Eastern Washington Real Estate Market Update
The following analysis of the Eastern Washington real estate market is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. We 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 your Windermere agent.
The Washington State economy continues to add jobs at an above-average rate, though the pace of growth is starting to slow as the business cycle matures. Over the past 12 months, the state added 96,600 new jobs, representing an annual growth rate of 2.9%—well above the national rate of 1.7%. Private sector employment gains continue to be quite strong, increasing at an annual rate of 3.6%. Public sector employment was down 0.3%. The strongest growth sectors were Real Estate Brokerage and Leasing (+11.4%), Employment Services (+10.3%), and Residential Construction (+10.2%). During fourth quarter, the state’s unemployment rate was 4.3%, down from 4.7% a year ago.
Eastern Washington added 4,984 jobs over the past 12 months, representing an annual growth rate of 1.1%. Although the region added jobs at a fairly healthy clip, the unemployment rate matched that seen a year ago at 5%.
HOME SALES ACTIVITY
- Home sales throughout Eastern Washington slowed in the final quarter of the year, with total sales down 8.7% over the same quarter in 2017 to 3,211 units.
- Sales rose fastest in the small Lincoln County area, which increased by a significant 42.1%. For perspective, that translates to only eight additional sales. Walla Walla County was again a laggard, with a drop of 21.8%. But it, too, is a small market that can be prone to significant swings.
- Year-over-year, home sales rose in just two counties, with the balance of the market seeing some fairly significant drops.
- Interestingly, the number of homes for sale dropped by 15.2% from the fourth quarter of 2017. Many Pacific Northwest markets saw significant increases in inventory levels last fall, but that was not the case in Eastern Washington. That said, I anticipate we will see more homes for sale as we move into the spring selling season.
- Year-over-year, the average home price in Eastern Washington rose 9.5% to $264,231. However, price growth slowed somewhat between third and fourth quarter, reporting a 2.6% drop in the average sales price.
- Low inventory in the region continues to be a significant hurdle to many home buyers. I had hoped more homes would come onto the market in the fall, but that was not the case. The spring market should provide more choice for buyers.
- All the counties in this report saw prices rise compared to the fourth quarter of 2017. Whitman County took over the number one spot, with an annual price increase of 28.9%.
- The takeaway here is that home-price growth has cooled a little but remains well above the long-term average.
DAYS ON MARKET
- The average time it took to sell a home in Eastern Washington in the fourth quarter of 2018 was 63 days.
- The average amount of time it took to sell a home in Eastern Washington dropped nine days compared to the fourth quarter of 2017.
- Every county other that Lincoln (+2days) saw the time it took to sell a home drop compared to the same quarter in 2017.
- Notably, it took 17 more days to sell a home in the fourth quarter than it did in the third quarter of last year, but I attribute that to seasonality.
The speedometer reflects the state of the region’s real estate market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors.
The number of homes for sale dropped off in recent months and housing markets throughout Eastern Washington remain very tight. The overall trend continues to favor home sellers, so I am moving the needle slightly more in their favor.
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 Governor’s 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.
Windermere Foundation Surpasses $38 Million In Total Donations Raised
2018 concluded with another great year of fundraising and giving for the Windermere Foundation, thanks to the continued support of Windermere franchise owners, agents, staff, and the community. Nearly $2.5 million was raised in 2018, bringing our grand total to over $38 million raised since the Foundation’s inception in 1989! During the past year, nearly $1.9 million was donated to non-profit organizations throughout the Western U.S. that provide much-needed services to low-income and homeless families. In 2018, the Windermere Foundation fulfilled 689 grant requests and served 507 non-profit organizations.
A portion of the money raised every year is due in part to our agents who each make a donation to the Windermere Foundation from every commission they earn. Additional donations from Windermere agents, the community, and fundraisers made up 68% of the money collected in 2018. Each Windermere office has their own Foundation funds, which enable them to support local non-profits in their communities.
One organization that received Windermere Foundation donations from several Windermere Real Estate offices in the Seattle area is Treehouse. Treehouse’s mission is to give foster kids a childhood and a future. Their goal that they have set to achieve by 2022, is to see youth in foster care graduate from high school at the same rate as their peers across Washington State. And to provide them with support and a plan to launch successfully into adulthood. Donations from the Windermere Foundation have helped Treehouse clients like Ashley, get the support she needed to turn her life around.
