Seattle Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

 

Jan. 16, 2020

US pending home sales rise in November

Contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes rose in November, driven by a surge in new contracts being signed in the country’s West, the National Association of Realtors said on Monday.

The NAR’s pending home sales index, based on contracts signed last month, increased 1.2% to a reading of 108.5. The previous month’s reading was revised upward.

Pending home contracts are seen as a forward-looking indicator of the health of the housing market because they become sales one to two months later.

Compared with one year ago, pending sales were up 7.4%.

Find more information at: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/12/30/us-pending-home-sales-rise-in-november.html

Dec. 26, 2019

Mortgage brokers are not obsolete

Mortgage brokers have apparently reclaimed both their reputations and their market share in recent years according to Archana Pradhan, a risk management analyst for CoreLogic. She writes in the company's blog that brokers' share of the conventional conforming mortgage market hit 16 percent earlier this year. While this is only half its share before the housing crisis when it accounted for about one-third of originations, it has doubled since 2011.

Mortgage brokers' reputation for loan quality took a substantial hit during and immediately after the crisis as foreclosure rates jumped. Their market share began to slip in 2008 as some lenders stopped offering credit through this channel. It had fallen to 7 percent by 2011. Now that their business is returning, Pradhan says their loans are performing well.

According to CoreLogic's Loan Performance Insights Report, the serious delinquency rate nationally, that is loans that are 90 or more days past due or in foreclosure, was 1.3 percent in July. This is down 0.6 point since the prior July. By comparison, that portion of loans originated by mortgage brokers had substantially lower rates, at least for those with loan to value ratios between 70 to 80 percent and debt-to-income ratios of 30 to 40 percent. That rate in July was 0.8 percent, down from 1.0 percent a year earlier. The rates are a 12-year low.

Click here for more information: http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/11202019_loan_performance.asp

Posted in Finance
Dec. 24, 2019

Mobile gas delivery service comes to Seattle

As a designated “chief fueling officer” of the family, Frank Mycroft found himself at his local Seattle gas station, sitting in line for the second time in a day. There had to be a better way.

The former Boeing engineer would go on to help launch Booster Fuels, a high-tech mobile fuel delivery startup that was founded in Seattle but soon relocated to the Bay Area.

Now, after raising nearly $90 million and delivering millions of gallons of gas, Booster is making a return to Seattle, launching its service across the region as part of a nationwide expansion.

The 4-year-old company uses its purple-branded trucks to fill up tanks on corporate campuses. Fortune 500 giants such as eBay, HPE, and Cisco use Booster to provide a fueling perk for employees. Health clubs and retail centers are customers as well.

Click here for more information: https://www.geekwire.com/2019/booster-fuels-brings-mobile-gas-delivery-service-seattle-region-part-nationwide-expansion/

Posted in Local News
Dec. 23, 2019

Seattle is ‘a notable exception’ for stalled home

In recent years Seattle was a standout among major U.S. cities for its soaring home prices.

Now, it’s an exception for home prices that stood still.

The metro area’s median home price in April was unchanged from 12 months earlier — the only one of 20 markets where prices did not rise over that period, according to the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller data.

While the cooling of torrid home-price increases is a nationwide phenomenon, the shift in Seattle is different.

“Year-over-year price gains remain positive in most cities, though at diminishing rates of change. Seattle is a notable exception, where the year-over-year change has decreased from 13.1% in April 2018 to 0.0% in April 2019,” said Philip Murphy, managing director at S & P Dow Jones Indices, in a statement.

Click here for more information: https://www.seattletimes.com/business/real-estate/seattle-is-a-notable-exception-for-stalled-home-prices/

Posted in Real Estate
Dec. 22, 2019

What you should ask before you refinance your mortgage

This time last year, there was one thing most real estate economists could agree on: Mortgage rates would keep drifting upward. Economists at the Mortgage Bankers Association and Freddie Mac predicted that rates on a 30-year mortgage would hover at 5.1 percent in 2019, while Realtor.com’s chief economist thought rates might touch 5.5 percent by the end of this year. Zillow predicted rates would hit 5.8 percent, “territory not seen since the dark days of 2008.’’

Instead, mortgage rates seemed to hop on an L.L.Bean toboggan last December and coast merrily downhill to a three-year low in September. That fueled a flurry of refinancing and the best quarter for mortgage lenders in more than a decade.

