RE/MAX National Housing Report for December 2022

December Declines Accentuate
Year of Transition Toward Balanced Market

The housing market decelerated throughout 2022 creating more opportunities for homebuyers, in stark reversal of the frenzied seller’s market of the previous year. The year’s most telling stats were punctuated in December: Home sales were down 38% from a year ago while the number of homes for sale was up 69% in the report’s 53 metro areas.

Sales in every month of 2022 fell short of the previous year, with the percentage of decline starting out in single digits during the first quarter before topping 30% in the fourth quarter. The Median Sales Price of $385,000 was 1.3% higher year over year in December, compared to 13.9% higher year over year last January.

As in October and November, the average Close-to-List Price Ratio in December was 98%, meaning that homes sold, on average, for 2% less than the asking price. The ratio peaked at 103% in April and May compared to 100% in December 2021.

December inventory was down 12.2% from November but grew month-to-month in six of the last nine months.

Other notable metrics include:

• New listings recorded 2022’s largest month-to-month decline of 25.2% and finished 15.1% lower than a year ago.
• Homes sold in December were on the market for an average of 47 days. That was 10 more days than one year ago.
• December’s 2.5 months supply of inventory was unchanged from November but more than double the 1.2 of one year ago.

Read the full article

Watch the 48 second summary video

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A Successful 2023 Washington REALTORS® Legislative Day

Washington Realtors® met with Legislators January 19th to seek support for bills that increase housing supply and protect consumers. I lead meetings with 4 Legislators or their staff in the 30th and 47th districts, and with our explanations of personal experiences, we were able to help Legislators understand the importance of the proposed legislation!

After our first meeting; such a great group to represent the 30th district!

Our second meeting.

The Capitol building and campus were full of our blue “Welcome Home” scarves all afternoon. As we approached staff to check-in, we were told “we can see you’re Realtors!”

Help Make Housing the Focus of the 2023 WA Legislative Session

Now that the 2023 Legislative Session has officially begun, Washington Realtors® need your help to make this session the one where Legislators make housing policy a priority!

Please take a few minutes to send a pre-written message to let your Legislators know that Housing Inventory must be a top issue for the 2023 session – it’s very quick and easy! Contact me with any questions.

Click here to TAKE ACTION: https://www.votervoice.net/NAR/1/Campaigns/99612/Respond

Washington REALTORS® Legislative Day January 19, 2023

I’m excited to be preparing to head to our capitol building in Olympia next week to meet with Legislators in the districts I own my home and real estate office in, as well as others. REALTORS® will be advocating for homeownership, more housing, and to improve consumer protections.

To preview our Legislative Priorities for 2023, visit: https://warealtor.org/about-us/contact-us/news-media/blogdetails/articles/2023/01/04/washington-realtors—2023-legislative-priorities

For more details and/or to participate, feel free to contact me!

Washington State NWMLS Market Update for December 2022

The MLS report for December shows continued growth in the number of active listings compared to the same month a year ago, but sharp drops in the number of pending and closed sales. Last month’s prices for single family homes and condominiums that sold across the 26 counties in the report dropped 0.51% from twelve months ago, marking the first year-over-year price decline since March 2012.

Year-over-year prices for last month’s sales of single family homes and condos (combined) declined in 17 counties and rose in nine counties. The median sales price was $570,000, down $2,900 (-0.51%) from the year-ago figure of $572,900. Last year’s median price overall peaked in May 2022, at $660,000.

The median price for single family homes (excluding condos) that sold last month was $587,500, down 0.42% from a year ago when it was $590,000. Condo prices edged up last month compared to the same month a year ago, increasing from $435,000 to $440,000 for a gain of 1.15%.

Brokers added 2,980 new listings to inventory last month. That total was 1,637 fewer than the number added during December 2021 (4,617).

Sellers accepted 4,017 offers from buyers, down about 31% from the year-ago volume of pending sales (5,850).

At month-end, buyers could choose from 9,475 active listings, nearly three times as many as a year ago when 3,240 homes and condos were offered for sale area-wide.

The Northwest MLS report shows about 2.1 months of inventory at the end of December, marking the fourth consecutive month with at least eight weeks of supply. Six counties, including King, Kitsap, and Snohomish, still have less than two months of supply.

Watch the 1.25 minute market report video

Source: NWMLS 1/6/2023

Make the Most Out of Limited Kitchen Space

Living with a smaller sized kitchen? Whether you’re planning a holiday gathering or simply cooking dinner with family, don’t let limited kitchen space inhibit your hosting and dining dreams.

With some ingenuity – and a few storage solutions – you can transform a smaller kitchen into a fully functioning space that lives up to chef’s standards.

Check out these tips for making the most out of a smaller kitchen:

Find gadgets that free up countertops

Minimal counter space can be a challenge for the at-home chef, and storing things like small appliances and produce on your countertops eats away at available working space. Staying organized can help alleviate stress and create the feeling of a larger, more efficient kitchen.

