RE/MAX National Housing Report for April 2023

April Sales Decline of 7.6%
In Contrast with Seasonal Ramp-Up

The seasonal ramp-up to peak summer homebuying did not occur in April as closings dropped 7.6% from March across the report’s 49 metro areas. That came as the Median Sales Price rose 2.3% to $409,000 month-over-month and inventory inched up 1.8% over the prior month.

The number of home sales typically increases every month from February to June. But April posted a decline despite a month-over-month increase in new listings of 5.6%. Year-over-year, April sales were down 29.5% while new listings were 22.1% lower.

Other notable metrics:

• The median sales price has increased 6.2% since January after dropping 9.6% the previous seven months.

• Months’ Supply of Inventory in April was 1.3, unchanged from March but above the 1.0 a year ago.

• April’s average close-to-list price ratio was 99%, meaning that on average, homes sold for 1% less than the asking price. A year ago, it was 103%.

• Homes sold in April were on the market for an average of 33 days – six days less than March but 10 days longer than a year ago.

Read the full article

Watch the 32 second summary video


31003 14th Ave S #F18, Federal Way, WA 98003


1 bedroom; 1 bathroom; 623 square feet

Enjoy refreshing views of the pool from this updated top floor end unit in a lakeside community! Pool season is about to begin! Features include a new washer, newer cabinets, granite counters, frig, light fixtures, laminate flrs & removed popcorn ceiling. You’ll also appreciate the open floor plan, large pantry/closet, newer water heater & some new roofs in the community. Air dry your laundry or use the laundry rm behind the E bldg. Liberty Lake Condos feature a lakeside clubhouse w/mailboxes, pool, hot tub, sauna, exercise rm & no rental cap. Enjoy beautiful sunsets over peaceful Easter Lake from the lakeside gazebo. A variety of restaurants & shops are across the street. There’s plenty of parking available & King Co Metro is 1 block away!

A link to more details, photos and the 360 degree Tour…

31003 14th Ave S #B5, Federal Way, WA 98003


2 bedrooms; 1.75 bathrooms; 831 square feet

Enjoy lakeside living in this top floor end unit with 2 decks! Features include fresh paint, newer laminate floors, an updated kitchen with newer cabinets, soft-close drawers, counters & tile backsplash, updated bathrooms & light fixtures, and large closets. Relax on your lakeside decks with beautiful sunsets & friendly geese. You’ll appreciate the open floor plan & views of Easter Lake from the living room, as well as 1 bedroom. This unit includes a carport & the laundry rm is nearby in front of the A bldg. Liberty Lake Condos feature a clubhouse w/ mailboxes, pool, hot tub, sauna, exercise rm & no rental cap. A variety of restaurants & shops are across the street. There’s plenty of extra parking available & King Co Metro is 1 block away!

A link to more details, photos and the 360 degree Tour…

Washington State NWMLS Market Update for April 2023

The latest report from NWMLS summarizing April activity shows year-over-year drops in new listings, pending sales and closed sales, an increase in total active listings, and lower prices.

Brokers reported 7,137 pending sales of single-family homes and condos during April, down nearly 27% from a year ago, but notching the highest volume so far this year, edging out March by one transaction. Pending sales are up more than 23% from January’s total.

Closed sales slipped 36% from the year-ago total of 8,344 to last month’s total of 5,338. Compared to January’s figure of 3,264 sales, April’s completed transactions surged 63.5%.

The median price for last month’s sales of single-family homes and condos across the 26 counties in the report was $603,250, down about 8.6% when compared to twelve months ago. When compared to January’s median price of $557,250, prices are up nearly 8.3%. April marked the fourth consecutive month of rising prices.

In King County, which accounted for 35% of last month’s closed sales, the median price of $790,244 fell 10.2% from the year earlier price of $880,000. A comparison with January shows prices are up 9.3%.

