Market Mondays: 2015 Economic Forecast

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This week I have decided to step back briefly and look at the market from a macro level as well as discussing predictions for 2015 that were shared at a recent conference.  It’s interesting and exciting to see where the housing market is headed, as well as the economic health of the real estate market as we head into 2015.  Before I dive into that information, as of October 27th, 2014 King County is at about 2.6 months supply of inventory while Snohomish County is hovering around 3.1 months supply of inventory.  Those numbers are a 4.2% increase from October 2014 in King County and a 6.2% increase in Snohomish.  With interest rates at a 16 month low, it is a great time to get in there and take advantage of this market if you are thinking of buying or selling your home.

What is the state of the real estate market?  Well, we are currently down 10.6% nationally from peak values in 2006, however, we are slowly making our way back up as demonstrated by the graph below.

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As demonstrated above, all but one top 30 metro areas show annual home value appreciation.  Seattle Metro leads the Puget Sound in annual home value gain at 8.3%, while other areas of the country who were drastically impacted by the recession are seeing a big jump in annual appreciation as well.

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Seattle Metro is currently down 11.5% from it’s peak, compared to the national average of 10.6%.

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Although Seattle Metro is slightly below the national average, what we are seeing is a steady increase in inventory, resulting in a healthier and more sustainable market as well as softening the rate of appreciation (which is still significant, regardless).  The nature of markets are to rise and fall (think rolling hills), however, slow and steady is preferred over sharp inclines and falls.

Are you ready for some good news?

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According to the National Association of Realtors and as demonstrated by the Zillow Real Estate Research for Professionals tool, negative equity has declined steadily since quarter 1 of 2012, which is great news for home buyers and home owners alike.  However, negative equity remains at 17% nationally and is highest in the bottom value tier.  The number of homes underwater is above 25% nationally and 30% in the Seattle area.  The middle value tier is 13% and the top value tier is 6% in the Seattle area.  Although these numbers are declining annually, there are still many homeowners who are underwater, especially in the bottom value tier.

As we move into 2015, mortgage rates are expected to rise, with interest rates expected to reach the 5% mark (which is still fantastic, historically), while rent affordability is below the historical average on a national level.  Renter households are forming faster than owner households for the first time since the late 1980’s and the market is responding with higher rental rates and a shortage of available rentals while the market struggles to keep up with the demand.  (translation: don’t rent if you can buy!)

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Below are some year over year percent change forecasts for Snohomish County, by city.  Appreciation rates are expected to continue to gain, however, slightly less than in 2014.  With rental rates skyrocketing, as well as a shortage of available rentals and low interest rates, now is a great time to get into a home for a first time home-buyer.  Investment properties in the bottom value tier to generate rental income are also a great option, it’s an exciting time in the real estate market around the country.  Please contact me with any questions you have at rachelwagner@johnlscott.com or call/text 425.324.0302.  I am available to help with any of your real estate needs.

And in other Simple Tranquil Living news, the holidays are quickly approaching! Okay, so that may not be news to you, but here at Simple Tranquil Living we have a lot of fun with holiday festivities so stay tuned for a special Halloween post and perhaps another GIVEAWAY! Happy Monday everyone!  

Market Monday’s: Mercer Island

Aerial view of Mercer Island, the large island surrounded by Lake Washington. The smaller forested peninsula jutting into the lake from the Seattle mainland is Seward Park.

Mercer Island, with a population of about 23,000 people is a beautiful island city located on the southern tip of Lake Washington with Seattle located to its west and Bellevue to the east.

Who (which demographic) lives on Mercer Island?

“Urban Power Families” – High-income couples with children.Six-figure salaried couples with children who live an upscale life in a metro center. Highly educated professionals working in finance, medical, and high-tech fields.

“Corporate Climbers” – High-income, high-expense urban singles.Urban singles with an up-and-coming income, but with higher-than-average living costs. Most have college educations and are employed in mid-management professions.

