RE/MAX National Housing Report for January 2019

Housing Inventory Posts Record Increase as Declining Sales Extend to Sixth Month

A sixth consecutive month of declining home sales in January contributed to the largest year-over-year inventory increase in at least 10 years, according to the RE/MAX National Housing Report.

While year-over-year home sales dropped 11% – extending a streak that began in August – inventory grew year-over-year by an average of 6.4% across the report’s 54 U.S. metro areas. January marked the fourth consecutive month of year-over-year inventory growth – further reversing a decade-long trend of shrinking inventory. December 2018’s year-over-year inventory growth of 4.7% was the previous record in the report’s 10-year history.

The median sales price of $234,000 was a report record for January, increasing 4.6% over January 2018. But the rate of sales price increase was considerably less than the 6.7% posted from January 2017 to January 2018. December 2018 was the only month since January 2012 to show a year-over-year decline in median sales price.

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3 Strategies for the Move-Up Buyer

Moving up to your “forever home” is exciting. When you bought your first place, chances are you were young, strapped for cash and prepared – if not warned – to make some concessions. The move-up buyer typically has some savings and home equity to work with, making this next move feel less like a compromise and more a thoughtful selection.

But move-up buyers face their own set of challenges that call for a carefully considered strategy. Here are three options for the smart move-up buyer with a plan!

The “Sell First” strategy is ideal for the move-up buyer who can’t afford to pay two mortgages simultaneously. Selling your property first eliminates the risk of having to carry two mortgages if you don’t sell your existing home in time. It also reduces the chances of having to reduce your asking price in the interest of speeding up the sale. This is a good option for move-up buyers who are banking on the proceeds of their sale to fund their new (and likely more expensive) property. By selling first, you’ll know exactly how much money you have to purchase your next home.

If homes in your area of choice are selling faster than the ‘For Sale’ signs can hit the front lawn, the “buy first” strategy might be the way to go. By buying your new home before selling your old one, you won’t feel rushed into settling for a sub-par property, or having to seek alternative temporary housing options while you shop the market. This move-up buyer still lives in his or her existing home, allowing them time to shop around, and continue looking until they find that perfect place. This move-up buyer typically requires a bridge mortgage.

When all is said and done, this move-up buyer approach is the most ideal, but getting there is another story. Aligning your purchase and sale closing dates can be tricky. Remember that there are three dancers in this tango – you, the person you’re buying from, and the person you’re selling to. You’ll also have to move out and move in on the same day. In this scenario, time is your best friend and flexibility your savor. This means you’ve planned ahead – you’re researched neighborhoods, gotten pre-approved for a mortgage, and you’ve started the organizing and de-cluttering process before the big move.

The right move-up buyer strategy depends on a number of factors, such as your financial situation, current housing market conditions, your personal comfort level and your personality. Consider all these when making your decision. Plan ahead and work with a pro to ensure a smooth transaction on both sides of the bargaining table.

During my 17 years in the business, I’ve helped many move-up buyers and will be happy to help you and those you know!

4634 S D St, Tacoma, WA 98408

Received Multiple Offers
within 35 hours of Listing!

$224,900

2 bedrooms; 1 bathroom; 960 square feet

Don’t miss this turnkey charmer! You’ll love the spacious & bright living rm w/ pine walls, laminate floor & cozy gas insert. Features also include newer paint & windows, as well as new screens & blinds through-out. The bright kitchen has a new faucet & laminate floor, newer sink, range/oven & frig. The furnace, water heater, tub/shower & vapor barrier have all been replaced recently. You’ll enjoy the fully-fenced yard w/ side gate, garden space, storage shed & gated parking for 2 off the alley.

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Outdated Advice Buyers Should Ignore

People who have gone through the homebuying process are often eager to give advice. But too often, these so-called insider tips may very well be outdated.

Realtor.com® recently highlighted some of the most common advice home buyers may hear from their peers that no longer applies in the current housing market, including:

“Wait for spring.”

Buyers shouldn’t feel like they’ll be at an advantage if they wait for the busiest season in real estate—it may be the opposite, real estate pros say. “Yes, there’s more inventory [in the spring], but there’s more competition for it, and sellers are more optimistic about getting a higher price then and so less willing to negotiate,” Sebastian “Seb” Frey, a real estate broker in the Silicon Valley area, told realtor.com®. “Buy when you find the right property that will meet your needs for today—and the next five to 10 years.”

“Wait for home prices to come down.”

Some aspiring buyers may be told to wait until home prices settle some before they jump in. But they can’t forget that rents are likely also high.

“Paying high rent now and hoping that you’ll find a better deal two or three years down the road [won’t work],” Frey says. “The better advice is to make a smart buy today for a property that will appreciate over the longer term.”

“Make a lower offer so you have room to negotiate.”

Some buyers may be told by their peers to make an offer that’s less than what they’re actually willing to pay for a home. Then they’ll have room to negotiate.

“The housing market in 2019 will be slightly different from what we experienced in 2018 when it comes to pricing and negotiations,” Howard Margolis, an associate real estate broker with Douglas Elliman in New York, told realtor.com®. “In regards to negotiations, what was once the premise of offering 10 percent to 15 percent below asking is not necessarily the case anymore, and it’s a strategy I would not recommend. In today’s market, a truly motivated seller is less inclined to engage in the back-and-forth of a real estate transaction, and listings are priced closer to the final sales price.”

Instead, home buyers are urged to base their offer on sales of similar sales in the area.

Washington State NWMLS Market Snapshot for January 2019

Homebuyers around Washington state are making their way back to the market, hoping to take advantage of improving inventory, attractive interest rates, and more approachable sellers.

Washington REALTORS® 2019 Legislative Day Recap

Over the course of over 140 different scheduled meetings with Legislators on Thursday, January 24, REALTORS® received encouraging and positive response from our Legislators to the following Legislative Priorities:

  • Reforming Condominium Liability Laws
  • Increasing Urban & Suburban Housing Supply in Urban Growth Areas
  • Aligning the Short Subdivision Process with Ecology’s SEPA Regulations
  • Supporting the Housing Trust Fund for HomeownershipState Funding Support for Housing, Homelessness & Infrastructure
  • Expanding the Multi-family Tax Exemption Program
  • REET & Lodging tax—Local Funding Tools for Housing & Homelessness
  • Read more details about Washington REALTORS®’ Legislative Priorities.

All of our Legislative Priorities are part of the Unlock the Door for Affordable Homeownership initiative. Partnered with other non-profit and for-profit entities, Washington REALTORS® will continue to work with our Legislators and lead the way to help create affordable homeownership opportunities for all.

3 Home Repairs That Can Save a Sale

Sellers whose homes aren’t in tip-top shape may need to spend extra money or put in a little elbow grease to get their properties in market-ready condition. But what are the most important repair or maintenance tasks that support a higher asking price? “Smaller and less expensive updates in combination with good staging will have a great return,” Susanna Haynie, GRI, a sales associate with Colorado Real Estate Group in Colorado Springs, told HouseLogic. The National Association of REALTORS®’ consumer-facing news service highlights some of the most important items to address before putting a home up for sale.