Winter chill settles into real estate market

A monthly real estate snapshot from John L. Scott Real Estate.

  • Wednesday, November 13, 2019 1:30am
  • Business

By Erin Flemming

Special to the Record

Snoqualmie-area residents are beginning to pull warm jackets on, as leaves are falling and the weather shifts toward winter. The real estate market is also experiencing predictable hallmarks of the season. Specifically, brokers locally saw an uptick in the number of new listings, pending home sales and sold properties in September and October, with things quieting as the November chill returned.

Martin Weiss, sales manager of the John L. Scott Bellevue-Issaquah office, said his office saw good sales activity while affording buyers the best selection until spring. He noted that local inventory heading into the winter market is lower than it has been in previous years, meaning we are shaping up to see a robust housing market from the first of the year onward.

Weiss added that as November progresses, selectivity will be the name of the game.

“November’s market will feature buyer selectivity,” Weiss said. “Most of the inventory left to choose from has now been on the market for some time, meaning the price or condition is the major contributing factors to why they haven’t sold. For buyers, November is a great time to find the diamond in the rough.”

Karen Lindsay, managing broker and branch manager of John L. Scott’s Bellevue-Issaquah office, said if you’re a seller ready to list now, the two key items to enhance success are making sure the property shows to its best advantage and is priced correctly for the market.

“The homes that sell quickly this time of year appeal because they are clean, in good condition, have the landscaping in order, the paint pristine and the home staged to display it to its best effect,” Lindsay said. “Overpricing a home at this time of year will almost certainly guarantee that it will still be available in January.”

For homeowners planning to list their home in the spring, Weiss recommends taking advantage of the months ahead by making necessary home improvements. His top choices for updates that tend to offer great return on investment are paint, carpet and landscaping.

“Otherwise, look for the little things like updated light switches and outlets, along with items that could be considered major during an inspection,” Weiss said. “The question every seller should ask themselves is ‘What can I do to make sure the tour stops when a buyer comes to see my house?’”

Recently, a handful of local cities earned high ranks on the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual median household income list that measures cities with 65,000 or more residents. Sammamish topped the list this year, with a median household income of $183,038. Redmond, Kirkland and Bellevue also ranked near the top, with median household incomes of $134,844, $119,844 and $113,698, respectively.

Lindsay said she wasn’t surprised to see the cities rank highly on the U.S. Census Bureau’s list, as they, along with others in the area, are heavily driven by the hot job market locally.

“The Northwest is a magnet for professionals working in the technology sector, and these positions are extremely well paid,” she added. “As a result, median incomes, along with median home prices, have risen quickly in these desirable areas to live. According to several respected economists, we can expect the technology job situation in our area to continue for the foreseeable future.”


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Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He recently retired as president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and now lives in Vancouver. He can be contacted at thebrunells@msn.com.
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