Economics Group - Special Commentary

Posted by admin

Published February 12, 2014


Housing Chartbook: February 2014

Several Mortgage Professionals with Wells Fargo have sent me this report over the last couple of days. It’s a very thoughtful analysis of the near-term housing outlook based on historical data and near-term predictions using a number of factors. They look at GDP, energy and material costs, demographics and changing family makeups, multifamily and single family homes, both in rentals and ownership. These economist come from all over (NAR, Case-Shiller, Corelogic, NAHB, US Dept of Commerce, and Wells Fargo) to put their heads together to help get a picture of where we are and where we are going. This is detailed thoughtful stuff!

Questions between figuresThe short news is that these predictions and models are showing that things will be slowing down for a bit. But we shouldn’t see massive increases in interest rates either. These are very macro-economic national predictions and may not be reflective of our local real estate market here in Seattle. But it is helpful information all the same. There are tons of charts for those of you who like this sort of thing. I’ve put a PDF link to the report so you can download it.

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Seattle Median Sales Price - by Heat Map or Charts

Posted by Jim Reppond

Published February 6, 2014


Both Zillow and Trulia offer some great tools for consumers. And they are mostly accessible without needing to register and get on a mailing list that clutters up your inbox. The one I like the most from Trulia is their Local Info Heat Maps. These maps help someone get a visual and geographical representation of the numbers. This can be extremely helpful to those not intimately familiar with the neighborhood names. You have several points of data at your disposal and Home sales prices and rental prices are two of them.

Trulia Heat Map

Zillow has a great feature that can give you historical values or “Zestimations” (based on their own algorithms) . These can be quite handy when looking for trends or comparing between areas. Just go to their “Local Info area” and drill down to the cities you want to see and compare. And then you can refine it further by neighborhood. Remember, these are mostly median numbers and sometimes they are off a good bit. Your REALTOR can get you more accurate evaluations based on your specific criteria. But for just side-by-side comparisons this can be a great tool to gauge where a market has been, and where it is going, in general terms. There are lots of other variables and data points to play and make charts with as. If you are a statistics person you will love this stuff. Let me know if you need deeper or more specific information!
Zillow Chart 2

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New 2014 Home Buyer Class Offered in Green Lake

Posted by admin

Published December 27, 2013


Greenlake Home Buyer ClassAre you thinking about buying a home for the first time? Do you want to learn more about the home buying process?

Rhonda Porter from Mortgage Master Service and I will be teaching a free Home Buyers Class on Saturday, February 1st 2014 at the Green Lake Library. First-time home buyers are such a pleasure to work with because of their enthusiasm and desire to better their lives through home ownership. I am honored to assist in that process anyway I can.

This class is sponsored by the Washington State Housing Finance Committee. Class participants are eligible for the programs offered through the WSHFC, like Home Advantage. In fact, in order to qualify for the WSHFC down payment assistance programs, a home buyer education is required.

WSHFC requires that the class is at least five hours, so we will be starting at 11:00 am and trying our best to end at 4:00 pm.

When: February 1st, 2014
Starting promptly at 11:00AM, ending at 4:00PM
Where: Green Lake Library
7364 East Green Lake Dr. N.
Seattle, WA 98115
Cost: Free
(Pizza lunch and snacks included. However, please bring a sack lunch if you have dietary issues.)

Although the class if free, space is limited. All parties who will be on the loan for a WSHFC program must attend an approved class. You do not need to be a first time home buyer to attend the class or to qualify for the Home Advantage Program, which offers down payment assistance up to four percent at zero interest with deferred payments for 30 years.

To sign up, call 253-234-2228 or click here.

Please feel free to share this information with anyone you know who is considering buying a home.

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Time to Prepare for Year-end Homeowner Tax Deductions

Posted by Jim Reppond

Published October 17, 2013


House Energy RatingHomeowner Tip: Time to start thinking about how you are going to end your tax year with regard to home deductions. Some purchases and repairs need to be finished by end of year, and others just need to be started. Think about those energy-saving systems like furnaces and solar systems. Puget Sound Energy has a whole list of appliances that qualify for rebates, at least till the end of the year. Check into the state or federal tax credits and timelines - some may disappear at the end of the year as well.

Check out these helpful tips from Inman News

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Home Buyer Class Offered in Green Lake

Posted by admin

Published September 9, 2013


Greenlake Home Buyer ClassAre you thinking about buying a home for the first time? Do you want to learn more about the home buying process?

