W[REPORT] https://getthewreport.com Blog Fri, 19 Jun 2020 17:49:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.2 https://i0.wp.com/getthewreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/cropped-site_icon-1.jpg?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 W[REPORT] https://getthewreport.com 32 32 156950321 Windermere Insights: How Low Inventory is Influencing the Market https://getthewreport.com/the-state-of-real-estate/windermere-insights-how-low-inventory-is-influencing-the-market/ Fri, 19 Jun 2020 00:47:26 +0000 https://getthewreport.com/?p=3200 The local real estate market is recovering so well from the statewide shutdown that it may soon have a hard time keeping up with itself. While active listings are being snapped up by assertive buyers, new inventory is being added at a relative snail’s pace. May and June have seen so much homebuyer demand that […]

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The local real estate market is recovering so well from the statewide shutdown that it may soon have a hard time keeping up with itself. While active listings are being snapped up by assertive buyers, new inventory is being added at a relative snail’s pace. May and June have seen so much homebuyer demand that housing stock in some areas has dipped to unprecedentedly low levels.

Although there was already ample concern about our region’s housing supply pre-pandemic, the inventory squeeze was exacerbated by the shutdown. Buyers never really stepped out of the market, despite the onset and risks of COVID-19, while sellers mostly stayed on the sidelines. The resulting demand-supply crunch creates a cycle in which buyers compete aggressively for fewer and fewer units, absorbing active inventory faster than the market can be resupplied.

“While we see more sellers getting ready to list,” observed Pat Grimm, owner of Windermere Capitol Hill, “every week that those homes don’t go on the market, we risk losing buyers to what I’d call a reasonable fatigue.”

Grimm pointed to Seattle’s imbalanced market activity in the first half of June. Pending sales of single family homes were up 21% from the same period last year, despite a 45% reduction in the number of active listings. By mid-month, there remained a paltry 0.8 months’ supply of homes for sale, based on pending sales. Low inventory led Seattle buyers to purchase homes and condos faster and for higher prices than in June 2019.

“Sellers should benefit from this dynamic,” Grimm said, “if they can undertake a move at this stage of the re-opening.”

On the Eastside, the market is undergoing a similar push-pull, according to Joe Deasy, co-owner of Windermere East Inc. “Active listings are being absorbed faster than we can get new For Sale signs up,” he observed. With month-to-date pending sales activity up 21% this June versus last, Deasy noted that the Eastside’s supply of homes is down to only 0.9 months. 

Through the first half of June Eastside single family home listings were down 46% from the same period last year, while there were 28% fewer condo listings. “There’s a bottleneck happening, and we could see sales drop unless we bring more homes to market,” Deasy said. “But more listings will lead to more sales,” he added.

One community that has been keenly watching its real estate market dynamics is West Seattle. Hit by the double whammy of the shutdown and the bridge closure, brokers there were wondering how May and June numbers would stack up for this “small town” within the city.

It turns out that West Seattle is experiencing the same demand-supply issue as other local areas. In the first half of June, the supply of single family homes for sale was down 31% from last year. Based on a 9% increase in month-to-date pending sales, the supply of homes stands at just one month.

“Ours is still a seller’s market,” said Larry Johnson, general manager of Windermere’s West Seattle office. “June has seen faster market times and higher selling prices on the units that have gone pending.” The squeeze on West Seattle homes has also led buyers to move on condos, Johnson noted, with month-to-date pending sales up 56% over last year and average sold prices up by 22%.

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The Economic Impacts of COVID-19 on Commercial Real Estate https://getthewreport.com/the-state-of-real-estate/economic-impacts-of-covid-19-on-commercial-real-estate/ Fri, 19 Jun 2020 00:43:36 +0000 https://getthewreport.com/?p=3195 Over the last few months, Matthew Gardner has kept us updated on how COVID-19 may impact home prices and mortgage rates, as well as the rental market and economy at large. Last month, we looked at how the governor’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy shutdown order affected real estate in Seattle and on the Eastside, as […]

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Over the last few months, Matthew Gardner has kept us updated on how COVID-19 may impact home prices and mortgage rates, as well as the rental market and economy at large. Last month, we looked at how the governor’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy shutdown order affected real estate in Seattle and on the Eastside, as well as the luxury and new construction markets.

As businesses across the state transition into phases of reopening, many have been wondering how commercial real estate has weathered the coronavirus pandemic and economic shutdown. The W Report spoke with Tiffini Connell, Principal and Managing Broker at West Coast Commercial Realty, a business partner of Windermere’s co-presidents, to get an inside look from someone on the front lines of commercial real estate in our region.

