12 October 2012

Seattle Real Estate Market Update ~ Consistent Improvement into the Fall

The Seattle Real Estate market continues it's hot, hot run into the fall.  We have seen year-over-year appreciation for single-family homes of 3-11% in every month since February.  At the same time, we continue to see roughly two months of inventory, an anemic trend that started during 2011 and which looks and feels a lot like 2005-2007.  To top it off, cumulative days on market was at its lowest point in five years in September at 43 days on market.  We see these trends playing out in other markets as well, like in the Seattle condominium market and in Eastside communities. Consistent improvement for nearly a year now lends credibility to the idea that real estate has turned a corner in Seattle.

How does this play out in the lives of buyers and sellers?  Buyers are showing more confidence in investing in real estate.  They are showing up on Day One at hot new listings ready to jump into highly competitive multiple offers.  Sellers have much more leverage than during the downturn.  And all homeowners are seeing appreciation creep up, with some able to get out from being underwater.  Here are some anecdotes from the field:
  • A buyer recently said the following to me: "Since we started looking 3-4 months ago, I am noticing that the price seems to be rising on what we can expect to get."  What she describes on the ground reflects what we are seeing in the statistics below, and it feels like prices are literally rising before our eyes.
  • To further illustrate how things are playing out right now, let me tell you about the buyers I am currently working with.  I currently have buyers in the Green Lake/Wallingford $600-700K single-family home market, the $450-500K West Seattle single-family home market, and the $200-250K Capitol Hill and the Downtown Bellevue/Downtown Kirkland condo markets.  All of these buyers are facing multiple offers ranging from 2-10+ offers.  When faced with competitive bidding situations like these, very, very good offers usually come in second.  Speaking from experience (and with a touch of hyperbole!), these are bloody battles where the slightest difference in price, terms or intangibles like offer presentation and buyer effort can give the edge to the victor.  It's rare that I cannot get my client into the final round, and thankfully we are prevailing at a excellent rate.
Below you will find detailed statistics.  I have many other sets of data, including this same set of data for condos, distressed (short sale and bank-owned homes) vs. non-distressed homes, and various geographic areas like the Eastside. As always, let me know if I can be of help in any way! 

These charts come from Trendgrafix, Inc. and represent all single-family homes (not condos but including town homes) in all Seattle areas.

From the Realtor ~ And Now for Some Good News!

Here are a couple of links to some good news regarding real estate both locally and nationally.

Home Prices Increase Again Both Locally and National.  

The S&P/Case-Shiller House Prices Indices, a highly-regarded housing values source, showed national and local prices rising year-over-year for the 4th consecutive month in the nation’s 20 largest metropolitan areas.  The Seattle Metro area, which includes a mammoth range of Everett to Tacoma, showed 3.1 growth over July of 2011.  Access these statistics at: 


Seattle Ranked #2 Best US City by Bloomberg Businessweek. 

Leisure attributes, educational attributes, economic factors, crime, and air quality—we rank #2 behind San Francisco.  Any ideas on how this might impact real estate values in town?  Access the article at: 



From the Chef ~ Insalata Fantasia

Whether store-bought or fresh out of the garden, we enjoy a green salad every night in my home.  Most nights it’s simply greens—and a wide variety at that—dressed in olive oil, vinegar, kosher salt and fresh pepper.  On occasion, I let fantasy reign and whip up an insalatone (translated “big ol’ salad”) that I call Insalata Fantasia.  Imagination, resourcefulness and pure yumminess are the rules to follow.  Here are some ideas for you!

Herb and Blossom Forager. Most fun when you get to gather what is right there in your garden, like fresh nasturtiums, scarlet runner bean blossoms, zucchini blossoms (or most any blossom, for that matter), fennel pollen, and whatever herb you have on hand.  I like to mix my greens with some of the herbs and flowers and then sprinkle the rest on top for a salad that pops both edibly and visually.  (See photo above.)

Insalata dell’Ortolano.  This is your basic Gardener’s salad.  Pull together whatever is in season from your garden or grocer, and invent a hardy and healthy salad.  Fresh snap peas?  Throw ’em in!  Tender young fava beans?  Toss ’em on top!  Baby zucchini?  Slice them finely and add to the mix.  

Salad Niçoise.  Chopped hard-boiled eggs, olives, tomato slices, green beans, anchovies, tuna—these are many of the tasty garnishes of this classic dish.  We fell in love with this generous dish all along the French and Italian Riviera; you can find a plethora of recipes online.  

Finely grated carrot and baked beet. A very simple way to kick up your basic greens.  Grating them finely makes them soft and juicy and helps them marry well with choice olive oil and balsamic vinegar, which really highlights the sweetness of both beets and carrots.