Despite interest rate approach, real estate ticking onward

A real estate snap shot from John L. Scott Real Estate.

  • Wednesday, February 20, 2019 1:30am
  • Business

By Sandra Levin

Special to the Reporter

As January came to a close, the Federal Reserve chose to hold its key interest rate steady, noting the central bank will be “patient” when deciding on future rates. This new wait-and-see approach means that for the time being, federal interest rates will remain stable, which can directly influence adjustable-rate mortgages and home equity lines of credit.

Though the fed is in a wait-and-see mood, there are benefits to buying now versus waiting, including potentially locking in a good interest rate. Allen Scott, senior loan officer at Priority Home Lending, said if consumers examine the news closely, they’ll find that interest rates have steadily declined since November. Currently, the average 30-year-fixed mortgage rate for February 2019 is sitting around 4.41 percent, which is favorable for homebuyers.

“The facts are, mortgage rates are about where we were at a year ago,” Scott said. “These current rates are still at historically low levels and buyers should not shy away from finding their dream home. Most buyers will find the payments associated with a new mortgage are not as high as they may think.”

Besides interest rate incentives, we’ve seen on Mercer Island that the sellers that have a home on the market now are eager to sell and not just testing the spring market. Buyers looking now will benefit from less competition as the cycle starts to build up, plus lower prices that are forecasted to rise as the months go on.

In our local market, we’ve seen an increase of 6.3 percent in inventory in January over the previous month, and inventory levels in January that were also higher than they were a year ago. Home closes were also up from December and last year and the number of pending homes also went up.

New inventory is coming on regularly in Mercer Island’s market, with about 77 residential homes up for sale currently. Brokers in the John L. Scott office on Mercer Island have noticed a healthy number of buyers checking out the many open houses locally, despite the chilly weather.

Transportation in Seattle has been top-of-mind for many in the Seattle area in the past month, with the Alaskan Way Viaduct closing in January in preparation to open up the new state Route 99 tunnel. It’s one of many transportation projects in the works in Seattle and beyond.

Already under construction on the Eastside is the East Link Extension, a 14-mile route that begins in the International District and will have a stop on Mercer Island, then will continue onwards to Bellevue, with a final destination of the Redmond Technology Station.

The expansion of the light rail system in the Puget Sound area is exciting, and the East Link Extension will add to the desirability of Mercer Island for those working on the Eastside or in Seattle. Add that to our strong sense of community, active lifestyle, great schools and smaller town feel, and many will find Mercer Island to be an ideal place to lay down roots.

For the luxury market, we see low inventory paired with strong sales intensity up to $1.5 million, then selective buyer activity.

Sandra Levin is an office leader and business coach at John L. Scott Mercer Island.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@mi-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.mi-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

[flipp]

More in Business

PPE was handed out at the Mercer Island Community and Event Center’s parking lot from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday, July 7. Photo courtesy Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce
About 275 Mercer Island businesses received PPE kits at recent distribution event

Distribution was organized by the Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce, King County, the city of Mercer Island, Amazon and other Eastside chambers.

Tracy Harris (pictured) began pet-grooming 20 years ago. Photo courtesy Tracy Harris
Pet-grooming on wheels: How new Mercer Island groomer’s model is faring amid pandemic

Om Doggies owner Tracy Harris opened her business as soon as Gov. Inslee announced Phase 1.5.

File photo.
The difficulties and limitations of Phase 2 in Mercer Island

COVID-19 business restrictions have eased. Implementation, however, can pose challenges.

Mercer Island business owners discuss Phase 1.5 experiences

With Phase 1.5 in effect, COVID-19 guidelines have been relaxed in numerous industries.

Snoqualmie Casino is located at 37500 SE North Bend Way, Snoqualmie. Courtesy photo
Snoqualmie Casino reopens June 11 with social distancing, other safety measures

Staff report Snoqualmie Casino will reopen to the general public at 6… Continue reading

Sound Publishing will offer matching advertising grants to businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mercer Island Reporter offers matching advertising grants to businesses affected by COVID-19

Sound Publishing is launching a new program to help local companies spread… Continue reading

Ryan Companies shares plans for former Mercer Island Farmers Insurance building

An exterior building, streetscape renovations and more were announced.

Like similar businesses across King, Snohomish and Pierce counties, Bothell restaurant Hana Sushi closed due to public-health concerns. Sound Publishing file photo
Inslee changes course, says diners won’t have to sign in

Restaurants may still ask customers for information that contact tracers could use to stop an outbreak.

Goodness Grazers’ owner and founder Maggie Dickinson preparing a platter. Photo courtesy Maggie Dickinson
New Mercer Island food company finds success amid pandemic

Goodness Grazers, which launched in January, started operating in Mercer Island a few weeks ago.

Businesses, nonprofits asked to participate in COVID-19 impact survey

Regional effort in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties