Real estate: coronavirus, mortgage rates and inventory

Real estate: coronavirus, mortgage rates and inventory

As the virus has spread across the world the Federal Reserve has issued a surprise interest rate cut.

By Erin Flemming

Special to the Reporter

On the mind of many Kirkland residents is the novel coronavirus, the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease. As the virus has spread across the world, markets took a hit, prompting the Federal Reserve to issue a surprise interest rate cut. Now, mortgage rates have reached three-year lows, which John L. Scott chairman and CEO J. Lennox Scott said should help the housing market sustain strong momentum.

Mona Spencer, branch manager for John L. Scott’s Redmond office, said her office hasn’t seen a direct impact from the coronavirus situation yet. However, she said stock market plunges always tend to have a ripple effect in our local housing market.

“We have had buyers and sellers ask questions about whether or not they should put their house on the market now,” said Spencer. “Consumers are anticipating that the virus may spread, leading stock prices to go down, and as a result the buying power of consumers may be decreased.”

Housing analysts say the luxury housing market could be the most vulnerable to free falls in the stock market, as wealthy buyers tend to have more money tied up in the stock market. However, historically low interest rates for home mortgages may entice buyers to enter the market.

Additionally, current homeowners who are not selling could consider refinancing if a few factors pencil out favorably — including the interest rate differential, how long you plan to live in your home and the cost to refinance.

“These low interest rates can make refinancing appealing to some current homeowners who aren’t planning a move,” Spencer said. “Like many situations in real estate, what’s best in one situation may not make sense in another. Therefore, chatting with a trusted broker is my first recommendation to determine if refinancing may be the right move.”

Though time will tell the impact of coronavirus to the local real estate market, one thing is for sure: inventory in Kirkland remains constrained.

“The local real estate market is hot,” said Spencer. “Buyers need to be ready, willing and able to allow the seller to be in the driver’s seat if they want to get the home in what is likely to be a multiple-offer situation. Sellers on the other hand are thrilled to see the price appreciation they are able to secure in the market today.”

Looking forward, Spencer anticipates much of the same — she said the quick-action market is likely to last through the end of the year, if not longer. Though the odds are stacked in favor of sellers, she said those looking to sell still need to be strategic in their approach.

“Sellers still need to be smart about pricing,” said Spencer. “It is better for sellers to list at the lower end of the pricing scale and get bumped up if they are in a great location with a home that is market-ready inside and out. A knowledgeable broker will employ the best pricing strategies to ensure success.”


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@kirklandreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kirklandreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Business

2021 Lexus RX 350L. Courtesy photo
Car review: 2021 Lexus RX 350L

By Larry Lark, contributor It’s always a good day when a Lexus… Continue reading

2021 Chevrolet Blazer. Courtesy photo
Car review: 2021 Chevrolet Blazer

By Larry Lark, contributor When it comes to certain car models they… Continue reading

2021 Mercedes E-350 luxury sedan. Courtesy photo
Car review: 2021 Mercedes E-350 luxury sedan

By Larry Lark, contributor Mercedes-Benz occupies rarified air in the automobile pantheon.… Continue reading

2021 Ford F-150 Platinum. Courtesy photo
Car review: 2021 Ford F-150 Platinum

By Larry Lark, contributor It’s always a call to action when a… Continue reading

737 MAX 7 Reveal - February 5, 2018. File photo
Boeing fined $2.5 billion for deceiving aircraft safety regulators

The Boeing Company has agreed to pay the Department of Justice over… Continue reading

Stock photo
State Department of Commerce awards grants to more than 7,800 small businesses

Newest $100 million grant round prioritized restaurants, fitness centers

Sound Publishing
Sound Publishing offers grants to local businesses

Sound Publishing has launched a local business stimulus program to help businesses… Continue reading

Photo courtesy of Fisher Scones
Fisher Scones parent company fined for overworking teenage employees

Washington State Department of Labor and Industries found more than 1,500 instances of violations including missing meal breaks, working during school hours and more.

Pexels photo
Ways to shop small on the Eastside

The city of Bellevue has developed a quick list of easy ways to support local businesses

Courtesy photo/Artists Sunday
Artists Sunday, following Black Friday, puts out call for participants before Nov. 29

The movement has a website that offers a free directory of artists and art organizations that participate

best of kirkland
Best of Kirkland Contest Winners are here

Read the results for the Best of Kirkland 2020