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All Blog Entries by Tom Covello

Found 111 blog entries published by Tom Covello.

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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To say that this is the strangest year most of us have ever experienced is an understatement. Let's talk about the changes that are happening in the real estate industry as a result of the pandemic.

First, the good news. The combination of historically low interest rates and people leaving big cities in droves has fueled the single-family housing market around the United States. These low rates are helping people who previously could not afford to buy a home to do so now. To get that ultra-low rate, lucky buyers who still have a job will be required, in some cases, to put at least 20% down and must have a credit score over 700 with proof of their ability to pay. Those unable to meet these requirements will largely remain in the rental pool.

But does a

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Two weeks ago mortgage interest rates slipped below 3% for the first time on record and after briefly inching their way back across that threshold last week interest rates have returned to just under 3% once again. According to data released from Freddie Mac, interest rates on a 30-year loan are 2.99%, not quite the 2.98% they reached two weeks ago but slightly better than the 3.01% they settled on during the week in between.

For a 15-year loan the rates landed at 2.51%, down from 2.54% last week and 2.58% the week before that. This steady decrease, without the slight uptick we saw with 30-year loans last week, is another indication of how willing lenders are to give loans to buyers with a strong financial profile on their application.

“It’s Groundhog Day

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While the spring market would typically be in full force right now, coronavirus has put a temporary halt to most real estate activity. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t take the time to get your home ready to go up for sale once the pandemic is under control.

With that in mind, I’ve brought you four suggestions on things you can do to get your home ready to hit the market after quarantine. Read on below to learn more.

Address any minor repairs

Even the most conscientious of homeowners typically have a list of minor home repairs that they’ve been meaning to get around to when they have time. For example, you might have a toilet that’s been running for a while or a patch of broken fence that needs to be mended.

Whatever fixes may be on your to-do

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Buying a home can be nerve-racking, especially if you're a first-time home buyer. These tips will help you navigate the process, save money and avoid common mistakes.

1. Start saving for a down payment early

It’s common to put 20% down, but many lenders now permit much less, and first-time home buyer programs allow as little as 3% down. But putting down less than 20% may mean higher costs and paying for mortgage insurance, and even a small down payment can still be hefty. For example, a 5% down payment on a $200,000 home is $10,000.

 Some tips for saving for a down payment include setting aside tax refunds and work bonuses, setting up an automatic savings plan and using an app to track your progress.

2. Explore your down

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Amazon is continuing to expand its Bellevue reach.

On Thursday, Feb. 6, the company announced it was on track to create more than 15,000 new jobs in the city within the next few years. Currently, there are about 2,000 Amazon employees in Bellevue.

Amazon’s first Bellevue office opened in 2017. However, when CEO Jeff Bezos started the company some 25 years ago, it was in a home in West Bellevue.

Many of Amazon’s incoming employees will be working out of an in-the-works 43-story building, which is known as Bellevue 600. The building, which will be Bellevue’s tallest, takes up 1 million square feet of office space.

It is anticipated that the tower will be open within the next four years.

In a statement released on Feb. 6, Bellevue city

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The latest housing market outlook from Zillow projects that the nearly two-year slowdown in the housing market may be coming to an end right as home shopping season kicks off.

U.S. home values grew 3.8% year-over-year to $245,193, less than one-hundredth of a percentage point slower than the previous month, according to the January Zillow Real Estate Market Report. Annual home value appreciation has slowed in each month since April 2018, but this is the smallest drop from one month to the next during that period.

Though the number of homes listed for sale increased from record lows a month earlier, inventory is down 8% annually -- the biggest annual drop since March 2018, Zillow said. There were 1,500,262 homes on the market in January, up 4,295

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Not enough housing has been built in Washington to meet in-migration and job growth, which has fueled home price and rent escalation, longer commutes as people drive farther for affordable housing, and lower quality of life, according to a January report that calls for more high-density housing walkable to transit corridors and other amenities. More high- and medium density housing and fewer single-family homes would improve lifestyles, the environment, Gross State Product (GSP) and tax revenues, it projected.

The report, Housing Underproduction in Washington State: Economic, Fiscal, and Environmental Impacts of Enabling Transit-Oriented Accessible Growth to Address Washington’s Housing Affordability Challenge, was authored by Up For Growth, a

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