May
15


Seattle-Bellevue-Everett Unique Housing Market

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

For the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett metro area, prices are seen rising at a 5 percent annualized rate.
But that won't come before an additional 3.3 percent price decline through the rest of this year. The Seattle area was late to the party, with prices reaching their peak in the second-quarter of 2007 compared with a national peak in the first quarter of 2006.
"There's always a danger of being premature," Stiff told me last week. "But a number of favorable factors are going to put a floor under prices."
Among them: better employment numbers, fewer markets dominated by foreclosure sales and bank-owned properties, and affordability at record levels. Fiserv studies data from 380 markets nationwide.
"Seattle is a very unique market," Stiff said. Chris White agrees and thanks to aerospace, software, life sciences and other economic assets, it has a deep, specialized labor pool making good money. He expects Seattle to stabilize sooner.
Other data back this up. According to the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington, sales of existing houses in King County rose more than 12 percent in the first quarter compared with the same period in 2011, even as median prices fell 6.6 percent. Indeed, anecdotal evidence points to bidding wars for houses in the best locations, especially in Seattle.
House resales rose 10.9 percent in Pierce County and 18.5 percent in Snohomish County.
Building permits for single-family houses are very slowly recovering, and apartment construction is booming in central Seattle.
Still, there's no evidence the old housing boom can return. Americans face too much housing inventory, too much debt.
That's a good thing for the environment, preservation of rural land and avoiding the inefficiency and cost of infrastructure in sprawl development.
But it also means Americans won't be using double-digit, house-price increases, home-equity loans and house flipping to make up for stagnant wages.
Falling prices are necessary to make the market function again, but this also slices off a big chunk of paper wealth that owners enjoyed at the peak. Others bought then and are underwater, owing more on their mortgages than the house is now worth.
Also housing construction, the last big factorylike work in most places nationally, won't return to the boom years.
The damage from the collapse remains significant, even if Washington didn't overbuild to the extent seen in the Sun Belt. The state lost 70,000 construction jobs during the Great Recession, the largest decline felt in any sector. For local governments, a significant revenue source dried up as building stopped.
Samuel Anderson, executive officer of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties, said recently at Town Hall Seattle that he's "feeling optimistic for the future of housing and the housing industry, even if the glass may still seem half empty to many of our members in the wake of the recession."
One vote of confidence he cited is the quiet entry into the region of major builders, such as Toll Brothers, Henley Homes, Newland Communities, Lennar, Richmond American and Pulte.
At the same time, he warned that tighter lending, loss of subcontractors and workers, limitations on developable land and lack of government officials to process permits risk holding back a recovery.
"What local elected officials found out in this recession and housing collapse is that the residential housing industry has been their ATM machine. My new best friends are mayors and city council" members, he said.
Anderson also made the point that the region needs to embrace greater density inside existing urban-growth footprints and resist the NIMBYs. "The problem in many urban areas is that the community hates sprawl but doesn't want increased density in their neighborhoods."
So, a bottom — at last? I'm prepared to buy in.
For the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett metro area, prices are seen rising at a 5 percent annualized rate.
But that won't come before an additional 3.3 percent price decline through the rest of this year. The Seattle area was late to the party, with prices reaching their peak in the second-quarter of 2007 compared with a national peak in the first quarter of 2006.

"There's always a danger of being premature," Case-Shiller Indexes revealed last week. "But a number of favorable factors are going to put a floor under prices."

Among them: better employment numbers, fewer markets dominated by foreclosure sales and bank-owned properties, and affordability at record levels. Fiserv studies data from 380 markets nationwide.

"Seattle is a very unique market," Stiff said. Chris White agrees and thanks to aerospace, software, life sciences and other economic assets, it has a deep, specialized labor pool making good money. He expects Seattle to stabilize sooner.

Other data back this up. According to the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington, sales of existing houses in King County rose more than 12 percent in the first quarter compared with the same period in 2011, even as median prices fell 6.6 percent. Indeed, anecdotal evidence points to bidding wars for houses in the best locations, especially in Seattle.

