Browsed by
Tag: interest rates

Bye-Bye Buyers’ Market

Bye-Bye Buyers’ Market

Is it still a buyers’ market? Not so much.

Sometimes the local real estate market changes so quickly it can make your head spin! Now is one of those times.

You may think I’ve been sounding like a broken record the last 6 months or so, telling you that our biggest problem in West Seattle real estate is a lack of inventory. I wasn’t kidding, and it’s still true.

In January of 2012 there were 352 Active listings in West Seattle and 84 homes sold. In January of this year, there were 184 Active listings and 98 sold.  That translates into 24% sold in 2012 vs. 53% in 2013! That doesn’t leave much inventory to choose from. Try as you might, there is no way around the law of supply and demand. It will always be true that when supply is low and demand is high, prices will go up. How much and how quickly they will go up is difficult to predict. Until recently (just the past month), buyers were being fairly conservative, refusing to repeat the feeding frenzy of just a few years ago, so price increases have been moderate. Brokers often heard their buyers say, “We won’t be part of a bidding war.” Believe me, brokers don’t like to participate in bidding wars any more than buyers do; everyone emerges with a bad taste in their mouth.

For better or for worse, however, buyers have taken off their gloves and gone back to offering well over the asking price, paying for pre-inspections and anything else they can think of to give themselves an advantage over competitors’ offers. In the past 4-6 weeks, multiple offers on new (and some old) listings have become the norm again. The only saving grace for buyers is that interest rates remain low, which helps keep mortgage payments more manageable.

The good news for homeowners is that you are regaining some of the equity you lost during the downturn. And, of course, if you decide to sell now/soon, you stand a much better chance of getting a reasonable price for your home. Keep in mind, however, that appraisals can be a stumbling block to financing. E.g. a house that goes on the market listed at $300,000 might get bid up to $350,000 but if the bank’s appraiser can’t find other comparable sales to justify that price, the buyers won’t be able to obtain financing and the whole deal will fall apart. This is a very real danger since appraisers are under a much more watchful eye now than they were before the downturn.

Wondering how much your house is worth today? Call me for a free market analysis.

Know some buyers who have been waiting to buy? You might want to give them a nudge. The bottom of the market is waaaaaay behind us.

(Reprinted from my monthly newsletter. Statistics are from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.)

Seattle homes sales increasing

Seattle homes sales increasing

The latest statistics from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) show increased home sales in the Seattle area.

> Pending sales in Seattle for February increased 27% from one year ago.

> Pending sales were particularly robust in Central Seattle (up 56%), Normandy Park (up 58%), Kent (up 61%) and Lake Forest Park (up 73%).

If you are a buyer and you’ve been waiting for the bottom of the market, look around you.   It may very well be here, or even behind us.

Inventory in Seattle is down 22.5% compared to one year ago. If this trend continues, the current buyer’s market will transition to a seller’s market. The Law of Supply and Demand always prevails: as supply goes down, demand goes up and so do prices. Although Short Sales and Foreclosures are still in plentiful supply, we are already seeing the return of multiple offers on well-maintained, well-priced homes. These sellers are no longer having to give away the farm.

Just as importantly to buyers, interest rates will not stay this low forever, and an increase of even one half of one percent makes a significant difference in the price of the home you can afford.

Are you ready to start shopping? Approximately 90% of home buyer’s now start their search on the internet before ever talking to a licensed agent.  So why not just call the Listing Agent directly when you find the property you want?  Here’s why.

The Listing Agent is hired by, and paid by the Seller to protect the Seller’s best interests, so it is important for you to hire a Buyer’s Agent to protect your best interests.

When one agent works on behalf of both the seller and the buyer in a single transaction it is known as Dual Agency.  Although Dual Agency is legal in this state, it is outlawed in many others because of the ethical difficulties involved in trying to serve two clients without favoring one over the other.

Asking a Listing Agent to help you buy a house is like asking a Prosecuting Attorney to defend you in court.

You deserve to be represented by an agent who is committed to serving only your best interests. That’s my job and I take it seriously. Call me for a no-obligation consultation. 206-708-9800.