What’s Trending in Kitchens for 2022?

The kitchen is the heart of the house where everyone congregated during the pandemic, and it’s still the go-to room for multiple functions—that means it keeps changing.

The kitchen became an even more significant heart of the home during the pandemic as the focal point for gathering, working, entertaining, and, of course, cooking, says Joe Fava, CEO of Fava Design Group in Miami. Now, homeowners are putting more into their kitchen space—literally. They’re buying larger refrigerators, freezers, and sinks, and second dishwashers and ovens, he says.

Homeowners are entertaining and cooking even more at home, and the price tag reflects their exuberance. Those who can afford to do so spend upwards of $100,000 on kitchen upgrades. But your clients don’t have to pay that much to get a kitchen they love. Much smaller, less costly improvements can make any kitchen more appealing.

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RE/MAX National Housing Report for December 2021

NHR 12-21

Strong December Caps 2021 As Busiest Home-Buying Year in Report History

Near-record December home sales cemented 2021 as the busiest year for home buying in the 14-year history of the report, while also setting records for smallest inventory and highest average home prices. On an annual basis, 2021 finished with nearly 10% more home sales than the previous record year of 2020.

Across the 51 metro areas in the report, December 2021 home sales were the second highest for the month in report history, trailing only December 2020. Despite the strength in home sales, December sales defied recent month-over-month moves. December 2021 home sales were actually down 0.8% from November, which had an unusually high total. In contrast, the November-to-December average change for the five-year period from 2015-2019 was an increase of 3.5%.

December home transactions could have been even stronger had it not been for record-low inventory. The year 2021 ended with the smallest number of homes for sale in the 14-year history of the report. December inventory dropped 23.6% from November – the previous record low – and 33.3% year over year. The 10 months with the lowest inventory in report history all occurred in 2021.

December’s 1.2 Months Supply of Inventory was an all-time low and tied the report record set in May 2021. There were two months supply of inventory a year ago. Homes spent an average of 31 days on the market in December – two more than November, but seven less than a year ago.

At the same time, December’s Median Sales Price of $335,000 was up 1.4% over November and 11.5% year over year. The November-to-December increase is slightly higher than the 1.2% average for the five-year period from 2015-2019. While the highest average sale price of the year typically is reached in early or mid-summer, October’s $340,000 was the highest in 2021 and in report history.

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Spokane Association of Realtors® Home Sales Report for December 2021

The Spokane market continues a sales pace similar to last year and to have more demand than supply, however inventory is beginning to see modest growth.

Source: SAR MLS 1/22

Washington State NWMLS Market Snapshot for December 2021


Northwest MLS brokers end 2021 with depleted inventory, rising prices, weather disruptions

Severe shortages of inventory, record-low temperatures and snow restrained December housing activity around Washington state beyond expected seasonal slowdowns, according to a new report from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Summary statistics from the MLS show the volume of new listings added area-wide dropped 12.3% during December compared with the same month a year earlier. Year-over-year inventory, pending sales, and closed sales all fell by double digits. Only prices rose – up 17.4% overall for homes and condominiums that sold across the 26 counties in the report.

The median price for last month’s closed sales was $572,900, up from twelve months ago when it was $488,000. Prices for single family homes (excluding condos) surged nearly 17.5%, from $502,247 to $590,000. King County was one of only three counties where the single family price change was under 10%; prices there rose from $740,000 to $810,000. A dozen counties had price jumps of 20% or more.

Northwest MLS brokers reported 8,017 closed sales last month, a drop of nearly 1,000 transactions from the year-ago total of 9,008. Eleven counties had double-digit declines, including King (down 16.3%) and Snohomish (down 17.6%). October was the only other month during 2021 when year-over-year sales fell.

Despite hurdles (including pandemic-related), Northwest MLS brokers tallied 107,354 closed sales during 2021, an increase 12.1% from the previous year when they notched 95,760 closings.

Even though the number of pending sales, at 5,850 overall, declined more than 15% from a year ago, they far outstripped the number of new listings (4,617), contributing to the meager month end inventory. In fact, a search of NWMLS records going back a decade indicates the 3,240 active listings of homes and condos area-wide is the first time the selection has dipped below 4,000 listings. A year ago, buyers could choose from 4,739 active listings while in November there were 4,621 properties in the MLS database.