House resales rose 10.9 percent in Pierce County and 18.5 percent in Snohomish County.
Building permits for single-family houses are very slowly recovering, and apartment construction is booming in central Seattle.

Still, there's no evidence the old housing boom can return. Americans face too much housing inventory, too much debt.

That's a good thing for the environment, preservation of rural land and avoiding the inefficiency and cost of infrastructure in sprawl development.

But it also means Americans won't be using double-digit, house-price increases, home-equity loans and house flipping to make up for stagnant wages.

Falling prices are necessary to make the market function again, but this also slices off a big chunk of paper wealth that owners enjoyed at the peak. Others bought then and are underwater, owing more on their mortgages than the house is now worth.

Also housing construction, the last big factorylike work in most places nationally, won't return to the boom years.

The damage from the collapse remains significant, even if Washington didn't overbuild to the extent seen in the Sun Belt. The state lost 70,000 construction jobs during the Great Recession, the largest decline felt in any sector. For local governments, a significant revenue source dried up as building stopped.

Samuel Anderson, executive officer of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties, said recently at Town Hall Seattle that he's "feeling optimistic for the future of housing and the housing industry, even if the glass may still seem half empty to many of our members in the wake of the recession."

One vote of confidence he cited is the quiet entry into the region of major builders, such as Toll Brothers, Henley Homes, Newland Communities, Lennar, Richmond American and Pulte.

At the same time, he warned that tighter lending, loss of subcontractors and workers, limitations on developable land and lack of government officials to process permits risk holding back a recovery.

"What local elected officials found out in this recession and housing collapse is that the residential housing industry has been their ATM machine. My new best friends are mayors and city council" members, he said.

Anderson also made the point that the region needs to embrace greater density inside existing urban-growth footprints and resist the NIMBYs. "The problem in many urban areas is that the community hates sprawl but doesn't want increased density in their neighborhoods."

So, a bottom — at last? I'm prepared to buy in.





Comments subject to review.
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Estella said
"That is a beautiful shot with very good lighting ." about Women Consider Owning a Home to be a Vital Component of the American Dream
on Sunday, May 12, 2013 @ 9:57 AM

Chris White - Team Leader said
"Unfortunately you are not alone. It's more than an outcry. The powers that be really need to come down harder on Bofa than they already are. Working on these short sale for over 2 years now I've uncovered down right fraud happening on the lenders parts. If they cared more about moving this country forward than protecting their own wallets then they would cut the red tape and approve these short sales in a timely manner. Our team made the wise decision to get BofA loans which were FHA or Freddie Mac backed, approved prior to listing on the market. Then we can list the home as "Price Approved" and close in 30 days. In this instance BofA does a full appraisal, rather than an incompetent "Broker Price Opinion" (nothing against agents but they have no idea how to make adjustments on comparable homes) and then the bank issues an "Approval To Participate" letter which dictates what price we can go on the market and take anything north of 88%. I really do hope your situation improves. " about Congressional Bill to Speed Up Short Sales
on Tuesday, August 30, 2011 @ 9:15 AM

Lisa Zeiner said
"We made an offer 4 months ago to BofA, and have heard nothing. It was a cash offer which is better than the zero money they are collecting now. And since the people don't care they are trashing the place, by the time BofA gets around to it our offer will be gone as the place is a mess!! Septic issues now, garbage being dumnped. All of this could have been avoided if BofA really wanted to correct their cash flow problem and sell these properties in a timely manner. They cry about cash but then do nothing intelligent to fix the problem" about Congressional Bill to Speed Up Short Sales
on Tuesday, August 30, 2011 @ 9:06 AM

Jones Ramirez said
"Thank you for the work you have done into this post, it helps clear up a few questions I had." about How do appraiser’s determine a homes value?
on Tuesday, April 19, 2011 @ 10:07 PM

HollyRobsonf said
"Hey - I am certainly happy to find this. great job!" about Bank of America to Offer Principal Reduction to Underwater Borrowers
on Wednesday, April 13, 2011 @ 6:45 PM