Seattle and Its First-Time Homebuyers

The S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index was just released earlier this week ranking the major metropolitan areas across the U.S. by the fastest-rising home prices. While we have not muscled out Portland for the No. 1 spot on the list, we came in a close second having narrowed the gap significantly.

According to an analysis by The Seattle Times, Seattle-area home prices are now rising at their swiftest pace in 2.5 years. While we missed out on taking over Portland for the top spot on the Case-Shiller index, Seattle did increase its lead over third-place Denver where prices only rose 8.8 percent over last year.

Portland, having led the Case-Shiller index all year, had the fastest-rising home prices up 11.7 percent over a year ago. In Seattle, home prices were up 11.4 percent over 2015. Both Pacific Northwest cities saw home costs increase at more than twice the national rate of 5.3 percent. By this point, the “record-high home price” headlines are trite. So what makes this time so important?

Well, for starters, this is the eighth straight month of double-digit growth. That in itself is something fairly noteworthy. Additionally, as The Seattle Times states, homes across all price levels are getting more expensive, but “the biggest increase was in the cheapest set of homes” which were up 12.4 percent. The smallest jump was for luxury homes, up 10.9 percent.

Home prices have been soaring consistently for more than four years having jumped 59 percent since 2012. Starter homes have seen prices jump 75 percent in that time frame. Our local millennials are ready to take advantage of the low mortgage rates, but the starter home just is not what it used to be.

What does this mean for the Eastside?

We want to take a look at Windermere Real Estate’s latest housing market update where we reported the median home sale price at $750,000. That is a solid 10 percent increase over the home prices we saw last year. By comparison, the median sale price of a single-family home was $630,000 last month.

First-time buyers are faced with these skyrocketing home prices, and even though other housing market factors are playing in their favor, it can be an intimidating time to jump into the real estate world. Make sure you team up with me so I can help you navigate the real estate market and can turn your homeownership dreams into a reality.

Read more from our source, The Seattle Times.

Posted on October 31, 2016 at 4:27 pm
Mallory Hanley | Category: Home Buying, National Housing Market

Millennials Buying Into the American Dream

Millennial buyers header

Contrary to some predictions, Millennials are making owning a home a priority. While they’re buying their first home a bit later than prior generations, they’re embracing the long-term value that home ownership brings.

1) Millennials are dominating the first-time homebuyer category today.

The median age of first-time homebuyers is 31, according to a National Association of Realtors study.

2) The vast majority of Millennials think owning a home is important.

According to a Merrill Lynch study, 81% of Millennials agree that “homeownership is an important part of the American Dream.”

Percent who agree that “Homeownership is an important part of the American Dream”

3) Most Millennials consider owning a home more sensible than renting for both financial and lifestyle reasons.

In a survey by Fannie Mae, Millennials who own a home prefer owning over renting for these reasons:

Millennials why buy

A strong local economy, rising rents and low interest rates have all helped Millennials reach the tipping point and take the plunge into the American Dream of home ownership.

I can help first-time buyers find the best home for their needs. Reach out to me at (206) 949-5917 with any questions you have, or forward this to a first-time homebuyer you know!

Posted on September 28, 2016 at 8:44 am
Mallory Hanley | Category: Home Buying

Help for Buying a Home Now

Buying Help  header Think you can't afford to buy a house? There are a number of programs that can help make the dream of buying a home a reality.

  • You don't need to put 20% down. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have down payment requirements as low as 3%. If you're a vet or active military, a VA loan requires no down payment.
  • Your family can help with your down payment. Fannie Mae's HomeReady Mortgage allows a down payment of just 3%, and income from grandparents, parents, relatives, and working children can be used to help qualify for the loan.
  • You don't need perfect credit. To qualify for an FHA loan, your credit score needs to be just 500 or higher. FHA loans allow a down payment as low as 3.5%, and that payment can come entirely from "gift funds."
  • BIG PLUS: There are a number of down payment assistance programs in Washington State to help you finance a home and arrange a payment you can afford.

Are you ready to start looking for a home? I can help you find programs that make buying a house more affordable. Let's get in touch!

