I don’t want to jinx it. But, with this week’s forecast of warmer temperatures looking—dare I say —downright cheery and spring-like, the real estate market is gearing up for its traditionally busier season.
However, while the Seattle area was home to a hot real estate market between about 2016 and the early part of 2018, this frenzied activity has now cooled and stabilized somewhat. Here’s what you need to know about the area’s real estate market for spring 2019.
1. Home prices dropped…
In February, Seattle’s home prices dropped to the lowest point in two years, resulting in prices that were around $116,000 less than last spring’s prices. Mike Rosenberg of the Seattle Times reported that, since the peak of the hot housing market in spring 2018, home prices “dropped a total of 16 percent in the last eight months.”
2. Then home prices bounced back up…
…just when you think you’ve got it figured out! Over the past several weeks, prices have risen again. One can almost hear the Seattle real estate market reveling in its unpredictability and cackling at all the eager home buyers who have been waiting for prices to drop.
Prices rose around $45,000, which Rosenberg notes is, in dollar terms, “the biggest one-month jump since records have been kept.” This rise in prices could have resulted from buyers emerging from their winter caves to snatch up the deals that early February’s lower prices seemed to offer.
Even so, not to worry if you are interested in buying a home this spring. Rosenberg also reminds everyone to remain calm: “The market isn’t back to red-hot by any means. On a year-over-year basis, prices rose a bit less than 1 percent. And the number of homes sitting unsold still doubled in that span. Brokers say instead of bidding wars with 10 buyers driving up prices way above the list price — which was common for years — now there might be two or three bidders on sought-after homes, willing to go slightly above list price.”
3. Mortgage rates increased.
Over the first week of March, the fixed-rate, 30-year mortgage rose from 4.35 percent to 4.41 percent. One year ago, the average fixed 30-year mortgage was about 4.46 percent. 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage rates rose to 3.83 percent t from 3.77 percent the previous week.
4. Flow of Seattle transplants slows.
Starting around 2010, Seattle was the fastest, or one of the fastest, growing cities in the country. However, for the second year in a row, the Washington State DMV reports a decline in new residents purchasing state licenses. While many factors could explain why less people are moving to Washington, some experts point specifically to the fact that Seattle’s Amazon headquarters has slowed in its plans to expand.
If you’re interested in the Puget Sound area housing market and think you might want to buy or sell a home this spring, let Pickett Street know at (firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-502-5397). Happy house-hunting, and happy warm(er) weather this week, everyone.