Washington State employment has softened slightly to an annual growth rate of 2%, which is still a respectable number compared to other West Coast states and the country as a whole. In all, I expect that Washington will continue to add jobs at a reasonable rate though it is clear that businesses are starting to feel the effects of the trade war with China and this is impacting hiring practices. The state unemployment rate was 4.6%, marginally higher than the 4.4% level of a year ago. My most recent economic forecast suggests that statewide job growth in 2019 will rise by 2.2%, with a total of 88,400 new jobs created.
- There were 22,685 home sales during the third quarter of 2019, representing a slight increase of 0.8% from the same period in 2018 and essentially at the same level as in the second quarter.
- Listing activity — which rose substantially from the middle of last year — appears to have settled down. This is likely to slow sales as there is less choice in the market.
- Compared to the third quarter of 2018, sales rose in five counties, remained static in one, and dropped in nine. The greatest growth was in Skagit and Clallam counties. Jefferson, Kitsap, and Cowlitz counties experienced significant declines.
- The average number of homes for sale rose 11% between the second and third quarters. However, inventory is 14% lower than in the same quarter of 2018. In fact, no county contained in this report had more homes for sale in the third quarter than a year ago.
- Home price growth in Western Washington notched a little higher in the third quarter, with average prices 4.2% higher than a year ago. The average sales price in Western Washington was $523,016. It is worth noting, though, that prices were down 3.3% compared to the second quarter of this year.
- Home prices were higher in every county except Island, though the decline there was very small.
- When compared to the same period a year ago, price growth was strongest in Grays Harbor County, where home prices were up 22%. San Juan, Jefferson, and Cowlitz counties also saw double-digit price increases.
- Affordability issues are driving buyers further out which is resulting in above-average price growth in outlying markets. I expect home prices to continue appreciating as we move through 2020, but the pace of growth will continue to slow.
DAYS ON MARKET
- The average number of days it took to sell a home dropped one day when compared to the third quarter of 2018.
- Thurston County was the tightest market in Western Washington, with homes taking an average of only 20 days to sell. There were six counties where the length of time it took to sell a home dropped compared to the same period a year ago. Market time rose in six counties, while two counties were unchanged.
- Across the entire region, it took an average of 38 days to sell a home in the third quarter. This was down 3 days compared to the second quarter of this year.
- Market time remains below the long-term average across the region and this trend is likely to continue until more inventory comes to market, which I do not expect will happen until next spring.
This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s real estate market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors. I am leaving the needle in the same position as the first and second quarters, as demand appears to still be strong.
The market continues to benefit from low mortgage rates. The average 30-year fixed rates is currently around 3.6% and is unlikely to rise significantly anytime soon. Even as borrowing costs remain very competitive, it’s clear buyers are not necessarily jumping at any home that comes on the market. Although it’s still a sellers’ market, buyers have become increasingly price-conscious which is reflected in slowing home price growth.
As Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, Matthew Gardner is responsible for analyzing and interpreting economic data and its impact on the real estate market on both a local and national level. Matthew has over 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.
In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Matthew sits on the Washington State Governors Council of Economic Advisors; chairs the Board of Trustees at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington; and is an Advisory Board Member at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington where he also lectures in real estate economics.
This post originally appeared on the Windermere.com Blog.
4 Reasons to Sell Your Home This Fall
- Buyer demand is still strong
- There is less competition now – supply and demand
- There will never be a better time to move up
- Its time to move on with your life
Watch this video to hear more about why I think you should sell.
No — the sky is not falling! Signs may be pointing toward a recession but let’s look at some past stats re: home prices and appreciation.
- There is plenty of talk in the media about a pending economic slowdown.
- The good news is, home values actually increased in 3 of the last 5 U.S. recessions, and decreased by less than 2% in the 4th.
- Many experts predict a potential recession is on the horizon. However, housing will not be the trigger, and home values will still continue to appreciate. It will not be a repeat of the crash in the 2008 housing market
Source: Keeping Current Matters.
Another really important thing to take into consideration is our area. This infographic is national data. Our area is still flourishing with employment, companies hiring and out of the area folks moving in. Another great person to ask about this is Windermere’s own Matthew Gardener.
This is a brief summary of the Quarterly Gardner Report.
Things are still seeing positive growth from a Real Estate perspective.
