Happy winter! I’ve had a lot of nervous homeowners reach out to me wondering about Covid and whether or not they should sell their house. Does it make sense to sell in a Covid market? I wanted to write a post and take a look at what’s going on in Lakemont and Cougar Mountain concerning coronavirus.
Home values are continuing to rise, the market remains strong
While the stock market has been up and down, the real estate market has remained somewhat steady. In Seattle home values are up with the third greatest year-over-year increase. Nationally, the Zillow home value index at the end of fall was $555,689, a 10.7% growth since last year. In Seattle the Zillow home value index was $783,969 as of November 2020, an 8.7% change since last year. As I keep saying, it’s a sellers market.
In Lakemont and Cougar Mountain specifically, the houses have been going quickly. Listings are down considerably and there are 80% less houses on the market compared to this time last year. It has been a tough time for buyers wanting their dream home, but for sellers it’s a great position to be in.
A listing of mine from mid November was put on the market at $825k and ended up selling for $995k after only one day on the market. We received 10 offers for this house. This tells us that there is competition to buy in Lakemont and Cougar Mountain.
The rest of the country is doing good but not as good. After covid struck in March over 43% of homeowners decided to pause on buying or selling a home. The Seattle area as a whole is down 30% in residential inventory- there are less houses on the market. At the same time mortgage lenders have enacted stricter qualification standards to offset the risk of the pandemic making it harder for the average person to get a loan. That also means the buyers on the market now are well-prepared and serious.
As a seller one thing to be mindful of at this time is contracts. There are coronavirus clauses and amendments that have been put into offers since the pandemic began. It’s important to read all the fine print and understand any agreement you’re entering, and it’s your agents job to help you through this process. I always work on behalf of my clients to negotiate deadlines that fit their needs and make sure they understand every aspect of the contracts they sign.
Home values have not gone up this fast since 2014. A survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors found that buyers purchasing during the pandemic have paid steeper prices than pre-pandemic purchases. The study also found the typical pre-pandemic home sold for $270,000 while homes sold during the pandemic averaged to $339,400. Buyer trends have also adapted. Previously the market skewed toward urban purchasing. Now we see a slight reversal to that with an uptick of sales outside the city- 57% of pandemic buyers have purchased in suburban areas, versus 50% of pre-pandemic home purchases. Other studies have shown many people are moving to be closer to friends and family as remote working has becoming an option for many.
Is it safe to show a house now?
Another notable concern among sellers is physical safety and how to navigate exposure during a pandemic. Homeowners are wondering if it’s possible to show their house and remain safe. The answer is yes- there are ways to safely show your house. From virtual listing tours to teleconferencing, people are finding creative ways to sell their house while limiting exposure. If you have any questions, just ask! Agents have adapted their work around coronavirus to keep the market moving.
What to do in the meantime
With unemployment on the rise, some are worried the housing market will soon slow down as a reaction. While it has not impacted the market directly as of now, there is certainly a possibility it is headed that way. One piece of advice is even if you’re not ready to sell right now, it is recommended to prepare your home to sell so when the time is right, you’re ready to go. As an agent I help my clients think through this and create lists of work they can get done in the meantime to increase the value and curb appeal of their home. Now is a good time to undertake any decluttering projects such as organizing closets and pantries. Keeping the yard and front of house tidy is another way to draw attention to your house.
And there you have it. I wanted to give you a quick overview of trends I see in the national and local market. I love to answer any questions and I’m always available for a complimentary, no obligation consultation to discuss strategies on when to buy or sell in this market, best practices to maximize the value of your home if you are looking to sell and helping you find your next home in the Cougar Mountain and Lakemont neighborhoods. Contact me with any questions you might have or get a free comprehensive market analysis so you know how much your home is worth in today’s market.