Posted on September 2, 2016 at 3:50 pm
Mallory Hanley | Category: Home Buying

Our Historic Population Growth

Residents of the greater Seattle area have all been feeling the pressures of population growth over the last several months. Not only are we seeing increased activity in the housing market, but plenty are moving to our area to take advantage of the economy, new technology jobs, quality of life, and more.

new study from The Puget Sound Regional Council reported by Geek Wire states that Seattle and the surrounding counties have added 86,320 new residents between April 2015 and 2016. This marks our largest population gain this century. When you average that out, we’re looking at about 236 new people calling Seattle home every single day. King County saw the biggest growth at 2.5 percent with 52,300 people.

If we continue with numbers at that rate, the Puget Sound area will likely pass the 4 million resident mark by the time you read this.

As Geek Wire reports, we can largely attribute this growth to the expansion of the region’s tech booms and major employers such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Boeing. The success of these companies has helped to spark a growth in the startup environment as well. Additionally, dozens of big companies have decided to set up their engineering centers here.

Geek Wire continues their analysis of the report and our population growth by reminding us that this isn’t the first time we’ve seen expansion like this. “The region’s population has grown by more than 80,000 people in one year five times since the 1960s.” They quote the report stating, “these rapid population changes have occured over two to three years before settling back to a steadier rate of change.” Looks like we may be seeing this continued growth for another year or two.

Read the full story from Geek Wire.

Posted on August 4, 2016 at 3:11 pm
Mallory Hanley | Category: Home Buying, Home Selling

Market Reviews – Second Quarter 2016

Our Eastside Market Review and West Bellevue Market Review are both now available for the second quarter of 2016.

Eastside Market Review

Read the full report online by clicking the image below.


West Bellevue Market Review

Read the full report online by clicking the image below.


Posted on July 20, 2016 at 11:18 am
Mallory Hanley | Category: Home Buying, Home Selling

Homebuilder Sentiment Rises in June

As Americans are starting to feel more optimistic about purchasing homes, homebuilders are feeling hopeful about their sales. This is a welcome relief after a weak start to the spring home-selling season. During that time both parties were concerned about their prospects in the housing market. A recent article from The Seattle Times discusses the causes and importance of this positive change in sentiment among both groups.

How can we determine a rise in sentiment among home buyers and homebuilders? People have always understood the benefits of home ownership, so while the desire and demand have been constant, many factors deterred potential homeowners from investing in real estate. Lately we’ve seen that steady job gains and low mortgage rates are encouraging those people to buy new homes with less risk. That drives home construction and helps support the economy. This is where homebuilders come in (feeling optimistic). 

Though new homes represent a small fraction of the housing market, they have an outsized impact on the economy. According to data from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), each home built creates an average of three jobs for a year and generates about $90,000 in tax revenue. While we could just assume that new, steady jobs boost morale, the NAHB/Wells Fargo have an index that actually quantifies builder sentiment. Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good rather than poor. As of last Thursday, the reading was at 60, which is the highest it’s been since January.

Although the housing market has yet to recover from the consequences of the downturn a decade ago, rising sentiments prove that we are making progress. According to Robert Dietz, the NAHB’s chief economist, the latest builder survey results indicate that the housing market “should continue to move forward in the second half of 2016.” That makes us feel pretty optimistic, too.

Read the full article at The Seattle Times.

Posted on June 22, 2016 at 1:46 pm
Mallory Hanley | Category: Home Buying

What Millennials are Looking for in an Apartment or Condo

LinkedIn recently told us that 4,279 new apartments were added to Seattle’s local inventory last year, and based on the number of cranes you constantly see around the city, we believe them. With so many choices, Millennials are getting really specific about what they want in a living space and the lifestyle it provides them. Here are some of the amenities we’re told that Millennials have come to want, and in some cases, expect:

1.  Parking & Electric Car Charging Stations

2.  High Speed Internet and WIFI (around the entire building). Preferably free WIFI on the first floor

3.  State of the Art Fitness Center  –  Fitness centers not only act as a place for exercise, but now a place to casually socialize and build friendships.  For instance, when a developer integrates fitness classes into the gym, they are creating a space where tenants can connect with their building community. 

4. Dog Grooming/Washing Facility & Outdoor Pet Run:  As many millennials are postponing starting a family to focus more on their career, their pets are like their children.  With that said, an apartment building that doesn't allow their fury friends will ultimately be losing out on a big portion of the millennial pie.

