Thursday, September 27, 2007

Washington Market Trends Report

According to the latest forecast by the National Association of Realtors®, tightening credit standards for those applying for home mortgages will likely dampen home sales in the short term and postpone an expected recovery for existing-home sales until 2008.

Lawrence Yun, senior NAR economist, said unusual disruptions in the mortgage market are dampening the outlook for home sales, notably for August and September. “There’s been an unusual hit to home sales, starting in March when subprime problems emerged and more recently when problems spread to jumbo loans, with many potential home buyers on the sidelines.” He noted, however, that “the volume of existing-home sales this year will be better than 2002, which was the second year of the housing boom.”

Let’s take a look at August sales statistics to see how the market looks in King and Snohomish counties.

Active listings in King County increased a whopping 34% in August 2007 - 13,415 homes were on the market compared to 8,894 in August 2006. Although there are more homes on the market, the number of those homes selling continues to decrease, from 3,975 in August 2006 to 3,210 - a 19% decrease. The increase in inventory has also caused market time to increase 25%, from 40 days last August to 53 days this August.

King County continues to experience rising prices overall, with the average sales price 9% higher in 2007 than 2006, bringing the average year-to-date sales price to $504,036.

Snohomish County continued to experience similar market activity to King County in August 2007. The number of active listings was up 38%, but closed sales decreased 35% in August 2007 compared to August 2006. Like in King County, the rise in inventory in Snohomish County caused the market times to increase from 44 days this time last year to 67 days this August - a 34% increase.

The average sales price increased 6% in August 2007 from August 2006, and year to date they have increased 10%.

As these statistics show, now is a great time to consider buying a King or Snohomish county home. To begin searching for King or Snohomish county homes, please use my complimentary MLS Search, or call me at 425-308-3669. If you are thinking of selling your King or Snohomish county home, please call me or visit to receive your complimentary comparative market analsys. I will work to make sure you get a great deal!

Statistics compiled by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service and are deemed accurate but not warranted.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

An Article in Reuters: Wed. Sept. 19

While California suffers in the housing crisis, the economy of nearby Washington state is flourishing with strong job growth and some of the highest appreciation in home prices in the nation.

The outlook for Washington's economy is bright because so many people are moving there in response to help-wanted advertisements. Seattle, the state's biggest city, is an especially hot job market, boosting confidence of sustained growth.

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's Vulcan Inc., for instance, sees few obstacles to turning Seattle's South Lake Union area into a thriving residential neighborhood, given Washington state's economic strength.

Lori Mason Curran, market research manager at Vulcan Real Estate, expects 135,000 people will move into the Seattle market over the next five years, propelling demand for housing that Vulcan's property unit is building in South Lake Union.

Vulcan Real Estate's foray into building office property in the industrial and warehouse area "on spec," or without guarantees of leases, will also pay off because of healthy population and job growth, she predicts. "Seattle is really, really strong on both fronts," she told Reuters during a telephone interview on Tuesday.

Brisk hiring, especially by manufacturers, builders and software companies, is propelling that growth, said Victor Moore, the state's budget director.
"It's the high-paying industries ... There's been a steady demand from employers," Moore said.
Their growth is helping Washington, unlike California and some other states, put aside concerns about a housing slump, at least for the near term, added state Treasurer Michael Murphy.
"With employment really strong, there is less likelihood of having defaults on mortgages," he said, noting Washington's housing sector is avoiding contagion from mortgage market turmoil arising from "subprime" borrowers unable to make their loan payments.

In contrast, the foreclosure rate in nearby California, whose motto is the Golden State, surged to the second highest in the nation in August, according to a report released on Tuesday by RealtyTrac, a leading real estate data provider.

U.S. residential construction fell to a 12-year low in August, according to a government report showing a 2.6 percent drop in housing starts. The data was released on Wednesday before Wall Street's opening bell. In the Northeast, housing starts slid 37.7 percent in August, while in the West, housing starts fell 18.4 percent, the Commerce Department said.

While growing payrolls keep Washington's housing market intact, they are also swelling state coffers.

ChangMook Sohn, chief economist for Washington's Economic and Revenue Forecast Council, projects $281.5 million more than initially expected for the state's 2005-2007 and 2007-2009 budget periods -- raising the state surplus to more than $1.5 billion -- thanks to continued strength in housing from strong payroll growth across the state.

"This is the third year of achieving about 3 percent job increases," Sohn said, adding that Seattle-area payrolls are growing at a torrid annual rate of 3.8 percent.