Stated another way, there was less than two weeks of supply (0.40) at month end. Inventory was even more sparse in seven counties, with Snohomish having the most acute shortage at 0.20 months. Other counties that fell below 0.40 months were Clark (0.26), King (0.27), Island (0.29), Pierce (0.32), Thurston (0.31) and Kitsap (0.38).

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Source: NWMLS 1/6/2022

RE/MAX National Housing Report for November 2021

NHR 11-21

Median Price Drops 3% Amid Seasonally Cooling
Home Sales and Record Low Inventory

The historically strong housing market continued to surge forward in November, as buyers gobbled up available homes seemingly as soon as they hit the market. Buyers finally saw some welcome relief on prices, with November’s Median Sales Price dropping 2.9% to $330,000 – the largest monthly decline since the pandemic began. And home sales declined only 4.9% from October, far less than the normal seasonal decrease of 12.0% this time of year. Adding to the complex conditions, the number of homes for sale fell to a new low in the 14-year history of the report, declining 17.7% from October.

Overall, November generally followed seasonal trends while at the same time setting records for the month of November in almost every category, such as the fewest average number of days homes were listed before selling. While November’s average of 29 days was two more than October’s, it was only the sixth month in report history with an average below 30. All six months have occurred consecutively, starting with June 2021.

November’s Median Sales Price across the report’s 51 metro areas dropped $10,000 below October’s $340,000, falling 2.9%. That was the largest month-to-month drop since January 2020, when the median price declined 3.4%. And while price drops are typical in January, they are unusual in November. Based on report averages for the five-year period from 2015-2019 (excluding 2020 because of pandemic impacts), the median November price rose an average of 0.9%.

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Spokane Association of Realtors® Home Sales Report for November 2021

The Spokane market continues a sales pace similar to last year and to have more demand than supply, however inventory is beginning to see modest growth.

Source: SAR MLS 12/21

Washington State NWMLS Market Snapshot for November 2021


Northwest MLS brokers not seeing much seasonal slowdown, say buyers still need to be bold

Historically soggy weather and the onset of holidays did not deter thousands of buyers and sellers during November, based on the latest report from Northwest Multiple Listing Service. Numbers for new listings, pending sales, and closed sales were comparable to year-ago totals, while prices rose a little more than 15%.

Northwest MLS figures show 8,571 pending sales across 26 counties last month, nearly matching the year-ago total of 8,584 mutually accepted offers. The 8,976 closed sales marked a slight improvement on twelve months ago when MLS members tallied 8,875 completed transactions (up 1.14%).

Twenty of the 26 counties in the NWMLS report added more new listings during November than a year ago, but with demand outstripping supply, inventory was meager in many areas.

Area-wide, there were 4,621 active listings of single-family homes and condominiums at month end, down nearly 29% from a year ago when there were 6,505 listings. The selection at month end amounted to about two weeks of supply (0.51 months). Five counties had even less supply: Snohomish (0.24 months), Thurston (0.35) King (0.38 months), Clark (0.39) and Pierce (0.44 months).

The Northwest MLS report shows prices within Seattle are essentially the same as a year ago: $765,000 for November’s closed sales, compared to the year ago figure of $760,000. Elsewhere, for example, for the Eastside and Southeast King County map areas, prices jumped more than 26% from a year ago.

Watch the 1.5 minute market report video

Source: NWMLS 12/6/21

How Important is Curb Appeal When Selling a Home?

The exterior of a home can help prospective buyers determine if they’d like to head inside – or run in the opposite direction.

The old adage “never judge a book by its cover” is an important one. But the truth is, first impressions are hard to recreate – especially when it comes to house hunting.

According to a RE/MAX Twitter Poll, a majority of responders – 46.2% – agree that a shabby exterior is the biggest turn-off when touring homes.

Here’s why curb appeal may be critical to selling a home:

Exteriors reflect interiors

Curb appeal is the external appearance of a home, comprised of landscaping, painting, staging and overall aesthetic.

Acting as a hint of what’s to come, the exterior of a home speaks volumes to its interior in terms of maintenance and style. If the outside displays the wear and tear of a home, homebuyers may never open the front door to see if the inside is in sync or not. Even if the kitchen has been renovated with stainless steel appliances or the floors received an upgrade to hardwood, unpleasant or outdated curb appeal will have certain buyers passing by the listing before peeking inside.

When a home has an unkempt exterior – think dead grass, chipped paint or overgrown weeds – prospective buyers could assume the inside needs repairs, too.