All in all, our region’s real estate markets remain resilient. Residential real estate has recovered from temporary reductions in sales seen in the first few weeks of the shutdown and, according to Connell, the outlook for the retail commercial market is currently looking optimistic as well.

W Report: What are you seeing as short-term and long-term impacts of COVID-19 on commercial real estate?

Tiffini Connell: While it’s hard to say what exactly will pan out at this point, there are some factors to watch that look encouraging and opportunistic, at least in the retail sector. Low to mid-range investment purchases have some upside right now because of lower interest rates and SBA funding, so owner-users in particular might find some great opportunities. On the retail and small office leasing front, we are seeing many landlords giving incentives to bridge what we are hoping will only be challenging in the short term.

Most (tenants and landlords) believe that pent up demand will return us to a strong market relatively soon, as compared to the last recession.

Incentives, such as longer build out periods or reduced rent during phased openings, currently seem to be a good compromise between what tenants are needing in the short term, while leveraging the benefit of the location and opportunity for them and also preserving the landlord’s longer-term investment.

WR: How has COVID-19 impacted long-term demands for office space?

TC: I think it’s still up in the air. I don’t think it’s set in stone that WFH will be a long-term trend. I keep hearing that it will be a longer-term trend in the mainstream, but that’s not what I’m hearing at my micro-conversation level. Many people, especially younger workers, are showing signs that they want to be back at the office, but maybe with a more flexible work schedule. Additionally, there has long been a demand for small office space in neighborhood locations and I think this will go up as people decide they want to work out of their house, but they don’t want to work far from home. I am seeing this uptick in calls recently and I expect this to continue.

WR: How has retail been impacted? What are your predictions for brick-and-mortar?

TC: I’m in my 17th year in the industry and nothing stays the same. Retail in particular is not for the faint of heart. It’s built on a combination of need, desire, value, connection and constant change and innovation. They provide tax revenue, jobs and needed products and services to the communities we love while balancing changes in supply, demand, workforce, delivery, governance and competition. Bottom line, retail has been around since barter and trade and it’s not going anywhere. In my opinion, it’s one of the most creative, flexible and resilient industries and the landlords, buildings and land that can give them the chance to stay flexible will be in high demand.

So, while this period has presented some new challenges, it’s definitely not a new narrative. If you live, work or invest in retail real estate, you have to be comfortable with change. Our society has proven time and time again that we love our bricks-and-mortar retailers. The trends continue to support this model. They adapt. We adapt. If we stay flexible and responsive, we can thrive.

WR: Restaurants have been interesting to watch during this time, because their business models shifted quickly in response to the shutdown. What are you seeing as long-term impacts on restaurant spaces?

TC: Restaurants have proven themselves to be the cornerstone of our communities for generations. They are working hard to change their operational models as we speak, and many have thrived during this period and will continue doing so. Those that fail, often — though not always — had issues prior to the pandemic and this was, unfortunately, the coup de grace.

I would never want to make light of the very real issues and very real pressure the industry is under right now, but, like many things in life, there are shining examples of resiliency and opportunity all around us. In just the last two weeks (ever since we could start to show commercial property again) over half of the incoming calls on available space that I have listed have been from restaurants. Most of the deals I am working on advancing right now are with this category.

Restaurants have been the backbone of community retail and will always be the case. They will look different and they will have different needs and demands, but the category will continue to be something we as an industry and a society will find benefit from in supporting.

WR: Do you have restaurant clients who were about to start buildouts that are forging ahead? Or holding off?

TC: One of my regional restaurant clients is going to sit tight for a while. But a different multi-state, independent operator is forging ahead. They were able to pivot quickly to a delivery-only model and, in some cases, sales increased. I use these two examples, because it’s fairly indicative of the types of situations out there. Some will sit tight and build reserves, some will pivot the model and go chase deals.

There are also some who will have opportunities to lease locations that they might have previously been in more competition for. They now have a better chance at securing these locations, which will drive expansion. And, sadly, there will be fully built-out spaces that will be vacated. But that provides a great foundation for the next business to plug-and-play. It’s a mixed bag, but it’s not all doom and gloom.

WR: How are grocery clients faring due to COVID-19?

TC: Grocers don’t share sales data because the industry is so competitive, so this information is really held close to the vest. In general though, I have heard that grocery is up 25% nationally. I’ve also read that hardware, housewares and alcohol sales are all up. I’m aware that many regional grocers continue to look at expansion opportunities. PCC, a personal favorite, just opened their newest location in Seattle’s Central District this week.

WR: How has the pandemic affected your listings that were active before the shutdown? Now that commercial real estate is reopening, is there an uptick in interest?

