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!

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May 17, 2021

Mortgage rates rise, but remain under 3%

For the second consecutive week, mortgage rates managed to hold steady below 3%, rising one basis point last week to 2.98%, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

In light of the rising COVID-19 caseloads globally, U.S. Treasury yields stopped moving up a month ago and have remained within a narrow range as the market responds to incoming economic data, noted Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. While traders typically become hesitant ahead of economic speeches from the Federal Reserve, the FOMC once again did not change its stance on inflation and asset purchases, despite forward economic recovery.

Overall, Fed purchases helped to drive mortgage rates and other loan interest rates to the lowest level on record in 2020 by boosting competition for bonds, which compresses yields.

“The good news is that with rates under three percent, refinancing continues to be attractive for many borrowers who financed before 2020,” Khater said. “But, for eager buyers, especially first-time homebuyers, inventory continues to be extremely tight and competition for available homes to purchase remains high.”

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Posted in Finance
April 27, 2021

Home sellers are feeling good about 2021

Home sellers are chomping at the bit. As the economy reopens, vaccinations continue to roll out and stimulus checks reach bank accounts across America, home sellers are increasingly optimistic.

And despite fierce bidding wars, competition from institutional investors and sore wrists from writing dozens of heartfelt letters to home sellers, even buyers are growing in courage these days.

Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI), a composite index designed to track the housing market and consumer confidence to sell or buy a home, increased in March by 5.2 points to 81.7.

Four of the HPSI’s six components increased month over month, including the components related to homebuying and home selling conditions, household income, and home prices. The mortgage rate outlook component experienced the only decline in March’s HPSI, with the latest results indicating that only 6% of consumers believe that mortgage rates will decrease over the next 12 months.

Fannie Mae Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Doug Duncan said the March HPSI increase reflects consumer optimism toward the housing market and the economy in general.

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Posted in Real Estate
April 18, 2021

Seattle home to new trial to test updated Moderna

Seattle is one of four cities taking part in a new Phase One clinical trial for an updated coronavirus vaccine.

The brand-new trial will test a Moderna vaccine that's been slightly altered to better protect against the coronavirus variant first found in South Africa.

The trial is taking place at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute and joins other trials under way in Atlanta, Nashville and Cincinnati.

The purpose of this trial is to get a first look at the safety and efficacy of this version of the vaccine.

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Posted in News
April 17, 2021

High home listings added in Seattle area in March

The Seattle-area housing market in March was marked with bidding wars as buyers continued to compete for the limited number of homes on the market, according to a new report.

According to the latest report from Northwest Multiple Listing Service, brokers across Western Washington added the highest number of new listings to the market since September. But, even with the increase in listings, it didn't stop buyers from snatching up the homes just as quickly, making the total active inventory for the month far lower than it was at the same time last year.

“There’s no April fooling when it comes to how hot the housing market is right now,” said J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L Scott Real Estate. “In King, Snohomish, Pierce and Kitsap counties, the current spring market we’re seeing is one of the best on record.”

In March in King County there were 4,117 new listings added to the market, up from the same time last year when brokers added 3, 787 new listings. It was also far more than February of this year, when there were fewer than 3,000 new listings added. But, total active inventory in March continued to be low — about 37% less than it was at the same time last year.

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Posted in Real Estate
April 15, 2021

Asking prices of newly listed homes reach all-time high

Home prices are sky-high, and a recent report from Redfin underlines that point with some staggering data.

Median home-sale prices increased 17% year-over-year to $335,613 – a record high, per data taken from more than 400 metro areas during the four-week period ending March 28, 2021. And asking prices of newly listed homes rose 14% year-over-year to $353,500, another all-time high.

Pending home sales were up 38% from the same period in 2020 — and up 28% from the same period 2019 — but pending sales grew just 0.9% from Redfin’s previous four-week report.

Sales in general are still high, per Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather — 59% of homes that went under contract in the current four-week period had an accepted offer within the first two weeks on the market — but the recent low numbers suggest some homebuyers have reached their limit on high home prices and bidding wars.

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Posted in Finance
March 24, 2021

Current homebuying market conditions may lead to a bubble

Home prices have skyrocketed in the past year, and data from Redfin backs up what buyers, sellers, and agents have known for months.