“We’re seeing a massive uptick in refinance activity this year that we did not plan on,’’ said Shant Bonosian, branch manager at Guaranteed Rate in Waltham. “We’ve refinanced more people already this year than we have in the last three years combined.’’

Click here for more information: https://realestate.boston.com/ask-the-expert/2019/11/26/what-ask-before-refinance-mortgage/

Posted in Finance
Dec. 21, 2019

The history of rail between Seattle and Tacoma

Anyone who rides the Sounder trains around the region or shuttles across town on Link light rail might feel like these mass transit webs are modern amenities. They would be wrong. Regional rail service dates back to statehood itself. Like most aspects of life on the Puget Sound, it also has ties to the rivalry for economic supremacy between Tacoma and Seattle.

Anyone with a working knowledge of local history will remember that Tacoma outpaced the backwater of Seattle during the 1870s, particularly after the Northern Pacific Railroad selected the City of Destiny as the terminus for its transcontinental railroad in 1873.

Seattle feared that it would be cut off from the rest of the economic boom in the growing West Coast if it didn’t have rail service to bring settlers – and their dollars – to the Emerald City and to shuttle its lumber and products to markets back East. That changed when Henry Villard gained controlling shares of the Northern Pacific and pledge to run rails between Tacoma and Seattle, where he just happened to have significant real estate holdings he was interested in selling.

Click here for more information: http://www.southsoundtalk.com/2019/09/27/rail-service-between-seattle-and-tacoma-dates-back-more-than-a-century/

Posted in Real Estate
Dec. 20, 2019

Another housing boom has begun

Bill Brame edited Star Trek films before he took up “house flipping.”

During the housing boom, Bill was often “turning around” 14 houses at once with three crews of renovators working full time. In 2004, he paid $400,000 for a house in Hollywood, California. A year later he flipped it for $1.2 million.

Back then, flipping houses was the most profitable side-job in America. Buy a house, fit it with a new kitchen, sell it for a big mark-up, repeat. In 2006, one in every 10 homes was bought to flip!

Find more information here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/stephenmcbride1/2019/10/14/the-biggest-housing-boom-in-history-has-just-begun/#27bb06c425b0

Posted in Real Estate
Dec. 19, 2019

U.S. Real Estate Predictions for 2020

With the end of the year only weeks away, the real estate market predictions for 2020 are rolling in. The latest comes from the economic research team at Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored buyer of mortgage loans.
New Predictions for the U.S. Real Estate Market in 2020

According to Freddie Mac’s latest set of predictions, issued on October 31, the U.S. real estate market will “continue to firm” as home sales increase. In fact, they believe housing is currently one of the brighter spots in the U.S. economy.

Their chief economist, Sam Khater, said that despite a global economic slowdown the U.S. real estate market “remains on solid ground with housing starts, building permits, existing home sales, and new home sales all outperforming the broader economy.”

Find more info here:http://www.homebuyinginstitute.com/news/real-estate-more-of-the-same/

Posted in Real Estate
Dec. 18, 2019

Seattle commute one of the worst in US

As commute times increase, the drive to work may be driving people to look for new jobs.

According to a new survey from Robert Half, 45 percent of people say their trip to the office is too long – up from 30 percent in a similar 2017 survey.

The survey found that Chicago, Miami, New York and San Francisco had the most workers who quit a job because of a bad commute.

Seattle topped the list of cities where workers say that their commute has gotten worse – followed by Denver, Austin and San Francisco.

Workers also said the stress of longer travel times can make them less productive on the job.

Find more information here: https://mynorthwest.com/1585916/seattle-commute-worst-in-country-survey/

Posted in Local News
Dec. 17, 2019

Biggest real estate investment opportunities

Where are opportunities in real estate? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Bill Walker, Chief Revenue Officer at Unison, on Quora:

When considering the depth and breadth of the real estate industry there are myriad opportunities that could be included from realtors, appraisers, inspectors and attorneys to architects, general contractors and tradespeople to all things supporting home ownership like insurance agents, home improvement stores and their staff. In fact, according to the NAHB, housing accounts for 15-18% of the nation’s economy through either direct residential investment or through consumption spending on residential services.

Find more information here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2019/11/11/what-are-the-biggest-opportunities-in-real-estate-right-now/#1c8a63f54328

Posted in Local News