RE/MAX National Housing Report for January 2021

Sales Approach Pre-COVID Rate of Increase While Inventory and Days on Market Dwindle

  • Home Sales increased 13.5% over January 2020
  • Inventory decreased 35.7% to 1.7 months supply (a balanced market is 4-6 months)
  • Average Days on Market was 40, compared to 59 last year
  • Median Sale Price was $285,000, an increase of 11.8% over January 2020

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Watch the 40 second summary video

The Washington REALTORS® had some big wins this week!


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The Washington REALTORS® advocates for REALTORS® and their clients, and we had some big wins this week! ALL real estate sales will be exempt from the new capital gains tax, and the bill for rent control died. Contact me if you have questions about the government affairs that affect your real estate goals; I’ll be happy to help! 🤝

Right Now, Human Connection is a Priority – Just Ask Brian Buffini

Brian Buffini believes that prioritizing self-care and the well-being of others is at the forefront of success in 2021.

Buffini is the founder of Buffini & Company, one of the top real estate coaching services that has trained more than 3 million professionals from 37 countries worldwide.

Buffini joined RE/MAX Chief Customer Officer Nick Bailey on a recent episode of Good Morning RE/MAX to share his thoughts for real estate agents growing business and nurturing relationships this coming year.

According to Buffini, between 14 and 23 million people plan to relocate in the next year due to shifting work environments, like work-from-home flexibilities and new remote work policies. Calling this the “decentralization of how people are living,” Buffini says that RE/MAX agents are well-positioned to assist with the needs of buyers and sellers everywhere.

With heightened movement across many markets these days, it remains an asset to be connected with a global network whose affiliates support – and refer business to – one another.

Amid uncertainty, like the persistence of the COVID-19 pandemic, Buffini says an agent’s priority should be on their own well-being, and that of their clients. One essential component lacking from our new routines is human connection.

“There’s never been a better time to call people on the telephone and actually have a conversation – they actually will talk to you. You know, people want to hear you, they want to see you [and] they want to have some kind of human interaction,” Buffini says.

What he calls “pop-bys” – essentially goodie bags with health and hygiene essentials – have become a popular way for agents to show their clients love from a safe six feet away. He says that agent who are dropping off small gifts on their clients’ doorsteps are going a long way in stirring smiles.

“Find a way to reach out to people [with a] personal touch – do the little things,” he says. “Every little personal touch right now, to me, is magnified enormously.”

A real estate agent’s job, by nature, is to be a source of trust and comfort to families during pivotal moments in their lives. And especially during trying times, an agent’s role is more important than ever before.

“There is no technology that competes with personal trust,” Buffini says.

“You can have that old-school philosophy [and] you can have new-school techniques, [technology] and marketing to support it.”

Washington State NWMLS Market Snapshot for January 2021

The NWMLS report covering 26 counties, shows a Year Over Year increase in new listings of single family homes and condos (up about 5.5%) and a jump of more than 16% in closed sales, rising from 5,074 transactions to 5,896. The median price for last month’s sales ($483,250) surged 14.3% from the year-ago figure of $422,750. Pending sales grew slightly from last year (less than 1%) but were up 7.4% from December.

Watch the 1.5 minute market report video

Source: NWMLS 2/4/21

A Summary of My 2020

I’m extremely grateful for all the referrals I received that allowed me to help 21 sellers and buyers in 2020! While managing an office and then opening my own, it was definitely a hustle, but I never mind hustling to help my clients and brokers!

5 Indoor House Plants to Consider for Your Staging

Plants can help brighten indoor spaces and may offer other mental and physical health benefits. As such, it’s no surprise indoor plants are one of the favorite accessories of home stagers.

Research has linked indoor plants with reduced stress, increased productivity, and improved quality for the home’s air. Some of the most effective house plants to improve the air quality are areca palms, Boston ferns, rubber trees, spider plants, and ficus tree, studies show.

What are some hardy plants to consider using to spice up your listings with more green? A recent article by Kathryn Jackson Fallon at juniperunltd.com highlights some of the following indoor plants:

  • Norfolk Island pine
  • Cast iron plant
  • Snake plant (known as a nearly indestructible houseplant)
  • Cacti
  • Boxwood

[Source: REALTOR® Magazine]

Housing Experts Expect Post-Pandemic Rebound

Spokane-Spokane Valley is expected to be a “top 10” market during and in a post-COVID environment, according to the National Association of Realtors®, which made the prediction as part of last month’s second annual Real Estate Forecast Summit. It was the only area within Washington state to make the list.

In addition to demonstrated resilience, NAR considered a variety of indicators deemed to be influential for a metro area’s recovery and growth prospects. The factors for the “top 10” list included unemployment rate; net domestic migration, including movers from expensive West Coast areas; share of workers in retail trade, leisure and hospitality industries; mobility to retail and leisure places; and the fraction of the workforce working from home.

“Some markets have been performing exceptionally well throughout the pandemic and they’ll likely carry that momentum well into 2021 and beyond because of strong in-migration of new residents, faster local job market recoveries and environments conducive to work-from-home arrangements and other factors,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist and senior vice president of research.

