RE/MAX National Housing Report for October 2020

Homes Sell at Fastest Pace in Over a Decade

For the first time since 2009, homes sold faster in October than the preceding summer peak season, according to the RE/MAX National Housing Report. And across 52 markets, the average of 38 days from listing to contract marked the fastest pace of any month in the report’s 13-year history.

Defying seasonality in a year upended by the pandemic, October sales were the third-highest year-to-date. Home sales were slightly up compared to September 2020 (+0.1%), and 20.8% ahead of October 2019. The Median Sales Price of $295,000, which was 0.9% higher than September’s median price and 15.4% higher year-over-year, set a report record for October.

Reflecting an abundance of home buyers and a shortage of sellers, inventory fell 32.5% year-over-year to set another report record.

October’s average Days on Market of 38 was one day less than September and down 11 days year-over-year. The average Months Supply of Inventory at 1.7 tied July and August for the smallest in report history, with a handful of markets reporting less than a one-month supply.

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Washington State NWMLS Market Snapshot for October 2020




Anxiety among home buyers “incredibly high”
as they vie for unpreceded shortage of homes across much of Washington state

The Northwest MLS report recapping October activity showed a 40% drop in active listings compared to the same month a year ago, an increase of 16% in pending sales (mutually accepted offers), and a year-over-year (YOY) jump of nearly 30% in closed sales. The median price of single family homes and condominiums that sold last month was $500,000, up 19% from the same period a year ago, according to the MLS summary, which encompasses 23 counties, mostly in Western and Central Washington.

NWMLS members added 10,428 new listings to the supply during the month, improving on the year-ago total of 8,394 for a gain of 24%. In keeping with the pattern of previous months, October’s 11,039 pending sales surpassed the number of new listings.

Area-wide the median price for last month’s sales of single family homes (excluding condos) was $515,000, a 20.2% jump from a year ago. For single family homes and condos combined, prices rose by double digits in 21 of the 23 counties in the MLS market area. The highest median prices for homes and condos that sold last month were in San Juan County at $705,000 and in King County at $685,000. Those two counties also had the highest median prices for single family homes (excluding condos). In San Juan County the price was $753,250, while in King County it was $745,000.

Watch the 4 minute market snapshot video

Source: NWMLS 11/5/20

 

6 Common Mistakes Made When Selling a Home, and How to Avoid Them

Selling a home can be a complex process. To keep it hassle-free from for-sale to sold, consider these common mistakes people make when selling their homes – and avoid making them yourself.

1. Skimping on necessary repairs

Some sellers ignore major repairs in hopes of closing the sale before anyone notices. However, if the home inspector catches detrimental damage, it will likely halt the sale until repair – or an agreement – can be made.

To save yourself the hassle and to streamline the selling process, assess any serious repairs before listing your home. It may feel unnecessary to repair a home you’re soon to leave, but it could help you pass inspection – and possibly get top dollar – on your property.

2. Not prepping the house for showings

Your home is bound to be filled with mementos, photographs, kitchen magnets and all of the wonderful details that make it unique to you. But an important part of preparing your home for showings is to minimize knick-knacks.

To do so, store away any clutter that would distract an interested homebuyer when they enter a room or open a closet or cabinet. Tidy up all surfaces, including bookshelves, end tables and kitchen countertops. By cleaning up messes, you’ll help rooms appear larger, so buyers will be able to envision their own belongings in the space.

Don’t forget about curb appeal. Buyers will likely form an opinion of your home before they enter the front door. When you clean and stage the interior of the home, head outside and give a bit of TLC to the exterior too. Depending on the season, this could include anything from weeding mulch beds, putting out planters or touching up chipped paint on the house’s exterior.

3. Using inadequate listing photos

Listing photos can make all the difference when attracting homebuyers who begin the homebuying process online. Digital listings for even the most magnificent of homes will receive far fewer clicks if they aren’t presented with high-quality photos.

For example, photos with ample lighting can help a room appear spacious. As mentioned above, prepping the home before listing it for sale by cleaning and decorating helps ensure that photos capture each room looking polished and sophisticated.

