Economic Insights from Matthew Gardner

How will the coronavirus impact the housing market?

 

As we all hunker down through these challenging times, it is comforting to remember that there will be light at the end of the tunnel.

A voice of calm and reason in this time of uncertainty has been our Windermere Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner. While he is expecting an economic slowdown accompanied by a temporary 15-20% reduction in the number of homes sold, he believes the housing market will bounce back once we find our new normal.

Click here to watch his latest videos, or scroll down for some key takeaways…

 

 


 

The US economy will contract sharply but should perk up by Q4.

We’re in for a rough few quarters as the economy enters a recession. Just how rough—and how long—is still under debate. What economists do agree on is that the 4th quarter is looking remarkably positive…assuming we get through the COVID-19 crisis and the economy can resume somewhat normal activity before the fall.

 

 


Housing prices will likely remain stable.

Seattle home prices should remain steady—or even rise slowly as we come out of the recession—for a few reasons:

  1. DIVERSE INDUSTRIES IN OUR AREA which allow us to better weather the economic storm.
  2. SOLID FINANCIAL FOOTING as one third of local home owners have 50% or greater equity in their homes.
  3. STRONG DEMAND with more buyers than homes available, as well as rock-bottom interest rates.

 

 


This will be different than 2008…

We’re experiencing a health crisis, not a housing crisis.

  1. WE’LL SEE A PAUSE, NOT A COLLAPSE. Unlike last time, the housing market was strong going into this crisis and should rebound quickly. Why? Because this recession will be due to specific external factors rather than any fundamental problem with the housing market.
  2. FORECLOSURES WILL BE FEWER with most lenders offering relief to homeowners in distress due to temporary employment issues. Unlike 2008’s mortgage crisis caused by lax lending standards and low down payments, today’s home owners are better qualified and have more equity in their homes.

 

 


 

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Posted on April 7, 2020 at 3:05 pm
Windermere MI | Category: Tom Fine's Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Summer is Around the Corner, Real Estate Market in Seattle is Hot

In Seattle we have had an incredible year, with a mild winter and wonderful spring, we are getting ready for a great summer.  Our Seattle summers are wonderful, with a calendar full of events from the Blue Angles, Hydroplanes, and concert series in and around the city. What a great place to be during the summer.  My kids and I love to go to Madison Beach and dive off the floating dive platform and watching the big barges building the new massive 520 Bridge.

 

 This weekend I was at my Wallingford open houses this weekend we had great activity. It is a 1929 brick Tudor that was custom built. It’s on the market, for a couple days at $685K hosting 4 bedrooms and 1-1/2 baths.  What is great about a home like this is it hasn’t been renovated in bad taste and they didn’t do any bad updating.. The original mahogany millwork and the tilting windows make this a classic Seattle home.

 

This weekend I’ll be at the Braeburn hosting an open house that is a new listing. Prices continue to increase while the market is still a sellers market.  It makes sense to get into the market now instead of seating out and waiting till things slow down.  When the slow down, most likely form historical data, prices will be up 7% a year.

 

Interest rate’s at a glance, a lot of activity, the rates went form 3.81 to 3.8 last week.

nterest Rates at a glance

           

Exciting news in Seattle, the Polar Pioneer in town and all the excitement around this massive oil drilling rig. It is in town and moored at Foss’s maritime dock for modifications that will bring 400 jobs to the area and a lot of money for suppliers and parts.  It’s amazing people protesting in their kayaks, at least there won’t be much violence on the water from the protestors.

Cruise ships are in town and Pike Place market is busy with lots of people.  We love getting a sandwich at Three Girls Bakery and then heading down for a Priroshky for one daughter.  Don’t forget to visit the bubblegum wall.

 

Posted on May 18, 2015 at 6:35 pm
Tom Fine | Category: Tom Fine's Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Contractor experience adds unmatched value in home-buying process

Realtors come from many different backgrounds—sales, IT, and consulting—to name a few. My experience as a former general contractor/builder is a huge advantage for my clients. Of all of the possible background for real estate sales, which experience brings the most to the client’s search, assessment, and negotiation process? I realize that I can’t be objective about this topic, but a former contractor’s knowledge of housing structure, materials, wear and tear, and renovation costs, are invaluable.  My background in construction has been a priceless bonus for all of my clients. Allow me to illustrate…

 

Imagine yourself as a homebuyer walking into a home that is for sale. As your agent, I look around and identify some things in the house that concern me; the exterior siding has moss growing on it, the railing is a little loose and penetrating the wall. I move the railing screw around and feel that the area is rotted. Then I start to wonder….what else is wrong? — is there anything else that is not taken care of by the owners? I see other items that prompt me to suggest to you that we move on and look at other houses.  If you loved the house, and all of its characteristics and layout, then I would let you know the problems that I saw.  During an intense inspection, we would see in total, all that was uncovered.

