2020 started off as any ordinary year. We had made our New Years resolutions (& broken at least one!). We had pondered our goals and travels for the next year. Real estate was no different. The previous year had been strong, a slight sellers advantage due to low inventory and low interest rates. A slight seasonal dip with the promise of a strong spring market. Then WHAM! COVID took us all by surprise. The initial lock downs created havoc everywhere; work, school & home. In the real estate world, sales cancelled or stalled, open houses went away, potential buyers and sellers spooked. But after a short month or so the market changed. Buyers, eager for deals came out. People were now able to work remotely & needed space. Commute time was no longer as big an issue. The result was an exodus from the urban areas to the suburbs and beyond. Multiple offers, waived inspections, and other buyer concessions became not just normal but ‘required’ if you wanted the deal. This market change has lasted throughout the holiday season into January as buyers had no travel plans and little else to distract them. And no change is expected in the near future. According to a recent press release by the 23 county NWMLS, house & condo prices increased by 12.2% to $488,000 from December 2019 to December 2020. Single family homes set the pace with a 12.9% jump with condo’s far behind at 1.8%. This is no surprise as houses with more space are suddenly more in favor than their smaller counterparts. See below for more detail on your area, or reach out and we can chat more specifically about your area or home style.
year over Year change
23 County MLS
Source NWMLS – info deemed reliable but not guaranteed
Ok, lets admit, 2020 has been a weird year. It started out like any other year; year end planning was done, trips were planned, goals were set. Then BOOM!
First came political wrestling, then COVID & shut downs, then George Floyd and the subsequent unrest, then more COVID, then fires just a little too close, then the election, then a Supreme Court judge dying, then more election upheaval and now more COVID & lock downs. Definitely a year of change and depending on how you are wired, either chaos or full of blessings.
As we enter the end of this tumultuous year, I encourage you to count your blessings and share them with those close to you at Thanksgiving. Here are some of mine:
My God & my country -I hope you love your God & our country as much as I do
My family – Starting with my wife Katherine & my 91 year old parents to our 4 kids & two grand kids, to brothers / sisters / nieces and nephews, I feel blessed to be part of their lives and grateful
Our friends – Both near and far; close or barely know each other; client, business associate or competitor, Katherine and I cherish each and every one of you. You are the reason we move forward in spite of the year, worry a bit and smile alot ! 🙂
So as we all celebrate Thanksgiving, from a safe distance of course, lets all reflect for a moment and let those who are important to us know it!
Quite regularly I get a call from someone I know that goes something like this…”I am looking at buying a house in _______ (name your state) and I meet this agent at an open house. We looked a few houses and we wrote an offer. Now they are asking me to do this and I don’t understand”. or … “they are not doing a good job, what do I do?’ or ??? You get the point. Something is not going right in a real estate transaction. Since I am not a party to the transaction and bound by the Realtor Code of Ethics to not interfere in other agents business, I usually can only console them and tell them it will all work out. I can ask a few questions, give a recommendation or two for them to take back to the agent.
But what I really want to ask them is why did they not call me and have me make a referral? Using both Coldwell Bankers internal Agent Referral platform and my numerous contacts, I could have found an agent with a good track record that fit the level of service they were looking for. I always call the agent and ‘interview’ them, see if it’s a good fit because hey, my reputation is on the line. But more importantly, when something comes up, I now have a right (actually an obligation) to pick up the phone and get some answers. I am a party to the transaction, I can ask to see a contract on their behalf. I can make a suggestion.
So, for those still reading, the main take-away here is even when you are buying somewhere else, call me and I can point you in the correct direction and / or make a direct referral. It will cost you nothing and give me the power to help you if needed.
After taking a COVID induced break this spring, the local real estate market has heated up and in September it seems to have gone over the top. As reported in earlier market updates, buyers have come out in droves and sellers have hunkered down. This created the ‘perfect storm’ for both price appreciation and market time. Buyers came out looking for deals and were armed with more buying power due to low interest rates. Looking for more space, they are paying more and reducing contingencies. Those few sellers who dare to sell, are getting more for their home.
As shown below, all local areas have seen double digit 12 month price increases and continue to show low time on market. As I look at these stats weekly, I will report that a good share of the gain has come since the lows reached in April and May 2020 due to COVID uncertainty.
What the future holds is anyone’s guess, but if you are a buyer, statistically, it will only get worse. Demographics show a wave of house hungry younger folks reaching the average first home purchase age and new home builders were just beginning to meet the annual demand before COVID. The shortfall that started in 2008 – 2009 will continue to move prices up. Sellers, on the other hand, have a bright future. Those fortunate enough to not need to buy a replacement home, or moving to more affordable digs, will benefit from sustained price increases for the near future.
Thinking of Buying or Selling?? Reach out and we can schedule a chat about your specific needs.
I read a white paper several years back that described the fact that there was a measurable difference in the sale prices of homes that had fewer zeros in the list price: as in $699,999 as opposed to $700,000. The basis was that the mind plays subtle tricks and the mind would think that the $699,999 was a more accurate number and not receive as large a counter offer as $700,000 would. That statistically, the final selling price of the $699,999 list price would be larger than the final selling price of the $700,00 list price. It was a small %, but still measurable and money in the bank.
Since then I have employed it in both buying and selling, setting list and offer prices with no zero’s. My faith based clients have used bible verses for ending numbers such as $XXX,316. One buyer, faced with multiple offers, used the date of the offer. In all cases, it seems to have worked, rarely have we lost a bid or not sold near asking when clients accepted my theory. My current listing (1321 117th Pl SE Kent) is listed at $676, 247 because it has 2 kitchens, 4 bathrooms & 7 bedrooms. We’ll see how that goes, but over a dozen shows in 2 days is a good sign!. Update -It is now Pending at Full Price.!!