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February Market Update - Seattle Condos

The condominium market in Seattle continues to be a seller's market with low inventory and swift sales performance.

The graphs below show statistics for Seattle condominiums for FEBRUARY 2017. Questions, let us know!

- Less inventory than last year at this time, down to .6 months' supply
- Higher median sales price than last year at this time, up 21%, to $474,950
- The highest number of sales so far this year are happening at the price point between $500,000 and $750,000
- 54% of listings are selling above list price
- Odds of selling are 106% (less condos coming on the market than are going pending)

Feb 2017 Stats

Continue reading "February Market Update - Seattle Condos" »

Seattle is Officially the Hottest Real Estate Market in the Nation

Color - Elliott Bay to DowntownAccording to new data from S&P Case-Shiller National Home Price Index, Seattle is now the hottest real estate market in the nation. Seattle's home prices rose 11% between September 2015 and 2016.

This appreciation is being driven by the technology boom, which is increasing our population with skilled workers who can typically afford higher priced homes. Amazon, Facebook, Salesforce and eBay are among some of the tech giants leading the storm. Add to that low inventory and high demand, and you have 11% increases in year over year prices.

It isn't just Seattle that is seeing large annual gains. The national number is 5.5% for September, the highest it has been since the last peak in 2006.

By Marco Kronen with Seattle Condo Review: A guide to Seattle downtown condos.
Source: Geekwire

Soaring Appreciation in Seattle with Cheapest Homes Seeing Biggest Increase

Price AppreciationIn this recent article by the Seattle times, they do a great job of highlighting the “soaring” 11.4% pricing increases of homes in the Greater Seattle area, but one key thing we have to keep in mind, which often gets overlooked by generalized statistics,  is that real estate market trends are very local,  and can vary widely from county to county, city to city, and even from neighborhood to neighborhood within the same city.  Seattle’s market is very local.

Within the local market, the appreciation also varies based on various factors. As buyers in the Seattle city market are finding, some of the hottest neighborhoods will still see very limited inventory and often bidding wars for homes, but in the same neighborhood this may not translate to other property types such as ultra-luxury properties, and it may not translate to condominiums or townhomes either. If you run the same year over year comparison within specific neighborhoods breaking it out by subcategories such as different price points or different types of property, you will likely  find varying appreciation rates across those different sub categories. But I feel this is really key and is more important than what the Greater Seattle area real estate market appreciation looks like. What does your local real estate market and it's different segments look like? That is what is important.

Continue reading "Soaring Appreciation in Seattle with Cheapest Homes Seeing Biggest Increase" »

Join us for Condos Over Coffee 2/24 - Monthly Candid Coffee Chat

Condos over Coffee Logo with WritingCONDOS OVER COFFEE - February 24th

WHEN: February 24th 7:30 to 8:30am
Uptown Espresso in South Lake Union
Strategies for Selling your Condo

Join me at Uptown Espresso coffee shop in South Lake Union where we will have a candid coffee chat on serious strategies and tactics for selling your condo in today’s very dynamic condo market. Whether you are on the fence about selling now, or you know that you want to sell and want to begin the next steps to get ready for the sale, come sip some java or tea and talk it through.  This month’s over Coffee is ideal for those who are thinking about selling and:

  • you want to learn about strategic pricing in today’s market- multiple offers don’t fall out of the sky
  • you want to understand tactics on timing the market
  • you want to sell but are concerned about the challenges of finding a new home in this competitive market – there are options to help leverage your power as a seller to allow time to look for your new condo or house
  • you  want to buy but don’t want to sell until you find a new home – maybe you don’t need to sell before you buy if you have equity in your current condo and we’ll chat about ways to buy before you sell without being a contingent buyer
  • you want to move up and buy one of the new pre-sale new construction condos that will be completed (closed) later this year or next year – let us help you get a plan in place to time the sale of your current condo perfectly

Please RSVP here so that we can make sure to save a seat for you. Friends, family and/or colleagues are welcome to stop by too, so pass the word along!

Oh, and coffee's on me! So stop by on your way to work and get some great info about selling your condo and get any questions you may have answered.

Next month’s Condos over Coffee will be on March 30th and will be a discussion on prepping your condo for the market.

By Marco Kronen with Seattle Condo Review: A guide to Seattle downtown condos.