In Western Washington YOY price growth is 2.8% higher. When compared to 1st Quarter it’s 12%. County by County is a bit different – for King County we saw a -0.4% price drop. This speaks directly to the affordability in that area. Days on market is still relatively low (21 Days in King County) and if a home is priced and marketed well – it will attract attention and sell rapidly. One strong take away is that interest rates are still at an all time low – with inventory up this is a great time to buy. And for those needing to sell before you can buy contingent offers are a viable possibility again!
Interest rates are at a two year low. Who knew!
There have been so many predictions over the past several years that rates were headed higher and higher and while they have fluctuated a bit – today it’s like free money! Our economy as well as the real estate market is unpredictable. But one thing is for certain, if you are or were on the fence about buying – either for the first time, selling and getting a bigger house or even ready to downsize and get into your retirement home – now could be a great time to make that happen. Most markets in our area are still great for sellers if the home is marketed and priced accordingly – and inventory is up (24.5% as of May) which means more for buyers to choose from.
Multiple offers are still the story again in some markets – but with more to choose from it’s doesn’t seem as frenetic. So why does all this hub-bub matter when it comes to interest rates – well it really can effect what you can buy. BUYING POWER is the answer – and with low interest rates you can afford more. And in our area – that makes a big difference. Which brings me to the information seen here – it’s a great depiction of what waiting, or what a changing interest rate can mean to you and your bottom line.
So when you’re ready to talk about finding your next community – let’s chat – I can help!
Wanted to quick share what’s happening in the Market. It’s been ticking up every month since February and is gradually catching last years numbers after the 4th quarter dip of 2018. Market times are down again and pairing that with sub 4% interest rates it is making the prospects of buying vs. renting very enticing! Sellers are now seeing increased traffic, but are also competing with additional homes for sale. Location, Location, Location is still the theme of todays market and the hotter marketplaces in June has been North Kirkland (Finn Hill), Mercer Island and Renton.
Click here to see the the stats in your area for June 2019
I know…tax season is over (hopefully you got yours done already!!) But this question about CAPTIAL GAINS TAX is a question I get on a regular basis from my clients — about what it is and does it apply to me? This was an article I recently sent out in my monthly ‘paper’ newsletter (I know so old school) to my mailing list. It was super helpful for me to understand what it actually is and how it works — I hope you find it as informative.
What is capital gains tax? This is a prime question that might creep up when you sell your home for more than you paid for it. That’s good news for you, but the downside is, you may have to pay taxes on those profits in the form of capital gains tax. Yep, just as you pay income tax and sales tax, home sale profits are subject to taxation, too.
Complicating matters is the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which is changing the rules. So if there’s ever a time to brush up on all things capital gains, it’s right now. Here’s what you need to know.
What is capital gains tax—and who pays it?
In a nutshell, capital gains tax is a duty levied on property and possessions you’ve held onto for more than a year that you sell for a profit—including your home.
The IRS gives each person, no matter how much the person earns, a $250,000 tax-free exemption for a primary residence.
“So if you and your spouse buy your home for $100,000, and years later sell for up to $600,000, you won’t owe any capital gains tax,” says New York attorney Anthony S. Park. However, you do have to meet specific requirements to claim this exclusion:
- The home must be your primary residence.
- You must have owned the home for at least two years.
- You must have lived in the home for at least two of the past five years.
If you don’t meet all these requirements, you may be able to take a partial exclusion for capital gains tax. For more information, consult a tax adviser or IRS Publication 523.
How much capital gains tax will you have to pay?
For capital gains over that $250,000-per-person exemption, just how much of a bite will Uncle Sam take out of your real estate sale? In the past, that depended on your tax bracket. Under the new tax law, capital gains rates are now based on your income, explains Park. Let’s break it down.
Married Filing Jointly
|Head of Household||Capitol Gains Tax Percentage|
|Earning Less Than||$39,375||$78,750||$52,750||0%|
|Earning Between||$39,376 – $434,550||$78,751 – $488,850||$52,751 – $461,700||15%|
|Earning More Than||$434,550+||$488,850+||$461,700+||20%|
Don’t forget, your state may have its own capital gains tax. And very high earners may owe an additional 3.8% net investment income tax.
Do home improvements reduce capital gains tax?