TC: We continued to see regular interest and advancing of deals throughout the shutdown, but we did experience a total stall during the second half of April before the Governor released the Phasing guidelines for re-opening. There was good momentum prior to that, because many people felt this will ultimately be a short-term crisis. But without a plan, people became very reluctant to make their own plan. It was understandable. Once the guidelines were released, activity increased again, and it has been like a firehose since we’ve been able to show property.

Like residential real estate, there is pent up demand. Will that translate to signed deals in a time frame we are used to seeing pre-pandemic? I don’t know yet, but strong activity tends to indicate a higher probability of deals closing. People in my world don’t tend to want to see spaces unless they are going to move forward, so I am feeling optimistic.

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Seattle’s Housing Market Remains Resilient Despite COVID-19 https://getthewreport.com/the-state-of-real-estate/seattles-housing-market-remains-resilient-despite-covid-19/ Fri, 19 Jun 2020 00:41:37 +0000 https://getthewreport.com/?p=3186 The Seattle area housing market in May continued to show resiliency amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, with increases compared to the previous month in new listings and pending sales. A report from Northwest Multiple Listing Service — which covers 23 counties in the region — showed King County had 3,585 new listings during May, compared […]

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The Seattle area housing market in May continued to show resiliency amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, with increases compared to the previous month in new listings and pending sales.

A report from Northwest Multiple Listing Service — which covers 23 counties in the region — showed King County had 3,585 new listings during May, compared with 2,707 new listings that came on the market during April. The total number of active listings in King County also went up slightly month over month, from 3,255 in April to 3,467 in May.

“The market has proved to be very resilient,” Northwest Multiple Listing Service Director Mike Larson said in a news release.

But the number of active listings in May of this year was still about 40% lower than the total active listings in May of last year, according to the report.

The report also found pending sales in King County went up month over month, from 2,246 to 3,358. But the number of pending sales was about 20% lower than it was at the same time last year.

The median home price for closed sales in King County dropped month over month, from $650,000 to $627,000.

“I don’t think anyone should be surprised that home prices in King County took a ‘breather’ in May,” said Matthew Gardner, Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist. “Clearly COVID-19 was the cause for this drop, but I’m confident this is a temporary situation that will be reversed as King County starts to reopen, and fresher inventory comes to market.”

Gardner said he expects prices to go up again in the months ahead.

While the local housing market is still hot, it looks a bit different than in previous years. The number of new listings dropped in the first few months of the shutdown, but homes going under contract (pending sales) are on the road to recovery.

The pandemic caused some sellers to put their sale on pause, compounding the fact that the Seattle housing market was already experiencing low inventory and strong buyer demand.

The drastically low inventory is posing some challenges, making it feel like there just aren’t enough homes. Properties under $1 million are selling quickly, with new listings going pending after just a few days on the market. Bidding wars and multiple offer situations are again becoming commonplace. A balance in the market is unlikely until more sellers decide to list their homes and new construction accelerates to meet demand.

Since the start of the pandemic, real estate agents have been taking advantage of technology, doing virtual tours and using social media to interact with clients. Even as the pandemic put much of life on hold, people have continued needing to sell and buy homes.

While experts have said that uncertainty remains about the long-term impacts the coronavirus pandemic may have on the housing market and the region as a whole, real estate agents are staying positive. The market is strong with improving outlooks week over week.

A version of this article was first published on seattlepi.com by Becky Savransky.

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Reopening Real Estate, the Right Way https://getthewreport.com/the-state-of-real-estate/reopening-real-estate-the-right-way/ Fri, 19 Jun 2020 00:41:19 +0000 https://getthewreport.com/?p=3204 As King County enters Phase 2 of reopening, residential real estate services providers must follow a strict set of rules. These control how brokers may conduct business inside and outside their offices and homes for sale (listings). Windermere has developed protocols for reopening that meet or exceed all of the state requirements. From the beginning […]

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As King County enters Phase 2 of reopening, residential real estate services providers must follow a strict set of rules. These control how brokers may conduct business inside and outside their offices and homes for sale (listings).

Windermere has developed protocols for reopening that meet or exceed all of the state requirements. From the beginning of the shutdown, we have lived by the mantra “Go slow, do no harm.” This philosophy remains firmly in place during the current reopening phase.

Staying Safe: Inside a Listing

Pete Richmond, owner of Windermere’s Greenwood office, discussed how brokers and their vendors must follow strict guidelines when inside a listed home. “For safety reasons, we can’t allow more than three people – including ourselves – inside a listing at once,” Richmond said. He noted that all visitors must observe social distancing guidelines and that all activities inside a listing must take place by appointment only. “So we can’t host open houses, other than by virtual means like live-streaming,” he added.

