The following analysis of the Western Washington real estate market is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. I hope that this information may assist you with making better-informed real estate decisions. For further information about the housing market in your area, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Washington State continues to be one of the fastest growing states in the nation and there is little to suggest that there will be any marked slowdown in the foreseeable future. Over the past year, the state has added 105,900 new jobs, representing an annual growth rate of 3.2%. This remains well above the national rate of 1.65%. Private sector employment gains continue to be robust, increasing at an annual rate of 3.7%. The strongest growth sectors were Construction (+7.4%), Information (+6.2%), and Professional & Business Services (+6.1%). The state’s unemployment rate was 4.5%, down from 4.8% a year ago.
All year I’ve been predicting that Washington State’s annual job growth would outperform the nation as a whole, and we now know with certainty that this is going to be the case. Furthermore, I am now able to predict that statewide job growth in 2019 will be equally strong, with an expected increase of 2.6%.
HOME SALES ACTIVITY
- There were 22,310 home sales during the third quarter of 2018. This is a significant drop of 12.7% compared to the third quarter of 2017.
- The number of homes for sale last quarter was up 14.5% compared to the third quarter of 2017, continuing a trend that started earlier in the year. However, the increase in listings was only in Seattle’s tri-county area (King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties) while listing activity was down across the balance of the region.
- Only two counties had a year-over-year increase in home sales, while the rest of Western Washington saw sales decrease.
- The region has reached an inflection point. With the increase in the number of homes for sale, buyers now have more choices and time to make a decision about what home to buy.
- As inventory levels start to rise, some of the heat has been taken off the market, which caused home prices in the Western Washington region to go up by a relatively modest 6.2% over last year to $503,039. Notably, prices are down by 4.4% when compared to the second quarter of this year.
- Home prices, although higher than a year ago, continue to slow due to the significant increase in the number of homes for sale. This, in my opinion, is a very good thing.
- When compared to the same period a year ago, price growth was strongest in Lewis County, where home prices were up 15.3%. Six other counties experienced double-digit price increases.
- Slowing price growth was inevitable; we simply could not sustain the increases we’ve experienced in recent years. Lower rates of appreciation will continue until wage growth catches up.
DAYS ON MARKET
- The average number of days it took to sell a home dropped by four days compared to the same quarter of 2017.
- Across the entire region, it took an average of 39 days to sell a home in the third quarter of this year. This is down from 43 days in the third quarter of 2017 and down 2 days when compared to the second quarter of 2018.
- King County continues to be the tightest market in Western Washington, with homes taking an average of only 19 days to sell. Every county in the region other than Skagit and King — which both saw the time on the market rise by 2 days — saw the length of time it took to sell a home drop when compared to the same period a year ago.
- More choice in the market would normally suggest that the length of time it takes to sell a home should rise, but the data has yet to show that. That said, compared to last quarter, we are seeing some marked increases in days on market in several counties, which will be reflected in future reports.
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 started to move the needle toward buyers last quarter and have moved it even further this quarter. Price growth continues to slow, but more significant is the rise in listings, which I expect to continue as we move toward the quieter winter period.
I believe that psychology will start to play a part in the housing market going forward. It has been more than 15 years since we’ve experienced a “balanced” market, so many home buyers and sellers have a hard time remembering what one looks like. Concerns over price drops are overrated and the length of time it’s taking to sell a home is simply trending back to where it used to be in the early 2000s.
Mr. Gardner is the Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, specializing in residential market analysis, commercial/industrial market analysis, financial analysis, and land use and regional economics. He is the former Principal of Gardner Economics and has more than 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.
Nothing feels more like fall than pumpkin picking, hay rides and corn mazes. Get your latte in hand and head out to any one of these great, local farms to have some harvest fun and find that perfect jack-o-lantern to light up your porch.
Times & dates may vary, please use the links provided for specific details.
