The winter real estate market

An uptick in transactional activity over past few weeks.

By Erin Flemming

Special to the Record

As we enter the winter residential real estate market, historically the number of resale listings by month dips downward. Over the last five months, we’ve seen more inventory than we have in years previously, which can be favorable for buyers who previously could not afford a home or secure a home in a multiple-offer situation.

Now, Karen Lindsay, managing broker and branch manager of John L. Scott’s Bellevue-Issaquah office, says today’s market in Snoqualmie Valley is more balanced, which is a good thing for both buyers and sellers.

“The frenzy of the spring 2018 market took its toll on all the parties involved, whether buying or selling,” Lindsay said. “Our market now is much more like the typical real estate market. Many people, brokers included, got used to the frenzy market because it went on for three to four years, which made it feel more normal, instead of the anomaly that it was.”

The spring market gave some buyers fatigue, after making many unsuccessful offers, causing them to eventually pull back. Lindsay said she thinks it’s taken the last few months for the market changes to settle in everyone’s minds – now she’s seen an uptick in transactional activity in the past few weeks.

She added that buyers who want a home are finding they have choices, can buy contingent on the sale of their current home (as long as they are realistic about pricing it), can have an inspection done and can still get a great interest rate on their mortgage.

One mistake Lindsay says she’s noticed in the fall and winter market is buyers who believe it’s a buyer’s market and are submitting low offers. She said most are not successful, as sellers and their listing brokers know the value of their home and aren’t going to sell it for less.

When looking to sell a home, the “best” timing can really depend on personal needs or preferences. Lindsay said sellers should list their homes when the timing is right for them, noting that homes do sell through the winter.

“A buyer in December is usually a serious buyer – they have reasons not to wait for spring themselves,” Lindsay said. “By next March or April, when most sellers get their homes on the market, there will be significantly more competition from other homes for sale. That spreads out the buyer pool over more homes and may reduce the number of offers.”

Regardless of the time buyers decide to enter the residential housing market, it’s always a great idea to begin conversations with a skilled broker and potential lenders.

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