Monday, March 14, 2011

Inventory Needed on Seattle's Eastside!

I am amazed at the perceptions that buyers in the greater Seattle market have.  While at an open house last weekend, I had over 100 buyers stream through the property.  I engaged in conversation with as many visitors as I could, but it was quite a challenge.  As soon as I said hello to one family, the door would open and another couple would come in.  There were so many buyers looking for a new home and when I spoke with other agents in my office, they remarked that they had the same experience:  the buyers have come out in force.

Interest rates have begun to creep up.  That can stir buyers to act.  In the past year, we have seen nearly a 1% rise in interest rates.  This can translate into hundreds of dollars more per month on your mortgage payment.  I've noticed that many buyers will focus on the list price of the home while ignoring the interest rates, but both need to be watched closely.  Check out this link for more specifics on what rising interest rates can cost you:

Besides rising interest rates, we have seen an influx of new buyers from other regions.  Microsoft, Boeing, Amazon, Google, Starbucks, Nordstroms and more are rolling out the red carpet for talented new hires from all over the world....and they are showing up at open houses, pulling flyers from boxes and searching the internet looking for a home.  As a result, we are seeing our inventory shrink.  While the perception of buyers is that foreclosures are flooding the market and it's a buyers' market, the numbers I'm crunching tell me otherwise.  We need more inventory!

Let me give you some statistics from Seattle's Eastside, which is my primary market. For this report, I am looking exclusively at single family residences. Did you know that in the last 7 days in Kirkland, where I live, there are 31 new listings and 46 homes went pending?  In Bellevue, where I have my office, we had 31 new listings and 50 homes went pending.   In the same 7 day period in Woodinville there were 10 new listings and 14 homes went pending.  In Redmond, there are 26 new listings and 57 homes went pending.  In Issaquah, 14 new listings and 15 new pendings.  In Bothell, 12 new listings and 14 new pendings.  Do you think our market may be changing?  Do you see we have a need for more homes?   This is a trend I see all over the Eastside. 

According to Conway Pederson, publisher of The Puget Sound Economic Forecaster, the forecast is for about 30,000 net new jobs in 2011, meaning even without births, marriages and divorces, we will need another 15,000 housing units in 2011 (each net new job equals 1/2 a housing unit) That is on top of the 23,600 jobs our area added in 2010, and the 65,100 population growth in Washington.

How about new construction?  That could help take care of some of this increase, but in 2010, only 14,000 new housing units were constructed.  That means we were short about 12,000 housing units in 2010.  Is it any surprise builders are moving in, buying up lots and beginning to build again?  Would they be doing this if there wasn't a real need? 

Next week I'll be back at my post, greeting all those who follow a sign to my open house.  I'll smile, welcome them, hand them a flyer and discuss our changing market. I'll listen politely while some are sure to want to inform me that we have a glut of homes and it's a buyer's market.....but you and I both know better.

In conclusion: If you know of anyone who is thinking of selling their home on Seattle's Eastside, they couldn't pick a better time.  Have them contact me at and I will get their home sold!

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