During Phase 2, brokers and their vendors must wear face coverings at all times when inside a listing. Richmond pointed out that Windermere brokers are encouraged to provide masks, gloves, booties and hand sanitizer to each vendor or client entering a listing.

“Normally we’re required to leave a business card in every home we preview,” Richmond said, explaining that this obligation has been suspended during COVID-19. “We’re also no longer traveling in the same car as clients or colleagues,” he added.

Staying Safe: In the Office

Windermere offices in King County have moved to reopen and are operating under a strict set of guidelines that brokers and staff must follow.

Deanne Wilson, co-owner of Windermere East Inc., and Laura Smith, co-owner of Windermere Co., used the state’s Safe Start guide to establish a reopening plan for their 12 offices. “We’re doing everything possible to keep everyone safe by following the protocols established by the state,” Wilson said.

Windermere’s reopened offices have implemented numerous rules, including restrictions on the amount of people allowed inside at any one time. While staff are permitted in the office to perform essential functions, employees rotate between being onsite and working from home. Total occupancy may not exceed 50% during Phase 2. Visitors must have appointments to enter the office and must limit visits to 30 minutes.

Brokers and staff must observe social distancing at all times. They also must wear face coverings when entering and leaving the office, while in common areas, and whenever not working alone. Windermere kitchens are closed, office entry is required through the primary entrance only, and smaller conference rooms where social distancing is not possible have been closed.

Windermere offices are providing masks, gloves and hand sanitizer to brokers, staff, and the limited number of guests who enter. Many offices have installed sneeze guards to protect front office personnel. They have also installed sanitizing stations at entry points and in common areas. “We’ve even rearranged furniture to encourage social distancing,” Wilson said.

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June Happenings: Plan a State-cation https://getthewreport.com/happenings/june-statecation-ideas/ Thu, 18 Jun 2020 23:05:31 +0000 https://getthewreport.com/?p=3180 As the weather turns warmer and counties across the state move through the phases of reopening, our mind turns to getting out of the house and getting away for a bit. Coronavirus remains a concern and extra precautions (particularly masks and social distancing) need to be taken this year, but that doesn’t put a damper […]

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As the weather turns warmer and counties across the state move through the phases of reopening, our mind turns to getting out of the house and getting away for a bit. Coronavirus remains a concern and extra precautions (particularly masks and social distancing) need to be taken this year, but that doesn’t put a damper on vacation plans. “Nonessential travel” is permissible in Phase 3 of Governor Inslee’s reopening plan, which many parts of the state will reach by the end of June. If you’re itching to get out – for a day, a weekend, or even longer – avoid airports with these staycation ideas across the state!

If you’re traveling out of town, remember to pack masks, practice social distancing, and plan ahead. Double-check what’s open (including trailheads and parks, activities, restaurants and rest stops along your way), and if there are any travel notices or mandatory ordinances in place at your destination. 

Kick Back & Relax in
Local Style

With its lush, sprawling landscapes (including the gorgeous grounds of Chateau St. Michelle), ample wineries and tasting rooms, Woodinville often feels worlds away and is an ideal destination if you’d like a change of scenery without spending a lot of time behind the wheel. With Willow’s Lodge’s new Road to Relaxation package, you’ll feel whisked away to a serene retreat. With some operational changes and temporary closures (the sauna, pool, and Barking Frog dining room, for example) in place, Willows Lodge offers personal in-spa services, complimentary bicycles for exploring the countryside or Burke-Gilman trail, plus its renowned food and beverage to enjoy on private patios or in spacious outdoor seating areas.

Glamorous Glamping

The Vintages Trailer Resort in the heart of the Willamette Valley gives glamping a retro-inspired upgrade with 35 full-restored and new custom-fabricated (stationary) trailers. Complete with outdoor grills, complementary mini fire pits, lounging spots, cruiser bicycles – and even an outdoor soaking tub! – these trailers make it easy to enjoy a getaway while keeping plenty of space between guests. They offer enhanced cleaning measures and unique packages for stay-and-play fun.

Wine & Dine in Walla Walla

The Walla Walla wine country is ready for visitors with resorts and hotels reopening. A true vacation destination, there’s no shortage of activities. Known for its wineries, Walla Walla is also home to breweries to cideries and distilleries. There’s also golfing, hiking, museums, shopping, and day spas. Visit Walla Walla’s website for travel updates and to plan your trip. 

Head to the Coast

While some of our state’s island getaways may slowly reopen to tourism and trips, the Washington coast offers similar feelings of seclusion and peace with plentiful activities —wine tours and local breweries to biking and hiking trails, beaches and more.

Beach towns along the coast, from Ocean Shores to Westpoint to Long Beach, are open to visitors. Along the way lie plenty of other opportunities for activities. From bike paths to wildlife refuges, restaurants and fishing spots. There’s no shortage of things to do and see here.

