Insight to the local market – things are still moving quickly for both buyers and sellers. I am here to safely help you buy a home, or sell your current home – or both!
If you would like to chat more about what these market stats mean for you, or receive a comparative market analysis on your home now, please reach out!
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!