Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

Winter chill begins to settle into real estate market

While there was an uptick in new listings, pending home sales and sold properties the last two months, things are quieting down.

  • Tuesday, November 5, 2019 4:43pm
  • Business

By Erin Flemming

Special to the Reporter

Residents of Kirkland are beginning to pull warm jackets on as leaves are falling and the weather shifts. The real estate market is also experiencing predictable hallmarks of the season. Specifically, brokers locally saw an uptick in the number of new listings, pending home sales and sold properties in September and October, with things quieting down as the November chill returned.

John L. Scott Redmond broker Kim Stevenson said the nuances in this year’s market can be found when looking closer into single-family home sales, specifically homes that don’t sell quickly. While 20 percent of residential homes for sale in King County went pending in the first two weeks of going on the market, about 40 percent of homes have been on the market for 60-plus days — Stevenson calls these the “freezer burnt” inventory.

“Homes that are priced correctly are selling quickly, and some still garner multiple offers,” she said. “However, the sellers and listing agents that are still trying to push the market on pricing are seeing their homes sit on the market for a significant number of days, forcing many to make significant price reductions. For sellers, pricing should be a key part of your strategy, and buyers in the market currently can find great opportunities when searching for homes that have been on the market for 60-plus days.”

Mona Spencer, branch manager for John L. Scott’s Redmond office, echoed Stevenson’s thoughts, adding that correctly pricing a home from the start is essential, especially during the winter.

Looking ahead, Stevenson said she typically sees a holiday slowdown in November and December, with decreased new listings. However, she noted that there are still currently a good volume of buyers looking to purchase locally.

“With a decrease in inventory over November and December, coupled with the steady number of buyers still looking to purchase a home, I see January and February being very busy with an increase in home sale prices,” said Stevenson. “Sellers looking to sell their homes in November or December will find less competition against fewer comparable listings, and still a large buyer pool. I’d encourage sellers who are ready to consider putting their home on the market this November or December, given less competition with the bonus of interest rates that are still very low.”

Recently, a handful of local cities earned high ranks on the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual median household income list that measures cities with 65,000 or more residents. Sammamish topped the list this year, with a median household income of $183,038. Redmond, Kirkland and Bellevue also ranked near the top, with median household incomes of $134,844, $119,844 and $113,698, respectively.

Stevenson said she wasn’t surprised to see these cities rank highly on the U.S. Census Bureau’s list, as local home prices in the area are high, even on a national scale.

“I see these areas increasing in home values and resident income over the next few years,” she added. “I do not foresee significant year-over-year increases, but I do see a slow, steady increase in median home prices and resident median income in the years to come.”

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