RE/MAX National Housing Report for April 2020

Pandemic Curbs Home Sales By 20% Year-Over-Year, Prices Remain Strong

Fewer sellers, fewer buyers: The first full month of coronavirus stay-at-home orders weighed on April home sales, causing them to drop an average of 20.2% compared to a year ago. Inventory in the report’s 53 markets similarly tumbled by 20.5% year-over-year, while the Median Sale Price of $276,000 was up 9.3%.

Restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 turned what is traditionally the year’s fifth busiest month for home sales back to slumbering wintertime levels. Four markets –  New York, Detroit, Miami and San Francisco – posted year-over-year sales declines of more than 40%. Just two markets – Minneapolis, MN and Billings, MT – reported an increase, while eight saw declines of less than 10%.

Like March, April is a transition month toward peak home sales in the summer. In a typical year, the busiest month is often May or June, with July and August being close behind.

Days on Market dropped seven days to 46 year over year, setting a new low for April in the report’s 12-year history. By contrast, Months Supply of Inventory grew from 3.0 to 3.5.

The Median Sales Price of $276,000 also was a report record for April.

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19335 SE 284th St, Kent, WA 98042

$695,000

5 bedrooms; 3.5 bathrooms; 3396 square feet

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Washington State NWMLS Market Snapshot for April 2020

Residential real estate activity around Western Washington reflected expected declines during April with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic taking its toll. A new report from Northwest Multiple Listing Service shows year-over-year (YOY) drops system-wide in new listings, pending sales and closed sales, but prices increased nearly 6.4%.

The Northwest MLS report for April shows area-wide inventory fell nearly 21% from a year ago, dropping from 12,955 listings to 10,282. A comparison of the 23 counties in the report shows only four counties with YOY increases (Jefferson at 0.9%, Whatcom at nearly 6%, Douglas at 13.8% and Lewis at 17.7%), while three counties had shrinkages of around 30% or more (King at -29.6%, Clallam at -32.9% and Island at -39.2%).

The volume of new listings added during April was off 34.7% compared to the same month a year ago. Brokers added 7,641 new listings last month, down from both March when 10,291 new listings were added, and April 2019 when brokers added 11,697 new listings.

Despite the slower activity, the months of supply improved only slightly, rising from the March figure of 1.4 months to 1.75 months of inventory at the end of April.

In King County, prices rose 4% from a year ago, from $625,000 to $650,000. Snohomish County prices were up nearly 6% and Pierce County joined Kitsap with a double-digit gain; prices there increased from $355,000 to $397,750 for a 12% gain.

System-wide, prices were up about 6.4%, rising from the year-ago figure of $424,950 to last month’s figure of $452,030. Year-to-date prices are up nearly 9.3% compared to twelve months ago.

Source: NWMLS 5/6/20

RE/MAX National Housing Report for March 2020

Despite the advance of the coronavirus across the U.S. in the second half of the month, March home sales increased 2.7% year-over-year in the report’s 52 markets – a hint of what might have been.

March was the fourth consecutive month with year-over-year increases in U.S. home sales – a streak not seen since 2016. But the spread of COVID-19, and the initiation of governmental measures to slow it, dampened the month’s overall sales results:

• March’s year-over-year sales growth of less than 3% was significantly less than December 2019 through February 2020 where year-over-year sales increases averaged 10%.

• The sequential monthly growth in sales from February to March is typically the largest month-over-month percentage increase each year, averaging 32%. This year, March sales increased just 23.8% over February – the lowest such increase for this time period in the report’s nearly 12-year history.

Inventory levels in March continued to constrict amid healthy buyer interest, which helped drive further price increases. Year-over-year, March inventory declined 14.9%, continuing a streak that began in July 2019. Meanwhile, the Median Sales Price of $265,000 was 7.7% higher than a year ago, setting a report record for the month of March. A record low for March was the 54 Days on Market, while 2.7 Months Supply of Inventory was typical for the month, based on the past four years.

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Home Furnishings Trend: Brass is Back

After years of chrome, stainless steel, and nickel being the shining stars of interior metals, brass is back and starting to steal the show.