4. Listing it FSBO

Sellers who list their homes for sale by owner, otherwise known as FSBO, could face major setbacks along the way and may even end up receiving significantly less money in return. In order to ensure the sale is legally sound, and that you’re receiving competitive offers, it’s important to hire a real estate agent.

As your representative in the sale, a real estate agent will offer guidance and make sure the process goes smoothly. Qualified agents dedicate their lives to helping people navigate the buying or selling process – so why attempt it alone?

5. Setting an inflated price

Be realistic and timely when setting an initial listing price. Read up on your local housing market to learn the current trends of buyers and sellers. For example, selling in a seller’s market may mean that you list your home for sale at a higher price to account for the increased demand.

Hiring a real estate agent, who can help guide you to a fair listing price, can be critical. Sometimes, setting a price that is disproportionate to the value of the property means that the home will sit on the market for days on end. Accordingly, buyers who see a home sitting on the market endlessly without any movement may question the integrity of the home.

6. Underestimating costs associated with the process

Before your home hits the market, make sure you’re aware of the costs associated with the process. While your initial investment may be some routine repair, staging and professional listing photos, bear in mind that, as the sale progresses, you’ll typically be paying for closing costs, moving expenses and fees associated with hiring a real estate agent.

Consider these costs to be investments. The return is when you receive higher value back on your home due to how it was presented to interested buyers or how it was represented by an experienced real estate professional. That said, make sure to budget for these costs in advance to avoid any surprises.

Trick or Treat! How to adapt your home for candy-seekers this Halloween

If you’re participating in the spookiest holiday this year, a few adjustments can make for a safer Halloween.

Like many holidays and celebrations in 2020, Halloween is sure to look different due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For those who plan on doling out candy for their neighborhood ghosts and goblins, consider these ideas for a safer way to accommodate trick-or-treaters.

Arrange candy outside

The CDC is recommending “one-way trick-or-treating” this year for those still partaking in Halloween. Rather than having children ring the doorbell, arrange candy outside in advance for curbside pick-up. This way, children can visit your house for treats in a contact-free manner.

Instead of the traditional candy bowl, consider filling small bags with a few pieces of candy and lining them up on the front steps or driveway. These Halloween goodie bags mean you can stay inside the house and trick-or-treaters avoid the germs that come with rifling through a communal bowl.

Get creative

Have extra string lying around? Create a zipline – perfect for transporting contact-free confections – from your front door to the sidewalk. Or, if you love a good engineering challenge, encourage neighbors to a friendly competition to see who can build the most creative system for delivering candy.

Put out hand sanitizer

If accessible, place a hand sanitizer bottle with a pump-top outside to encourage neighbors to clean their hands in passing.

If your house won’t be participating in trick or treating this year, you can still enjoy the holiday by:

  • Decorating the house’s exterior with creepy, crawly and festive décor.
  • Carving or painting pumpkins.
  • Watching scary movies.
  • Enjoying Halloween treats, like pudding “dirt” cups, candy corn and, of course, your favorite pieces of candy.

RE/MAX National Housing Report for September 2020

Sales Surge by Over 20% as Homes Sell a Week Faster than a Year Ago

The streak of record-shattering home sales stretched to three months in September, as closings rose 21.1% from a year ago. On average, homes sold in a mere 39 days – a full week faster than in September 2019.

Meanwhile, inventory plummeted 31.9% year over year as the number of homes on the market dropped to an all-time low in the 13-year history of the report.

Delayed by pandemic-related lockdowns, summer’s peak homebuying season pushed into fall. September sales were only 3.3% lower than August’s, while the average seasonal August-to-September drop-off over the previous five years was 15.3%.

September inventory sank below the previous report low set in August 2020. Thus far, six months of 2020 rank among the 10 months with the lowest inventory in the history of the report.

The Median Sale Price of $289,900 was just $100 below the report record set in August 2020, and 12.8% above September 2019. Also increasing in September was the Months Supply of Inventory, which ticked up to 1.8 from the record low of 1.7 set the previous two months. A year ago, Months Supply of Inventory totaled 3.8.