Third Quarter Report for State of the Market in Western Washington

Buyer Seller Market RangeRecently our Chief Economist at Windermere Real Estate, Mathew Gardner, released his 3rd Quarter Report. I always love his reports as they are inclusive of not just the typical real estate stats of what sold and for how much and how fast, but he also monitors and reports other important factors that affect our local real estate market, such as job growth and population growth.

Take a look and make your own conclusions, but my key take away points are although we have seen strong increases in the number of sales and in price points in our region, the velocity is slowing a bit and is likely not a long term sustainable market condition. Also, while King County still has the fastest moving inventory in the region with an average of 26 days on the market, we are actually in the middle of the pack with annual change in home sale prices. Other parts of our region are seeing much higher percentages of price increases right now.

But, in general, unless we start to see a “rapid escalation in construction activity” Mathew Gardner, is predicting “the market will remain remarkably tight well into 2016, which to me is likely an indication of more of the same Seller’s market characteristics.

Please note that this report does not separate the single family and condo markets but condos are included in the data and this information is still a great indicator of overall market conditions.

View the report here: Western Washington 3rd Quarter 2015- The Gardner Report

For a PDF printable copy of the report contact us at

By Marco Kronen with Seattle Condo Review: A guide to Seattle downtown condos.

Seattle Area Housing Marking Cooling Off or is It Just Taking a Breather?

I work in both the condo and single family markets here in Seattle and the answer to the question, “is the housing market cooling off or just taking a breather?”, is the talk of the town right now. But the answer is different depending on whether we are talking houses or condos so I wanted to weigh in on all the chatter about it.

According to a recent article in the Seattle Times, “The average price of single-family homes in King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties slipped 0.1% in July from June. July was the fourth consecutive month of slowing 12 –month price gains.  Still, over the year, the Seattle metro index posted a 7.3% gain.”

This might make one wonder if the market is cooling down and initially I personally was drawn to the fact that the velocity of the market appreciation has slowed down toward the end of the summer and likely will show the same numbers as we move through fall.  But when I think about the further information where we (Seattle Metro) are still above the average of the 20-City Case Schiller report, I am comforted and also not surprised, because it’s been largely discussed that our growth in value seems to be driven by job growth and economic recovery along with the shortage of housing inventory.

I further think the reason for the slowing in the value increases that are quoted from June and July, are also likely due to buyers themselves losing steam in Seattle’s hyper multiple offer environment and many buyers have decided to “take a breather” and let things cool off.  So I don’t think the market slowing is a wide spread economic warning or local market indicator of a general slowdown.  With job growth still occurring in Seattle, and overall economic recovery still in progress, including the fed obviously feeling confident enough to indicate that they may raise rates by year end, my feeling is that our buyers and sellers are still trying to find the new normal and adjust their expectations of the house or condo they can afford.

Lastly, this article does not chat about condos specifically.  That market tends to perform differently than the single-family housing market and historically has lagged behind the single-family market by about a year or so. Therefore my predication, based on this Case Schiller info discussed in this article, is that condos still have some steam left in them and some upward pricing pressure as buyers still try to live closer to the main employment centers that are hiring and seek lower maintenance in-city active lifestyles.

So while things may slow a bit from time to time this year, I feel that, overall, Seattle houses and condos are going to likely increase in value over time.  Even if a rise in rates happens this year. Buyers waiting for “things to cool off” may still find themselves paying more for the same house down the road even if the overall environment is less competitive at that particular moment.

By Marco Kronen with Seattle Condo Review: A guide to Seattle downtown condos.

Another Source of Buyers Fueling our Seattle Market are the Boomerang Buyers

Boomerang BuyerThis article was an interesting read, even though it wasn’t about a local buyer, it still is relevant so I wanted to share it with our readers.

Ever heard of the term boomerang buyer? If not, it is something you might want to be aware of if you thinking about buying or selling. The boomerang buyer is someone who went through a short sale or foreclosure during the most recent recession but are poised to come back into the real estate market as those credit transgressions fall off of their credit reports. If you are thinking of selling your condo or house but fear things might be slowing down, this might make you think twice as boomerang buyers are great candidates and they are motivated to own a home and are adding additional demand to the marketplace. Or if you are a person wanting to buy a new home but fear your past credit issues resulting from the recession will prevent that, this is worth a read as you might be a boomerang buyer.

