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    David Bell's Real Estate Blog

    Stay tuned to David's blog for updates on the Seattle Real Estate market, as well as other information from David's experience as a Seattle Realtor.

    Radio Segments

    David regularly appears on the Brashenomics Radio Show Wednesdays at 3pm on 1150 KKNW and occasionally on other radio shows around the region. Click here to view his previous radio appearances.

    Wednesday
    Mar272013

    National Home Sales Reports for 2012

    NATIONAL HOMES SALES REPORTS FOR 2012

    WASHINGTON (February 21, 2013) - Existing-home sales edged up in January, while a seller's market is developing and home prices continue to rise steadily above year-ago levels, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Sales rose in every region but the West, which is the region most constrained by limited inventory.

    Total existing home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 0.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.92 million in January from a downwardly revised 4.90 million in December, and are 9.1 percent above the 4.51 million-unit pace in January 2012.

    Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said tight inventory is a major factor in the market. "Buyer traffic is continuing to pick up, while seller traffic is holding steady," he said. "In fact, buyer traffic is 40 percent above a year ago, so there is plenty of demand but insufficient inventory to improve sales more strongly. We've transitioned into a seller's market in much of the country."

    Total housing inventory at the end of January fell 4.9 percent to 1.74 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 4.2 month supply at the current sales pace, down from 4.5 months in December, and is the lowest housing supply since April 2005 when it was also 4.2 months.

    Listed inventory is 25.3 percent below a year ago when there was a 6.2-month supply. Raw unsold inventory is at the lowest level since December 1999 when there were 1.71 million homes on the market.

    "We expect a seasonal rise of inventory this spring (2013), but it may be insufficient to avoid more frequent incidences of multiple bidding and faster-than-normal price growth," Yun explained.

    In a earlier article: NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said in his national press conference in Washington to release the association’s latest sales figures says inventory shortages are cropping up in markets across the country. Although that’s good for home price gains in the short-term, in the long-term it’s a negative that reflects weak home construction by builders. Ideally, supply growth will increase to provide a healthy counterbalance to demand so prices can rise at a sustainable pace.

    In any case, due to the steady price gains homeowners have seen, total home owner equity has risen by $760 billion as of October 2012. Should home prices rise 5 percent for the year (2012), equity gains could reach $1 trillion by year’s end, a healthy development for the economy, Yun says.

    Tuesday
    Mar122013

    Is the price right? How inventory shortages are impacting home buying in Seattle.

    In this Brashenomics radio segment, joins the show and discusses how home prices around Seattle are getting artificially inflated because of the high demand for real estate.

    Friday
    Feb082013

    Radio Show: What does the housing market look like in Seattle?


    In this installation of Brashenomics, I compare the local Seattle real estate market in 2011 and 2012 to provide a birds-eye view of what the housing market looks like, and point out some key factors that the local media seem to miss.

    Friday
    Feb082013

    What’s the Best Month to Sell a House in Seattle WA?

    I’m asked all the time what is the best month to sell your home in the Seattle real estate market? Right now my answer is “in the month you need to sell it.” The Seattle and Bellevue real estate markets right now are facing an inventory shortage. We have been and are currently in the first sellers market we have seen since early 2007. “Good” homes that are priced “correctly” are selling quickly and that has been the case now for several months. Homes that are challenged and/or over priced are not selling however. Back in 2005 or 2006 even the challenged and over priced homes would sell eventually, but that is not the case today. I define a challenged home as one on a busy street, homes that need a lot of work or were of poor construction, homes that have very unusual floor plans, or homes that are in poor locations.

    Click to read more ...

    Monday
    Jan212013

    Is the real estate market in Seattle good or bad?

    Over the 23 years I’ve been in the Seattle Real Estate business I have tracked the Seattle Real Estate market statistically. Often times studying the numbers tells an experienced agent things that are contrary to what most people actually think is, or has been, happening in the Seattle Real Estate market.  Staying current with sales numbers year after year gives me vital information I need for my clients that are both buying and selling.

    For example when the bubble burst in Seattle at the end of 2007 most people thought that 2008 was the worst year we have had for sales in Seattle in our recent times.  Well they were partially correct because total sales in 2008 were way below sales levels in 2007.  Then people thought that prices kept falling every year until 2011 and again they were partially correct.  Depending on where the property was however, which neighborhood it was in and the style and condition of the property had a substantial impact on the price as well.  The closer in to the Seattle city center you were, the less the price dropped and the sooner prices stabilized.  The farther out you were the more the prices fell and they kept falling for a longer period.

    Some Seattle neighborhoods survived the bad years for the real estate market

    So “close-in” areas like Queen Anne, Magnolia, Capitol Hill, Ravenna, Bryant, Green Lake, Wallingford, and Ballard saw prices fall between 25% to 30% from 2008 through 2009.  Then prices stabilized for the most part by the spring of 2010, while areas further away from downtown dropped more in price over a longer period of time.  For the most part, the close-in Seattle neighborhoods have been stable from early 2010 until the spring of 2012. One interesting trend to note is that total sales have declined each year starting in 2008. 2011 was worst year we have had for the total number of homes sold, although prices were relatively stable.

    In these close-in areas, MLS #390, 700, 705 and 710 there were a total of 4663 single-family homes that closed in 2007.  In 2011 the total was 3434 or 36% less than in 2007. 

    For the close-in neighborhoods, MLS #’s 390 (Capitol Hill), 700 (Queen Anne/Magnolia), 705 (Ballard/Green Lake), and 710 (Northeast Seattle), the total number of single-family homes sold increased by about 15% from 2011 to 2012.  3,434 homes were sold in 2011 compared to 4,056 homes sold in 2012. Remember that 2011 was a very low year for total sales.  In 2012 the total number of sold homes increased, yet it was still about 15% fewer homes sold than in 2007. Although we are still rebuilding the region’s inventory, there are some indicators that point to the real estate market in Seattle looking more good than bad.

    Two Seattle neighborhoods with a good market in 2012

    Let’s take a closer look at MLS area 700 (Queen Anne/Magnolia) and 705 (Ballard/Green Lake). For MLS Area 705, Ballard/Green Lake, the average List Price for 2011 was $442,546 and the average sold price was $432,256.  The average List price for 2012 was $459,387 with the average Sold price being $458,467.  That represents about a 5.7% increase in average price from 2011 to 2012.

    For MLS Area 700, Queen Anne/Magnolia, the average List price for 2011 was $655,497 with the average Sold price of $628,570.  Then the average List price for 2012 was $668,132 with the average Sold being $652,164 for a 3.6% increase over 2011.

    The Seattle Real Estate Market is GOOD

    The Seattle economy is one of the best economies in the country.  The state jobless rate has fallen to 7.6% and the national rate is 7.8% while Seattle jobless rate has fallen to 6.5%.  OK I feel a prediction coming here: If the National economy continues to improve or at worst stays the same the bottom of Seattle Real Estate Market was at the end of 2010 and is on its way up.  If the national economy falters then I think the worse case for Seattle Real Estate is that it remains flat.  Either way this is a great time to buy for first time homebuyers and a great time to buy for the move up buyer.  And if you bought your home prior to 2005 this is not a bad time to sell especially if you want to move up.

    In summary, the Seattle real estate market is VERY good and getting better. This is perhaps the best time to buy real estate in Seattle that we may see our lifetime!  That being said, you still have to be smart about what you buy and how much you pay. 

    I’d love to talk with you about buying a home or perhaps selling and moving up to take advantage of today’s great market. Let’s get in touch!