Washington State NWMLS Market Snapshot for November 2018

With more plentiful inventory, recently announced increases in lending limits, and moderating prices, prospective home buyers are finding more options around Western Washington, according to industry experts from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

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Buyers May Find Relief in Cooling Housing Market

The housing market is showing several signs of slowing, providing a much-needed break for potential buyers who have been waiting to jump into the market. Existing-home sales were 2.4 percent lower in the third quarter than a year ago, and the drop comes at a time when many areas are starting to see an uptick in new listings.

Home prices in many markets are no longer rising by double digits—or even single digits—annually. But with a strong economy and low unemployment, the housing dip is more of a rebalancing of the market than a sign of a downturn, housing analysts say.

Sellers are realizing there is a slowdown and are starting to cut their prices to better compete. Nearly 29 percent of listings in major markets during the month ending Oct. 14 saw price reductions, according to the real estate brokerage Redfin. “The cycle has moved from seller-advantage to at least mildly buyer-advantage in many parts of the United States,” writes Kenneth Harney, a nationally syndicated real estate columnist. “If you’re a buyer, take your time. But keep in mind: If you shop diligently, this fall could be a smart time to catch a deal—a marked-down price on the house you really want.”

Source: REALTOR® Magazine

6 Master Bathroom Trends to Watch

Grays, mixed metals, and farmhouse styles are some of the most popular trends for remodelers taking on sprucing up their master bathroom.

The 2018 U.S. Houzz Bathroom Trends Study is based on a survey of more than 1,100 homeowners who are planning or recently have completed a master bathroom renovation. Some of the trends that emerged from the report:

1. Seeing gray: Gray colors continue to dominate for walls and flooring in the bathroom. Gray cabinets are also gaining popularity, climbing from a 10 percent share in 2016 to 16 percent in 2018.

2. Taking the upgrade: More homeowners are upgrading their master bathrooms with special features when they remodel. The most popular premium features are dual showers, one-piece toilets, vessel sinks, and built-in vanities.

3. Mixing up the metals: Two in five renovating homeowners do not match metal finishes across fixtures and hardware in master bathrooms. Of the 58 percent of renovating homeowners who do match metal finishes, the most popular options are matte nickel and polished chrome (38 and 28 percent, respectively).

4. Going a little country: Farmhouse styles are jumping in popularity. While contemporary style continue to be the leading choice among renovating homeowners, the style has dropped over the past three years. Farmhouse style, on the other hand, has more than doubled in popularity, from 3 percent in 2016 to 7 percent in 2018.

5. Making it accessible: The majority of baby boomer homeowners (ages 55 or older) are addressing aging-related needs during master bathroom renovations. Nearly half of renovating baby boomers are changing the bathroom layout, and one-third are removing the bathtub. Other upgrades include installing accessibility features like seats, low curbs, grab bars, and non-slide floors in upgraded showers and bathtubs.

6. Building a master suite: The study found that homeowners are focusing on their master suite as a whole, not just the bathroom in their updates. Nearly half of master bathroom projects also were accompanied by master bedroom renovations (46 percent). Some homeowners are making their master baths even larger than their bedroom. One in ten master bathrooms is the same size or larger than the master bedroom (11 percent).

Source: REALTOR® Magazine

Americans Shift Their Perceptions of the Housing Market

For the past five quarters, the majority of Americans said their housing markets were overheating. Now, in the fourth quarter, 75 percent of Americans say their local housing market is starting to cool, according to ValueInsured’s Q4 2018 Modern Homebuyer Survey. Homeowners in California, Colorado, Texas, and Washington are most likely to say their local market is starting to cool off.

The survey “revealed some concerning evidence about the changing psychology of the housing market,” says Robert Shiller, a housing economist. “We will be watching these numbers as they unfold over the future.”

Seventy-two percent of Americans and 78 percent of “urban residents” say home prices are still too high. Urban homeowners blame “flippers and speculative investors” and “wealthy transplants from more expensive housing markets” for inflating their local home prices to unsustainable levels, according to the report.