Northwest MLS brokers added 7,303 new listings to the database during April. That total was down from both March, when they added 7,904 new listings, and the same month a year, when they added 11,681 new listings. On a percentage basis, the year-over-year drop was 37.5%.

With slower sales, total supply improved compared to a year ago.

At the end of April, there were 8,114 active listings in the NWMLS database, an increase of 1,600 from the year-ago supply for a gain of nearly 24.6%.

Contact me for more details, or watch the 1.25 minute market report video

Source: NWMLS 5/4/2023

3 Things to Consider When Staging Your Home in the Spring

Home sellers: Help your house align with the season before hitting the market.

With temps rising and flowers starting to bloom, it’s evident spring has sprung – and in the world of real estate, so has the busy spring selling season.

As the market continues to rebalance in many locales, today’s homebuyers are enjoying more options and sellers are putting extra thought into how they prepare their property. Staging – a key way to show a home to prospective buyers in the best possible light – is an integral component of increasing the appeal of and interest in a home.

However, staging doesn’t always involve overhauling existing furniture for a completely new look. Some sellers opt to clean and rearrange what that have on hand, and oftentimes marvel at how different a space can look with a few simple changes like decluttering.

In addition to consulting a qualified real estate agent, consider these three factors when staging a home to sell this spring.

1. First impressions start outside

The old adage says you never get a second chance to make a first impression. The same is true with a house for sale.

When prospective buyers arrive to tour a home or attend an open house, their initial impression is based largely on what they see on the outside. And after a long winter, the front yard can look a bit worse for wear. Focus on curb appeal and tidy up the exterior of the home.

Remove any lingering leaves, clean up flower beds of weeds or debris, and lay a fresh coat of mulch wherever it’s needed. It’s even time to break out the lawnmower and tame matted grass growth from the winter, while also making sure to trim walkway edges for clean lines.

Plus, it’s time to unearth and clean patio furniture, including chairs or decorations that live on the front porch. Create an inviting scene at the front of the house with chairs, a new welcome mat, and decorative planters filled with seasonal flowers.

2. Spring cleaning is imperative

Interior staging starts with curating a space that prospective buyers can envision themselves living in.

First and foremost, clear out the entryway by storing away winter-specific items like coats, boots, snow shovels, and more. While avoiding making it feel empty, it’s important to keep rooms minimal and airy by eliminating clutter, hiding away personal mementos like family photos, and overall pairing down on the amount of items on each surface.

A deep cleaning is essential, too. In addition to the standard washing of windows and surfaces and vacuuming of floors, don’t forget about dusting overlooked places like baseboards, ceiling fans and windowsills.

3. Match colors with the season

Spring is the season of nature coming back to life, so it makes sense that colors associated with spring are often bright and refreshing. When it comes to the interior of a home, however, many sellers still opt for a predominantly neutral palette regardless of the season.

Those considering repainting walls this spring may opt for lighter, neutral colors that brighten up the space – especially in smaller rooms. When it’s time for a showing, make sure to open all shades and curtains to maximize natural light.

Then, to add in pops of cheery color for a warm springtime welcome, try placing flowers in a vase as a table centerpiece or on the kitchen counter. Throw pillows and blankets are an easy way to transition the home’s appearance to match the season, too.

Ready to sell a home this spring? Contact me today!

RE/MAX National Housing Report for March 2023

The Expected Spring Surge in Home Sales Arrives

March home sales jumped 37.7% over February, signaling the start of the peak spring and summer seasons in the report’s 52 metro areas. While inventory was down 2.8% from February’s total, March inventory was 56.4% higher year over year – due in part to the combination of pending sales and closings being down, leaving homes on the market longer than they were a year ago. The median sales price of $396,000 in March was down 2.0% year over year.

Other notable metrics:

• While down year over year, the median sales price ticked up 3.4% from February’s $383,500, which is in line with last year when home prices rose 4.7% (from $387,000 to $405,000) from February to March.

