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Real Estate Blog

The coronavirus pandemic upended nearly every part of life throughout the year — but the Seattle-area housing market stayed strong. Low inventory, high buyer demand and rising prices continued throughout the year, creating a competitive market even through the holidays, which normally marks a slowdown. But, will it continue into 2021?

Experts say it's likely the Seattle-area housing market won't cool down over the next year. Prices will continue to rise, though somewhat slower than they did year over year in 2020. And the market will stay competitive, with homes likely continuing to receive multiple offers, especially if interest rates remain low.

As employers adopt more flexible work-from-home policies, people will likely be looking for more space

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The Seattle-area housing market remained strong in November, even as the holiday season kicked off, normally signaling a slower market.

According to the latest report from Northwest Multiple Listings Service, inventory is still down compared to the same time last year, while closed and pending sales are up over last year.

“The holiday rush is on for housing,” said J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO at John L. Scott Real Estate. “Though real estate activity typically chills down in alignment with the dropping temperatures, the housing market is anything but calm this winter given the historically low interest rates.”

Compared to last month, the market has shown some indicators it is slowing. In King County there were 2,867 total active listings,

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Despite hovering around their all-time low for several months now, it looks like mortgage rates have done about all they can for housing affordability. 

According to a new report, skyrocketing home prices have now outstripped their power, and overall homebuying affordability is now moving downward.

Data from mortgage insurer First American shows that record-low mortgage rates boosted American homebuying power for much of 2020. At one point, buyers could afford a whopping $15,000 more house thanks to declining interest rates. 

But now, with home prices up 8% over last year and 1.5% between just July and August, those days have officially come to an end.

Despite hovering around their all-time low for several months now, it looks like mortgage rates have

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Turns out, it isn’t all about the stainless steel appliances.

One of the many mantras in the real estate world is the saying “kitchens sell houses,” but until now there has been very little information about exactly what it was in a kitchen that would make buyers pay attention. With the help of a few homebuyers wearing glasses that track eye movements, we are beginning to have some hard facts.

It isn’t the shiny metallic fridge or the latest high-tech dishwasher their eyes go to when they first walk in the kitchen. It’s the oven. Many of the buyers in the study would go so far as to look inside the oven, and some of them would even turn it on to see how well it worked. So if you’re selling your home, make sure the oven is so clean it sparkles inside

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Existing home sales continued their surge in September, marking the fourth consecutive month of a strong upward trajectory, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Each of the four major regions witnessed month-over-month and year-over-year growth, with the Northeast seeing the highest climb in both categories.

Total existing home sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 9.4% from August to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 6.54 million in September. Overall sales rose year-over-year, up 20.9% from a year ago (5.41 million in September 2019).

In a low-interest rate environment, many buyers who are juggling remote work and learning are searching for larger homes with extra rooms

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Amid the ongoing pandemic, the Puget Sound housing market has become a peculiar one to say the least, thanks in large part to plummeting inventory. 

Housing prices across King, Snohomish, and Pierce County have skyrocketed over the last month, with double-digit year-over-year increases in median home prices in all three areas. This comes amid an historically low inventory for prospective home buyers Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner says.

“We have to go back to good old Economics 101,” Gardner said. “When you have net new demand and you limit supply, what happens to prices? They rise, and that’s very much the case.”

According to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS), all three major counties had under a month’s worth of

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Pending home sales rose 8.8% in August compared with July, reaching a record high pace, according to the National Association of Realtors survey, which dates to January 2001.

Sales were 24.2% higher than August 2019.

These sales track signed contracts on existing homes, not closings, so they are an indicator of closed sales in the next one to two months.

“Tremendously low mortgage rates – below 3% – have again helped pending home sales climb in August,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Additionally, the Fed intends to hold short-term fed funds rates near 0% for the foreseeable future, which should, in the absence of inflationary pressure, keep mortgage rates low, and that will undoubtedly aid homebuyers continuing to enter the

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The end of August usually marks the beginning of the slow season for housing, but as with everything else, this year’s trends are like no other.

Mortgage applications to purchase a home rose 3% last week from the previous week and were a stunning 40% higher from a year ago, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index. The year-on-year comparison is usually in single digits. While it may have been skewed slightly by the Labor Day holiday,which fell earlier last year, purchase demand is still running significantly higher than a year ago.

Buyers are still getting significant incentive from low mortgage rates. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances up to

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For the fifth month in a row, home prices around Seattle rose faster in June – 6.5%, year-over-year – than any of the nation’s other top 18 metro areas, save Phoenix, according to new data from S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index. That’s more or less the same rate of growth we’ve seen since spring.

Price growth in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties topped national averages for the eighth month straight. National year-over-year home price growth of 4.3% in June pointed to a “stable” market, said S&P Managing Director Craig Lazzara in a statement. Prices rose in each of the 19 large cities that Case-Shiller tracks; among just those metros, year-over-year price growth averaged 3.5%. (Typically, Case-Shiller examines home prices in 20

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With many people continuing to hunker down in their homes during the ongoing pandemic, home-buying habits have gone through a sizable shift, both in Seattle and across the United States.

Puget Sound housing market ‘remarkably stable’ despite pandemic

“Nationwide, the pandemic caused massive changes in buyer behavior,” a recent study from real estate researchers at Point2 noted. “From square footage and number of bedrooms to access to outdoor amenities like pools and gardens, the post-lockdown home seekers are not willing to compromise on anything – and they are willing to pay the (higher) price to get it.”

In Seattle, that’s manifested in a marked increase in searches for homes under 1,000 square feet, as prospective buyers have scrambled to get out of

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