Rhonda Porter from Mortgage Master Service and I will be teaching a free Home Buyers Class on Saturday, October 5th at the Green Lake Library. First-time home buyers are such a pleasure to work with because of their enthusiasm and desire to better their lives through home ownership. I am honored to assist in that process anyway I can.

This class is sponsored by the Washington State Housing Finance Committee. Class participants are eligible for the programs offered through the WSHFC, like Home Advantage. In fact, in order to qualify for the WSHFC down payment assistance programs, a home buyer education is required.

WSHFC requires that the class is at least five hours, so we will be starting at 11:00 am and trying our best to end at 4:00 pm.

When: October 5th, 2013
Starting promptly at 11:00AM, ending at 4:00PM
Where: Green Lake Library
7364 East Green Lake Dr. N.
Seattle, WA 98115
Cost: Free
(Pizza lunch and snacks included. However, please bring a sack lunch if you have dietary issues.)

Although the class if free, space is limited. All parties who will be on the loan for a WSHFC program must attend an approved class. You do not need to be a first time home buyer to attend the class or to qualify for the Home Advantage program, which offers down payment assistance up to four percent at zero interest with deferred payments for 30 years.

To sign up, call 253-234-2228 or click here.

Please feel free to share this information with anyone you know who is considering buying a home.

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Climate Change and Rising Tides in Seattle

Posted by Jim Reppond

Published January 15, 2013


Seattle Flood Zones 2050I’m not sure if this is really a major concern for most people. But long-term real estate investment and development groups should be paying attention. With the expected rise in sea levels over the next 40 years or so, some areas of Seattle could become flooded. Seattle Public Utilities released this map yesterday showing the anticipated affected areas.

http://www.seattle.gov/util/groups/public/@spu/@conservation/documents/webcontent/02_030004.pdf

You can read more about it here:

http://www.seattle.gov/util/AboutUs/SPU_&_the_Environment/ClimateChangeProgram/index.htm

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Seattle Housing Prices Increasing According to Case-Shiller

Posted by Jim Reppond

Published December 26, 2012


Stickman Chart Explaining increasesSeattle is one of a number of cities that showed a year-over-year sustained recovery in home prices according to the monthly S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices released today. S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices, showed home prices rose in the 20-City Composite an average of 4.3% in the 12 months ending in October, out-distancing analysts forecasts. If fact, Seattle outpaced the average of the 20-City Composite by increasing 5.7%!

2012-10 Case-Shiller Report Chart
This report report points out that while there are still some weak points, the national composite prices have risen to their autumn 2003 levels for both the 10-City and 20-City Composites. There is still a long way to go, but this up significantly from their early 2012 lows.

Link to S&P/Case-Shiller raw data: http://www.standardandpoors.com/indices/sp-case-shiller-home-price-indices/en/us/?indexId=spusa-cashpidff–p-us—-

Source: http://www.standardandpoors.com

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New Low Appraisal Form Introduced

Posted by Jim Reppond

Published December 7, 2012


Next week the NWMLS (Northwest Multiple Listing Service) is updating a number of forms used in real estate transactions. This is pretty common and Brokers are advised to study the changes and be well-versed in the proper usage of them (I wish more were!). Most of the changes are not major and just reflect shortcomings of previous form versions.

Form 22AN - Document CornerOne new Form being added is the “Notice of Low Appraisal” (22AN) form, which I think is a great idea and replaces the outdated Form 90J (Buyer’s Notice of Appraisal Less Than Purchase Price Termination). It gives a Buyer who is using bank financing a standardized form to notify the Seller when the Bank’s appraisal comes in lower than the purchase price, which is somewhat common these days. Once received by the Seller, there is place where the Seller can respond by agreeing to reduce the purchase price to the appraisal’s price. Or there is a place where the Seller can give notice back to the Buyer that a reappraisal has been done, resulting in an amount equal to the purchase price (or higher). In such a case the Buyer is instructed by the Seller to seek the lender’s approval of the reappraisal.

The procedure, process, and timeline for these notifications are laid out in new revisions to the Financing Contingency (22A). If in the end the lender does not accept the value of the purchase price or reappraisal, the Buyer then needs to decide whether to waive the Financing Contingency altogether (using the existing Financing Contingency Notice - Form 22AR) or terminate the agreement (using the new Form 22AN).