According to Torrence Ford, a real estate agent and owner of RE/MAX Premier in Georgia, “move-up buyers” – those upgrading from their current home – set much higher standards for a home’s exterior presentation than first-time homebuyers in today’s market.

“First-time homebuyers just want to lock down a house. A move-up buyer, however, will be more affected by curb appeal and consider it alongside their lifestyle,” he says.

And it’s not just the prospective buyer that forms an impression when looking at the house from the outside. Ford says that appraisers, inspectors and real estate agents likely are also taking a home’s curb appeal into account.

Listing photos (almost always) open with exterior shots

The assessment of curb appeal begins long before buyers arrive on site for a showing.

According to the RE/MAX Future of Real Estate Report, 94% of North Americans searching for properties are doing so online, allowing for them to view a larger quantity of properties in a shorter period of time, even on the go. With photos becoming the catalyst for a buyer’s initial impression, many online browsers could skip over a listing due to an unsightly appearance from a quick snapshot. Plus, staging eye-catching steps, a stoop or a porch adds trendy detail or color, creating more compelling shots for a photographer.

Money talks: Curb appeal could add to overall value

According to REALTOR® Magazine, a study revealed that homes with an appealing exterior sell, on average, for 7% more than comparable homes with a rundown appearance.

In his experience, Ford believes that buyers are more likely to write a higher offer when the entirety of the property feels well cared for. Each small detail that impresses buyers will count toward their overall impression of the home’s worth.

Revamping the front yard and home exterior also increases the value of the neighborhood and surrounding area.

“It has a domino effect. It leaves a lasting impact on the longevity of the neighborhood,” Ford says. “Work on curb appeal and the neighbors will start jumping in, too. When one neighbor starts making upgrades, everybody else tends to want to clean up their property, whether it’s with painting, replacing the roof or even just mowing the lawn.”

So, where to start?

The most important aspect of curb appeal is to ensure the exterior is cleaned up even before sinking money into improvements. This is as simple as mowing the lawn, trimming shrubbery, pulling weeds and eliminating miscellaneous items or garbage.

Creating inviting ambience goes beyond yard care. Sellers can consider adding a number of inexpensive finishing touches, like potted plants or flowers, a new welcome mat, new light fixtures or patio furniture staged on the front porch. Though minor, these accents can help a prospective buyer envision coming home to the space.

“[When updating a home], we will replace shrubbery, repaint the front door, and repaint the house’s foundation so the landscape has a clean backdrop,” Ford says.

He adds that implementing new house numbers, like swapping small, cursive numbers for larger contemporary ones, can help older properties get a quick and easy revitalization.

Sellers may also consider a fresh coat of paint on the home’s exterior, a newly paved driveway or a new roof if its rusty or damaged.

“Curb appeal makes all the difference,” Ford says.

Spokane Association of Realtors® Home Sales Report for October 2021

The Spokane market continues a sales pace similar to last year and to have more demand than supply, however inventory is beginning to see modest growth.

Source: SAR MLS 11/21

RE/MAX National Housing Report for October 2021

NHR 10-21

October Homes Sales See Atypical Drop,
Squeezed by High Median Price,
Record-Low Inventory

Pinched between a steep median sales price of $336,000 and record low inventory, October home sales tumbled 6.4% from September – almost double the typical seasonal decline. September had near-record sales, which also contributed to the steepness of the month-over-month sales decrease.

October’s inventory dropped 12.7% from September to the fifth-lowest level in the report’s 14-year history, and October’s 1.3 Months Supply of Inventory tied for second lowest in report history, alongside July and August of this year.

September-to-October averages for 2015-2019 illustrate what’s typical in the fall. With just two months of home sales remaining, the fall of 2021 is mirroring seasonal norms in many ways, unlike 2020, but the lack of inventory amid strong demand is exacerbating those moves. For example, the drop in home sales of 6.4% from September was nearly twice the 2015-2019 average decline of 3.3%. Year over year, sales were down 10.2%.

Also, reflecting both the number of homes coming on the market and the speed of sales, the 12.7% month-over-month drop in active inventory was more than double the 2015-2019 September-to-October average decline of 5.3%. Inventory was down 28% year-over-year and has declined month over month in all but June and July this year.

One exception is the Median Sales Price, which rose 0.8% from September, in contrast to the average September-to-October drop of 1.3% in 2015-2019. The Median Sales Price is up 11.8% over October 2020. October’s Median Sales Price of $336,000 tied the record set in June 2021. Home prices have now increased year over year for 34 consecutive months.

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