• Months’ Supply of Inventory in March was 1.4, down from 1.7 months in February but well above the 0.8 of last March.

• March’s average close-to-list price ratio was 99%, meaning that on average, homes sold for 1% less than the asking price. A year ago, it was 102%.

• Homes sold in March were on the market for an average of 40 days – six days less than February but two weeks longer than a year ago.

Read the full article

Watch the 32 second summary video

25 Lakewood Oaks Dr SW, Lakewood, WA 98499


3 bedrooms; 1.5 bathrooms; 1277 square feet

Extra easy one-level living in a small desirable community of homes that share one wall. HOA dues include all landscape maintenance, roofs (new 10/22), exterior paint & annual gutter cleaning. This home boasts plenty of privacy on its corner lot. You’ll love the open floor plan w/ vaulted ceilings, gas fireplace & an abundance of natural light. Features include a recent complete remodel of the kitchen, bathrooms, mud rm, luxury plank floors & new skylights. Highlights of the kitchen include beautiful counters, full backsplash, double sink, pull-outs in the pantry & soft-close drawers. You’ll appreciate the elegant, easily accessible showers & large primary closet. The fully fenced yard has a large paver patio, gazebo that stays & tool shed.

Link to more details, photos and a self-guided virtual tour…

Washington State NWMLS Market Update for March 2023

Brokers added 7,904 new listings during March across the 26 counties in the Northwest MLS report. That total is down nearly 30% from a year ago, but up more than 51% from February, when brokers added 5,231 new listings of single family homes and condominiums.

At the end of March, there were 8,007 active listings in the MLS database, up more than 73% from a year ago and up about 10.7% from February’s selection. Even with those gains, the supply, measured by months of inventory, was 1.38 months (less than six weeks), well below the four-to-six month level that industry experts say indicates a balanced market.

Pending sales jumped more than 14.5% from February, rising from 6,230 mutually accepted offers to last month’s systemwide total of 7,136. Compared to a year ago, pending sales are down 29%, with higher interest rates believed to be a factor in the slower pace.

Prices overall were down about 7.5% from a year ago, dropping from $638,000 to $590,000, with considerable variation across the 26 counties in the NWMLS report.

Brokers reported 5,817 closed sales last month, a drop of about 27% from the year ago total (7,989). Compared to February, closed sales jumped more than 36.6%.

Contact me for more details, or watch the 1.25 minute market report video

Source: NWMLS 4/6/2023

Homebuying With Friends: Could Splitting the Real Estate Bill Drive Homeownership?

As the housing market continues to rebalance, alternative homebuying trends could help more people achieve homeownership.

Bob Dylan likely said it best: “The times, they are a-changin’.” This is especially true in the real estate market.

According to the January RE/MAX National Housing Report, the Median Sales Price currently sits around $385,000 – down 1.0% from December 2022 but still up 1.3% from a year ago. And Bankrate reports that the current average 30-year fixed mortgage interest rate is hovering around 7%.

Meanwhile, Statista reports that in February 2023, inflation amounted to 4.2%, while wages grew by only 3.2%, leaving some prospective homebuyers wondering how to make it all add up so they can purchase a house.

For some would-be first-time homebuyers who are emotionally ready to invest but struggling to save for the down payment or fret having high monthly payments, renting with a roommate can help split the costs, but it doesn’t build equity – a key component to building wealth. The prospect of buying a house with someone, even if it’s not a romantic partner, comes to mind. But is that a good idea? Will the benefits outweigh the potential risks?

What to consider in joint homeownership

Christopher Audette, an agent with RE/MAX First in Calgary, Alberta, says with inventory issues and the current cost of rent, it makes sense for people to come together and pool resources when considering becoming homeowners.

“It can be the launchpad that’s needed for people to get into homeownership so they can build equity,” he shares.

While it’s a less common practice to purchase a house with a non-romantic partner, the trend could start to emerge for homeowners – especially from younger generations – to co-purchase with a family member, or friend. Even parents and children are considering this route.