The Olympic National Park is in a phased reopening of its own. While some locations, trails, campgrounds and visitor centers remain closed as of mid-June, there are plenty of areas open for day recreation including the Hoh Rainforest, the Kaloloch area (plus the lodge and mercantile), and the Lake Crescent area. Visit the park’s website for updates and alerts.

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Local Market Update – June 2020 https://getthewreport.com/local-economy/local-market-update-june-2020/ Wed, 10 Jun 2020 00:42:00 +0000 https://getthewreport.com/?p=3130 As we move to the next phase of reopening, life feels like it’s slowly inching back towards normal.  The same is true in real estate. Statistics on home sales in May provided the first true picture of the effects of COVID-19. Those reports confirmed the incredible strength and stability of the local real estate market. […]

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As we move to the next phase of reopening, life feels like it’s slowly inching back towards normal.  The same is true in real estate. Statistics on home sales in May provided the first true picture of the effects of COVID-19. Those reports confirmed the incredible strength and stability of the local real estate market.  

  • The Stay Home order, as expected, continued to impact the number of sales. However, the market is starting to move its way towards more normal activity. Pending sales, a measure of current demand, have risen every week since April.
  • The slight drop in median closed sale price is a result of a proportionately larger number of lower priced homes selling than is normal. It should not be interpreted as a decrease in individual home value.
  • There were significantly fewer homes for sale in May than the same time last year. With less than a month of available inventory, competition among buyers was intense. Bidding wars and all-cash offers were common.    

The monthly statistics below are based on closed sales. Since closing generally takes 30 days, the statistics for May are mostly reflective of sales in April. If you are interested in more information, every Monday Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner provides an update regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the US economy and housing market. You can get Matthew’s latest update here.  As we adapt to new phases of reopening, know that the safety of everyone remains our top priority.

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Windermere Insights: How COVID-19 is Really Impacting Local Real Estate https://getthewreport.com/the-state-of-real-estate/making-sense-of-how-covid-19-is-impacting-local-real-estate/ Thu, 21 May 2020 22:48:40 +0000 https://getthewreport.com/?p=3122 The challenges presented by COVID-19 have been felt locally by every home buyer, seller and real estate broker. Residential real estate, which was moving at breakneck speed through February, came to a screeching halt for two weeks in March after the initial Stay Home order was implemented. As soon as Governor Inslee declared real estate […]

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The challenges presented by COVID-19 have been felt locally by every home buyer, seller and real estate broker. Residential real estate, which was moving at breakneck speed through February, came to a screeching halt for two weeks in March after the initial Stay Home order was implemented.

As soon as Governor Inslee declared real estate an essential business, the engines started to rev again. Despite job losses and a nosedive in general consumer confidence and spending, home buyers started to jump back into the market. Theories abound about why this could happen in the middle of a pandemic:

  • With some exceptions, our local tech sector has generally performed well during COVID-19 and its employees may feel reasonably insulated from the worst of the economic fallout. For some, their stock options may have actually increased in value during the worst of the coronavirus.
  • Many buyers were already feeling the squeeze of low housing inventory and the defeat of losing out in multiple-offer situations. Some likely saw the lower competition during the shutdown as an opportunity to finally gain a foothold.
  • Mortgage rates in the early stages of the shutdown dropped to historic lows, with some 30-year fixed loans carrying percentage rates in the low threes.
  • Renters and homeowners with sustained income security found themselves suddenly doing everything from home – working, schooling, exercising – which may have motivated them to pursue a change in space, moving from dreamers to active buyers.
  • Lots of real estate “window shoppers” suddenly had a lot more time on their hands and spent hours perusing eye-candy listings online and watching more HGTV than ever, accelerating their property lust and their entry into the buyer pool.

Some of these theories have metrics behind them and some remain just theories. Regardless of the motivation, buyers are back “out” in force, touring prospective homes online, via livestream video with a broker or pre-produced 3D tours and videos. Brokers are showing them homes in person too – while following many safety precautions. Because of this strong buyer interest, prospective sellers are hearing from their brokers that now may be a good time to list.

For weeks now, we have seen multiple offers on homes in popular neighborhoods. Brokers, for whom business was put on hold at the end of March, are as busy as at any other point this year. Though the new normal is still not completely normal, the market in many neighborhoods and price points seems to be skipping along as if it were.

To learn how various sectors of our local real estate market are performing during COVID-19, we asked Windermere experts from Seattle and the Eastside what they are seeing.

