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Eat, work, sleep, repeat. No wait, there’s more!

Do you remember that movie “Groundhog Day”?   The one where Bill Murray’s character gets caught in a time loop, repeating the same day over and over and over again until he starts to re-evaluate his life and priorities.

I think a lot of us get caught up in the day to day minutiae.  It takes courage and vision to look past what we know as familar and comfortable in order to discover a better version of ourselves.

I, for one, am taking that great leap of faith and making my move this Spring.

Downsizing?  Bring it on!  Simpler, more efficient lifestyle?  You betcha!  Holding on to things that no longer serve my best interest?  No thanks!

Besides, the market is ripe for selling and I’m not waiting to see what the future brings.  I’m ready for positive changes.   How ’bout you?

If you have 15-20 minutes to spare, I would be delighted to meet with you and show you how to make your next move, the best move.

Bellevue Home Tour … Good things come in small packages!

 

Come see the latest remodel trends in this Classic rambler. Small spaces with large picture windows bring the outdoors inside.

Fantastic location right in the heart of Lake Hills.  Ooops!  It’s already pending!  Next!

Small rambler on large lot.  If you can look past the interior design, or lack thereof, you’ll see a diamond in the rough.  Might be a bit overpriced but it’s the only game in town, for the moment.

Bellevue Home Tour – Rambler Today, Gone Tomorrow

Since we’re still waiting for more homes to come on the market, today’s tour will be brief.

We have a rambler in Lake Hills which has been partially updated and is in excellent condition. This home is perfect for a multi-generational family with a 2nd kitchen and plenty of living/sleeping space on the lower level.

 

 

And we have a charming, mid-century rambler in Newport Hills that is in excellent condition  but could do with a modern make-over.  Both seem priced to sell.

 

Tour starts at 11:30!  Call for details:  206-419-2350

Bellevue Home Tour … the Trifecta!

Lake Hills custom home with every feature you could imagine! Shy half acre in private setting next to greenbelt.  Just one question … why is it still on the market?!

Woodridge Glen split level home desperately needs TLC (on the inside).  Beautiful, mature grounds include arbor, water feature, fruit trees and gazebo.  Priced to sell!  Reviewing
offers on Saturday.

 

Newport Hills newest masterpiece!  A brand new custom home with EVERYTHING you could possibly want.  The only downside is, you may never want to leave!

Tour starts at 11am.  Call for details … 206-419-2350

Stay tuned …  photos forthcoming

Reasons To Sell Now

If you have been thinking of selling your home, now may be the right time to enter the market. A couple of real estate trade journals recently reported the following:

  1. There are Trump and Republican House plans to double, or more, the standard income tax deduction somewhere between $24,000 and $30,000. This will make itemizing mortgage interest as a deduction unattractive to more than 8 in 10 tax filers. While a lot of higher-end home owners will still itemize, and still get a subsidy for mortgage borrowing, overall house prices would take a hit. A Federal Reserve study from 2016 estimated that removing all mortgage interest deductions would send house prices 7 percent lower.

2.    With two predicted 25-basis-point rate hikes from the Federal Reserve likely this year, and three or more not out of the question, it looks like quite a few fence-sitters will fall backwards into the rental market rather than jump down to make a home purchase.

3.   Millennials, America’s largest generation, already saddled with record-breaking student loan debt, no longer think homeownership is in their future. A survey from the NHP Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports affordable housing, stated that 69% of millennials are “cost burdened” due to affordability constraints and debt. Another statistic from the survey showed half preferred to rent due to the cost of owning.

4.   Immigration restrictions on home buying continues to effect local markets including Seattle and Vancouver,BC.

Home prices are good now. This much we know. The future is uncertain and there are indicators suggesting prices may fall. If your home is currently worth $500,000, a 7% decrease would reduce it to $465,000. This won’t happen overnight of course, however, getting a home ready for the market does take time. Deciding where to move, making necessary repairs and updates, and choosing a Realtor could be a lengthy process. If you are thinking of selling, now is the perfect time to contact us to discuss your options.

2017 Home Design Trends

2017 Home Design Trends

Housing styles emerge slowly and typically appeal first to cutting-edge architects, builders, and interior designers. As a trend spreads and gains wider interest, it may go mainstream, become almost ubiquitous, and eventually lose its star power. Just look at once-favored granite, which now has been replaced by the equally durable and attractive options of quartz and quartzite.