“The sooner one can get into real estate ownership, the sooner they can begin to build wealth,” says Joe Allen, an agent with RE/MAX Results in Edina, Minnesota. “If partnering with somebody to buy a home is going to allow them to do it sooner than later, I think it’s a smart avenue to explore.”

However, when it comes to purchasing property with a non-marital partner, there are also some risks to be aware of. Apart from the necessary finances, another aspect to consider is the emotional toll it can take.

“Homeownership is very emotional. If you go into it with a friend, it can be hard for some people to compartmentalize friendship and business,” explains Shannon Murree, an agent with RE/MAX Hallmark in Barrie, Ontario.

And while the friendship outside of the house might be a great fit, it doesn’t always transfer to homeownership. Murree advises those considering house hunting with friends to assess the compatibility of their lifestyles, including how they handle finances and their level of cleanliness.

Audette agrees, noting, “Buying with a friend can lead to resentment when one person is putting more into things like renovations or home maintenance, or even day-to-day tasks like cleaning. Or, they could both be single at the time they enter the agreement, but then one gets into a primary relationship and now there’s a third person who’s constantly there as well. These are factors that should be thought of upfront as they can lead to hard feelings.”

While some of these are also risks for any married couple, Allen believes they can be even more pronounced for non-married partners.

“If you’re married and then get divorced, there’s a court system to help you divide assets. If you’re not married and one homeowner decides they want out or want to sell, there’s no system in place to help you do that,” he says.

Consequently, Allen says one of the smartest things someone can do when they’re considering joint homeownership is to engage an attorney and come up with an agreement where the parties determine how they would handle a sale or buyout.

It is highly encouraged to take all considerations into account before purchasing jointly. And, as Audette clarifies, there’s no need to rush the process.

“Don’t be cavalier about the legal aspect of it. Don’t do it now and figure it out later. Figure out the logistics now.”

Handling finances and setting expectations

For those interested in this pathway to ownership, working with skilled and knowledgeable professionals – a real estate agent and a mortgage broker – is key. There are quite a few nuances and differences when purchasing real estate jointly versus as a married couple or individual.

Chuck Simmons, a mortgage broker with Motto® Mortgage in Ankeny, Iowa, explains when a married couple applies for a home loan there is one application that looks at both parties’ credit score, income, and debt. The process is typically an open book to both sides. When applying as two unmarried individuals, there are two applications looking at the same criteria, but the flow of information is not as fluid.

Simmons says when married couples apply for a mortgage, they ultimately give permission to talk to both sides, but single applications are closed to each individual applicant. So, if there’s an issue with one person’s income or credit, the mortgage broker can’t openly talk about that issue with both parties – they can go directly to only the applicant.

“Depending on the disparity, I will call the person and say, ‘Are you okay with me having this conversation with everyone?’ just so that they understand there might be some personal things we need to work through but it’s going to affect if they can get approved or not,” Simmons says.

When two applicants file for a home loan, the lender must use the lower of the two credit scores, which can affect the interest rate and ultimately save or cost thousands of dollars.

Allen says to consider looking at this joint venture as a business partnership.

“Build a business partnership around the property and choose your partner well,” he advises.

The planning portion of this venture should be a high priority and extremely thorough. Partners should create a business plan and have everything laid out on paper from the get-go, from who will take which room to what happens if someone wants out, and everything in between.

“A lot of homes are set up for families,” explains Jeff Feldman, an agent with RE/MAX Results in Edina, Minnesota. “So, there will be tradeoffs – one might get the owner’s suite while the other gets the garage. Other agreements will come when something goes awry. What happens if the furnace needs to be replaced? You’ll need to agree on which brand, the cost, what contractor to use, and level of efficiency. Putting certain guidelines on paper up front will help down the road.”