Some home buyers may hit the pause button to see what happens in the housing market. Fifty-nine percent of interested home buyers (which includes first-time and move-up buyers) say they plan to wait for a “meaningful correction” before they buy. Fourteen percent say they plan to not buy at all until a correction occurs.

Several markets are seeing home prices slow. ValueInsured’s report notes that the fastest drops in home prices have been happening in Seattle, and North Texas has seen some of its largest sales declines in seven years.

“Buyers have switched from ‘hoop jumpers’ to bargain-hunter mode,” says Joe Melendez, CEO and founder of ValueInsured.

Source: REALTOR® Magazine

RE/MAX National Housing Report for October 2018

Inventory Ends Long Decline as Home Sales Drop for Third Month

The third consecutive month of lower year-over-year home sales in October contributed to the first year-over-year inventory increase in a decade according to the RE/MAX National Housing Report for October 2018. Meanwhile, the Median Sales Price recorded one of its lowest increases of 2018.

The RE/MAX National Housing Report for October saw sales decline 4.6% from a year ago – compared to sales drops of 11.6% in September and 1.1% in August – and was the eighth month of 2018 to record lower sales than 2017.

As a result, inventory is slowly being replenished, with the number of homes for sale in October increasing 1.0% over October 2017. October 2018 was the first month to show a year-over-year increase in inventory since October 2008 when two and a half times as many homes were for sale. The Months Supply of Inventory is now 3.5, compared to 3.3 a year ago.

“The market continues to move toward equilibrium. The modest inventory increase is a much welcome sign for buyers,” said RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos. “Although home sales were down year-over-year, it’s encouraging to see the magnitude of the decline decrease from the sharp drop we witnessed in September. The trend of easing price increases remains and that’s also a positive.”

Read the full article

Watch the 40 second summary video on YouTube

4 Ways to Get Your Fireplace Ready for Fall

Is there anything cozier than snuggling up beside the fireplace in fall? With the whisper of cool fall air, staying inside and watching the crackle of the fire in your favorite comfy spot is the only sensical move this season. The thought of fresh pumpkin spice everything, warm apple pies and a fuzzy blanket to curl up in is enough to get the firewood ready right now!

Before you start sipping on the cider, get your fireplace ready for fall with these four unique ideas from RE/MAX.

1. Add fire to your fireplace

Get creative! You can go as simple as a candle sitting on the mantel – to different sized candles in glass containers at different heights. The sparkle and the yummy scents will bring dimension, style and great smells to the room and help your fireplace feel like the epicenter of all things fall. Pro tip: try the Brown Sugar Chestnut Candle to get your house smelling extra nice for the season.

2. Signs are in!

You can’t go into a store today without seeing a customizable sign. Take a simple frame with slots for letters and spell out your favorite quote. Or, go a little deeper and get a chalk style board, adding your personal touch with handwriting and design. Add a family saying, your favorite verse from the song you can’t stop singing, or just a word of encouragement will lighten up the mantel and bring smiles all around.

3. Fall Flowers

Dress up your mantel with festive fall flowers. From the dollar store to a ritzy florist, you can find the orange, yellow and rustic brown hues you desire. Grab an old mason jar as a vase and start putting together the fall colored flower arrangement that is sure to grab any guest’s attention. Pro tip: string together some fake leaves and wrap them around the edge of the mantel to pull together the entire look!

4. Pumpkins, everywhere!

No fall mantel would be complete without a traditional pumpkin or 12 sitting strategically across the top. With fake fruit or real, the traditional look of a few beautiful orange pumpkins on the mantel captures the epitome of fall. Aside from pumpkins, is the idea of switching out the ordinary for a different, yet equally seasonal move. Change out the pumpkins for apples! A subtle switch can give your mantel the envy of neighbors.

If you or someone you know is in the market for a house that comes with the perfect fireplace to curl up next too, contact me. I’ll be happy to help!

Washington State NWMLS Market Snapshot for October 2018

Slower Market Means Homebuyers Have “Newfound Ability to Negotiate”