Monday, January 17, 2011

Our Changing Market

I went to our weekly business meeting this Monday morning.  Each week we talk about our market, tour homes and rub shoulders with other Realtors who primarily work Seattle's Eastside.  We had very few new listings come on the market over the holidays and today I went with the expectation that we would have at least a half dozen new office listings to preview.  I was surprised when I picked up the office tour sheet and saw just one home on Mercer Island listed.  I was even more surprised when the listing agent told us that even though it was a new listing at $1.4 M, she already had four offers on it and was expecting a fifth, but more offers were welcome.   This lead to a lively discussion of what is going on in our market. 

Those of us who have been working with buyers in recent months have been frustrated.  A great number of homes closed before year's end  and we've been telling our clients, "just wait until after the holidays...."  Well, the holidays have come and gone and we are not seeing a large number of homes coming on the least not yet.  In quizzing our top listing agents we learned that they have seen the number of homes coming on the market drop and the number of multiple bid situations increase.  One agent spoke about having a competing bid on a property valued at over $1.2M.  There were 33 offers on the property and the winning bid was well over the asking price.  Was this an aberration?   I had a similar situation in recent months.  My clients found a wonderful foreclosed home in Kirkland with a phenomenal lake view.  Price was mid $900s and we bid full price.  The listing agent called me the next day to say it was a multiple bid situation and that we should submit our "highest and best" offer.  My clients  came up $6,000 over the list price but the winning bid came up well over $1M.  Last week in the West Bellevue market in the $1.25M to $2.25M range, 9 homes went pending.    In 2010, 45 more homes sold on Mercer Island than in 2009.  To cite yet another example, the volume of waterfront home sales on Mercer Island tripled in 2010 over the number sold the previous year, indicating that velocity even in this price category is increasing tremendously.

What does this mean for buyers and sellers?  If you are looking to buy a home,  you need to work with a Realtor who has their pulse on the market and sends you listings as soon as they are available. Check your email often and when your agent flags a home and says, "we need to see this one asap," then you need to act quickly.  Just last week, I sent what I identified as a "hot" house to six buyers, letting them know we should see the home within a day if possible.  One of the six heeded my advice and saw the home.  While they decided not to bid on it, it was good they got in quickly,  as the next day the sellers had an accepted offer in a multiple bid situation.  Later in the week, another buyer finally returned my call and said they hoped to see that home on the weekend....but alas, it was too late.

For sellers, you may be rubbing your hands and thinking now is the time to list your home for sale.  You are right!  Finally, we have buyers who are serious about buying.  The rising interest rates are helping push some to act, but what I personally have seen is an influx of new hires in the greater metro Seattle area. Open Houses offer an interesting snapshot of our market.  What we have seen is large numbers of buyers moving into our area, currently renting, but looking to buy in 2011.   Microsoft is hiring from all over the world, but so is Expedia, Starbucks and Boeing, to name a few.  But while the demand has increased, we are noting that buyers are still very discriminating.  People are turning up their noses at dirty, dated or overpriced homes.  Buyers are looking on line, doing their homework,  and ready to act, but the property must be clean, staged and properly priced.  If they are:  the home will sell. 

Yes, our market is changing.  While we expect more foreclosures and short sales to come on the market in 2011, our projections are that the demand will take care of the supply and we will soon be back in a balanced market situation with property values once again increasing: and isn't that something all homeowners want?

If you are thinking about buying or selling a home on Seattle's Eastside, please give me a call.  It would be my pleasure to help you understand our ever changing market and represent your best interests in either purchasing or selling a home.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the great post on your blog, it really gives me an insight on this topic.

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