“Suburban Retirees” – Seniors over 65 who live in the suburbs.These seniors are living out their retirement years in suburbia. Most own their homes, and some have college degrees.

“Suburban Elite” – Suburban super-rich couples with children.Middle-aged married couples with a luxurious lifestyle in the suburbs. More than 15% have a family income of $200,000 or more. The majority have a college or graduate school degree, and most own their homes.

“Multi-lingual Urbanites” – Urban dwellers who speak more than one language.Some have a high school or college education, and they work in a variety of occupations. Moderate to upper-scale earning potential.

Mercer Island has 71 active listings as of October 20, 2014 ranging from $250,000- $26.8 million! The median listing price is $2.1 million.  In the last 90 days, 87 residential homes and condos have been sold between $169,000-$7.5 million with a median sale price of $995,000.  Currently, Mercer Island has 2.4 months supply of inventory based on sold homes in the last 90 days.  However, only 15 homes were listed below one million dollars, the lowest number in nearly TWO DECADES! More inventory will be essential to creating a balanced market.

Buyers are also cautious of paying too much, the average sale price was up a modest 2% year-over-year while median sale price fell almost 9%.  This reflects more sales in the lower price range than during the same time last year.  The condo market, however, has seen a 47% increase in sale price when compared to 3rd quarter of 2013.  Perhaps we are seeing more “Corporate Climbers” moving into the area, seeing that the commute to Seattle and Bellevue are a breeze.

The graph above demonstrates the number of homes for sale/sold and pending monthly over the past year.

Months of inventory is down slightly for the month of October, however, like I mentioned earlier, many of the homes currently on the market are well above the $1 million mark and have been sitting on the market for significantly longer than the lower priced homes or condos.  Mercer Island is a beautiful place to live and no doubt a desirable location which consequently results in a smaller pool of buyers with the financial ability and lifestyle preferences Mercer Island provides!

Liven Up Your Kitchen With Full Circle + Easy Updates For Your Home


First things first, Happy Hump Day! I want to start off by offering all of my readers an opportunity to win one month of organic produce delivered by Full Circle! How do you enter? If you aren’t already, follow my blog! Not only will you get the latest real estate news and useful home ‘how-to’s’, but you will automatically be entered to win the Full Circle drawing. Already a follower or not interested in the long term commitment? Shoot me an email with your name/phone number/address and I will enter you.  All I ask is that you be a Washington resident when the winner is announced on Monday, September 1st.

What is Full Circle?

“Each week we handpick fresh, certified organic fruits and vegetables to create your personalized order. We build relationships with growers using sustainable farming practices and source our produce as locally as the season allows. We also source from organic growers in warmer climates for increased variety throughout the year. It’s like having the farmers market come to you—all year long!”  What’s not to love about that?

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Easy Updates For Your Home

Enhance the entry

First impressions matter. Invest in a new front door or paint your old one, it can dramatically change the look of your home and enhance curb appeal. Try other easy DIY fixes like repainting the exterior trim, replacing the house numbers or installing new outdoor lighting.

Build a Headboard

Headboards can be made out of anything – find something you’re passionate about and turn it into a headboard. Use old skis or skateboards; or make a collage by decoupaging magazines or attach family photos to an old headboard. Also, think about using salvaged materials such as fencing, old doors etc.  There are literally thousands of examples on Pinterest and is a great weekend project!

Illuminating Ideas

New kitchen lighting or a new fixture over the dining table is sure to brighten up any meal. Try one of these projects: Make a fabric-covered drum shade to match your decor. Install a dimmer switch to make your current lighting more versatile. Use a few cans of spray paint to give an old chandelier new life. Replace or paint the blades on a ceiling fan. Also, if you’re thinking about selling your house, remember that light creates an atmosphere that people either want to be in or not.  Think about creating a warm, inviting space with as much natural light as possible!

Paint Cabinet inside cabinet

Cabinet Facelift

If your cabinets need more than new hardware, paint them. It can be a time-consuming project, but if done right, your kitchen will look brand new and add value to your home.