Real Estate Across Seattle

Laura Smith, co-owner and principal broker of Windermere Real Estate Co., which operates multiple real estate offices in Seattle, has been busy helping brokers ramp up quickly and navigate a hefty transaction load along with new protocols for listing and showing homes. “It’s been a total whirlwind,” she said. “The market went from zero to sixty in a heartbeat.”

Smith explained that out of nine MLS areas in the city of Seattle, seven had less housing stock (measured as months of inventory) than what was available in May 2019, and the other two areas had the same inventory levels as last year. She noted that Seattle’s pending home sales during Week 3 of May already had reached 95% of the transaction count from the same week in 2019.

“Right now buyers want in,” Smith said, “and inventory numbers favor sellers.” Prices, as a result, have “stayed strong,” according to Smith, even in the midst of a health-related shutdown.

Bouncing Back on the Eastside

According to Matt Deasy, President of Windermere Real Estate / East, Inc., the volume of business has bounced back quicker than expected and brokers are busy helping buyers and sellers while following new practices to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“After reentering the market, buyers are finding the competition as fierce as it was before COVID-19,” Deasy said. His analysis shows that while Eastside pending sales are still down from a year ago, by Week 2 of May they were at 73% of last year’s figure from the same week. “Each week we are seeing the market steadily catch up to last year,” Deasy observed, “and I think it will soon head north of 2019 weekly transaction yields.”

Deasy pointed out that low Eastside housing supply is a challenge for buyers rushing back in to the market. “There is so little for sale” he said, noting that of the Eastside’s eight MLS areas, all but one had extremely low levels of inventory. “In fact,” Deasy continued, “three Eastside areas have a month or less supply of homes.” As a result, he predicts that “prices in popular neighborhoods will continue to climb” for the foreseeable future.

The Luxury Market

Patrick Chinn, owner of Windermere Real Estate Midtown, regularly works with luxury brokers and their clients. He observed that the luxury market was proceeding at a seasonally appropriate pace prior to the shutdown but has appeared a little slower to come back online as restrictions on real estate lifted. “Luxury sellers are typically not in a rush,” Chinn noted, “and the safety considerations of listing a home during COVID-19 may have delayed” their entry into the market.

Due to their high net worth, luxury buyers on the other hand may have been “less adversely impacted by the very real economic impacts of the shutdown,” Chinn said. But he also observed that fluctuations in the stock market usually make for “a restless luxury market, despite greater potential access to capital.” Chinn expects the pace of new high-end transactions and inventory to remain below what it was pre-shutdown, at least until there’s a clearer economic picture in sight.

Chinn did note that if a singular property is listed during an economic downturn such as the one we now find ourselves in, there can still be great urgency by luxury buyers to purchase. He gave as an example a Medina property listed during the topsy-turvy days just before the shutdown that quickly went under contract at its asking price of $11.75 million. “Iconic homes on iconic streets will still generate lots of enthusiasm, even during a downturn,” Chinn said.

He reported that one of his brokers went full speed ahead to list a one-of-a-kind beachfront property in Magnolia. Even during the lingering impacts of COVID-19, “there’s no time like the present for listing incredible homes,” Chinn explained.

Continuing New Construction

Joe Deasy, co-owner of Windermere Real Estate / East Inc., says that the early phase of the shutdown created significant waves for residential builders. Initially both the building and listing/showing of all residential new construction projects were stopped due to the Stay Home order.

As builders start building again and brokers start showing finished units, “the early pace will naturally be a bit slower,” Deasy said. He explained this as a result of builders needing to rehire furloughed workers and buyers’ agents implementing safety measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“I expect things to accelerate pretty quickly as we move forward,” Deasy predicted. His reason? “There’s so little inventory out there, both new construction and resale,” he explained. “The product that is available looks pretty attractive right now, since it’s brand new and no one’s ever lived in it.”

Deasy remains positive about the region’s new construction market. He pointed out that leading into the Stay Home closure, Windermere’s King County new construction business was through the proverbial roof. “Even factoring in the shutdown, our year-to-date unit sales are up 41% over last year,” he noted, “and our sales volume is already at $700 million.”

Looking ahead, Deasy predicts that demand for new construction homes will remain strong and that supply will have the biggest impact on the sector’s overall market performance. “Low inventory may influence 2020 sales more than the shutdown,” he explained, “which, all things considered, was relatively brief.”

 

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Local Home Sales Trending: Before and After the Shutdown https://getthewreport.com/local-economy/local-home-sales-trending-before-and-after-the-shutdown/ Thu, 21 May 2020 18:14:26 +0000 https://getthewreport.com/?p=3114 In order to capture the full picture of how the market is faring week-to-week during COVID-19, Windermere has closely tracked residential sales activity in King County. An analysis of weekly pending home sales tells a tale of three markets: Before the shutdown, the first weeks of the shutdown, and everything since. A pre-shutdown recap shows […]

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In order to capture the full picture of how the market is faring week-to-week during COVID-19, Windermere has closely tracked residential sales activity in King County. An analysis of weekly pending home sales tells a tale of three markets: Before the shutdown, the first weeks of the shutdown, and everything since.