Major area employers such as Boeing Co. and Microsoft Corp. are expanding payrolls, as well as companies involved in international trade, as exports gain momentum on the dollar's weakness.
"Everyone expects more containers to come," said Port of Seattle spokesman David Schaefer, noting port officials are putting together plans to double the number of shipping containers the port handles from about 2 million annually.

With demand and prices for agricultural products up, farm-rich eastern Washington is also fueling the state's good times.

"In the Spokane and Pullman areas, economists are saying they're seeing glory days," Sohn said.
Washington's varied strengths make the Puget Sound region centered on Seattle a top market for Costco Wholesale Corp. and an obvious region for expansion, said Jim Sinegal, the company's president and chief executive.

The Issaquah, Washington, warehouse club operator plans to open another store in the Puget Sound market this fall and has four more "on the charts" for the region because of its growth prospects and confident consumers, Sinegal said.

"Full employment and good wages make it desirable to have a 50-inch (television) set," Sinegal said.

Washington's broad economic strength is underscored by housing markets across the state, said Keitaro Matsuda, an economist with Union Bank of California. He noted that Wenatchee, Washington, notched the nation's best annual home-price appreciation in the second quarter among local markets -- up 23.5 percent -- and four other Washington markets, including Seattle and Spokane, made the top 20 list.

"When you look at its numbers, there aren't too many things that are going wrong with Washington's economy," Matsuda said.

Fitch Ratings revised the state's rating outlook to "positive" from "stable" on September 4, citing its robust economy and resilient housing market -- a contrast to California, whose economy is slowing amid tumbling home sales.

"They don't have the real estate issues California has," said Richard Raphael, a Fitch executive managing director.

For Snohomish County real estate information, visit my website,, or give me a call at 425-308-3669.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Applying For A Loan In Snohomish County WA

You may feel like you are drowning in paperwork when you head to your lender’s office to apply for your next home loan. This is thanks in part to tightening credit standards that are causing lenders to require more proof than ever of borrowers’ income and expenses. To make the process somewhat less daunting, I’ve put together a list of items you may be required to bring along when are ready begin the loan application process: (please note, all lenders are different and may require more or less paperwork!)

- Addresses of employers for two full years
- Gross monthly income, proven by last two pay stubs
- W-2’s, if available
- Proof of pensions, retirement, disability, or Social Security
- Proof of income from rentals, investments, etc.
- Proof of child support or alimony paid/received
- Self-employed: two years 1040 tax returns and current year profit and loss statement

- Each creditor’s name, type of account, and account numbers
- Monthly payments and approximate balances
- Amount of child care expenses and other fixed monthly expenses

- Names of checking & savings institutions, along with account numbers and current balances
- Last two months bank and savings statements

- List of assets in stocks, bonds, land
- Life insurance cash value
- Social Security numbers for all parties
- Veterans: Certificate of Eligibility & DD-214 or Statement of Service
- Divorce Decree and/or Separation Agreement if applicable
- Child support documentation if applicable
- Bankruptcy papers if applicable

This may seem like a lot of personal information to have to provide just to apply for a home loan. But imagine if you were about to lend hundreds of thousands of dollars to somebody – you’d probably want a pretty good idea of that person’s ability to pay you back!

click here to get started searching for Everett WA homes. You can also visit my website or email me to learn more about Snohomish County WA real estate. I’m here to help!

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

What Is Your Snohomish County WA Home Built On?

Many of us may just think of it as the dirt and grass that our home is sitting on, but the makeup and quality of the soil upon which your home is built is extremely complex and varies from area to area. Investigating the soil on your property can tell you a great deal about the history and future of not only your home, but also about the land you have invested in.

But wait – does this mean we need to put on our ecologist hats and go digging in our yard with test tubes and Petri dishes? Of course not! The nice folks at the US Department of Agriculture’s have already done the “dirty” work for us and put together an extremely comprehensive
Web Soil Survey website that contains digital maps and unbelievable amounts of digital soil data that has been methodically collected. Just type in your address and then explore almost anything you ever wanted to know about the soil upon which your home is sitting including chemical properties, erosion factors and likelihood, and its drainage class.

This is valuable information if you are considering building an addition to your existing home or just want to feel confident that the soil upon which your family treads every day is safe.

For a free comparative analysis of your home’s value, please
click here - or feel free to visit my website or email me if you would like to learn more about Snohomish County WA real estate. I’m here to help!

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