Housing experts tended to be optimistic about a post-pandemic rebound, citing improving conditions for jobs and stable interest rates as key reasons.

More than 20 leading economic and housing experts participated in the summit, which was held virtually. Among their predictions they expect GDP growth of 3.5% and an annual unemployment rate of 6.2% this year. The forecasters believe the unemployment rate will decline to 5.0% in 2022.

Yun said another 9.8 million more jobs are needed to match the prior peak.

Housing prices are expected to rise 8.0% during 2021 and 5.5% the following year, while 30-year fixed mortgage rates are projected to be 3.0% this year and increase to 3.25% in 2022.

The panels of prognosticators also anticipate:

  • Housing starts will total 1.5 million this year and 1.59 million in 2022.
  • The share of U.S. workforce working from home will shrink from 21% in 2020 to 18% this year; by 2022, it is expected to shrink to 12%.
  • Small declines in office and hotel vacancy rates in 2021, but a slight improvement in retail vacancies.

An overwhelming 90% of the experts surveyed expect the Federal Open Market Committee will make no change in the current federal funds rate of 0% during 2021. For 2022, a rate increase of 0.25% is predicted.

“It is an understatement to say the year 2020 has been filled with challenges and full of surprises,” said Yun. “Yet, one astonishing development has been the hot housing market as consumers eyed record-low mortgage rates and reconsidered what a home should be in a new economy with flexible work-from-home schedules.”

In his presentation, Yun said the months supply of inventory is at an all-time low.

In 2020, home sales will reach 5.52 million, the highest annual mark since 2006, with the median home price setting a record high of $293,000, according to NAR.

“Overall, residential real estate will continue to be an important driver of our nation’s economic recovery and the activity in these markets will help lead the way,” stated NAR President Charlie Oppler, a Realtor® from Franklin Lakes, N.J., and the CEO of Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty.

The 2020 NAR Real Estate Forecast Summit consensus forecasts are compiled as the median of the responses of 23 economic and housing market experts who participated during the 2019 and 2020 summits. The survey was conducted from November 19 through December 4, 2020.

[Source: Seattle King County REALTORS® NW Reporter]

RE/MAX National Housing Report for December 2020

Strong December Home Sales,
Big Second Half of 2020
Set the Stage for Potentially Historic 2021

December home sales increased 6.2% over November and 21.9% year-over-year, capping a record-breaking second half of 2020 that set new overall monthly benchmarks for most sales, highest price, lowest inventory and quickest closings.

Although December is typically a month with fewer sales, December 2020 ranked 5th in highest number of home sales for the year – and its sales exceeded all but two months of 2019.

Down 17.9% from November 2020 and 33.0% from December 2019, December 2020 established a record low for inventory in the 13-year history of the report. It also set multiple new December records:

• Average Days on Market of 37, over two weeks less than the 53 days a year ago.
• Median Sales Price of $290,000 – up 9.4% year-over-year.
• Months of Supply of Inventory at 1.8, which was less than half of December 2019’s 3.9.

After the pandemic’s initial impact on the housing market last spring and early summer, 2020 ultimately posted a number of highlights in the report’s history:

• Home Sales: 5 of the top 10 months of sales since 2008 occurred in 2020 – July (the new record), August, September, October and December
• Inventory: 7 of the top 10 months with the lowest inventory; August through December became the five lowest months in report history, with each month’s inventory lower than the previous month’s
• Days on Market: 5 of the top 10 months with the report’s fewest Days on Market; September through December comprise the four months with the fastest average time for listing to sale
• Median Sales Price: 9 of the top 10 months with the highest Median Sales Price; at $290,000, August, November and December tied with the highest mark in report history

Read the full article

Watch the 40 second summary video

Washington REALTORS® Legislative Day 2021

REALTORS around the state of Washington, including myself, will be meeting with our legislators today to discuss housing solutions for 2021: how to make housing available and affordable, and to erase out-dated racial covenants.

For information about our efforts: MyNeighborWa.com

Washington State NWMLS Market Snapshot for December 2020

“Extraordinary market conditions” sustain strong home sales around Washington State during holidays

“Insatiable buyer demand” is keeping inventory scarce as house hunters try to outmaneuver and outbid each other, according to reports from Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS). Its statistical summary for December showed strong activity throughout the holiday season with double-digit increases in new listings, pending sales, closed sales, and prices.

Northwest MLS brokers added 5,260 new listings to inventory during December, a hefty 39.3% increase over the same month a year ago. Last month’s additions fell short of meeting demand as members reported 6,883 pending sales (mutually accepted offers). That number surpassed the year-ago volume by 940 transactions for an increase of 15.8%.

At month end, there were 4,732 total active listings system-wide in the MLS database, which encompasses 25 counties. That’s down 44% from a year ago when the selection included 8,469 listings. Measured by months of inventory, there is only about two weeks of supply (0.53 months) overall. Only five counties had more than a month of supply, well below the four-to-six months of supply used by housing analysts as a gauge of a balanced market.

Home prices continue to rise. For the 9,008 sales of single family homes and condos that closed last month, prices jumped nearly 12.2% from a year ago, increasing from $435,000 to $488,000.

Watch the 4 minute market report video

Source: NWMLS 1/6/21