Every year over 500 brokers from Windermere offices across the Eastside gather to prepare for the new year at the annual Windermere Eastside Kick-Off Event at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue. Last week, several speakers shared their insights and advice to prepare our agents to better serve their clients for the 2018 housing market.
Looking Ahead: What to Expect From the 2018 Housing Market
Matthew Gardner, Windermere Real Estate’s Chief Economist, shared his forecast for the 2018 housing market. Low inventory seems to be a problem stretching all the way to Ohio with many people living in their homes twice as long as past generations. Lack of skilled labor, available land and high material costs continue to make new construction an expensive option. Read more about his forecast.
Breaking Through The Noise
Senior Vice President Windermere Services and Ninja Instructor, Michael Fanning, brought his insights on breaking thought the mediocrity of the market place. Finding ways to bring those extra touches and using technology to your advantage can set you apart in a sea of daily distraction. Employing techniques from the Ninja Installation Train Program, Michael reminds agents that the hard things never get easier, you just get better and an average mindset will always result in a missed opportunity.
Understanding Your Client’s Story
Licensed marriage and family therapist, Tori Dabasinskas, shared her communication strategies to help our agents better connect with their clients. Addressing techniques for authentic listening, creating more meaningful connections and responding with emotion as well as logic, Tori emphasized taking time to truly understand the “story” of each individual client. With personal empathy and active appreciation, our agents can better anticipate the needs of their clients and what can be done to better serve them.
Law Of Attraction
Executive Vice President of HomeStreet Bank, Richard Bennion, reminded our agents that every client has a story. Their hopes, dreams and challenges are opportunities to listen, be attentive and show those clients their importance. Becoming an expert who is professional, authentic, self-aware and highly competent will attract people and help build your business’ sphere of influence. Taking a long-term approach in building client relationships will result in a strong business over time.
Growth, Support and The Power of Windermere
Brooks Burton, Chief Operating Officer for Windermere Services Company, opened the Kick-Off by sharing some exciting changes agents can look forward to in 2018. They included refreshed branding, offering more social media resources, improving technology and more resources based on agent feedback. Brooks also touched on the success of the Windermere Foundation which has raised over $35 million for local organizations since its inception in 1989 as well as how funds are allocated among those organizations.
Strategy and Determination
David Wasielewski, the Managing Partner of Northwest Din Tai Fung Partners, spoke about bringing the popular Chinese restaurant brand to the Seattle area. David shared that as a previous marketing veteran at Intel Corporation he had no restaurant experience prior to starting his own business. David’s approach to success? Strategy, action, and pacing himself. He flew to California for many weekends to work at another Chinese restaurant owned by Din Tai Fung’s owners without pay to prove his interest and dedication to his mission. Fast forward to today and he owns four restaurants in the Seattle region and his first Bellevue Square location has won the highest gross sales award from Kemper Development Company in each of the five years he has operated.
Getting in the Right Mindset: Pursuing Excellence
Tracie Ruiz Conforto, Olympic Medalist and Synchronized Swimmer of the Century, inspired us to find and pursue our passions, just as she did with swimming at the age of nine. She advised agents on three ways to achieve excellence – find your passion, use your competition to improve your skills, and surround yourself with a team who will support you. Tracie showed us that anything is possible when you combine passion, discipline, competition, and teamwork.
The Windermere Eastside Kick-off was an inspiring and motivational event. Our brokers are more prepared than ever to provide valuable service for their clients and face the year ahead. We are excited to put this knowledge to good use as we help you navigate your real estate journey in 2018!
This post originally appeared on the Windermere Eastside Blog.
The Washington State economy added 104,600 new jobs over the past 12 months. This impressive growth rate of 3.1% is well above the national rate of 1.4%. Interestingly, the slowdown we saw through most of the second half of the year reversed in the fall, and we actually saw more robust employment growth.
Growth continues to be broad-based, with expansion in all major job sectors other than aerospace due to a slowdown at Boeing.
With job creation, the state unemployment rate stands at 4.5%, essentially indicating that the state is close to full employment. Additionally, all counties contained within this report show unemployment rates below where they were a year ago.
I expect continued economic expansion in Washington State in 2018; however, we are likely to see a modest slowdown, which is to be expected at this stage in the business cycle.