5. High- Tech Control Automation:  Using smart technology to control your thermostat, lights, switches, sensors, and locks while you are away.

6.  Business Center/ Work From Home Space:   With remote work becoming an increasing popular trend, the potential ways of catering to work-at-home tenants are limitless.

7. Laundry Facility/Service and Dry-Cleaning Drop Off/Pick Up- Laundry is a hassle, and most renters want the burden of doing laundry to be, well, less burdensome. Programs like “Laundry View” are used in some apartment buildings to view how many washers and dryers are in use. It will also send you text alerts when your laundry is done.


This article originally appeared on the blog.

Posted on May 26, 2016 at 3:33 pm
Mallory Hanley | Category: Home Buying

Buyers Benefit with Windermere Real Estate

We're in a seller's market, no doubt. But our brokers work hard to make sure that buyers see every benefit available to them.

Before they help you buy your home, Windermere Real Estate brokers help you find the perfect home for you. They go the extra mile and scour the listings to find the home that best fits your needs and lifestyle. In our 2015 survey of Windermere customers, 44 percent of buyers said their broker introduced them to the property while 37 percent found it themselves online. Our brokers do more than help you with the paperwork. They help you navigate the housing market with ease.

Windermere Real Estate brokers also hold the advantage in multiple offer situations when home sales often go over list price. With their expert knowledge and education, our brokers work hard to get you your new home and make your offer stand above the rest.

Our brokers will get the job done quickly. We're all too familiar with the cost of waiting to buy a home, so trust that your broker will help you get into your new home as quickly and stress-free as possible.

If you're ready to jump into our spring housing market, contact me today. I'll help you buy the home of your dreams.

Posted on May 19, 2016 at 3:05 pm
Mallory Hanley | Category: Home Buying

The Gardner Report: Q1 2016

Matthew Gardner, Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, recently released his latest quarterly report for Western Washington. He breaks down the economic overview for our region, home sales activity, home prices, average days on market, and more. Here's his economic overview… 

Washington State has seen very robust growth over the past 12 months with the addition of 102,600 new jobs, which is 224,000 more jobs than seen at the previous peak in 2008. With this robust growth, it is unsurprising to see the unemployment rate trend down to 5.8%—well below the long-term average of 6.4%. As pleasing as it is to see the unemployment rate drop, it is equally pleasing to see that the decrease comes in concert with growth in the civilian labor force, which continues to grow at a very solid pace. I continue to believe that there is no risk that we will see a statewide decline in the employment picture in 2016.

You can read the full report in its entirety on the blog.

Posted on May 6, 2016 at 9:00 am
Mallory Hanley | Category: Home Buying, Home Selling

Tips for Buyers in a Hot Seller’s Market

Buyer Tips header

There is no doubt that the local real estate market is hot. Last month in King County:

  • 57% of homes sold in less than 15 days.
  • 4 out of 10 homes sold for over list price.
  • 25% of home sales were cash sales.

With more people competing for fewer homes, it can be frustrating to be a home buyer. Here are some tips that can help you gain an advantage and get a home that you love.

1) Get ready to compromise. Separate your needs from your wants.

In a competitive market, most buyers will have to compromise on location, amenities or condition of the home. Make a list of your must-haves and features you'd like (but can live without), and prepare to be flexible.

2) Get pre-approved for a mortgage.

With many buyers now offering cash, it's critical to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start looking at homes. If financing is needed, sellers prefer conventional loans to FHA or VA loans.

3) Be ready to move fast.

With homes selling within days – or even hours – you can't afford to wait on a decision. If you see a house you like, be ready to act on it that day.

4) Work with an agent who is a great negotiator.

Your agent needs to do much more than just write up an offer. A good negotiator can find out what terms are most important to the seller, and write an offer (and maybe additional counter-offers) that best meet their needs.

5) Find creative ways to make your offer more appealing.

Every seller has their own wish list. It may be a large earnest money payment, or they may want to stay in the home a few months after the sale. A savvy agent can use that knowledge to sweeten your offer and give you an advantage over other potential buyers.

You don't want to navigate this frenzied market without the best possible representation. Contact a me today so I can help you get the home you want at a price you can afford.

Posted on April 28, 2016 at 3:12 pm
Mallory Hanley | Category: Home Buying