How strong were June, 2011 real estate sales on Seattle’s Eastside? This summer’s real estate market is going to stay stronger than what we usually see during a Seattle summer. Traditionally, the highest number of homes for sale during a year comes near the end of July. With this increased competition, it can make it more challenging to sell your home. Although the number of eastside homes for sale has increased each month, the increase is nothing like the numbers we’ve seen during June of the last few years.
This year, the number of homes for sale is increasing, but at a much slower pace than last year. In King County as a whole, there are 11,320 properties for sale. Last year at the end of July, there were 14,639 properties on the market. This translates to 33% fewer homes on the market in King County this year. On the eastside, there were 15% less homes for sale in June. Since there’s still a great selection of homes for sale, the smaller number of available homes increases the odds of a home selling.
In fact, we had multiple offers on two listings this week alone. I find we have a lot of showings on our listings, so buyers are definitely out there more than they usually are in the summer months.
The number of sales this past month dipped a little from the previous month, but only by 12 homes. In May, we saw the highest number of homes sell in a month so far this year. As a reminder, in April of last year, there’s a very high number of home sales. This was artificially high as buyers tried to “cash in” on the tax credit. This year, the sales numbers are not inflated by any other issue. Real estate sales are fueled by the amount of job hiring in the area and by buyers who are more willing to move on with their lives, literally.
In June 2011, there were 2880 homes for sale and 661 of these homes had offers. The absorption rate, the number of homes that sold during a month compared to the number for sale, was 23%. Almost one quarter of the Seattle eastside homes for sale sold in June.
How is the real estate market doing in your area? Is it as strong as what we’re seeing here or is a little slower.
If you spend a little money to fix up your home, it will help you make more money when you sell. The little things can help you dress up your home and give you a lot more bang for the buck. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, there are some easy and inexpensive ways to give your home a newer feel. In the eastside neighborhoods of Seattle, it’s important to do some of these updates because buyers still have a lot of homes to choose from. Plus, buyers always think it’s harder to make updates than it really is and it will cost them more to do than it really does cost. This could mean the buyers make a lower offer or they don’t make an offer at all. I always tell my sellers when the buyers walk into the entry, you don’t want the first thing they think to be: “I have to change that brass chandelier in the entryway.” Your goal should be to have the buyers walk in and focus on the home, not something that needs an update. Eliminate an old light fixture before it becomes an issue.
Recently, I made the trip to Home Depot and Seattle Eastside’s Crescent Lighting Store with one of my clients. My goal for this home was to update it with some great looking fixtures, but in as economical way as possible. The home is in excellent condition and shows well, but some new fixtures would dress it up beautifully. The fixtures below are great for traditional homes and work well for homes in the Seattle area that are below the $650,000 price point. More expensive homes may command more expensive fixtures. When you go looking for fixtures, take some photos of your spaces and the existing fixtures. It will help you to pick out the right style for your home.
Below are some of the plumbing and lighting fixtures we picked out:
The lighting fixtures should relate well to one another and share a similar style. If you buy brushed nickel lights, then all of the fixtures should match with a brushed nickel feel. The same should happen with the shades or glass bowls. Many of the bowls today are a smooth frosted look. Again, all of the lighting should have the same glass look. Talk with some of the people working in the store and have them help you to choose lighting that comes from a similar line and works well together.
The total cost for this project was about $500.00. It is $500.00 that is very well spent and will add that finishing touch to a great home. Can you think of some other inexpensive ways to dress up a home?
How well did homes sell in February, 2011 in your neighborhood?
(Click on the cities below to see real estate trends for the past 5 years. You’ll find the median pricing for each city and whether the number of homes for sale and the number of sales went up or down. The odds of selling a home in each area is a result of the number of homes for sale divided by the actual number of home sales, so if 10 out of 100 homes sold, the odds of selling would be 10/100 or 10%)
Thirty-five percent of the homes for sale around Microsoft in Redmond and East Bellevue sold last month. That’s an incredible number and one we haven’t seen for years. Overall, February was the most positive month for eastside home sales in the past several years!
