Washington State NWMLS Market Update for February 2023

Open house traffic has been brisk around Western Washington, signaling the start of the spring market, suggested brokers at Northwest Multiple Listing Service. They noted softening prices are enticing some would-be buyers, while others remain on the sidelines hoping fluctuating mortgage rates will stabilize or decline.

Newly released statistics from the MLS for February show upticks in new listings, pending sales, closed sales and median prices compared to January, but when compared to the same month a year ago, figures for those metrics declined:

  • Brokers added 5,231 new listings of single family homes and condos to inventory last month, about one-third fewer than twelve months ago.
  • Pending sales declined 19%, from the year-ago total of 7,697 to 6,230.
  • Year-over-year (YOY) closed sales dropped 17.3%, from 5,147 to 4,258 transactions.
  • Median prices slipped 1.7% areawide, from $585,000 to $575,000.

“Although the number of homes for sale in the tri-county area of King, Pierce and Snohomish counties is more than double from a year ago, there were still fewer homes available to buy in February than in January,” observed Matthew Gardner, chief economist at Windermere Real Estate. “Furthermore,” he continued, “listings were more than 40% lower than pre-pandemic levels, suggesting that homeowners may be holding off on selling until the market stabilizes.”

“Year over year, home sales prices are down, but that isn’t surprising given that a year ago homebuyers were scrambling to buy in the face of mortgage rates that were about to skyrocket. I expect we will see a similar story for the next few months.” Fluctuating rates likely contributed to recent sales activity, suggested Gardner. “What is interesting is that home prices rose between January and February which tells me that buyers jumped on the opportunity to take advantage of mortgage rates that dipped below 6.1% five times between mid-January end early February.”

Watch the 1.25 minute market report video

Source: NWMLS 3/6/2023


4 Reasons to Fall in Love With Your Home All Over Again

Many homeowners enjoy the financial and emotional benefits of owning property. Here are a few reasons to swoon over your space.

Home sweet home. It’s the place that greets you after a hard day at work – or in your home office. The place where you relax, laugh, celebrate, eat, drink, and do the things you want to do. What’s not to love about a place like that?

Many buyers find love in their home search – “I love this kitchen!” “The dogs would love this backyard!” “I’d love to spend Friday nights on this porch!” – and even in the idea of moving on (“We’d love to have more space than our cramped apartment”).

Home is where families and friends share love for one another, and where everyone loves the dog (How can you not? “Who’s a good boy?”) And what makes this love affair with home even more rewarding and long-lasting? Homeownership!

Here are four reasons to love a home you own:

1. It provides shelter – and comfort

A long day or a trip away reinforces the idea that there’s no place like home. Not only does a home provide shelter by way of a roof overhead, but it also acts as a template for recharging. From lounging in a favorite recliner chair to snagging the best spot on the couch to gathering around the kitchen table for memorable conversations, a home you own is a sanctuary of comfort.

2. It helps generate equity

For many, homeownership is a significant way to build wealth that can span across generations. Equity is built by paying down a mortgage, plus completing regular maintenance, making necessary repairs, and even renovating the home over time.

By paying your mortgage rather than a landlord’s, you add to your financial wellbeing.

3. It allows room for personalization

Renting a home comes with strings attached – many of which involve following regulations with paint color, nails to hang art, landscaping, décor, and more. When you own your home, the opportunity to customize the place is virtually limitless.

Best of all, the style of your home can evolve over time. Knowing you have the freedom to shake things up at any moment means your home can grow alongside you and your family.

Additionally, many dog owners know the difficulties of trying to rent a property with a pet. When you own your home – short of some condo stipulations – Fido is welcome, too. And if your home has outdoor space, you can help make it as pet-friendly as possible.

4. It’s the backdrop for lifelong memories

In recent years, more of life happens at home. Across time, a house continues to be the center for gathering with friends and family, celebrating holidays, hosting neighbors, cooking meals indoors, enjoying sunshine outdoors, and so many other things you love to do.

Many people appreciate their home for its convenient location, proximity to family, nearby entertainment, and the surrounding community. When homeowners look back on the purchase of their house, they often fondly reflect on the memories that have since made it into a home.

RE/MAX National Housing Report for January 2023

Home Prices Almost Back Where
They Were a Year Ago as New Listings Surge

January’s Median Sale Price of $385,000 was down 1.0% from December, marking the seventh consecutive month of price declines. Year over year, the January 2023 figure was just 1.3% higher than this same time last year – an indication home prices are moderating.

At the same time, the number of homes for sale was 59.4% higher than a year ago in the report’s 51 metro areas, fed by a month-over-month increase in new listings of 39.8%. This month’s gain in new listings was higher than any month last year, with the biggest month-over-month increase in 2022 occurring in March with a gain of 27.7%.

Even with the surge in new listings, home sales declined 26.7% from December and 35.2% year- over-year.