“I didn’t have a childhood that all kids should have–like making friends my age or playing sports. I changed the path that I was on because I wanted to give people a reason to believe in me. You have to want to change and speak your truth, but you can’t do it without people believing in you. You can get through the darkest situations, you just gotta look for a little crack of light. Treehouse is that crack of light for me,” ~Ashley
2018 also marked the third year of our #tacklehomelessness campaign with the Seattle Seahawks, in which Windermere committed to donating $100 for every Seahawks home game defensive tackle to YouthCare, a non-profit organization that provides critical services to homeless youth. While the Seahawks didn’t make it past the first round of the playoffs, they did help us raise $31,900. When added to previous seasons, the total donation for the past three years is $98,700! We are grateful for the opportunity to provide additional support to homeless youth thanks to the Seahawks, YouthCare, and the #tacklehomelessnesscampaign.
Thanks to our agents, offices, and everyone who supports the Windermere Foundation, we have been able to make a difference in the lives of many families in our local communities over the past 30 years. If you’d like to help support programs in your community, please click the Donate button.
To learn more about the Windermere Foundation, visit http://www.windermere.com/foundation.
Unfortunately, our homes don’t always grow with us. What may have initially worked fine for a single person, a young couple’s starter home, or a family with a newborn can quickly become too small as families expand and multiple generations live under one roof.
Remodeling and adding to your home is one option for creating more space, but it can be costly, and the size of your property may be prohibitive. That’s when moving to a bigger home becomes the best solution.
WHERE DO YOU NEED MORE SPACE?
The first thought when upsizing your home is to simply consider square footage, bedrooms, and bathrooms. But it’s important to take a more critical approach to how your space will actually be used. If you have younger children (or possibly more on the way), then focusing on bedrooms and bathrooms makes sense. But if your children are closer to heading off to college or starting their own families, it may be better to prioritize group spaces like the kitchen, dining room, living room, and outdoor space—it’ll pay off during the holidays or summer vacations, when everyone is coming to visit for big gatherings.
If you need more space, but don’t necessarily want a more expensive home, you can probably get a lot more house for your money if you move a little further from a city center. While the walkability and short commutes of a dense neighborhood or condo are hard to leave beyond, your lifestyle—and preferences for hosting Thanksgiving, barbecues, and birthdays—might mean that a spacious home in the suburbs makes the most sense. It’s your best option for upsizing while avoiding a heftier price tag.
When you own your home, things are going to break and, unless you want to spend your money on visits from a neighborhood handyman, you’re going to need to fix them yourself. Luckily, you don’t need an arsenal of tools to handle most home maintenance fixes. These five tools will cover most of your basic projects.
- Cordless drill. A cordless drill is a must-have for installing cabinets, drawer pulls, hinges, picture frames, shelves and hooks, and more. Whether it’s for do-it-yourself projects or repairs, you’ll use your cordless drill just about every month.
- Drain cleaners. Shower and bathroom sink drains are susceptible to clogs because of the daily buildup of hair and whisker clippings. You can use chemical clog removers like Drano, but they’re expensive and the lingering chemical scent is unpleasant. Instead, buy some plastic drain cleaners that can reach into the drain to pull out the clog of hair and gunk. You can purchase them on Amazon or at a local hardware store for a low price.
- Shop-vac. No matter how careful you are, spills and accidents will happen and there are some tasks that just can’t be handled with paper towels or a standard vacuum, like pet messes or broken glass.
- Loppers. Even the minimum amount of care for your landscaping will require some loppers to remove damaged branches, vines, thick weeds, and any other unruly plants in your yard.
- Flashlight. You’re going to want something a little more powerful than your iPhone flashlight when you’re in the crawlspace!
We have the date for the 2018 Annual Windermere Shred Day in hand! Set aside a couple hours on May 19, 2018 from 11-2 to get your shred on down at the Windermere office at 2900 W Broadway. This year we will have 1 truck available with a 5 box limit. Bring a canned or box food donation for the local food bank and we can continue paying it forward.
Funny story about last years event is that we ran out of truck space in the first 2 hours! So it’s best to show up early so that we don’t have a full truck. It will be a drop and go service on the day of the event.
When you put your home up for sale, one of the best ways to determine the asking price is to look at comparable sales. There’s rarely a perfect apples-to-apples comparison, so a pricing decision often relies on comparisons to several recent sales in the area. Here are five criteria to look for in a sales comparison.
- Location: Homes in the same neighborhood typically follow the same market trends. Comparing your home to another in the same neighborhood is a good start, but comparing it to homes on the same street or block is even better.