The odds of selling a home were 23%.
Median sales price dropped: $499,995 to $489,990. Home values have been more stable here than anywhere else on the eastside.
There were 605 homes for sale.
A total of 153 homes sold.
The odds of selling a home were 35%.
Median sales price increased by 2% to $430,000 to $439,950.
157 homes were for sale
A total of 57 homes sold.
The odds of selling a home were 25.5%.
Median price decreased from $579,990 to $500,000.
283 homes were for sale.
A total of 83 homes sold.
The odds of selling a home were 24.5%.
Median price was down from $397,000 to $375,000.
549 homes were for sale.
A total of 150 homes sold.
The odds of selling a home were 20%.
Median price increased to $542,725 from $537,500, a 1% increase.
251 homes were for sale.
A total of 60 homes sold.
The odds of selling a home were 18%.
Median pricing was down from $981,750 to $899,000.
174 homes were for sale.
A total of 37 homes sold.
The odds of selling a home were 16%
Median pricing decreased from $474,950 to $450,000.
293 homes were for sale.
A total of 52 homes sold.
If you’d like more specific information about your neighborhood or home, feel free to contact me.
Despite what the media is reporting, February Seattle-eastside real estate sales were the strongest we’ve seen in a very long time. If you look all the way back to December, 2009, there were more real estate sales in February than any other month, except March and April of last year. More homes sold last March and April because of the tax credit. However, this February’s higher sales numbers had nothing to do with a tax credit, but everything to do with buyers being more ready and willing to buy a home. In February there were 2446 homes for sale and 565 homes sold.
The other good news is the number of homes for sale last month was still low when compared to the other months shown on the chart. Because of this, there was a higher percentage of homes selling, 23% in fact.
So far this year, real estate sales on the eastside of Seattle are trending upward. Because of the strong economic base found in such eastside cities as Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, and Issaquah, I believe this trend will continue, at least for the near future.
If the number of homes for sale jumps up, it could have an impact on how quickly homes will sell. If we stay with lower levels of inventory, it should help the homes on the market sell more quickly. But if we end up with numbers like we often do in the summer when we have had 14000+ homes in King County on the market, sales will slow down.
Are you seeing more real estate sales in your neighborhood?
“Distressed Homes Sales Dragging Prices Down” screamed the print version of The Seattle Times, while the online version shouted “Median Home Price in King County Drops in February, Dragged Down by Bank Repos.
Pretty scary headlines. Scary headlines certainly attract readers. Distressed home sales, bank repos and short sales, are out there and affecting home values, but in varying degrees depending on which neighborhood is being discussed. If you read further down in the article:
The percentage of King County single-family homes that fit the “distressed” category in February varied widely by area, according to Windermere’s analysis.
By lumping all of King County together, it gives an inaccurate picture of Seattle real estate. Seattle real estate is far more localized. The neighborhoods of Queen Anne and Capitol Hill are usually the strongest performing areas, while the eastside suburbs of Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, and others are doing better than most of King County. The suburbs of Mercer Island and Medina have few distressed properties for sale.
The chart below gives a picture of the 2010 distressed property sales for all the counties around Seattle. My focus is on Seattle’s eastside neighborhoods, since it’s the market where I work. The eastside data is broken out from the rest of King County, because it’s usually different than the rest of the county. The pattern for distressed sales activity can be seen through 2010. The eastside had less distressed properties for sale than the rest of King County. I expect a similar pattern to continue in 2011, although the numbers may be different. When the 1st quarter numbers are released, I’ll report those numbers.
Irrespective of the distressed sales issue, homes are selling well in some areas. Prices are less than they were, but there are fewer homes for sale in many neighborhoods. So the old law of supply and demand is working in these neighborhoods. Near Microsoft in Redmond, there were three home sales that closed this past week. All the homes sold in less than 8 days. One was for full price, another for slightly over, and one sold for about 2% less than the asking price. Neighborhoods in Kirkland have a lot less homes for sale than is typical.
