Seattle Real Estate Trends – Episode 11 – 2/21/20

The big news this week is that the offer review date has crossed the threshold of the exception to the rule.   That meaning, that of the homes that went pending in the first 8 days, 59% of them had offer review dates. And once we reach that tipping point of over half of the homes having offer review dates, then the homes WITHOUT an offer review are seen as the weird ones.

Watch the Video Here

Let’s Look At the Hard Data:

The number of new listings dipped just a bit compared to last week.  The number of homes pending was about the same, but we saw a bit jump in the number of pending condos.   The condo market shows signs of getting healthier and more competitive.  The total number of condos and houses for sale is still REALLY low.  If you check out this time last year, you can see that we had 755 houses for sale and 471 condos for sale.

  The most noteworthy thing to happen this week is that 75% of houses and 57% of condos went pending in the first 8 days on the market.   And of those that went pending in the first 8 days, 59% of houses and 48% of condos had offer review dates.  The market is changing quickly!

Access the video transcript here.


Seattle Real Estate Trends – Episode 10 – 2/15/20

The Seattle market has really heated up.  We continue to see a decline in the total number of available condos and houses for sale, yet buyer demand (as seen by the number of pending listings) continues to go up.

Total Houses for Sale:

  We have significantly fewer homes for sale now than we did the last part of 2019.  We also have about half as many homes for sale now as we did this same time last year.

Houses and Condos Pending:

  Now look at!  Condo demand is up slightly, but demand for houses in Seattle has gone through the roof.

What It All Means:

  Supply and demand is the key driver of real estate.  We would expect the Seattle housing market to be quiet time of year, but buyers are out early and in full force.  The offer review date is making a comeback, and open houses are seeing a lot of traffic.  If you are thinking of selling, jump on this window of opportunity and get your freaking home up for sale NOW.  If you are a buyer, be prepared to compete in a multiple offer situation, or be prepared to wait til September, October and November when the market should slow down due to the upcoming presidential election.

Watch the Video Here:

Download the video transcript here.


Seattle Housing Market – January 2020

The Spring market decided to start 4 months early!  

#1 – How much??!?!?

  What we care most about is the home prices in Seattle.  Let’s take a look at the median sales price in Seattle:

When compared to December 2019, prices were up $4,500 for houses, and down $31,000 for condos.   If we zoom out and compare January 2020 to January 2019, prices for houses are UP $34,950 over the past year, and condo prices are down $7,250.    It is worth noting that since the peak in 2018, condo prices are still 10% below peak prices and condos are 16% below peak.   And that is a good thing!   

  Why would lower prices be a good thing?   Our Seattle real estate market had gotten to dang expensive.  It is still highly unaffordable, but thanks to the swift correction of prices we had in 2018, the market is at a price level that is healthier.  Folks worry about the next recession and another housing crash.  But I don’t.  We had a swift “crash” in 2018.  And guess what… You didn’t even notice!

#2 – How competitive??!?!?

    Things REALLY heated up in January.  We saw new listings going pending in a just a few days, we saw the Crusty Rusty listings (those that had been on the market for 90+ days) finally go pending, and we are even seeing the return of the offer review date.   The main thing driving this increased competition is the lack of houses and condos for sale.

   In January 2019, we had 771 houses and 424 condos for sale.  During that same time, we had 368 houses sell and 125 condos.   So we had twice as many houses for sale than sold, and three times as many condos for sale than sold.  Last month, we had 509 houses and 305 condos for sale.  And we sold 429 houses and 132 condos.   So we had 34% fewer houses on the market, but we sold 16% more houses.  Fewer choices and more buyers creates a very competitive situation.

#3 – How long??!?!?

   If you just look at the days on market, you could be fooled into thinking the market was sluggish.  In January, the homes that sold had been on the market an average of 42 days (compared with 36 days in December or 40 days last January), and condos took 64 days (compared with 52 days in December or 60 days last January).  So we had longer market times for sure.  The reason for those longer market times is that buyers were so eager to get out and buy homes, that they were finally forced to buy all those Crusty Rusty properties that had been sitting on the market FOREVER.

#4 – Other Fun Metrics

Inventory tightened, and that caused us to absorbs some of those old listings.  Even with higher competition, we did not drive up the prices, indicating that buyers are still not willing to grossly overpay, even in our tightening market.