The economy, environment, and demographics always play a big role in trend spotting. But this year there are two additional triggers: a desire for greater healthfulness and a yearning for a sense of community.

Taupe Is the New Gray – Taupe remains the top paint color choice due to its flexibility and the fact that it comes in so many variations. Though white has been upstaged by gray in recent years, this year many will be searching for a warmer tone. Taupe celebrates everything people love about this cool gray as a neutral, and also brings in the warmth of a weathered, woodsy neutral and a sense of coziness and harmony. Consider taupe as smart alternative since it performs as a neutral with other colors, cool or warm. Expect to see taupe on more exteriors as it blends well with roofs, doors, window frames, and surrounding landscape. It also will turn up indoors on walls, ceilings, kitchen cabinets, furnishings, and molding.

 More Playful Homes – Americans work harder now than ever, with many delaying retirement or starting second careers, so they want their homes to be a refuge and a place to unwind. Spaces that encourage play are trending higher on their wish lists, whether it’s a backyard bocce court (the latest outdoor amenity to show up in residential backyards) or a putting green. And sports don’t have to be relegated to the outdoors. Technological advances have allowed for rapid improvement in indoor golf simulators, for example.

Naturally Renewable, Warmer Surfaces – The pervasiveness of technology throughout homes has resulted in a corresponding yearning for more tactile surfaces and materials that convey warmth. Natural cork is a perfect expression of these needs, with the bonus of being low-maintenance. In recent years, cork, a renewable material harvested from the bark of cork oak trees, has resurfaced as a favorite for myriad uses, and for good reason. Aside from aesthetics, the material is appealing since it’s resistant to mold, mildew, water, termites, fire, cracking, and abrasions. Moreover, cork can be stained and finished with acrylic- or water-based polyurethane.

Surface-Deep Energy Conservation – As energy costs continue to increase, the search is on for ways to save. Incentives to do so only increase as states and municipalities enact new, stricter energy codes. While energy-wise appliances and more efficient HVAC systems are still appealing to homeowners looking to save on their utility bills, less costly surface upgrades are gaining in popularity. New low-E window film can double the performance of glass at one-fifth the cost of a full window replacement. Other surface-changes that lower energy use and that are cost-effective and relatively easy to apply include a ceramic insulating paint coating for walls and a thermal energy shield for attic interiors.

Counter Options – Much like granite did, quartz and quartzite are predicted to be kitchen favorites until another material comes along. But other green laminate options are gaining in popularity, and they’re no longer just for the budget-minded consumer. Options that mimic stone, wood, distressed metal, and concrete are gaining in popularity. Avoid designs that include the “spots and dots” or speckled patterns from past decades.

The Transforming Office – Regular work-from-home time among the non–self-employed population has grown by 103 percent since 2005. It is estimated that number will continue to grow at between 10 percent and 20 percent a year.  More people are likely to need a work-from-home space, but due to the diminished size and highly transient nature of technology tools, there’s less need for a dedicated, separate office. Almost any area of a house can become a workplace, but the most functional ones incorporate built-ins and furnishings that serve a dual purpose.

Bellevue Home Tour … featuring Newport Hills

There are fixers and then there are FIXERS!  Today’s tour highlights two northwest contemporary homes and that’s where the similarities end.

 

This home, while a bit dated, it is in immaculate condition, beautifully staged and move-in ready.

 

 

Love the retro kitchen!

 

 

I would post photos of the other “fixer” but the smell was unbearable so I didn’t stay long enough to take any.

It will be interesting to see which home sells first and at what price!

Stay tuned … more to come!

Real Estate Update for Bellevue WA

As of today, there were only 3 new listings in Bellevue: one classic, tri-level remodel and 2 new construction pre-sales.  It appears most sellers are recovering from the holidays and waiting for the Spring market rush.

Meanwhile, homebuyer frustration continues, as noted from a few of our local Real Estate authorities.

“The data just keeps telling the same story – low inventory and increasing prices. As one of our brokers put it, ‘Sellers received an awesome Christmas gift in December, but buyers  only a lump of coal’.” Mike Grady, president/COO of Coldwell Banker Bain.

