December residential housing market update: Low inventory does not reduce demand

There was a 30 percent reduction in homes available for sale and 16.5 percent price jump from November to December 2017.

  • Wednesday, January 10, 2018 1:30pm
  • Life

By Annie Gustafson

Special to the Reporter

The number of homes available for purchase in December, 2017, was exceptionally low in Kirkland, even by “typical” end-of-year standards.

Inventory in November was already limited, explained John L. Scott Managing broker Mona Spencer.

“And then we saw a thirty percent reduction in homes available for sale from November to December,” she said.

While the number of homes available for purchase decreased, the median sale price increased.

“The median sale price of a home in Kirkland at the end of December 2017 was $790,000 and this was a jump of 16.5 percent from November 2017 and a whopping 40 percent increase from Dec. 31, 2016,” Spencer said.

According to Spencer, the biggest influencers in the real estate market in Kirkland are job growth, low interest rates and livability.

While local and national economic data uphold the first two, liveability is considerably more subjective. In Kirkland, Spencer refers to Lake Washington waterfront as having a “magnetic appeal.”

The recently opened bike and pedestrian path on State Route 520 and the anticipated phase one opening of the 11.5 acre mixed-use, multi-phase development called Kirkland Urban add to the sense that Kirkland’s lifestyle offerings are both unique and unparalleled.

For those looking to buy, Spencer recommends getting fully underwritten before making an offer or leveraging your buying power with cash. Another trend she and her brokers are seeing is that many buyers are waiving contingencies such as the home inspection to make their offer stronger. Waiving inspections is indicative of a very competitive market and is atypical in a neutral market.

Regarding last month’s federal tax reform, Spencer characterized the impact as minimal and believes the core benefits of home ownership have been preserved, especially in the more affordable and mid-price ranges. For specific advice on how it relates to your circumstances and especially if you’re looking to buy or sell in the luxury market, she recommends consulting a tax professional.

In terms of the local real estate outlook in 2018, Spencer does not see an immediate respite in sight for the imbalance in supply and demand. She cites both the strong economy and pent-up buyer demand as two reasons why inventory will continue to be extraordinarily limited for months to come. Nevertheless, Spencer remains optimistic.

“To me, the most exciting part of the new year is the sense of possibility,” she said. “For those who are looking for 2018 to be the year they sell or buy a home, my team and I want help turn possibility into reality.”

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