Hooray for this clarifying new form! Brokers, Sellers, and Buyers have all been fumbling with how to deal with this awkward situation for a long time. And I, for one, welcome the new standardized process!

(Information in this blog post is not to be construed as legal advice in any way. NWMLS forms are to be used only by its members, subscribers, and their client’s attorneys.)

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Amazon Towers Approved

Posted by Jim Reppond

Published December 5, 2012


Amazon Building Development - DPDAs reported in the Seattle-PI, it’s official! The Amazon Twin Towers Downtown Seattle development located in the Denny Triangle area has been tentatively approved by Seattle City Planning and Development Department. With just a few minor design changes to go, we will see an additional 3.3 million square feet of office space in the next few years in buildings going up 38 floors. The development will encompass the area between 6th Ave on the west and 8th Ave on the east. And between Westlake and Blanchard Streets on the north and south. This comes after Amazon already agreed to buy it’s South Lake Union 11-building complex from Vulcan Real Estate for $1.16 billion back in October.
Amazon new downtown Seattle Tower locationAmazon is not the only company building office space downtown. Commercial developers are coming back to Seattle in a big way. According to the New York Times, Seattle is one of the few markets where developers are making money. And office vacancy rates are now under 10%. As a residential real estate broker I can tell you, this is music to my ears. Nothing brings strength and confidence to the residential market more than a strong business climate.

To look at condos and homes for sale near this and the existing Amazon Campus, click on this link: http://www.Seattle-RealEstate.idxco.com/m/8520/AmazonCentricListings? 

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What Home Sellers should do when getting a Soaking in Seattle

Posted by Jim Reppond

Published November 20, 2012


Short Rain Cloud

It may mean you’ll need to update your Sellers Disclosure Form. These intensive rains of up to several inches in a few days may test your home’s drainage systems and leave behind some moisture or water. But first on your list should be to help your family and neighbors get through the storm. Check on them. See if you can help. Then, here are a few tips for you:

1) Take pictures! If there are areas of water damage, get clear close up shots. And if you can trace the water back to an original intrusion spot or location, in the attic, or outside by a window or door. etc., DO IT. If you have the ability to put those ugly orange-time-stamps in the corner of the photos, all the better. This will be help for insurance purposes and for disclosure purposes as well. Understanding and knowing your deductibles will help you when you go to file too. Many people will be blaming the city or county government for inadequate preparation. I’m not going to debate all that. I’m just going to say pictures and videos carry a lot more weight when perusing these avenues of compensation.
House Umbrella
2 Do what you can to mitigate the continued intrusion. Take initiative to clear drains, flush out clogged drainage pipes, cover over leaking windows or flashing areas with plastic and duck tape, set up catch basins and empty them at intervals. etc. And if you can see streams of water coming to or into your house, by all means take a shovel and divert it away, if possible. DOCUMENT ALL OF THIS WITH PHOTOS AND/OR VIDEO from your smartphone, if you can. Not only can you have a major impact in reducing the damage, the insurance companies truly appreciate a “good faith effort” to help.

3. Call the City or County utility if you think they can really make a difference quickly. Remember they are probably swamped with 911 calls, so this is a last resort unless there are safety issues involved. I pulled over a utility vehicle yesterday because an 80 ft tree and fallen completely over an arterial road and was blocking lots of traffic and needed immediate attention. Otherwise I wouldn’t have bothered.

4. Once the rains have receded and you are out of panic and survival mode, its’ time to call your insurance agent (or better yet, go online) to make a claim. Be patient, they have lots of distressed clients and they want to help the ones in most need first.
Filling out Form 17
5. As a homeowner and a Seller, now it’s time to revise the Form 17 Sellers Disclosure Form you had filled out before all this happened. This is the form that all prospective buyers are going to want to see. Of course you need to be open and honest about what occurred. But you should also be pro-active about explaining what you have done to mitigate the problem for the future. For example, if you installed a sump pump or drain field, write about that. Or if you did any repairs to fix where any damage occurred make notes if there have been any future issues since the repairs. Copies of receipts and permits where needed are helpful, especially for major repairs, but not required here. If you think it appropriate, share before and after pictures to show the prospective buyer the time and effort you put into correcting the problem so it would never happen again. A prospective Buyer puts a very high value on honesty, transparency, and documentation. They may be willing to overlook some inherent deficiencies in a home if they feel they the seller has been very honest, have done their best to protect the home, and the buyer feels they have a good grasp of the situation and are ready to deal with future eventualities that may occur.

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