The Puget Sound Real Estate Market in a Nutshell – July 2020
It’s been an interesting market for sure. The entire market including the Eastside and Seattle dropped off exponentially in March and April but rebounded very nicely in June and for the start of July. While the spring market is usually the biggest real estate push of the year, it’s more of a roller coaster ride than a surge. The market definitely came back at the end of April and June due to record low interest rates and that massive layoffs haven’t really hit office workers the way they have the retail and hospitality industries.
Initially, real estate was deemed a nonessential industry in our state but that didn’t last long and it had an impact with a significant decline in the number of new home listings in spring, obviously. In early April, the number of new listings fell 46% compared to last year at the same time. But even before that, pending sales were off 43% in mid-March. I think everybody was kind of holding their breath to see what would happen but by June, many people are throwing their hands up in the air and saying that they want to buy anyway.
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However, in-person open houses are still prohibited but buyers can take a variety of different options such as guided property tours, virtual tours, face time, Zoom meetings, and lifestream open houses. The market is still suffering due to a lack of inventory because a lot of people that wanted to list and sell their homes are now working from home so they need that space or they don’t find the need to move closer to their office.
Some good friends of mine were planning to list their home in April and when the pandemic hit, the husband was told to work from home. The only reason they were moving is to be closer to work and not deal with the commute. But now, there’s really no need to move since Microsoft, whom he works for, has not really stated a definitive date for their employees to go back into the office. This lack of inventory is getting a bit challenging for buyers driving up home prices and turning it more into a seller’s market than a buyers market.
Many people feel that the market will become more robust as we go further into summer. According to a local mortgage officer, loan applications are up 139% compared to last year and refi’s are up about 300%. This result is a surge in those wanting larger homes with more personal space and bigger yards to enjoy their time at home. Many real estate agents are also seeing an increase in second-home purchases.
Many homeowners are considering doing home improvements which is increasing refinances and HELOCs. The spring market is pretty much buried under the pandemic and every week the market changes.
If you’ve been considering selling and still want to, now would be a great time since there’s very little inventory and home prices are up. Buyers have fewer homes to choose from making multiple offers prevalence. If you’re thinking about buying, interest rates are still extremely low, which means you’re likely to have the same mortgage payment on a higher-priced home. [Source]
More Tips for Home Buyers and Sellers in the Seattle and Eastside Market:
Sellers: When Should You Drop Your Price?