A pre-shutdown recap shows that the market was flat in January compared to the same month last year, while February saw a spike as pending units significantly outpaced those of 2019. And the first half of March – the weeks immediately before the statewide shutdown – showed slightly higher activity than March 2019. Then the Stay Home order kicked in, real estate brokers and their buyers were forced to the sidelines, and the market stalled. As a result, the last two weeks of March and each week of April saw pending sales well below those from last year.

Since the first week of April, however, pending sales have been on the rise, revealing a market that is gaining steam once again. Home sales are still trending behind last year’s but catching up remarkably fast. Whereas April began with weekly pending sales at only 40% of 2019 levels, by mid-May that figure had climbed to 79%.

Though the shutdown initially slowed King County’s spring market to a trickle, home purchase activity is now strengthening each week as the pace quickens for both buyers and their brokers.  

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Seattle Poised for Faster Recovery Than Many Other Cities https://getthewreport.com/local-economy/seattle-poised-for-faster-recovery-than-many-other-cities/ Thu, 21 May 2020 17:52:11 +0000 https://getthewreport.com/?p=3108 It may feel like a tired refrain after nearly two months of quarantine, but it remains true: it’s still too early to truly tell the toll COVID-19 will take on our economy — both locally and nationally — until we are able to fully reopen and jumpstart  area businesses. Thanks to our diversified economy, strong […]

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It may feel like a tired refrain after nearly two months of quarantine, but it remains true: it’s still too early to truly tell the toll COVID-19 will take on our economy — both locally and nationally — until we are able to fully reopen and jumpstart  area businesses.

Thanks to our diversified economy, strong tech sector and attractive, startup-friendly environment, the Seattle area is well-positioned for and capable of a nimble recovery.

Several recent studies analyzing our housing market, population density, and educational attainment (and jobs that require higher education) indicate that Seattle is primed for a recovery that may be quicker and shorter than other major metropolitan areas across the country.

ATTOM Data Solutions, a provider of real estate and property data, put together a special report comparing regions across the country and identifying the housing markets more and less vulnerable to COVID-19 impacts. Their research puts King County within the 50 least at-risk counties. Furthermore, their data shows the West Coast as a whole to be incredibly resilient, with only one West Coast county (in California) appearing in the top 50 most vulnerable markets.

Looking at population density and education, Moody’s Analytics assessed the 100 top metro areas in the country and identified the U.S. cities in the best and worst positions for post-pandemic recovery. Their research notes that the cities best prepared to bounce back have low population densities and high levels of educational attainment. Seattle ranked in the top five metros poised for a quick recovery.

While the recent economic contraction has been profound and carried many unseen ramifications, our region’s tech sector has remained strong. Dominating much of our local economy, tech’s presence here may help buffer our area’s economy from worse dips taking place elsewhere.

It is true that some sectors of our regional economy — particularly hospitality (restaurants and bars), leisure (hotels), tourism and travel — have been hit harder. Those businesses and employees feel the impacts more strongly and may experience a harder and more drawn-out recovery. The direct hits to these sectors — with shuttered businesses and job losses — will resonate through the economy at large. As noted by Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner in a recent “Mondays with Matthew” post looking at how COVID-19 has affected employment, it’s likely that many workers in these sectors are renters, so their misfortunes are likely to impact the region’s rental market. As businesses are forced to close, many may struggle to find new employment until the economy is open and fully operational again.

Loss of tax revenue from the retail, hospitality and tourism sectors (especially from cruise ships, many of which will not be docking in Seattle for the foreseeable future), is already impacting state and local budgets, potentially causing painful future spending cuts over the next few years, as noted in The Seattle Times.

While our economy — city, state, and national — has shrunk dramatically in the second quarter of this year, economists still anticipate recovery beginning as soon as businesses reopen, and stay-at-home orders are lifted. Gains will advance slowly, but will continually increase through the remainder of the year. As Matthew Gardner predicts, the second half of 2020 should be significantly better than the first.