As with many home furnishings trends, the comeback was inspired by what’s occurring in fashion. In this case, gold and rose gold watches became influencers a few years ago, says Chicago designer Tom Segal of Kaufman Segal Design, who thinks that home furnishings styles tend to be cyclical. Now he’s adding small brass details to rooms in the same way a gold watch might peek out of a shirt cuff.

Using brass now is an easy, affordable way for homeowners to customize and stay on trend.  “Many people want a warmer look, which is also visible in fabrics as warmer colors return,” Segal says.

Erin Imhof, showroom supervisor at Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery in Lansdale, Pa., has noted an increase in brass finishes. She attributes it to how they complement a wide range of colors and other finishes. “Many of today’s top color trends for kitchens and bathrooms, including all-white, blue, and black, pair beautifully with brass fixtures,” she says.

Others concur that brass is a universal mixer. “Our designers like to integrate brass into their designs, whether it’s an accent like a decorative bowl, object of art, light fixture, or metal base on an end table,” says Julie Sprouse, design sales manager at Ethan Allen, the home furnishings chain based in Danbury, Conn.

Caitie Smithe, a design coordinator and stylist at the Walter E. Smithe Furniture + Design retailer based in Itasca, Ill., also considers brass a material that can be used throughout a home, including light fixtures, hardware, and even light switches and vent controls. Other good places to use brass include bathroom hardware, plumbing fixtures such as sinks, and accessory details like candleholders or picture frames.

Here are five tips for using brass that you can pass on to your clients.

1. Use sparingly. Brass works best when used in small doses. Too much can create a “too matchy-matchy” look, according to Smithe. Overuse can make it start to look cheap, says Segal. “Moderation is key,” he says.

2. Mix finishes. Brass appears more timeless rather than trendy when it’s matte, brushed, or aged, which helps soften its sheen, Segal says. But be careful, Smithe says, when mixing brasses in a single space from different manufacturers. “There is a huge range in color and brightness. Some take on a bright yellow color while others can be more of an aged gold,” she says.

3. Combine warm metal colors. Brass, gold, and bronze can work well together since they share similar warm values versus shiny nickel, which leans toward the colder side, says Sprouse.

4. Mix metals. Some designers also think brass, satin, brushed nickel, stainless steel, and oil-rubbed bronze can be used together. But Imhoff still offers some caution. “Go with similar warm, muted undertones for some consistency,” she says. Chicago designer Summer Thornton likes mixing metals, particularly in kitchens and bathrooms where she might use brass, nickel, and steel combinations.

5. Consider longevity. How long brass will stay fashionable is unknown. When it becomes too ubiquitous in retail stores, shelter magazines, and on design websites, it may be time to move on. The good news is that brass touches are easy to add in and switch out.

Source: REALTOR® Magazine

Home Offices Expected to Become Essential for Buyers

As more people shift to work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, real estate professionals predict that a home office will become a hot amenity for the long term. Fifty-five percent of homeowners and practitioners recently surveyed by remodeling website Houzz say they have a home office. A quarter of respondents say they work from their dining room or kitchen table, and 11% work from their sofa.

Respondents report that the top challenges of a sudden shift to working from home include finding a private or quiet location away from high-traffic living areas (30%), securing a computer with a strong Wi-Fi connection (25%), and creating a comfortable work space (25%).

Houzz U.S. editor Anne Colby offers tips for setting up an efficient work space at home, including:

  • Pick the right location. If you don’t have a dedicated space for a home office, consider transforming a spare bedroom, dining room, den, or even a backyard shed. Consider whether you want to be near family while working or need a quieter corner, Colby suggests.
  • Pay attention to the lighting. Diffuse the lights and position fixtures just right to avoid eyestrain from glares on the computer screen, Colby says. Layer lights from multiple sources—like an overhead light, desktop light, and natural light—to create the right ambiance.
  • Make it ergonomic. Keep your home office efficient and safe with the arrangement of your chair, desk, computer, keyboard, mouse, and phone. Make sure you’re comfortable. It will keep you working more productive and also prevent repetitive injuries, Colby says.

Source: REALTOR® Magazine