Continue reading "Another Source of Buyers Fueling our Seattle Market are the Boomerang Buyers" »

Home Prices Fall in July – Is the Market Cooling?

MedianSalePrice_715You may, or may not, have read the two articles recently published last week, one by The Seattle Times, and the other by The Puget Sound Business Journal, regarding July home prices falling and a cooling of the market.  One article states that the market is cooling and the other says those figures don’t necessarily mean that the market is cooling.  We have been getting questions about this from our clients and readers, so I thought I would add my perspective.

Why do we bring up these contradicting articles? It is always good to remember that all data can be interpreted differently and it is important to dig into it to see what the numbers really mean to you specifically.  Also important to evaluate, is whether or not the numbers are talking about single family homes, condos, or is it a combination of both? Also are the numbers an average of King County as a whole or specifically here in Seattle?

Both articles contend that sales prices declined between June to July in the Puget Sound Region. Which is true from a month to month comparison, but median closed prices are still up 5.9% percent for single family homes over last July in Seattle, with condo prices being up 34% over last July in Seattle.      

There may be a “cooling” in closed prices in some segments of the market when comparing July to June this summer, but the velocity of sales and the number of sales increasing over last year,  also indicates that there is still a shortage of inventory, which will still drive pricing up over the long term. After the summer months come and go, I anticipate a “warming” back up until the holidays where prices may ebb again.  This is especially true, if feel, in the Seattle condo market, where the heating up is just really starting with Insignia just recently starting it’s closings of the first phase of condos in July.  These will set a new bench mark for condo prices downtown and possibly create some inventory movement caused by move up buyers who have purchased in Insignia and therefore need to sell their current condos (or single family homes) in the city.  

*chart above is the median home prices for 13 months for both Condominium and Residential
listing data throughout NWMLS’s coverage area in Washington State but is representative of the overall pricing trends

By Marco Kronen with Seattle Condo Review: A guide to Seattle downtown condos.

Quick Market Snapshot

We have a widget in our Multiple Listing Service called the Market Watch that we can customize in order to see a snapshot of the market segment we choose. Our Market Watch shows us the activity on all condominiums in Seattle within a 24 hour period. Sometimes it is hard to articulate how low inventory really is out there but we thought just providing you with a screenshot of our Market Watch would get the idea across. And the trend you see below is what we have been seeing for the past year. The number of condominiums going under contract, or going pending, is almost 3 times as high as the number of new listing coming on the market. So, if you are considering selling, consider it more seriously. 

Market Watch 3.3.15

For selling, spring and summer are ideal times for this.  Buyers are out there and they need more options, and as a seller there are great options to consider for short term housing while you look for your new place.  We see some sellers hesitating to sell out of fear that they can't find a new place to buy, but be creative.  Perhaps consider things such as : 1) a rent back from the buyer of your home 2) make a short "staycation" out if it and rent somewhere you have been wanting to try living in as there are short term-lease options, and then 3)  there is always your family and friends who often are more accommodating for things like this than you might think.  Just some ideas for those who are considering selling but need some help on "bridging the gap" of where to live,  while looking for a new place.

By Marco Kronen with Seattle Condo Review: A guide to Seattle downtown condos.

Where are the Condo Projects in Seattle? Perhaps Coming Soon.

IMG_0862The Puget Sound Business Journal put out a great article today on the state of new construction condo projects in Seattle.

With all of the cranes you see around town you might think there are a lot of condo projects in the works, but you would be wrong. The majority of those are apartments and office building along with some hotels. Only 1 crane belongs to a condo building currently under construction, Insignia Seattle.

So where are all of the condos you ask? This is what the PSBJ article tackles and here is what they say. According to Polaris, a new-condo brokerage and advisory firm, "more condo developers will begin building, or at least announcing projects in the Seattle area next year. A couple of groups already have bought sites in the region "but haven't been very vocal about it". Polaris representatives have been talking with six or so investment representatives doing condo deals in Seattle."

Interesting insight into what might be coming in 2015 in terms of new construction condominium buildings breaking ground  here in Seattle. It seems that with the loosening of the lending crunch for this type of building financing, the strong sales at Insignia, and our job growth numbers, we might be seeing some more condos in our future.

Source: Puget Sound Business Journal

By Marco Kronen with Seattle Condo Review: A guide to Seattle downtown condos.