REALTORS join forces to make housing a top legislative priority in WA

With the Washington state Legislature scheduled to start its 2019 session on January 14 and Realtor Hill Day slated for January 24, Realtors and other real estate-related organizations will be coalescing around the housing crisis and strategies for improving supply and affordability.

Among legislative priorities are:

  • Condominium liability reform, specifically, language that would 1) prohibit individual HOA officers/board members from being sued; 2) modify statutory “implied warranties” that condo buyers receive from builders; and 3) require purchasers who sue to establish a “performance” defect.
  • GMA reform, including a requirement for cities to enact minimum densities in urban areas, thereby making more efficient use of available urban lands designated for jobs and housing.
  • Housing Trust Fund legislation that may be proposed to allow use of a portion of the monies for building owner-occupied housing in addition to publicly-owned housing.
  • Other budget and financial issues affecting tax collections; education funding subsequent to the 2017 “McCleary Fix;” expenses resulting from compliance with the “Culverts case” that required the state to improve fish passage on almost all culverts under state roadways; B&O and REET related proposals to increase those taxes; and a new capital gains tax (depending on the final number of Democrats in the State Senate).

To help focus attention on the housing crisis and its “real world impacts,” a coalition of nonprofit organizations, builders, Realtors and others joined forces to launch a multi-media campaign.

Using the theme “Unlock the Door,” the campaign invites members of the public and Realtor members to share stories on how the housing affordability crisis has affected them, and their family, friends, and clients.

The effort, now underway, is in response to the struggle families across the state and in all income groups are facing in their search for homeownership opportunities. Organizers cite research from the Rundstad Department of Real Estate at the University of Washington which indicates  first-time buyers in King, Kittitas, Pierce and Snohomish counties face home prices that area nearly double what they can afford.

The campaign’s primary focus is on affordable home ownership opportunities, but it will also contain elements related to homelessness and low income housing.

Questions? Contact Jennifer Gilbert-Smith, volunteer member of Seattle King County REALTORS and Tacoma-Pierce County Association of REALTORS Government and Public Affairs Committees

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Americans Shift Their Perceptions of the Housing Market

For the past five quarters, the majority of Americans said their housing markets were overheating. Now, in the fourth quarter, 75 percent of Americans say their local housing market is starting to cool, according to ValueInsured’s Q4 2018 Modern Homebuyer Survey. Homeowners in California, Colorado, Texas, and Washington are most likely to say their local market is starting to cool off.

The survey “revealed some concerning evidence about the changing psychology of the housing market,” says Robert Shiller, a housing economist. “We will be watching these numbers as they unfold over the future.”

Seventy-two percent of Americans and 78 percent of “urban residents” say home prices are still too high. Urban homeowners blame “flippers and speculative investors” and “wealthy transplants from more expensive housing markets” for inflating their local home prices to unsustainable levels, according to the report.

Some home buyers may hit the pause button to see what happens in the housing market. Fifty-nine percent of interested home buyers (which includes first-time and move-up buyers) say they plan to wait for a “meaningful correction” before they buy. Fourteen percent say they plan to not buy at all until a correction occurs.

Several markets are seeing home prices slow. ValueInsured’s report notes that the fastest drops in home prices have been happening in Seattle, and North Texas has seen some of its largest sales declines in seven years.

“Buyers have switched from ‘hoop jumpers’ to bargain-hunter mode,” says Joe Melendez, CEO and founder of ValueInsured.

Source: REALTOR® Magazine

Sold Out: These 10 U.S. Cities Have the Biggest Housing Shortages

top-10-markets-feeling-the-crunch

It’s a parched, scorching desert out there for many U.S. home buyers. For the past 28 months, the housing market has been defined not just by demand—which remains sky-high in many parts of the nation—but also by the shrinking number of available homes for sale. So what are the signposts of a tighter-than-tight marketplace? Buyers are jumping on realtor.com® listings within seconds of their initial postings. Wanna-be homeowners are burrowing themselves into ever-scarcer, ever-busier open houses and going a little mad trying to get in the first bid. Real estate agents are knocking on hundreds of doors just to squeeze out one more listing.

And who are the biggest losers in such a skintight, depleted market? First-time buyers with limited budgets, of course.

Read the article on realtor.com® and see where Seattle ranks…

Predictions Roll in: 2017 Housing Forecasts

Thoughts

We can expect a hot year for home sales in 2017, according to recent forecasts from the National Association of REALTORS®, the Mortgage Bankers’ Association, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, and more.

NAR is predicting existing-home sales to reach 6 million in 2017, higher than its 5.8 million forecast for this year. But other entities are even more bullish. MBA is predicting home sales to eclipse 6.5 million next year, while Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are both predicting 6.2 million.

A huge wave of Generation Yers, who have delayed home buying, are emerging into their key buying years. They are predicted to keep home sales and condo sales strong well into 2020, according to economists.

The top markets for price appreciation likely will be in Seattle, Wash.; Portland, Ore.; Denver, Colo.; and Boston, predicts Eric Fox, vice president of statistical and economic modeling at VeroForecast. These markets’ robust economies have growing populations but a tight supply of homes for sale on the market that will likely lead to some of the largest price increases across the country.

Meanwhile, new-home construction starts likely will tick up to about 1.5 million per year to 2024, predicts Forisk Research.

Home builders likely will continue to be more subdued, despite calls for more inventory.

“Home builders behavior likely is a continuing echo of their experience during the crash,” Pantheon Macro Chief Economist Ian Shepherdson told MarketWatch. “No one wants to be caught with excess inventory during a sudden downshift in demand. In this cycle, the pursuit of market share and volumes is less important than profitability and balance sheet resistance.”

Source: REALTORmag

10 Top Cities for Dog Lovers

Dog

A whopping 54.4 million households – or 44 percent – own at least one dog, according to the 2015-2016 American Pet Products Association survey. That trumps the 35 percent of cat-owning households.

Americans sure do love their pets. In fact, spending on pets has doubled from 2001 to 2015, up from $28.5 billion to $60.28 billion, according to the APPA.

In some cities, the number of dog owners, in particular, is growing. Realtor.com®’s research team sniffed out the 10 best cities for dogs, factoring in the percentage of households that own a dog as well as the number of dog parks and trails, dog-friendly restaurants, pet stores, and dog walkers.

Check out which cities go to the pooches and how Seattle ranks…

The 10 Best Markets for Millennials

Home

The road to home ownership has been a struggle for many young adults, mostly due to financial obstacles. However, some millennials may find more luck in less expensive metro areas that also have steady job growth and lower qualifying incomes necessary to purchase a home.

NAR recently analyzed employment gains, population trends, income levels, and housing conditions among the 100 largest metro areas to pinpoint the best purchase markets for millennial home buyers.

Read the article and see where Seattle lands on the list…

Cities to Watch: 2016’s Fastest-Growing Places

United States

The South and West score big in a new Forbes list of the fastest-growing cities. Factors in the Forbes analysis include population, economic and job growth, and median pay for college-educated workers. Find out where Seattle lands and who rocks the top 10!