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Easy Indulgences to Treat Yourself During Quarantine https://getthewreport.com/happenings/easy-indulgences-to-treat-yourself-during-quarantine/ Thu, 21 May 2020 17:24:29 +0000 https://getthewreport.com/?p=3104 No matter how many video conference calls, virtual happy hours and Houseparty hangouts, our Stay Home, Stay Healthy period of self-quarantine has left many of us feeling isolated. Though some self-indulgences, like massages, salon visits, and other activities aren’t possible right now, here are some ideas to delight the senses, stretch your legs and give […]

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No matter how many video conference calls, virtual happy hours and Houseparty hangouts, our Stay Home, Stay Healthy period of self-quarantine has left many of us feeling isolated. Though some self-indulgences, like massages, salon visits, and other activities aren’t possible right now, here are some ideas to delight the senses, stretch your legs and give yourself a break – all while maintaining appropriate physical distancing.

Indulge Good Ice Cream
(by the cone or the pint!)

Have your own personal social-distancing ice cream social by visiting one of several local ice cream eateries that are open and offering pre-orders and curbside pickup. Stock up on pints to have your own ice cream party at home or grab a scoop or two in a cup or cone for an immediate pick-me-up.

In addition to their delicious desserts and coffee, Cupcake Royale is also serving up scoops, sundaes, shakes and pints to go! Availability varies between the locations, so check their website for details!

West Coast favorite Salt & Straw’s two Seattle locations (Ballard and Capitol Hill) are both open for pint pickups. Visit their website to place an order.

Sirena Gelato in downtown Kirkland is open daily and serving their selection of rich and creamy gelato. Stop by for a scoop, or perhaps a perfectly indulgent affogato!

If you’re in need of dairy-free, vegan or gluten-free ice cream indulgences, check out Frankie & Jo’s. Their scoop shops in Ballard and Capitol Hill are open for pre-ordered pickups three days a week.

Get Out of the House and Into Nature

With over 20 miles of streets closed to car traffic and more than 400 parks, Seattle has plenty of opportunities for stretching your legs and urban exploring. While we all know and love Discovery, Kerry, and Carkeek Parks, consider checking out a lesser-known (and thus perhaps less congested) locale. The blog Year of Seattle Parks (later published as a guide book) has organized all of the abundant options – including plenty of parks on the Eastside!

If you’re itching to venture further outside the city, state parks are open for day trips. Like our oft-local packed parks, consider visiting a less traveled trail (with the added bonus of a longer scenic drive). The Washington Trails Association keep an up-to-date trail guide with closures. Be prepared for parking lot and public restroom closures, remember to pack hand sanitizer and bring your mask, and check out the WTA’s Hiking in the Time of Coronavirus guide for more safe trip tips.

Binge a New Book

Have you finished Netflix yet? Picking up a book and setting aside some time to read can be a refreshing reprieve from our new normal. From new releases to tried-and-true favorites, plus board games and puzzles, many local bookstores are open, offering curbside pickup or shipping.

With many locations across the greater Seattle and Eastside area, Half Priced Books is open for curbside pickup. Find your nearest store, browse their selections and place orders online.

The Elliott Bay Book Company in Capitol Hill offers shipping and scheduled curbside pickup appointments. Explore new releases, staff recommendations, online author events and order on their website.

Queen Anne Book Company is open for online orders to be shipped directly to you; they also offer delivery in the Queen Anne area and designated curbside pickup times. 

Third Place Books is offering curbside pickup at all three of their locations (Lake Forest Park, Ravenna, and Seward Park), as well as media mail shipping. They regularly update their social media channels with new releases and offer personalized recommendations too!

Go to the Theater, from the Comfort of Your Couch

Enjoy the experience of watching live theater without having to leave home. Every Thursday, the National Theatre in the United Kingdom releases a recording of a stage production on their YouTube channel.

Previous releases include Inua Ellams’ acclaimed Barber Shop Chronicles, Danny Boyle’s Frankenstein (starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller), and Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, directed by Simon Godwin and starring Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo.

Upcoming streams include A Streetcar Named Desire starring Gillian Anderson (starting May 21) and Coriolanus with Tom Hiddleston (starting June 4).

Grow Your Garden

From a simple hanging basket on the porch to container gardens on the patio or a complete landscaping refresh, quarantining can’t hold us back from picking up and planting pretty flowers (and vegetables, if a victory garden is on your to-do list). Visiting neighborhood garden centers and nurseries is a great way to boost our local businesses plus an opportunity for a more relaxed (and less packed) safer shopping experience.

In Seattle, Magnolia Garden Center is open for curbside pickup, plus you can book an appointment for an uncrowded, personalized, and socially spacious shopping experience. The City People’s Garden Store in Madison Valley is accepting email orders and offering appointments for in-person shopping. Swanson’s Nursery in Blue Ridge is offering curbside pickup for online orders and reservations for in-person shopping.

On the Eastside, Wells Medina is open to the public four days a week and Bellevue Nursery is currently open daily from 10-4. Molbak’s in Woodinville is offering curbside pickup, plus reservations to shop in person.

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