- Date of sale: It varies by location, but housing markets can see a ton of fluctuation in a short time period. It‘s best to use the most recent sales data available.
- Home build: Look for homes with similar architectural styles, numbers of bathrooms and bedrooms, square footage, and other basics.
- Features and upgrades: Remodeled bathrooms and kitchens can raise a home’s price, and so can less flashy upgrades like a new roof or HVAC system. Be sure to look for similar bells and whistles.
- Sale types: Homes that are sold as short sales or foreclosures are often in distress or sold at a lower price than they’d receive from a more typical sale. These homes are not as useful for comparisons.
Don’t forget to come down and support your downtown with the new (hopefully annual) event of Moses Lake Brews and Tunes Saturday February 24th all throughout the downtown stores. You will find a breweries and live music in 9 different storefronts.
Thief of Hearts (Band)
Memory Lane (Band)
Free Beer Nuts (Band)
Nick & Nathan Fisher
and equally as important the Brewery’s that will be pouring will be:
Ten Pin Brewing Co.
Wenatchee Valley Brewing Company
Rocky Coulee Brewing Company
St. Brigid’s Brewery
Badger Mountain Brewing
Bale Breaker Brewing Co.
Silver City Brewing
We are looking forward to attending and helping run the registration desk. Can’t wait to see you there, come say hi! And if you don’t want to drink just come for the music, that part will be free!
Tickets can be purchased on site or at the following locations:
I only ask because I don’t think I am. I honestly don’t think I can do purple in my house even if it DID win color of the year…. What do you think?
Pantone has done it again: their 2018 color of the year is bold, beautiful, and nothing like the other color predictions we’ve seen for next year. The company says their pick, Ultra Violet 18-3838, is a “dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade” and “communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future” — and the design industry agrees.
“There’s a hint of fantasy in this color — something almost unreal and fabulist about it, after all, real ultra violet rays are beyond human comprehension – the naked eye can’t see them!” says Editor in Chief of House Beautiful, Sophie Donelson. “I like the magic, optimism, and fearlessness it invokes. At home, I’d use it to envelope yourself, royals style – how about a least a mohair throw, it’s not quiet a velvet cape, but it’ll do!” We bet a plush velvet bench will do the trick, as seen in this dining area.
Nancy Fire, creative director of HGTV HOME, Design Works International, and Studio NYC Design, says she’s already thinking about how she can use it in her design work. “Ultra Violet works well as an accent pillow, wallpaper geometric combined with grey, and, of course, a regal paint color that plays well with grey, loden green, and many neutrals,” Fire says.
We think using this bold color as a statement, not to fill an entire room, is key if you usually stick with neutrals and safe shades — and Abbe Fenimore from Studio Ten 25 agrees. “When used in small doses as an accent color it can be really rich and feminine. I love it paired with pinks, greens, and metallics, especially gold and brass. You really only need a little bit of it to make a statement!” Fenimore says.
However, not everyone was on board when they first saw the shade. “I’m not a big fan of the color purple in general,” says Jessica McClendon from Glamour Nest. “However, this color is perfect for those who want to try something a little bit adventurous. It’s definitely no Rose Quartz or Serenity, as it is better suited to be more of an accent color.” So if you are a fan of purple, and a risk-taker, this color is calling your name—-Lauren Smith
As unfortunate as it can be when homeowners fall behind on mortgage payments and must face the possibility of losing their homes, short sales and foreclosures provide them options for moving on financially. The terms are often used interchangeably, but they’re actually quite different, with varying timelines and financial impact on the homeowner. Here’s a brief overview.
A short sale comes into play when a homeowner needs to sell their home but the home is worth less than the remaining balance that they owe. The lender can allow the homeowner to sell the home for less than the amount owed, freeing the homeowner from the financial predicament.
On the buyer side, short sales typically take three to four months to complete and many of the closing and repair costs are shifted from the seller to the lender.
On the other hand, a foreclosure occurs when a homeowner can no longer make payments on their home so the bank begins the process of repossessing it. A foreclosure usually moves much faster than a short sale and is more financially damaging to the homeowner.
After foreclosure the bank can sell the home in a foreclosure auction. For buyers, foreclosures are riskier than short sales, because homes are often bought sight unseen, with no inspection or warranty.
I don’t know about you but the one thing that I wish Moses Lake had more of is Modern Architecture. There is something about the clean lines that speaks to my OCD. Looking through these articles and seeing all these beautiful homes make me wish we had a builder in town who did more modern homes. Are you a fan of clean lines or would you rather stick with the craftsman style?