January 2016 Real Estate Report

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The housing market in King County and surrounding counties ended 2015 on a positive note, setting the stage for a brighter 2016.  I hope the market data and articles will help you with understanding real estate today and help with any real estate decisions.

Looking Back

King County Home Prices Hit New HighsThe median price of single-family homes sold in King County in December jumped 15% over the year to a new record of $508,000Climbing prices and scarce listings are encouraging buyers and sellers to try some new approaches.  Keep in mind, real estate has changed more in the last 5 than the last 25 years. 

 

December House Sales

King County’s housing market hit two milestones in December: The median single-family home price set a new high, $508,000, topping the $481,000 peak reached in July 2007 before prices began their long slide.  And the number of active listings of houses and condominiums…(just 2,196)…hit the lowest monthly level since at least 1993, according to data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

December House Sales1

Looking Ahead

Anticipation of Housing Prices…According to Zillow, it is anticipated that housing prices will rise an average of 5.4% with an income growth of 1.2%.  The increase in housing is the second highest behind Dallas-Forth Worth with an anticipated 5.6%.  Read More

Price hikes in King County are clearly pricing many buyers out and into adjacent areas.  MLS figures show wide differences in prices within the Central Puget Sound region.  Pierce County had the lowest median price for December’s sales at $249,950 while King County had the highest at $450,000.  In Snohomish County, the median sales price was $335,500.  The median price on December’s sales increased 8.6% area-wide compared to a year ago.  Ten counties reported double-digit gains; four counties had year-over-year decreases in median sales prices.  Condo prices increased about 6.7%, from $239,000 to $255,000.  In King County, which accounted for about 55% of the sales, the median sales price was $279,950.  That’s up about 7.7% from a year ago.  Despite rising prices in most areas, closed sales ended the year on a strong note.  Brokers reported 7,091 closings during the month to out-gain the year-ago total of 6,284 by more than 12.8%.  For the year, the Northwest MLS members logged 88,831 closed sales, up from 2014‘s total 77,276 for a 14.3% gain.

The housing bubble created in 2005-2008 does not appear to be evident at this time.  Today’s buyers are generally very well qualified and they are using real money as down payments–their own money.  They are not relying on creating a second mortgage as their down payment, thereby disquising the fact that they had no real money of their own for a down payment.

Down Payment Insurance for BorrowersOn another note, A new program to launch which gives borrowers the opportunity to protect their upfront investment in their home, just as lenders do with mortgage insurance.  The new down payment insurance program is called +Plus and is being offered by ValueInsuredThe cost is affordable and equivalent to less than a lunch per month.  Read More

Interest RatesInterest rates have improved in the last week with 30year fixed at 3.81%, 15 year at 3.10%, 30 year fixed jumbo 3.87% and 5/1 Arm 2.91% 

rate chart

Interest rates continued…There has been a lot of buzz about the recent increase in interest rates as it has been nearly 10 years since the Fed raised its benchmark rate.  Interest rates are based primarily on market conditions.  These market conditions, much like the stock markets, are effected by a number of factors(ie. global economy, oil prices, etc.).  Over the past month we have seen the biggest impact from the oil prices falling.  When you see the price for a gallon of gas dropping, guess what?  Your interest rates are dropping as well.  Bottom line is, it’s a great time to buy a home as the rates are doing really well right now.

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