The process – and agreements that come in tow – can also differ depending on the type of property one is purchasing, be it a primary residence, vacation property, or payment partnership.

“There’s a difference between an occupant co-borrower and non-occupant co-borrower,” Simmons says. “If it’s two brothers buying together and both plan to live in the house full-time, there are standard [loan] programs available. If it’s a parent who’s helping a child with a down payment, they may not be able to take advantage of certain programs.”

Real life application

Homeowners Michael Smith and his wife purchased a secondary property in the mountains with good friends and co-owned the home for over a decade. Smith says there were definitely learning curves, but overall, it was a great experience for them. He believes things worked out so well because they laid out the ground rules right away and had parameters around arrival and departure times, who cleaned what, and even appropriations of the slush fund for repairs and replacements.

“I think it really helped that both families were in similar financial positions, and had similar lifestyles and mindsets,” Smith shares. “From the beginning, we chose a bank that neither of us previously belonged to so any mail that came from them we knew was in reference to the property. We opened a joint bank account which each family fed to be able to pay for maintenance and repairs. We even had a small cash deposit made to the property bank account of $10 or $20 if we had extended friends or family with us, just to account for additional wear and tear.”

Friends Dan Kenney and J.T. Williams purchased a primary residence together in a Northeast Minneapolis neighborhood in 2005 when they were just 24 years old. They lived together as co-owners for a number of years and took a less conventional route to figuring things out.

Admittedly easy-going guys, Kenney says that while some things – like deciding who got the bigger room – came down to rock-paper-scissors, other more important things were taken seriously.

“Our personalities complemented each other and we were able to decide in the moment what was needed or not needed. If we needed it, we did it together, 50/50.

“We also always wanted to make sure our friendship stayed intact. We knew there were going to be ups and downs, but we kept our friendship paramount.”

Just as important as figuring out what living arrangements will lead to the best living experience is asking what happens when one partner wants to exit.

Implementing an exit strategy

For the Smiths and their co-owners, life evolved and they found themselves using the mountain home less and less. When they all decided to sell, they chose to unload on the whole.

“When we purchased the home, we had to furnish it from the ground up and so when we sold it, we sold everything and split the proceeds 50/50,” Smith says.

Alternatively, for Kenney and Williams, they decided to transition the property from owner-occupied to a rental and use it as an investment property – a situation that worked well for them until they eventually sold.

While buying a house jointly with a non-marital partner is not as common of a route, and does come with some risks, Murree says it’s still worth it.

“It’s unconventional. It’s creative. It’s risky. But if you need a place to live, you might as well earn some equity,” she says.

For those interested in joint homeownership with a family member, friend, or business partner, remember to align with a like-minded individual, plan ahead, and put it all in print. Because the times, they are a-changin’ – and there are many routes to homeownership that may be the best fit.

RE/MAX National Housing Report for February 2023

Home Sales Show Strong Increase and
Slight Rise in Median Sales Price Over January

Despite being down 24.4% year over year, February home sales increased 16.8% from January. That was the largest month-over-month increase in 11 months and ended a five-month streak of sales declines that began in September.

The median sales price of $385,000 increased 0.6% over January, ending a seven-month streak of price declines since the peak of $426,000 in June 2022. Although home prices increased slightly month-over-month, February marked the first year-over-year drop in prices since January 2012 – as the median was 1.3% lower than a year ago ($390,000).

Inventory increased year over year for the 10th consecutive month, and the number of homes for sale in the report’s 50 metro areas was 55.0% higher than a year ago.

Other notable metrics:

  • Months’ Supply of Inventory in February was 1.7, down from 2.0 months in January but well above last February’s 1.0.
  • February’s average close-to-list price ratio was 98%, meaning that on average, homes sold for 2% less than the asking price. In January, the ratio was 97%.
  • Homes sold in February were on the market for an average of 45 days – three days less than January but two weeks longer than a year ago.

Read the full article

Watch the 32 second summary video