31929 SE 44th St, Fall City
Pumpkin patch, tractor-pulled hay rides, fresh eggs, gift shop, pony rides, picnic area, farm animals
1148 Central Ave N, Kent
Pumpkin patch, corn maze, farm fun yard, hay rides, produce stand, concessions
Fall City Farms
3636 Neal Road, Fall City
Pumpkin patch, tractor-pulled hay rides, fresh honey, pre-picked produce, farm animals, snacks and refreshments.
Fox Hollow Family Farm
12031 Issaquah Hobart Rd SE, Issaquah
Pumpkins for sale, hay bale maze, bouncy house, face painting, haunted house, pony rides, petting zoo, farm animals, concessions
229 W Snoqualmie River Rd NE, Carnation
Pumpkins, horse-drawn covered wagon rides, hay rides, hay bale maze
10819 Carnation-Duvall Rd NE, Carnation
Pumpkins, produce, picnic area, playground
Mosby Farm Pumpkin Patch
12747-b South East Green Valley Rd, Auburn
Pumpkin patch, corn maze, tractor-pulled hay rides, snacks and refreshment stand, picnic area
The Nursery at Mt Si
42328 SE 108th St, North Bend
Pumpkin patch, tractor-pulled hay rides
32610 NE 32nd St, Carnation
Pumpkin patch, corn maze, animal barnyard, pony rides, steam train, hay jump
20306 NE 50th St, Redmond
Pumpkin patch, corn maze, duck races, animal train
Thomasson Family Farm
38223 236th Ave SE, Enumclaw
Pumpkin patch, corn maze, kids korral, tractor train rides, pumpkin sling shot
Tonnemaker Valley Farm, Woodinville Farm Stand
16215 140th Pl NE, Woodinville
You-pick pumpkin patch, you-pick flowers, produce stand, on-site pepper roasting on Saturdays
Biringer’s Black Crow Pumpkins & Corn Maze
2431 Highway 530 NE, Arlington
Pumpkin patch, corn maze, straw or hay bale maze, tractor-pulled hay rides, farm market, picnic area
Bob’s Corn & Pumpkin Farm
10917 Elliott Rd, Snohomish
Pumpkin patch, corn maze, bonfire & picnic area, hay rides, pony rides, playground, concessions
630 Sunnyside Blvd SE, Lake Stevens
Pumpkin patch, train rides, corn maze, haunted corn maze, tractor-pulled hay rides, farm animals, farm market
13817 Short School Rd, Snohomish
Pumpkin patch, corn maze, tractor-pulled hay rides, face painting, farm animals, snacks & refreshment stand
The Farm at Swans Trail
7301 Rivershore Rd, Snohomish
Pumpkin patch, corn maze, pick your own apples, pig & duck races, petting zoo, putt-putt golf and more
Fairbank Animal Farm & Pumpkin Patch
15308 52nd Ave W, Edmonds
Pumpkins, petting zoo, farm animals, picnic area
Fosters Pumpkin Farm
5818 State Route 530 NE, Arlington
Pumpkin patch, corn maze, hay bale maze, corn cannon, pre-picked produce, face painting, farm animals, snacks and refreshment stand, picnic area
8705 Marsh Rd, Snohomish
Pumpkin patch, corn maze, haunted corn maze, tractor-pulled hay rides, jumping pillow and more
Thomas Family Farm
9010 Marsh Road, Snohomish
Pumpkin patch, corn maze, monster truck rides, haunted house, gem mining, Zombie Safari Paintball Hayride, beer garden, putt-putt golf and more
Double R Farms
5820 44th St E, Puyallup
Pumpkin patch, corn maze, hay rides, farm animals, pumpkin sling shot
25001 Sumner-Buckley Hwy, Buckley
Pumpkin patch, corn maze, haunted woods, farm animals, hay ride, trout fishing, play ground
6502 52nd St E, Puyallup
Pumpkin patch, corn maze, hay ride, pumpkin sling shot, concessions
12920 162nd Ave E, Orting
Pumpkin patch, corn maze, play area
9622 SR 162 E, Puyallup
Pumpkin patch, farm animals, face painting, pumpkin sling shot, concessions