Housing market update: Low inventory does not reduce demand

This month’s look at the housing market in Bothell and Kenmore

  • Thursday, January 11, 2018 1:30pm
  • Life

The number of homes available for purchase in December 2017, was exceptionally low in both Bothell and Kenmore, even by “typical” end-of-year standards.

“Inventory was down 42 percent compared to last month in Kenmore and was down 39 percent compared to December of last year,” said John L. Scott managing broker Mona Spencer.

The same trend was evident in Bothell, yet not quite as pronounced.

“The number of homes for purchase in Bothell in December 2017 was down 22 percent compared to November and was down approximately 20 percent compared to December of 2016,” she said.

In spite of the reduction in the number of homes available for purchase, increases in the median sale price in both cities indicate competition is fierce and some buyers are willing to pay a premium.

“The median sale price of a home in Bothell at the end of December 2017 was $670,000, and that was a jump of 22 percent from Dec. 31, 2016,” Spencer said

Although not double digits, Kenmore also experienced an increase in the median sale price over last month and prior year.

Spencer continued, “The median home selling price in Kenmore for the month of December 2017 was $710,000, which is a 6.4 percent increase from December 2016.”

According to Spencer, the biggest influencers in the real estate market in Kenmore and Bothell are job growth, low interest rates, and livability. While local and national economic data uphold the first two, liveability is considerably more subjective. In Bothell, Spencer surmises that the Sammamish River Trail and the University of Washington Bothell are attractive, as well as the overall mix of metropolitan amenities with the charm of a walkable downtown. In Kenmore, the proximity to Seattle and the Eastside is a “best of both worlds” approach for those who want to be near urban centers but not necessarily living in them.

For those looking to buy, Spencer recommends getting fully underwritten before making an offer or leveraging your buying power with cash. Another trend Spencer and her brokers are seeing is that many buyers are waiving contingencies such as the home inspection to make their offer stronger. Waiving inspections is indicative of a very competitive market and is atypical in a neutral market.

Regarding last month’s federal tax reform, Spencer characterized the impact as minimal and believes the core benefits of home ownership have been preserved, especially in the more affordable and mid-price ranges. For specific advice on how it relates to your circumstances or if you’re looking to buy or sell in the luxury market, she recommends consulting a tax professional.

In terms of Bothell and Kenmore’s real estate outlook in 2018, Spencer does not foresee a dramatic change in the imbalance between supply and demand. She cites both the strong economy and pent-up buyer demand as two reasons why inventory will continue to be extraordinarily limited for months to come. Nevertheless, Spencer remains optimistic.

“To me, the most exciting part of the new year is the sense of possibility,” she said. “For those who are looking for 2018 to be the year they sell or buy a home, my team and I want help turn possibility into reality.”

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