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Washington State NWMLS Market Snapshot for September 2020

Northwest Multiple Listing Service brokers completed 10,175 sales transactions during September – the highest monthly volume since June 2018 when MLS members reported 10,072 closed sales. September’s closings also marked a jump of nearly 28% from the same month a year ago, according to the latest statistical summary from the MLS.

The new report from Northwest MLS showed a sharp year-over-year (YOY) drop in inventory (down 43% from a year ago), a robust increase (23%) in pending sales (mutually accepted offers), and a sizeable surge (19%) in prices for single family homes and condos combined.

Brokers added 11,210 new listings to inventory during September, a healthy increase from a year ago when they added 9,435 for a YOY gain of 18.1%. Compared to August, the volume declined by 733 listings (down about 6%).

At the end of September, the supply totaled 9,099 active listings, well-below the year-ago selection of 15,982 listings (down 43%), and the lowest level since February.

Measured by months of supply, there is less than one month of supply (0.89) system wide. In the Puget Sound region, only King County notched more than a month’s supply, but if condos are excluded there is only 0.85 months of supply. Mason, Thurston and Snohomish counties had the tightest inventory, with only about two weeks of supply.

Statistics compiled by Northwest MLS for these three counties show there were 883 closed sales of single family homes and condos last month in the “luxury” segment based on selling prices of $1 million and above. A year ago, there were 429 sales in this category.

The median price for homes and condos that sold last month across the Northwest MLS market area was $499,950, a hefty 19% jump from the year-ago figure of $420,000. San Juan County had the highest median price at $850,000, followed by King County at $698,230.

For single family homes only (excluding condos), last month’s median price system wide was $519,864. In King County, the median price for single family homes was $753,600. Within King County, where NWMLS tracks 30 sub-areas, six of these areas had median prices over $1 million; five of those areas were on the Eastside.

Source: NWMLS 10/7/20

4 Features Fall Buyers Want in Prospective Homes

Over the past six months, the course of daily life has greatly changed and, with COVID-19 still present as autumn approaches, homebuyers’ desires have shifted accordingly.

Looking to sell your home? Here are a few features homebuyers are on the lookout for when they tour houses this fall. Consider giving these spaces extra love and attention when preparing to list a house for sale.

  1. Flexible spaces

Homes now function as office spaces and classrooms while still being the place to rest at the end of the day. Homebuyers are seeking interior layouts that can adapt to the changing times. Having multiple spaces to conduct business, take calls or complete classes – while a family member cooks in the kitchen – feels essential when multiple people are home during the day.

Desirable multipurpose spaces may include extra bedrooms – like having a guest room that can operate as a workspace – and finished basements.

  1. Energy-efficient features

With winter right around the corner, interested homebuyers are seeking energy-efficient features for a sustainable household. With so much more time being spent at home these days, people are likely to use resources like water and electricity more than ever.

Some in-demand features that help cut back utility bills include insulated windows, updated appliances and smart thermostats.

  1. Room to workout

Boutique fitness classes and destination gyms dominated the workout space. Since the onset of COVID-19, however, there is a resurgence in the demand for home gyms. And, even as some fitness studios have taken their classes to online platforms, people are rolling out yoga mats on their living room floors with no other place to find Zen.

When searching for homes this fall, interested buyers want a space to workout inside the house, especially with colder weather soon impeding on outdoor recreation.

  1. Extra storage

Pick up a new hobby in recent months? Most people are maxed out on storage space and are seeking even more room to store their new equipment. Increased closet space, attics and garages continue to be desired elements for those searching for a new home this fall.

RE/MAX National Housing Report for August 2020

Home Sales Sizzle Amid All-Time Low Inventory, Rising Prices

The blistering hot streak of U.S. home sales continued in August, reaching record levels for the month. August also set new report records for lowest inventory and days on market as well as highest median sales price.