Distressed home sales are a part of the picture of Seattle eastside real estate, but they are not the complete picture. Too bad the screaming headlines didn’t balance more of the good news with the bad.
What is happening in your neighborhood? Are homes selling? Are there a lot of distressed sales?
The tolls are coming for the 52o bridge from Seattle’s eastside to Seattle starting in March, 2011. Travel across the bridge to Seattle during peak times will set you back $3.50 each way. The cost is less during other hours of the day. In fact, if you head across the lake during the middle of the night, it’s a lot less money!
I’m wondering how the new tolls will impact how you live. What got me thinking of this was when a client called me about moving. Last year he was hoping to move his family to Seattle. Since both he and his wife work on the eastside, he’s now looking at Bellevue and Mercer Island.
Will the new tolls impact how you commute?
Will you rely more on public transportation?
Will you try to go across the lake during off-peak hours?
Are you considering a move to the side of the lake where you work?
Do you think the tolls will cause more people move?
Do tell what you think.
Snow in Seattle in February? Sounds impossible but with temperatures predicted to go down into the 20’s later this week, it’s possible. If you need a cure for the wintertime blues check out Molbak’s in Woodinville. It’s a springtime frenzy with gorgeous flowering plants.
Whites, blues, purples, pinks, and reds.
Molbak’s is a feel good kind of place that will remind you spring is just around the corner. I’m sure if you check your yard you’ll find things starting to bloom and come back to life as I did in my front yard.
I’ve been on a major recycling binge these days, so here are some things I did, along with some other tips, that you can do to recycle in the Seattle area.
Got Electronics to Recycle?
(I bet you have a few things at home that look like these!)
Saturday, November 13
9 am to 3 pm
Kirkland Congregational Church, UCC
106 – 5th Avenue, Kirkland, 98033
COME ON DOWN!
Some of the many things you can recycle for free:
Appliances-any size, no limit
TV’s, car batteries, computers, monitors, printers (data destruction
Medical equipment, ink toner & cartridges
Scrap Metal: bikes, tools, BBQs, lawn mowers, metal furniture,
See 1greenplanet for a complete list of items you can recycle.
Cash donations to Kirkland Congregational Church for providing this
service are welcome. Your donations will help support the ministry,
mission, and outreach programs of the Church of Mary Magdalene, a
homeless shelter in Seattle for women and children and families.
Not able to make Saturday’s Recycling event? I know I can’t make it, but recently I was able to recycle my old electronics. You can also drop things off to 1greenplanet, but 3RTechnology is another great place to recycle your electronics safely and cheaply. They are located just south of Safeco field in the SoDo district of Seattle. Hey, if you can make it to Safeco Field, you can make it there!
Here’s our car loaded with old equipment we were able to recycle.
Got paper? I recently recycled 32 boxes of old real estate files! And this isn’t even all of the boxes I have had from my 23 years in real estate! I recycled the paper and boxes from transactions I’ve worked on from the early 90’s through 2003. In the past, I recycled years 1987-1993. We used DataSite Northwest, which is near downtown Bellevue and has a Seattle location. Our station wagon has come in handy this past month for all these recycling trips.
I still have 25 boxes left of files I must keep for 7 years. These files go back to 2003. I’m going to be smarter from now on and recycle the files I can at the beginning of each calendar year. (We have to keep our files going back 7 years.)
Got hazardous materials at home?
Are you a senior who needs help getting rid of your Hazardous materials?
King County has a program to pick up hazardous materials for seniors who have difficulty disposing of the materials. The county will take batteries, paints, oil, solvents and other things. The website has a list of what they will pick up. They will not pick up electronics, so the other two places above are the best bet for recycling those ancient computers and TV’s.
Do you have other suggestions for recycling either electronics or hazardous waste in the Seattle area?