August Market Flash

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I decided to stay and enjoy Seattle during the eclipse, and so went to Alki Beach where I could view downtown Seattle, the Port of Seattle and a peek-a-boo view of Mount Rainier. I met a few “eclipse buddies” and we had a wonderful time trading around glasses, and photographing what we could.

The Northwest Multiple Listing Service press release came out at the beginning of the month, and explains nicely what I saw in July, and am continuing to see this month. I’m excited that the two managing brokers I have worked with, and our firm’s President, Mike Grady, are quoted. John Deely is the Principal Managing Broker of our Lake Union office, and Diedre Haines is the PMB of our Edmonds/Lynnwood office, and so their combined perspectives mean a lot to me.

It is amazing that the market is continuing to be so strong, when we often see a lull. Inventory is still tight in King County, driving up prices. There does seem to be a wee bit of a slow down in Snohomish County, however, with homes staying on the market longer and price reductions.

As stated in the press release, sellers are also allowing some contingent sales. This can be a bit tricky, however, because if a buyer’s home doesn’t have an offer, or close in a timely manner, the sale can fall through.

I saw this in action on a home that I previewed with a client; it was on the market for a few weeks when it suddenly cancelled. The seller of that house was in the process of buying another home in a different state, and those sellers became impatient and started to cancel the transaction. The seller of the home we previewed decided to get a loan instead.

The home seemed in move-in condition at first glance as the upstairs of the home was in excellent shape, however a person living in the lower daylight basement was a heavy smoker. Heavy smoke gets into the walls, carpet, curtains and the duct work. This article describes how hard it can be to fix: http://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/020617/6-things-consider-when-buying-house-smokers.asp

It can also be difficult for a buyer to buy contingent as when one sees the home one wants, one needs to pounce. If the buyer’s home isn’t ready to go, the clock is ticking on the offer. This, of course, is very stressful to everyone.

One way to handle this is with a “bridge” loan. Certain mortgage companies will lend based on an appraisal of the buyer’s current home. This means for a short time, the buyer will own two homes. This shouldn’t be a problem if the buyer’s current home is in an area of high demand (and they are buying in an area of lower demand).

Some homes north of Seattle are seeing longer days on the market and price reductions. These homes could be a good pick for a contingent offer, or even a lower offer, depending on how “motivated” the seller is.

Side-note for those with investment properties in Seattle; landlords may not be able to screen applicants for criminal records. Combine this with the idea that landlords are encouraged to take their first applicant. Read more here: http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/seattle-expected-to-give-final-ok-to-protections-for-rental-applicants-with-criminal-records/

This was discussed in a monthly real estate class that I attend, and while various solutions where proposed, the most popular was trying to retain the tenents one has by not handing out rent increases. Considering the low supply and high demand for rentals (along with real estate) in Seattle, it is tempting to raise the rent.

According to a Zillow study, rent increases have also contributed to more homelessness across the nation.

These stories are in the “Newsy Links” page, linked below.

Appreciation Rates, Sales

The most impressive appreciation rate in July was Richmond Beach at 26.96%!

Market Flash