 

Scenario #2, the buyers that I represent are looking at a condo, and they love the view. I look around and make notes on my iPad. After a walk-through, I ask my clients what they think of the condo.  They like it. We look at the storage area—it smells moldy and musty. As we tour the mechanical room, we uncover a room that houses a sauna and a hot tub—both are decommissioned by the HOA (Homeowners Association.)  This is a HUGE red flag;  #1, the association has a moldy, smelling, storage area, and # 2 the hot tub and sauna are decommissioned by the HOA. This tells me that although significant dues are collected from each unit, the community facilities are not being maintained properly. What else is not being maintained? When we go outside, I see more items that concern me—the wooden soffits appear to have some deterioration issues. The exterior also needs attention, and my estimate is that this is a $250K improvement project.

 

Scenario #3, my buyers and I go to the next condo. It’s great! I mean…the view is fantastic! It has a great view of the water, but as I walk through the unit and into the hallway, I feel like a drunken sailor.  The floor in the condo is not level. After a complete tour, my opinion is that the unit is OK, but nothing to write home about…..but THE VIEW–did I mention the view?!  The place also has a pool and sauna, and is within walking distance of many local restaurants and shops. Later, I step into the hall to look for the mechanical room and meet a couple who live in the building. We talk briefly about the building, the maintenance, and some general comments they have about the place. They are very nice, and forthcoming, and I learn something about the condo board. It consists of residents that have been there for many years and they don’t like to spend money on maintenance or capital improvements, so the north side of the building is about eight years overdue for siding replacement. The decking around the pool also needs maintenance. The kind couple also inform me that one condo owner recently requested to make some changes to their unit — requiring board approval — and were turned down. What about that great view?!  A difficult HOA board is a potential deal-breaker — even if you inherit the property.

 

Scenario #4, my clients who are first-time buyers and newlyweds want to buy a rambler that just came on the market.  It is in a great part of town, and the yard is gorgeous.  I walk in and notice that the owners renovated it poorly. The floor plan was modified and it does not flow right.  In the basement, the drain/sewer was exposed and a temporary fix-it job was botched—someone tied into the wrong plumbing fittings.  What else did they do wrong? (I say to myself) I look in the attic and find evidence of a fire years ago and also find more signs of poor renovations and framing issues.  I analyze these items and feel there are too many issues to consider this house as a viable property.  My buyers really want the property, but I feel an obligation to explain all the issues that I see. Regardless, they feel that all the problems were things that they could fix. I appreciated their enthusiasm, and of course I would like to make the offer and sale, but I want to be honest with them about how much it would cost—it would take a deep pocketbook. They are so serious about the place and as much as I dislike being pessimist, I ask them to give me a few minutes to put together a rough estimate as to what it would take to do the repairs and make the place right. The total renovation and correction costs are enormous, and when I review the rough estimate with them, they realize that buying that home would be a mistake. That property sold for 10% over the listing price and I know the new buyers did not have someone with my experience in their corner.  I am sorry for them and others like them.

 

I could have sold these properties to my clients, but not with a clear conscience. I choose to create a long-term relationship with them and be the kind of agent that I would want for my own family. I can feel good about my service to clients when I work hard for their trust and confidence and provide them the information that they need. After all, it is probably the biggest ticket item they will ever purchase. Beyond making a sale, and a commission, I want to feel good about helping clients make good choices and build a solid future. Sound construction and renovation counsel is a customer-service bonus for my clients. How many real estate agents can offer this invaluable home-buyer service at no extra cost?

 

Tom Fine | Broker | Windermere Real Estate Capitol Hill

SRES and CNE Certified

Senior Real Estate Specialist and Certified Negotiation Expert

 

tomfine@windermere.comwww.finehomesnw.com

Posted on April 29, 2014 at 4:19 pm
Tom Fine | Category: Tom Fine's Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,