The national average of home prices rose 14.4% year-over-year to $336,200 in February – the largest increase since July 2013, according to the latest report from Redfin. Closed home sales were up 5% from a year earlier and pending sales rose 21%. In all, the seasonally-adjusted number of homes sold totaled 627,400 in February.

That’s with unprecedented winter storms hitting most of the South in February, too.

As proof of the impact of the country’s low inventory and high cost of building materials, new listings fell 16% – the second-largest decline on record since Redfin’s data began in 2012, only passed by the drop in April 2020.

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Posted in Real Estate
March 23, 2021

Mortgage rates just moved sharply higher

Mortgage rates bounced higher again this week, making homebuying even more expensive at the start of the all-important spring market.

With home prices skyrocketing, any rise in rates knocks even more potential buyers out of the running, and yet somehow the housing market is more competitive than ever.

The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage hit its last low of 2.75% at the end of January, and has since climbed pretty steadily, according to Mortgage News Daily. After a sizeable move overnight, it now stands at 3.45%.

“Since the beginning of February, the total damage is nearly 3/4ths of a percent, making it one of the biggest moves in any 6 weeks, ever,” said Matthew Graham, chief operating officer at Mortgage News Daily.

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Posted in News
March 17, 2021

Mortgage rates jump to 2.81%

After three weeks of unchanged rates, the average mortgage rate for a 30-year fixed loan jumped 8 basis points to 2.81%, reaching its highest point since mid-November, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

While economic spending has improved, due to the most recent stimulus, supply chain shortages are causing downstream inflation, leading to higher mortgage rates, said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

“While there are multiple temporary factors driving up rates, the underlying economic fundamentals point to rates remaining in the low 3 percent range for the year,” Khater said.

Recently, the 10-year yield has struggled to breach 1.20%. However, the uptrend in the bond market since the lows of August 2020 is intact. As vaccination data, COVID cases, and signs of inflation get better, the 10-year yield in time will likely rise, taking mortgage rates higher with it.

As mortgage rates come off of their historic lows, mortgage applications followed suit, dropping for the second week, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association. Notably, the refinance share of activity dropped to 69.3% for the week ending Feb. 18, the first time it’s been below 70% since October.

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Posted in Finance
March 16, 2021

Next Phase Of Vaccinations To Begin March 22

Washington's next phase of vaccinations will begin later this month.

Speaking at a news conference Thursday, Gov. Jay Inslee announced that, based on current vaccination trajectories, the state could enter the next tier of vaccinations on March 22.

That next tier, Phase 1B2, makes a half dozen more groups eligible for vaccination — largely essential employees who work in congregate settings. It includes:

Workers in agriculture and food processing.
Grocery store workers.
Public transit employees.
First responders, law enforcement, and firefighters.
Corrections employees at jails and detention centers.

Critically, 1B2 also includes anyone 16 and older who is either pregnant or has a disability that puts them at higher risk.

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Posted in News
March 13, 2021

New Mass Vaccination Site at Lumen Field

Partnering with Swedish, UW Medicine, First & Goal Inc. and state government, the city of Seattle announced plans to open a mass vaccination site at Lumen Field Event Center in mid-March. According to KIRO 7, the site will be able to initially administer 5,000 doses per week, and potentially increase to 150,000 per week as supplies allow. Seattle Mayor, Jenny Durkan, called opening the site “an important step to significantly increase our vaccination rate in Seattle.”

Appointments at Lumen Field will prioritize BIPOC communities and organizations serving them, as well as older adults, immigrants, and refugees, but people who qualify for the vaccine according to the state’s phase plan will also be able to register. Governor Inslee announced Tuesday that teachers and licensed childcare workers are now eligible to make vaccination appointments, moving them up to Washington’s Phase 1B-Tier 1. According to the Washington State Department of Health website, others who are also currently eligible for the vaccine are “anyone 65 and older, and all people 50 and older who also live in a multigenerational household, health care workers at high risk for COVID-19 infection, first responders, people who live or work in long-term care facilities, and all other workers in health settings who are at risk of COVID-19.”

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Posted in News