembering 911 is different for everyone. My daughter asked me “What it meant to me to be an American” and I couldn’t answer! I was dumbfounded. I never thought of it. Always took it for granted. Even with having the privilege and experience of traveling to many different countries and seeing the differences. Every time I returned home realizing how fortunate I was with just the everyday enjoyments, I still could not put in words, what it actually meant! In some ways 10 years seems like such a long time and others like yesterday. What if cars were luxury and we had to walk or ride a bicycle every where? What if we could not travel on paved roads to get the items we needed or go to school and work? What if we could not choose the person we were to marry and have a life with? What if there were no major medical facilities or any way to pay for them? Think about the smallest every day event and think if you couldn’t do it? What if we could not buy and sell our own homes? I believe there are over 15,000 Realtors in the State of Washington alone. We complain about the market and the economy that has been depressed for the last few years. What would we do if there were no option at all? Real Estate activities and Pending sales have and continue to stay up even now at 50 for Camano Island!! The actual number is down from two weeks ago at 57 but we have also had 15 closed sales which is more than one a day!! Most agents in our Windermere offices have at least two or three current active buyers yet to have purchased as well! We are all grateful and thankful to have what we have and enjoy the little things, even if they don’t appear to be as good as they were before. I think we would all like to say “Thank You” to all our past, current and future clients for choosing Windermere for your Real Estate needs. Thank you also to all the other Brokers from other Firms for your continued professionalism and perseverance. As a small part of our Thanks, don’t forget Club Friday this week on 9/16 from 12-2 pm with Wells Fargo with the traditional and always FREE BBQ Lunch!! Hope to see you soon.
For the most part, a majority of us are feeling that summer in the Northwest has just begun the last few weeks with little or no rain, temperatures in the 70’s and sometimes 80’s. However, this week brings the start of the 2011/12 Stanwood/Camano School year and what is usually a sign of the end of summer! It is a little hard to believe that although the weather is here, summer is over and fall will soon begin. Hopefully we will experience another 30-45 days of this “Indian Summer” that will extend into October. This next weekend also brings Labor Day which is another tradition sign of the end of summer! Non-traditional is the late surge of Real Estate activities and Pending sales up even higher than last week now at 57 for Camano Island!! The influx of buyers is a welcome business trend for us and a slightly slow year. If the current rate of Pending sales continues we are hopeful to finish ahead of last years’ yearend sales!! Specifically for News from the Windermere Club Office, last week’s “Club Friday” Community Open House was another success with our sponsor Westside Pizza! Rising temperatures well into the 70’s made for a perfectly lovely afternoon in the sun. Due to everything happening this week starting out Monday and Tuesday with catch up from the weekend; Wednesday with the traditional Brokers Open Houses of new listings; Thursday the start of September and the new school year, Friday there will be no Club this week with a long three day Holiday weekend! Family and friends come together for traditional Labor Day BBQ’s and outdoor activities and the “last hooray” for the summer! We still experience low housing prices, low interest rates and improved sales. Even those homes that have been on the market for months, sometimes years which have been reduced to the “right” price have been getting offers and in most case multiple offers!! Smart and savvy buyers know that it is the right time to purchase and are doing most or all their research on the internet with visible increased website traffic and direct communications. It would serve well for agents to make sure that their photos are true and realistic representation of their listings and that their prices are sharp and thoroughly competitive. Whether by internet or any other means, we welcome all buyers and new clients to the Camano and Stanwood area and continue to be ready to help in one of what may be your biggest purchases and life changing events. Good luck for those returning to school, watch out for the children in the morning and Happy Labor Day!!!
The end of a super fantastic week and the start of another!! The Camano Island Real Estate market has been so “Hot” along with our gorgeous weather that I didn’t even have time for an update last week!! Perhaps it is the weather and perhaps it is the volatile stock market but desire has been high and interest rates continue to be low; low 4%’s and under 3% for some types of financing! Real Estate prices are continuing to stay low and be reduced and a lot of savvy buyers appear to be walking through the doors and calling their agents to purchase now. Some buyers have been relocating for work. Some are smart first time home buyers or those move up buyers that have equity. There are also a lot of investors; tired of the fluctuating stock market and looking for that long term investment proven to eventually pay off. Whatever the reason, we are grateful and excited. With 52 current Pending Sales on Camano Island alone we are seeing an amazing upward trend. All of our Windermere agents have been gearing up with current information, trends, competition and comparable sold statistics to help their clients and everyone make informed and wise choices. We have a wide variety of inventory and there is something for everyone! We are also continuing our goal of improving the Windermere Club office with better access, more information and our welcoming “Open House” type of atmosphere so our entire community can feel comfortable coming in whether they are buying, selling or simply needing advise. The prior week’s Club Friday Community Open House was a huge success sponsored by WAVE Broadband and Randy’s famous pulled pork BBQ, ribs, coleslaw and the works! Wow, follow up that with last week’s Club sponsored by Network Mortgage and Premier Designs Jewelry and near 80 degree weather. Every indication and premonition is that the busy, hot trend will continue in the weather and Real Estate! Come on down on Fridays or any day because we are “Cookin’ at the Club”!!!