  • Houses and townhouses sold for an average of 99.6% of list price
  • Condos sold for an average of 98% of list price
  • Houses have 1.2 months supply of inventory, up 0.2 from December, but still lower than we have seen in 16 months
  • Condos have 2.3 months supply of inventory, up 0.2 from December, but 1.5 months higher than this time last year.

Watch the Video Here.

Download the video transcript here.

Best Time To Sell A House?

According to the data, the time is NOW (and the next 2 months).


Supply and Demand.   It seems simple, but supply and demand is a HUGE driver of the Seattle real estate market.   When supply most exceeds demand, the buyers have the upper hand.  When demand is closest to (or exceeds) supply, the sellers have the upper hand.  Seattle real estate has distinct seasonal trends.   Let’s look at the relationship between houses for sale (supply), and pending properties (demand) over the last few years in Seattle:


Houses and Townhouses:

 The blue line is the number of homes for sale, and the yellow line is the number of pending listings.  Those lines are closest (therefore indicating most favorable seller conditions) in March and December of 2019.   Our Spring market historically starts in April, but last year it started much earlier than normal, with early March being the peak.  This year, we are seeing the Spring market start EVEN earlier, with demand exceeding supply here in January 2020.  Seattle home prices also trend up from January til July, so you will likely sell your home for more money in the Spring!


 As you can see, condos have a lot more supply (compared to demand) than houses do.  The gap was smallest in April 2019, and is smaller now than it has been since then.  The condo market is more balanced than the house market, but if you want to face the least amount of competition and a large number of potential buyers, March and December will likely be the best months in 2020 to sell your condo. 

Watch the Video Here

Access the video transcript here.




Dude – Death Happens. Get Prepared!

Guest blog today written by Kristi Richards of Northwest Elder Law Group


The Natural Conclusion to a Successful Life:  Estate Planning 101

Watch the Video HERE.

Disclaimer:  This posting does not create an attorney-client relationship. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended nor should it be construed as legal advice for any particular matter or person. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your attorney. This posting is also not intended to constitute an advertisement or solicitation.

As part of living, things go wrong.  Few things in life are as difficult and challenging for your family and friends as things going wrong for you without the ability to ask you how you want to handle those lifetime speed bumps. Preparing an estate plan lets you control decisions about those speed bumps in life and death.

You worked hard to be successful.  An estate plan protects your family, helps protect your assets, and protects your decisions.  Your asset strategy likely focuses on growth, transfer, and avoiding income or estate tax, but your hard work can stall if you do not formally set out your wishes in written documents.

A successful estate plan generally includes a Will or Revocable Living Trust to transfer your assets after your death. Both of these can assist you with protecting assets after you die (for you children or vulnerable family members), transferring assets to the specific recipients you choose, allowing you to name a guardian for young children, and potentially lowering your taxable estate.  Without you taking the time to make these decisions and putting them in a formalized document, your state has a set of rules that will determine your end of life answers.

More importantly, a successful estate plan generally also includes durable powers of attorney and health care directives, and can include a variety of other documents for you to make personal care decisions.  Durable powers of attorney allow you to choose another person or professional service to make your financial and health care decisions if you are unable to do that for any reason – from being out of the country to being unconscious due to an accident or being unable to make decisions due to dementia.  You also have the option to decide if you want ongoing medical interventions if the intervention will only prolong your life. Again, without a formal written document in place, your state of residence will have a set of rules will likely make your decisions for you.

Your financial success took a lot of time and effort to achieve.  The state creates a default set of rules to ensure you and your assets are protected, and that your assets are transferred if something unexpected occurs, but you have the ability to prepare an estate plan and make your decisions.  Making those plans allows you to make your personal decisions and choose the individuals that carry out those decisions. 

The information above covers the simplest parts of an estate plan, but you may have more difficult questions and documents that could or should be prepared.  Every individual can benefit from discussing their life and death preferences with an attorney experienced in creating estate plans.

Disclaimer:  This posting does not create an attorney-client relationship. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended nor should it be construed as legal advice for any particular matter or person. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your attorney. This posting is also not intended to constitute an advertisement or solicitation.