Market Monday’s: Kirkland Condos

I’ve been watching what’s happening in the Kirkland condo market closely as of late, it’s fascinating that such a desirable location can have A LOT of affordable condos still on the market for people looking to make a great investment in their future, or get into their first home. Not only that, the rental market is creeping up in the area making it challenging to find an affordable place to live, which makes buying a condo even more appealing.  So, what’s happening? As of August 18th, 2014 there are 65 active condo listings ranging between $105,000 to over $6 million! The median list price is $315,000 while the average list price is $525,000, it’s pretty clear that the big listing prices are skewing the data.  There were 127 condos sold in the past 90 days in Kirkland, with the sale price being 98% percent of the list price.  This means that people are paying the list price, and in some cases more depending on the property and demand for that location.  

The graph below demonstrates the for sale/sold/pending condos through July 2014:

As of August 18th, 2014 the Kirkland condo market is at 1.54 months of inventory based on closed sales.  This is down slightly from 1.8 months of inventory in July of this year.  Interest rates dropped slightly last week, making buying a home even more appealing as well as affordable.  

The list/sale price ratio has been fairly consistent since last year, being close to 100%.  Again, this data is skewed slightly due to the million dollar + condo listings that aren’t seeing that kind of ratio (the million + residential home market, however, is seeing a 100% + list/sale ratio).

Months of inventory was up slightly in July to 1.8 months, although August is currently looking at 1.54 months of inventory.  This is definitely a hot market, with no signs of it slowing down anytime soon.  It is a great time to get into a condo either as a  first time home buyer or as an investment property.  The listing below is one of the many great condos available in Kirkland…

 

 

 

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Stay tuned for a post on financing and a big announcement this week! I have partnered with Full Circle organic produce delivery for an opportunity to give my followers! So, if you haven’t already…follow my blog via email for a chance to win some awesome, organic produce delivered to your door! Have a great week everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Market Mondays: Edmonds

Edmonds is one of Washingtons most picturesque cities, with views of the Puget Sound, Olympic Mountains and Cascade Range.  One can see why it has become one of the Seattle area’s most desired locations to live. Come visit me this weekend at A Taste of Edmonds! A Taste of Edmonds is August 8th, 9th and 10th as well as Washington’s 3rd largest 3 day festival.  There will be arts and crafts, 35 food vendors, entertainment, beer/wine gardens as well as myself with John L Scott Real Estate if you are interested in getting to know me and the area a little more or know someone who is!

Scroll down the page for a snapshot of how home sales and prices have trended in Edmonds over the past  fifteen months. You’ll see sales and inventory levels, $ per square foot values, and inventory levels expressed in months of supply. I use $ per square foot averages as an indicator of how the overall market is trending. Bear in mind the percentages will differ within specific price ranges. It’s interesting to follow the “Pending” sales trend lines which is an indicator of which direction the market is heading. Note that June sales are down 10% from 2013, while Pending are up over 40%. That’s huge!

As of August 4th, the last 30 days have seen an increase in pending sales from 28 to 34 pending sales and a jump from 24 sold in June to 41 sold in July! August will be another big month of closed sales! 

Feng Shui Basics: How your space affects your mood

 

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How often have you walked into a room in your own home or someone else’s and thought things just didn’t “feel” right? Or, perhaps there are certain rooms that also feel exceptionally inviting and open.  It’s easy to forget how important the spaces we live in are to our health and well-being.  The Following are some insights into home decoration and how it can make you more peaceful, productive and happy.

