Change to U.S.-backed condo loans comes as summer market wraps up

A monthly real estate snap shot by John L. Scott Real Estate.

  • Tuesday, September 10, 2019 8:30am
  • Business

By Erin Flemming

Special to the Reporter

Though the local real estate market tends to be a bit quieter in August due to summer vacations, Mona Spencer, branch manager for John L. Scott’s Redmond office, said she’s optimistic about Bothell’s and Kenmore’s market given the low current interest rates and very positive local job growth.

“Assuming a recession doesn’t arrive this fall or winter, buyers who need and want to make a move, will take advantage of low mortgage rates,” said Spencer. “There is a good chance due to our strong local economy and continued increase in population that homebuying competition will pick back up in 2020.”

CL Tang, a broker from John L. Scott’s Redmond office, said August was a bit slow due to the typical seasonal patterns of people taking vacations and getting children ready for school. However, he noted that well-positioned listings in desirable areas sold quickly.

“Looking ahead, I expect the market to pick up speed again in September,” said Tang. “With strong local job growth and interest rates remaining low, the next two months look good for our housing market. Those looking to purchase a home right now can enjoy a more stable market without all the craziness we tend to see in the spring.”

Though the local real estate market in Bellevue didn’t offer up any major surprises in August, the real estate industry is abuzz with a change to laws surrounding low-down-payment loans for condominiums. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced in August that the United States will back more condominium loans, a change that is aimed at helping first-time buyers.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) and others expressed support for the change, arguing in cities like Seattle, expanding opportunities for first-time buyers to purchase a condo is a welcomed change. John L. Scott Redmond broker Mark Mizuno echoed the sentiments of NAR, saying that more access to high-density housing at a lower price is a necessity in the local market.

“Since the entry point is relatively much lower compared to a single-family home, condos are appealing to many first-time home buyers, especially for the demographic in their 20s,” said Mizuno. “Due to the busy nature of people these days, low maintenance of their home gives them their time back in that yard work, as exterior maintenance of the structure and more is covered by the homeowners association. The newer condo buildings also have many amenities such as a receptionist, gym, pet wash area, and more conveniences.”

According to a new analysis from Attom Data Solutions, homes within a close range of popular food stores such as Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods have high home value rates and investment returns. There has been a lot of development in the local area over the last few years, with much more slated to come. Mizuno said since he sold homes in a new construction development in Bothell in 2012, he’s noticed a lot of growth in the area.

“Some areas of Bothell are quite popular with investors and families – we’ve seen the prices continue to increase locally over the years,” said Mizuno. “The local Northshore schools are excellent, and the home prices are somewhat lower than similar homes in the Bellevue, Redmond and Kirkland areas.”

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