Signs of transition to a more balanced market are becoming abundantly clear as we move further into 2018. Price growth, while still climbing in most areas, has tapered off and average market times are inching up. Brokers are beginning to dust off forms that have seen little use of late—finance and inspection contingencies—as buyers gain a stronger foothold at the negotiating table.
Some homes are still garnering multiple offers and commanding incredible prices and terms, but many more are seeing negotiations more equalized with fewer buyers at the table. Seattle has needed this return to balance for a very long time. It is likely that buyers who were beaten down and bruised over the past couple of years will return to the house hunt, but it will likely be on their own terms. Waiving all contingencies, releasing a substantial earnest money to the seller up front, and giving the seller a period of free possession after closing will be reserved for only the most coveted homes.
On the other hand, being able to conduct thorough due diligence on a prospective home over a comfortable period after offer acceptance is a buyer right that is returning to the picture. It has been a long time since that was even possible in the hottest neighborhoods. So long, it seems almost foreign. Yet that equalization of power is long overdue and needed to stabilize our market.
Overall median Q2 ‘17 to Q2 ‘18 prices in Seattle rose 11.3% to $801,000, while the Eastside rose 9.1% to $960,000. The average cost per home square foot was $459 in Seattle and $426 on the Eastside (which tends to have larger homes—2,752 square feet vs Seattle’s 2015 square feet—and thus a lower cost per square foot to construct).
Home mortgage interest rates have continued to rise, averaging 4.54% in Q2 putting continued pressure on buyers to purchase before they are simply priced out of the Seattle-Eastside market. Our region is entering a sweet spot where home prices are stabilizing and have likely peaked but interest rates are still affordable. Because rising interest rates have a much larger impact on the monthly mortgage than home price, values would have to fall pretty sharply to offset the impact of a 1-2% increase in mortgage interest rates.
WATERFRONT Q2 2018 Market Report:
Click to view the quarterly waterfront report for Mercer Island, Seattle and the Greater Eastside.
Published July 2018
CONDO Q2 2018 Market Report:
Click to view the quarterly condo report for Mercer Island, Seattle and the Greater Eastside.
Published July 2018
© 2018 Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island
Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
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© Copyright 2018. Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.