How much capital gains tax you’ll pay may also be reduced because of home
improvements you’ve made. The money you spent on any home improvements—such as replacing the roof, building a deck, replacing the flooring, or
finishing a basement—can be added to the initial price of your home to give you the adjusted cost basis of your home.
For example, if you purchased your home for $200,000 in 1990 and sold it for $550,000, but over the past 29 years have spent $100,000 on home improvements, that $100,000 would be subtracted from the sales price of your home this year. Instead of owing capital gains taxes on the $350,000 profit from the sale, you would owe taxes on $250,000. In that case, you’d meet the requirements for a capital gains tax exclusion and owe nothing.
Make sure to save receipts of any renovations and repairs, since they can save you big-time come tax filing season.
How capital gains tax works on inherited homes
What if you’re selling a home you’ve inherited from family members who’ve passed away? The IRS also gives a “free step-up in basis” when you inherit a family house. But what does that mean?
Let’s say Mom and Dad bought the family home years ago for $100,000, and it’s worth $1 million when they die and leave it to you. When you sell, your purchase price (or “basis”) is not the $100,000 your folks paid, but instead the $1 million it’s worth on their date of death.
How to avoid capital gains tax as a real estate investor
If the home you’re selling is a second home (i.e., vacation home) rather than your primary residence, avoiding capital gains tax is a bit more complicated. But it’s still possible. The best way to
avoid a capital gains tax if you’re an investor is by doing a 1031
exchange. This allows you to sell your property and buy another one without recognizing any potential gain.
“In essence, you’re swapping one investment asset for another,” White says. He cautions, however, that there are very strict rules regarding timelines and guidelines with this transaction, so be sure to check them with an accountant.
If you’re opting out of the rental property investment business and putting your money in another venture, then you’ll owe the capital gains taxes on the profit.
Many potential sellers believe that waiting until Spring is in their best interest. Traditionally, they would have been right.
Buyer demand has seasonality to it. Usually, this falls off in the winter months, especially in areas of the country impacted by arctic conditions, although that has not been the case this year!
Demand for housing has remained strong as mortgage rates have remained near historic lows. Even with an increase in rates forecasted for 2019, buyers are still able to lock in an affordable monthly payment. Buyers are increasingly jumping off the fence and into the market to secure a lower rate.
Those who act quickly and list now, before a flood of increased competition, will benefit from additional exposure to buyers.
Bottom Line: If you are planning on selling your home in 2019, contact me and we can evaluate the opportunities in your market.
The number of homes for sale in August increased dramatically over the same time a year ago. This is the result of a moderate increase in new listings and a much slower pace of sales. Homes are staying on the market longer, giving buyers more choices and more time to make an informed decision. While home prices are up compared to a year ago, the rate of increase was in the single digits rather than the double-digit surges of past months. It’s still a seller’s market, but sellers need to have realistic expectations about pricing their homes as the market softens.
The median price of a single-family home on the Eastside was up nearly 10 percent from the same time last year to $935,000. Home prices have declined each month from the all-time high of $977,759 set in June. Inventory increased 73 percent over last August. With supply soaring and home prices moderating, sellers need to work with their broker to price their home to meet the current market conditions. A year ago 47 percent of the homes on the Eastside sold for over list price. This August that number was down to 29 percent.
King County experienced yet another flood of inventory with the number of homes for sale jumping 65 percent over the previous year. Despite the growth, the county has just 1.9 months of inventory and remains a seller-oriented market. The market has slowed but it remains fast-paced, with 62 percent of the properties here selling in fewer than 15 days. While home prices were up 3 percent from a year ago, the median price of $669,000 represented the third straight month of declines from the record-high of $726,275 reached in May.
After leading the nation in home price growth for nearly two years, Seattle is finally cooling off. The median home price in August was $760,000, up just 4 percent from last year and down from the record $830,000 reached in May. Inventory soared in August, but the city still has just two months of supply, far short of the four to six months that is considered balanced. Bidding wars are becoming less common and price drops more common. Sellers must adjust their expectations to what appears to be a long waited moderating of the market.
Mirroring the market slowdown in King County, Snohomish County also experienced a cooling off in August. The median price of a single-family home was $492,000, up 8 percent from a year ago but down from the record high of $511,000 two months prior. Inventory increased nearly 30 percent, but at just 1.6 months of supply the market remains very tight and sales are brisk. Sixty percent of homes here sold within 15 days.
This post originally appeared on the WindermereEastside.com Blog.