“The housing market remains frenzy hot on a seasonal basis … which continues to foster a competitive market where homebuyers are just waiting for the next new listing to come on the market.” J.Lennox Scott

“Buyers pursued homes aggressively all through November and December with little to no slowdown amid fears of rising interest rates and worsening inventory levels.” George Moorhead

Low inventory and increasing prices will continue. “We believe it is a predictor for what to expect throughout 2017. There’s simply not enough new construction to fill the needs of new employees being hired both locally and new to the state. The key is employment. There’s no reason to think that a new administration will cause employment to slow down; rather, it’s more likely we’ll see it increase in the Puget Sound region so we’re off to another strong start in 2017.” Mike Grady

And in the National news, Redfin names the most competitive neighborhoods in 2016!  Thank you Keena Bean for your insights.

Seattle was home to 10 of the country’s 30 most competitive neighborhoods. In addition to Factoria, the University District and Woodridge landed in the top 10.

Y’all ready for this?!  Factoria was named the most competitive neighborhood based on percentage of homes sold over asking price, time on market and annual price growth in 2016.  Median sale price was $352,500, home price growth was 25.9%, 104.9% was average sale over list price, and 62.1% of all homes sold above asking price.

Another Bellevue neighborhood that ranked in the top ten was Woodridge.  Median sale price was $708,500, home price growth was 12.5%, 107% was average sale over list price, and 74.3% of all homes sold above asking price!  Impressive stats to be sure.

All good news for sellers, right?  Well, yes, except you may be thinking where to move next.  Our team offers strategic solutions on preparing your home for sale, negotiating offers and selecting your next community.  Let us show you how!

Seattle’s 2017 appartment boom

Recently I read in the Seattle Times  we are about to get a whole lot of inventory. This is good news if you are looking for an apartment. The Times reported Seattle is set to see about 10,000 new apartments in 2017. Yep, you read it right, 10,000! If you don’t have your calculator handy that equates to about 27 per day.  That is almost twice as many in any prior year in the city’s history. What does this mean? Rent increases should ease up. This year may only see  a 5% increase. In fact, rents dipped in the last quarter of 2016. Landlords are starting to offer incentives. With all this said now is a good time  if you are looking for a place to rent. The vacancy rate is the highest it has been in the last six years.

2017 Real Estate Market Predictions

2017 REAL ESTATE PREDICTIONS

Each year we take time to review what has happened during the year and to look forward to predict what is in store for real estate.  Below are our predictions for the 2017 real estate market, based on data that was available at the time this was written:

Median Sold Prices  – Home prices will continue to increase nationally by single digit numbers, about 5%. However, urban metro areas with high employment or that are in high demand by Millennials may still see increases at 10% or above. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, October’s national median price for existing single family homes was $232,200, which represented a 6.0% increase over October of 2015 (which was the 56th consecutive month of year over year gains). National inventory shortages coupled with high demand will continue in 2017.

Housing Inventory –  Although there are improvements in this category, it will take more than just a year for the situation to turn around. Our inventory shortage was caused by a shortage of housing starts that began during the recession. We will continue to see inventory challenges until new construction picks up even further. We predict that more buyers will be entering the market for a home as our economy is strong with low unemployment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate stands at 4.6% for November, 2016, which is the lowest it has been since August of 2007. High demand and low new construction means a continued inventory crunch.

Housing Starts – Housing starts (the measure of homes that began construction) jumped from 900,000 in 2015 to 1.3 million in 2016. Although this is a welcome increase, it is still not enough to quench the demand. Our country needs about 1.5 million new starts per year to maintain inventory, but since 2009, we have been short a cumulative 5 million units. This is one of the primary causes of our inventory shortage and what is driving prices up – demand outweighs supply. In 2017, I predict that builders will finally surpass the 1.5 million start target and our inventory shortage will begin to wane by mid-2018.

Second Home Markets – Investment and vacation homes markets will continue to be strong in 2017. The passing of wealth from the Silent Generation (1925-1945) to the Baby Boomer Generation (1946-1964) is a strong driver of vacation home purchases. Investment properties are a hot commodity, especially in urban areas where rents are skyrocketing due to a shortage of housing.

Interest rates – The improving economy and almost full national employment is a sure sign that interest rates will continue to increase in 2017. The new rates will balance job growth and higher inflation rates. The Federal Reserve increased interest rates a quarter of a percentage point at its December meeting.  The federal fund rate has a significant effect on mortgage rates. We expect the 30 year fixed rate mortgage rate will reach 4.75% by the end of 2017.

We are excited for what 2017 has in store! For additional information and predictions on our local market, please call or text: 206-419-2350 or 425-270-0149,  or send an email to PFoster@kw.com, or Craig@CraigAdachi.com.