August home sales, continuing a torrid summer, were the highlight of the month. Year over year, home sales rose 4.3% and marked the third-highest total in the report’s 13-year history covering 53 metro markets. July 2020 holds the report record for most home sales, followed by June 2017. Year to date, 2020 home sales trail 2019’s by only 3% after being 9% lower through May.

While sales climbed, the number of homes on the market in August plunged 29.6% year-over-year – to an all-time report low. And in a related metric, the 1.7 Months of Inventory tied July for the lowest in report history.

This high-demand, low-supply dynamic drove the Median Sales Price to $290,000, topping the previous report record of $285,000 set just one month ago in July. Prices rose 11.5% from August 2019, the highest year-over-year increase in more than six years.

On average, homes spent a mere 41 Days on Market – tying July 2018 for the shortest time in report history. Fourteen markets reported 30 days or less from listing to contract signing. Compare that to August 2019, when average Days on Market totaled 45.

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Watch the 40 second summary video

Washington State NWMLS Market Snapshot for August 2020

The August report from Northwest MLS, which covers 23 counties, shows pending sales surged nearly 25% from a year ago, rising from 10,602 mutually accepted offers to last month’s total of 13,224. Within the four-county Puget Sound region encompassing King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties, brokers reported 9,179 pending sales. A review of MLS records dating to January 2002 shows that volume was surpassed only once, in May 2017 when brokers notched 9,188 pending sales.

Brokers added 11,943 new listings to inventory during August, down from July, when they listed 12,514 homes and condominiums, but up from the 10,488 properties they listed during the same month a year ago.

At the end of August, the Northwest MLS database included 9,591 total active listings, down almost 43% from a year ago when the selection totaled 16,697 listings. With pending sales (13,224) outpacing new listings (11,943), the months of inventory continues to shrink. Area-wide there is less than one month of inventory (0.97). Nine counties had under a month’s supply. Four-to-six months is a common indicator of a balanced market, according to industry experts.

With an insufficient supply, prices are appreciating at double-digit rates in most counties in the NWMLS report. System-wide, for last month’s closed sales, prices increased nearly 14% compared with a year ago. Member-brokers reported 9,847 closed sales, up more than 4.8% from a year ago. That volume was the highest since June 2018 when there were 10,072 completed transactions. In the four-county Puget Sound region year-over-year (YOY) prices jumped 17%, from $500,000 to $585,000.

Source: NWMLS 9/4/20

5 Gifts to Gift Yourself for Your Home

  1. Statement wall art

Is there a blank space that’s begging for some decoration? Whether your taste is a farmhouse clock or a stylish floating frame, opt for a statement piece that will make you smile every time you step into the room. A great way to commemorate where you’re from or where you’ve just moved is a vintage-inspired map.

  1. An upgraded bookcase

Create a Pinterest-worthy reading nook or at least stop storing your books on those beat-up shelves you’ve had since college. Avid reader or not, bookshelves provide storage and give space for personal flair. Between stacks of colorful hardcovers, you can add photos, succulents, pottery or other mementos that speak to your style. To shake things up, swap out a traditional piece for a modern, open bookcase or go DIY with floating shelves for a unique look.

  1. Your signature home scent

Few things can make a house feel like a home more than the right aromas. If you don’t already have a favorite scent, try a Capri Blue Volcano candle. It boasts a sweet citrus scent, and the jar will look great on your coffee table. Prefer essential oils over flames? Upgrade to a hand-blown glass diffuser.

  1. The perfect coffee or tea maker

Where is your favorite place to enjoy your cup-a? Complete the morning with your favorite hot beverage from your porch, table or the comfort of your couch. Are you a coffee connoisseur? Try an espresso maker or add steamed or frothed milk to your pour-over coffee with an electric milk frother. If you prefer tea, check out a variable temperature tea kettle or an automatic tea maker that allows you to wake up to a fresh cup.

  1. That cleaning appliance you REALLY want

When buying for yourself, you don’t have to debate the etiquette of gifting a cleaning product. Have you been eyeing a cordless Dyson for years? Do you fantasize about an automatic robot vacuum sweeping up while you head off to work? Now is the perfect time to invest in keeping your home clean.