Home Sales Activity
- There were 22,325 home sales during the final quarter of 2017. This is an increase of 3.7% over the same period in 2016.
- Jefferson County saw sales rise the fastest relative to fourth quarter of 2016, with an impressive increase of 22.8%. Six other counties saw double-digit gains in sales. A lack of listings impacted King and Skagit Counties, where sales fell.
- Housing inventory was down by 16.2% when compared to the fourth quarter of 2016, and down by 17.3% from last quarter. This isn’t terribly surprising since we typically see a slowdown as we enter the winter months. Pending home sales rose by 4.1% over the third quarter of 2017, suggesting that closings in the first quarter of 2018 should be robust.
- The takeaway from this data is that listings remain at very low levels and, unfortunately, I don’t expect to see substantial increases in 2018. The region is likely to remain somewhat starved for inventory for the foreseeable future.
- Because of low inventory in the fall of 2017, price growth was well above long-term averages across Western Washington. Year-over-year, average prices rose 12% to $466,726.
- Economic vitality in the region is leading to a demand for housing that far exceeds supply. Given the relative lack of newly constructed homes—something that is unlikely to change any time soon—there will continue to be pressure on the resale market. This means home prices will rise at above-average rates in 2018.
- Compared to the same period a year ago, price growth was most pronounced in Lewis County, where home prices were 18.8% higher than a year ago. Eleven additional counties experienced double-digit price growth as well.
- Mortgage rates in the fourth quarter rose very modestly, but remained below the four percent barrier. Although I anticipate rates will rise in 2018, the pace will be modest. My current forecast predicts an average 30-year rate of 4.4% in 2018—still remarkably low when compared to historic averages.
Days on Market
- The average number of days it took to sell a home in the fourth quarter dropped by eight days, compared to the same quarter of 2016.
- King County continues to be the tightest market in Western Washington, with homes taking an average of 21 days to sell. Every county in the region saw the length of time it took to sell a home either drop or remain static relative to the same period a year ago.
- Last quarter, it took an average of 50 days to sell a home. This is down from 58 days in the fourth quarter of 2016, but up by 7 days from the third quarter of 2017.
- As mentioned earlier in this report, I expect inventory levels to rise modestly, which should lead to an increase in the average time it takes to sell a house. That said, with homes selling in less than two months on average, the market is nowhere near balanced.
This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s housing market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors. For the fourth quarter of 2017, I have left the needle at the same point as third quarter. Price growth remains robust even as sales activity slowed. 2018 is setting itself up to be another very good year for housing.
Matthew Gardner is the Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, specializing in residential market analysis, commercial/industrial market analysis, financial analysis, and land use and regional economics. He is the former Principal of Gardner Economics, and has more than 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.
This article originally appeared on the Windermere.com blog.
2017 closed out the year with historically low inventory and record-breaking price gains. A strong local economy and brisk population growth has helped fuel a steep discrepancy between supply and demand. As long as this imbalance remains, 2018 is on track to remain a very strong seller’s market.
Defying the usual winter slow-down in home prices, December broke new records on the Eastside. The median price of a single-family home soared 17 percent over a year ago to $938,240 – an all-time high for the region. Appreciation in higher-end areas, like West Bellevue and Mercer Island, topped 20 percent. Homeowners, especially those considering downsizing, may want to take advantage of the sharp increase in equity.
King County recorded the lowest inventory since records began in 2000, and demand just keeps rising. As a result, the price of a single-family home jumped 15.5 percent over the same time last year to $635,000. Those looking buy a condo as a more affordable option were out of luck. The median price tag of $402,000 is a relative bargain when compared to a single-family home, but there are only about 200 condos on the market, another record low.
While below the high point last summer, the median price of a home in Seattle jumped 14 percent year over year to $725,000. Supply and demand is again the culprit. There are just two weeks of available inventory on the market. Not only are homes here selling quickly, but fewer people are putting their homes up for sale. Most economists are predicting a moderate slowdown in cost increases here in 2018, with prices still rising but not as sharply as they did in 2017.
Prices in Snohomish County continue to rise at a rapid pace. The median price of a single-family home here grew 12.5 percent from a year ago to $449,950. With less than a month of available inventory, prices are projected to remain high.