Reflecting price declines, the average Close-to-List Price Ratio in January was 97%, meaning that homes sold, on average, for 3% less than the asking price. There has been a gradual decline in this metric since May 2022, when sellers were getting 3% over asking price on average. Homes sold in January were on the market 48 days – one day longer than in December and 12 days longer than one year ago.

Read the full article with more details…

Washington State NWMLS Market Update for January 2023

Northwest MLS brokers are encouraged by declining mortgage rates, with some saying pent-up demand is triggering multiple offers.

Pending sales around Washington state reached the highest level since October and surged nearly 44% from December. However, last month’s 5,776 mutually accepted offers were down about 9% from a year ago.

Prices on last month’s closed sales edged up slightly, at 0.41%, compared with twelve months ago.

The selection of properties, based on the number of total active listings in the MLS database, improved significantly from a year ago, rising from 3,092 listings to 8,220 at month end.

Brokers added 4,925 new listings to the MLS database in January, about 1,000 fewer than the same month a year ago.

The January report from Northwest MLS shows Adams, Columbia, Grays Harbor, Okanogan and San Juan counties each had more than six months of inventory. Ten counties had less than three months of supply.

On February 2nd, Freddie Mac (the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Home Loan Mortgage Corporation) reported the U.S. weekly average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 6.09%, down about a full point from November when it peaked at just over 7%. According to its research, this one percentage point rate reduction can allow as many as three million more mortgage-ready consumers to qualify and afford a $400,000 loan, the median home price in the U.S.

George Ratiu, manager of economic research at Realtor.com, said the recent decline in rates means for today’s buyer of a median priced home, the down payment amount is lower than it would have been last summer. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun suggested the “recent low point in home sales activity is likely over.” Commenting on pending sales for December, he stated, “Mortgage rates are the dominant factor driving home sales, and recent declines in rates are clearly helping to stabilize the market.”

Watch the 1.25 minute market report video

Source: NWMLS 2/6/2023

Homebuying on the Horizon? 4 Ways to Prepare Now

The year ahead is full of opportunity to achieve goals. And for some, a major goal in 2023 is to buy a home.

To help the process go as smoothly as possible, prospective homebuyers can start to prepare long before it’s time to search for a house. From organizing finances to finding a compatible real estate agent, it’s best to get a head start. 

Looking to buy a home in 2023? Consider these four ways to prepare now.

1. Get your finances in order

For starters, check in on your credit score. When it comes time to apply for a mortgage loan, credit score is one factor lenders consider to determine your eligibility. A better credit score can help you get increased access to financing options and ultimately a more desirable mortgage rate.

Research loan options in advance, too. RE/MAX President and CEO Nick Bailey shares that in today’s market, a standard 30-year fixed-rate mortgage isn’t a homebuyer’s only route and suggests they look into alternate options like an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM), too. There are also specific loan programs for various cohorts, including veterans and military personnel. It’s helpful to get pre-approved by a lender prior to home shopping as it can set realistic expectations and help determine a budget.

Saving up for a down payment is one of the most important parts of preparing for purchasing a home – but there are other costs to consider along the way. Ideally, in addition to a down payment, prospective homebuyers will save up for other fees, including closing costs, moving costs, and more. Once living in the new home, it’s best practice to have funds set aside for regular maintenance and timely repairs.

2. Find a trustworthy real estate agent

With their experience and expertise, a real estate agent can be a homebuyer’s best asset in ensuring a smooth transaction. Seek out an agent that knows the area well, has a proven track record of success, and is a compatible fit.

Not only is a real estate agent knowledgeable when it comes to helping finding clients the right home, but they also can help negotiate with sellers and recommend services in the area for financing options, moving services, and more.

Best of all, work with a real estate agent you trust. According to a BrandSpark® survey of consumers, RE/MAX is home to the most trusted agents throughout the U.S.* and Canada**.

3. Consider what you want in a home

Take time to determine wants vs. needs in a future home. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer who’s done with renting, or a current homeowner looking to upsize or downsize, assess your current dwelling for clues as to what to prioritize in a living space.

Is more storage a must? Does the need for a garage top all else? Creating a list now of these features can help identify – or rule out – properties when it’s time to start the home search.

4. Start area research

To help narrow down the home search radius when the process begins, do your due diligence in advance to figure out which areas meet the needs of you and your family. Some people may be moving to be closer to work, school or family and can start researching commute times to these locations (especially during rush hour!). And for those who have a dog, being near a park may be important.

Research can be especially important for those moving from farther away, some of whom may be purchasing a home sight unseen. Use tools like online maps, Google street view, and local town and city websites to determine what areas have to offer.

When you’re ready to look for properties, head over to my website or download my RE/MAX Real Estate Search App, and contact me!

*Voted most trusted Real Estate Agency brand by American shoppers based on the BrandSpark® American Trust Study, years 2023, 2022 and 2019.

**Voted most trusted Real Estate Agency brand by Canadian shoppers based on the BrandSpark® Canadian Trust Study, years 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, and 2017.

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

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