Color:

Colors can alter your mood. It’s important to play around with colors to find the right balance for you. Here’s a quick color to mood chart for reference:

Red: Passion, power, stimulation, and high energy. (Suggestions: dining room, bedroom, or upholstery)

Orange: Creativity, happiness, enthusiasm, and communication. (Suggestions: accenting, throw-overs, or pillows)

Yellow: Cheerfulness, light-heartedness, and mental stimulation. (Suggestions: kitchens, not bedrooms)

Green: Growth, harmony, nature, safety, peace, and healing (Suggestions: bedroom, bathroom, or office)

Blue: Trust, loyalty, confidence, faith (Suggestions: accents around the house and in bedroom)

Purple: Romance, luxury, nobility, wealth, spirituality, and motivation (Suggestions: bedroom)

Black: Power, independence (Suggestions: picture frames)

Brown: Stability, humility (Suggestions: living room)

White: Cleanliness, vibrancy (Use sparingly; too much white can feel cold)

Use this as a general reference and then play around. Look at a color, its various tones, and notice your mood. Have fun and mix and match.

Furniture and Decor:

Many people simply put everything against the wall when it comes to furniture placement. I have been guilty of doing this after moving, leaving artwork to sit against the wall and allowing our busy lives to prevent us from taking care of one of our most important spaces. What I didn’t realize fully was that this creates negative energy and dead space.

Energy must always have flow, so you don’t necessarily need to make everything symmetrical at all times. Balance is more important than symmetry. The rule of thumb is to think outside the box and to decorate in a way that may not necessarily be the most obvious. Mix furniture and decor with a wide range of variety, vintages, and textures.

When it comes to the decor and furniture, if you want a strong and independent look, you may consider incorporating circular, oval, and arched shapes along with granite, marble, and flagstone. Artwork and decor with metal, stone, brass, iron, copper, or gold is integral as well.

For leadership and creating a healthy emotional interaction between people, it is suggested to use artwork that involves sunshine or any form of natural illumination along with pyramids, cones, natural sunlight, feathers, silk, or wool.

For more order and sensuality, use furniture with squares, rectangles, ceramic, tile, and brick.

For creativity, intuition, and flexibility, integrate more wood, floral upholstery, wall coverings, drapes, pillars, and columns.

For a more relaxed and spiritual environment, integrate anything with water, crystals, glass, or mirrors.

It’s important not to overdo too much of any element. Use variety and balance. HAVE FUN!

Using Scent to Uplift your Home Environment:

One of the greatest senses we have is smell. Smell is like touching or tasting something from a distance. It’s a subtle thing that can have a huge impact on our mood.

I am a huge fan of candles and notice that I am drawn to different scents at different times and seasons. Start lighting more candles, incense, and oils to produce pleasing smells throughout the day. You can also add more flowers like jasmine, violets, and gardenias throughout your home.

What’s wonderful about creating a pleasing home environment is that it’s not necessary to spend a fortune to make your space inviting and clear. Less is more. Just start experimenting with what feels good to you!

It’s time to take a look at your space so that you can remove anything that brings negative energy, add things that bring you positive energy, and that makes your family feel comfortable and happy around the house.

Remember, your home is your sanctuary.

 

Market Mondays: Woodinville

 

 

 

The city of Woodinville is most well known as Seattle areas “wine country” and is increasingly known for its local wineries, which showcase wines from grapes grown in Eastern Washington including Chateau Ste. Michelle (well known for their popular summer concert series), Columbia Winery and dozens of other smaller ones. The Woodinville Tourist District is also home to the Redhook Ale Brewery and several fine restaurants including The Herbfarm “destination” restaurant. The downtown area includes Molbak’s Garden and Home, a nationally acclaimed garden center! All that being said, Woodinville is a sought after place to live and has seen only a slight change in market statistics over the past year.

As of July 28th, 2014 there is 2.5 month supply in inventory based on closed sales, which is up slightly from June of this year.  What is interesting is that when the current pending sales are added to the mix, months supply of inventory drops down to 1.5.  Woodinville itself is a consistently stable market, the months inventory fairly stable over the past year, hovering somewhere between 1.5-2.3 months supply except for a spike in January of this year, which is to be expected during the “slow” season. This makes Woodinville unique when compared to some of it’s neighboring cities, it’s stability and high desirability make Woodinville a safe place to buy a home.  The median sale price of homes over the last 90 days was $525,000 while the median current listing price is 475,000.  The median sale price and listing price have seen only a slight increase since July 2013.