Seattle Market Report, April 2020

The monthly market snapshot summarizes key quantitative measures of the local markets in Seattle and West Seattle.

COVID has dramatically shifted the landscape and made “certainty” impossible to predict by anyone. However, there are a few pieces of evidence that smart buyers and sellers should look at:

  1. Demand was SUPERCHARGED before the shutdown. Many buyers. Multiple offers. Hot, hot demand.
  2. Sales continued after the shutdown went into effect. While new listings slowed, buyers who had been looking continued. Sales continued.
  3. Even as economic uncertainty looms, people are realizing they do not want to live in their homes. For some, the quarantine has shone a light on their living spaces and buyers are getting ready to move. Maybe it’s a divorce. Maybe it’s an extra bedroom/office/yard. People are looking.

While sellers need to be more realistic about price and the details of preparing and selling a home, so far the housing sector has not taken the hit. Which means now may be the perfect time to consolidate as we move into uncharted waters.

Here are a couple news items to round out the story of Seattle real estate as COVID evolves:

  • Nancy Keates, “Despite Stay-at-Home Order, Seattle’s Real-Estate Market Continues to Show Up,” Wall Street Journal, Apr. 13, 2020.
    “Multiple offers. Bidding wars. All-cash deals hours after listings go live: This is all still happening in Seattle, the city that four weeks ago was considered an epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic, and since March 23 has been under a stay-at-home order barring all nonessential activity.”
  • Stefanos Chen, “Homebound Buyers Ask: Is a Picture Worth $1 Million?,” New York Times, Apr. 10, 2020.
    “Those who brave the market now could get some of the best deals in years, with near-record low mortgage rates, but the path is complicated by ever-changing guidance and all the minutiae that video calls fail to convey.”
  • Katherine Khashimova Long, “Seattle area’s March home prices jumped, before coronavirus pandemic took hold,” Seattle Times, Apr. 6, 2020.
    “That optimism may not be entirely warranted, said James Young, the director of the University of Washington’s Runstad Center for Real Estate Research. He believes it’s too early to say what’s going to happen in local real estate markets. One thing, though, is for sure: “We’re certainly in unprecedented territory,” he said.”

Enjoy the report. The key to operating in this market is to prepare thoroughly, practice patience, and adapt based on good information. The economic difficulties on the horizon require careful planning now–to find opportunities as well as consolidate to increase your resiliency.

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