Fall housing market shifts

Residential real estate snapshot for Mercer Island

  • Thursday, October 11, 2018 12:31pm
  • Business

By Sandra Levin

Special to The Reporter

Month after month, headlines about the real estate market in Seattle and surrounding areas seemed to sing the same tune – rising prices and high competition for homes, with some homes receiving multiple offers merely days after listing. Typically, around the fall, the housing market tends to cool, and this year, the market has adjusted away from the “premium pricing” that became commonplace in many areas.

Now is the time to make serious decisions regarding real estate. John L. Scott’s chairman and CEO J. Lennox Scott recently instructed home buyers to “put extra focus on October, which is the last great month for new monthly resale listings until March 2019.”

Currently, we are in an adjusting market and also a historic part of the season that tends to dip a bit. Prices are finding their level, and buyers should get in touch with a broker if they’d like to make a move.

Regardless of recent shifts, the Mercer Island market is still a seller’s market. Recent changes have taken the Eastside from an extreme shortage of unsold inventory back down to just a shortage – approximately 1.7 months of inventory is available now, but it’s segment-driven.

If you’re looking to sell your home right now, it’s important to price and stage right, with the assistance of a broker that’s in tune with the local market changes. Pricing a home like you would have in May will not bring success – you’ll need to take the market and season into consideration.

In the more affordable price ranges, it’s certainly a seller’s market. However, more than half the homes currently listed on Mercer Island are priced at more than $2 million, and with these listings, the days on the market will lengthen out.

Job growth in the Puget Sound region remains extremely strong, which bodes well for the health of the market looking ahead. The seasonality of the market, paired with interest rates that are projected to go higher in 2019, could help drive buyers to make decisions sooner rather than wait for the given uncertainty. Now, there’s a bit more time to act strategically, and some buyers may be able to remain competitive even with offers that include home inspections and a home-sale contingency.

If you’re thinking of potentially buying or selling, I always recommend connecting with a skilled broker to weigh options and determine what makes the most sense for your individual situation. Real estate is never one-size-fits-all, but early planning and exploration of options can ensure you make the right decision, whether that means buying or selling now or waiting for another opportunity.

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

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