If your countertops feel cluttered, storage solutions like pantry bins, drawer dividers, a rotating spice rack, mountable shelves, and an over-the-sink dish drain can keep items organized – and even out of sight.

Expand your working space

Need more room to chop, dice and mince? Invest in a cutting board that covers the sink. Best of all, any mess will be an easy cleanup when the cooking is done. Or, consider adding a compact, moveable island (or cart) that can add valuable counter space and storage. In smaller kitchens, the addition of a portable island can create the experience of a 360° area.

Make seating versatile

Does the size or layout of your kitchen limit seating options? There are alternatives to a traditional kitchen table that may better fit your unique space.

If your kitchen is outfitted with built-in bar seating, you may not need to add a table. Or, if you have space for an island, consider one that can comfortably fit chairs or bar stools on its perimeter. For a more traditional table, consider a folding style that stores small and can be expanded when needed. Some may consider a table that mounts to the wall and can double as decorative space, storage, or even a home office.

Use the walls

Running out of room? Go vertical! Blank wall space presents abundant opportunity to get creative and generate storage. Consider implementing things like pegboards and floating shelves. Plus, try mounting a magnetic knife holder, adding hooks underneath cabinets to hang coffee mugs, and putting up an overhead rack to hang pots and pans.

Don’t skip out on food prep

Especially when hosting multiple guests, one of the best ways to move fluidly in a smaller space and free up appliances is by prepping some dishes ahead of time. If you have the space to store precooked components of a meal, you’ll save yourself stove and oven space the day of the gathering.

Make use of other spaces for your guests

Ever heard the phrase “too many cooks in the kitchen”? This can feel especially true when cooking and entertaining at the same time.

If you’re hosting an event and don’t have a large kitchen space, avoid gathering your guests in the kitchen so you have room to finish preparing the meal. When possible, draw guests to the table or living room until the food is ready.

RE/MAX National Housing Report for November 2022

Prices Moderate as New Listings and Home Sales Dip, For-Sale Homes Sit Longer

November begins a stretch of four months with typically the lowest home sales of the year – including December, January and February – and this November followed suit. Seasonality was just one factor contributing to November’s 12% drop in home sales from October in the report’s 53 metro areas as fluctuating interest rates and ongoing economic uncertainty weigh on the market.

New listings tumbled 21.4% from October – reaching their lowest point of the year ­­– as home sellers saw the Median Sales Price drop to $394,000. That was 1.3% less than October though still 3.7% higher than November 2021. The average Close-to-List Price Ratio in November was 98%, meaning that homes sold, on average, for 2% less than the asking price. The ratio was 101% a year ago and flat compared to October 2022.  

Other notable metrics include:
• Homes sold in November were on the market for an average of 39 days. That was four more days than in October and a full week more than in November 2021.
• November’s 2.5 months supply of inventory was up from 2.3 in October and more than double the 1.2 of one year ago.
• Though the fourth-highest year-to-date total, November’s 2.5 months supply of inventory was down 5.9% from October following month-to-month inventory increases of 3.9% in September and 2.9% in October.

Read the full article

Watch the 48 second summary video

Preparing Your Property For Winter Showings

Listing a home for sale this winter? Check out these tips for creating a comfortable, safe experience for buyers.

If you live in a colder climate, you know that winter presents some challenging weather conditions, like snow and ice. And if you’re selling a home in the winter, prospective buyers won’t be ogling a freshly mowed lawn or vibrant flowers – they’ll likely be eager to get inside and out of the elements.

Clear walkways

Remember Harry and Marv slipping down the McCallisters’ exterior stairs in Home Alone? Don’t let that be your prospective buyers.

Ahead of tours or an open house, make sure agents and buyers alike can access the property. Shovel paths and entrance points, including the driveway, doors and walkways. Then, apply ice melt products, like sand and salt, which can alleviate slipperiness – especially on stairs.

Prepare for messy footwear

Many homeowners ask prospective buyers to take off their shoes before exploring the home. But snowy or muddy shoes and boots will still mar the entry way. To prevent mess, pick up a plastic or rubber shoe tray. Some people even opt for a boot brush mat outside the door for visitors to wipe off their shoes before stepping inside.

Stage for the season

Help buyers imagine themselves living in your home by staging appropriately for the season. In the winter, consider adding cozy fixtures like knit throw blankets, refreshed pillows, and a few candles dotted about. If you’re nearing a holiday, try artfully setting the dining table to show what future gatherings could look like.

Prior to a showing or open house – in any season – it’s best to thoroughly clean the home, pare down on personal items like photos, and declutter.

Open shades for natural light

Let’s face it – winter can bring some drab weather. To maximize natural lighting inside the home, open the curtains and blinds throughout.

In addition to embracing natural light, check each room for any burnt out light bulbs and replace them with new ones.

Turn the heat up

Whether you still occupy your home or have already vacated, ensure the heat is set to a comfortable temperature. Especially in the winter, buyers are searching for a home that feels like an inviting haven.

If the home has a fireplace, clean it up (hint: hire a professional!) and follow maintenance protocol depending on whether it’s gas or wood-burning. Plus, clean and stage the mantel. Buyers will likely be more focused on the presentation of the fireplace in the winter than any other season.

Consult a real estate agent

Work with an experienced real estate agent who knows how to best position a house to sell. Not only does a listing agent market the property, conduct open houses, and help facilitate the transaction, but they also can provide the names of trusted local professionals for services like repair, staging, and more.

Washington State NWMLS Market Update for November 2022

Northwest MLS figures show both pending and closed sales fell sharply from a year ago, but median prices system-wide edged up slightly (0.88%), from $570,000 to $575,000. Pending sales across the 26 counties in the report were down 40% (dropping from 8,571 a year ago to 5,106) while closed sales fell 42% (declining from 8,976 to 5,194).

The volume of closed sales, at 5,194, was the lowest level since February (5,147) and January (5,085). Compared to January’s median price of $555,000, last month’s buyers paid 3.6% more ($575,000).

Inventory statistics were mixed. Brokers added 4,890 new listings during November, a decline of 24.2% compared to the same month a year ago when they added 6,455 new listings.

At month end, there were 12,245 total active listings, a whopping increase (about 165%) from the selection of a year ago when there were only 4,621 active listings.

Measured by months of inventory, November’s supply, at 2.36 months, was best since January 2019 when the overall selection reached 2.4 months of inventory. Fifteen of the 26 counties reported price increases from a year ago, with 11 counties having declines. All four counties in the Puget Sound region experienced modest price gains, ranging from about 1.1% in Kitsap County to 2.9% in Snohomish County.

Watch the 1.25 minute market report video

Source: NWMLS 12/5/2022

6 Signs You’re Ready to Buy a Home

Whether you’re looking for a yard for a pet or bigger closets for storage, buying a home could offer more flexibility than renting – and it can be a long-term investment. Are you ready to be a homeowner?

With the housing market balancing in many places, many people are finding that now is a great time to purchase a property of their own. Renters looking to buy are usually in the pursuit of more living space, creative freedom to decorate, and ownership of an asset that can appreciate in value over time.

Renters, are you tired of spending money each month to pay someone else’s mortgage? It may be time to consider buying a home. Here are the signs to look for:

You need more square footage

Upsizing is a common reason renters venture toward homeownership. With more heads under one roof – from children to aging parents to pets and more – an extra bedroom, in-law suite, or garage space can go from being a want to a need. Whether you find a place that has everything you want or a fixer-upper that can be turned into your dream house, owning property offers the potential of adding more space.

You’re looking for outdoor space

Having access to the outdoors – especially for those renting an apartment – has become an increasingly more important factor to prospective homebuyers. This can be especially true if you welcomed a new pet into your life recently.

The options for your outdoor spaces are much greater when you own the property, whether you want to add a fence around the yard for the dog, put in a swimming pool, or lay out a patio for entertaining guests.

You want the flexibility to customize your home

One of the many luxuries of owning a home is having the freedom to do what you please with your space. Oftentimes when renting, tenants are unable to paint walls, drill holes, upgrade aspects of the kitchen, and more. Each household functions differently, so it can be comforting to live in a space custom-tailored to your needs. If you’re handy with DIY projects or can hire professionals, your options for making a new space feel like home are endless.

You’ve saved up for a down payment

Many people start the homebuying process once they have saved up enough money for a down payment. With a budget in mind, check out available financing options (like first-time homebuyer or military housing grants) that may help determine how much you can afford.

The down payment isn’t the only cost associated with buying a home. Don’t forget to save up for additional fees associated with the process, including closing costs, a home inspection and other potential service expenses. When the time comes that you’re ready to put in an offer on a home, you’ll already have these funds set aside.

You’ve saved for maintenance, emergencies and repairs

Owning a home inherently comes with more responsibility than renting. When buying a home, it’s helpful to have money set aside for necessary repairs and unexpected emergencies. Being financially prepared ahead of time will make the inconvenience of a things like a broken appliance or leaky roof more manageable.

You’re looking for an investment (financial and emotional)

If you’re tired of renegotiating terms, paying higher rent, or moving each time your lease expires, then purchasing a home is a great solution. But in addition to peace of mind, owning a home can pose long-term financial benefits, too.

Likely the largest financial transaction a person will make in their lifetime, a home is an an investment that may, potentially, help you create generational wealth. Best of all, the money you pay each month to a landlord can be used instead to pay down your own mortgage.

If you’re done with renting and ready to buy a home, contact me, I’ll be happy to help you through the process!