SNOHOMISH COUNTY HOUSING MARKET FORECAST

Home Prices, Market Trends, Graphs Video and Infographics

SNOHOMISH COUNTY HOUSING MARKET AT A GLANCE

snohomish county housing market report

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3 KEY INDICATORS
Snohomish County Housing Market

  1. SALES ACTIVITY INTENSITY:
    • 79.9% (EXTREME FRENZY)
  2. INTEREST RATE:
    • 7.38% (UNCOMFORTABLE)
  3. INVENTORY LEVEL:
    • .7 Month (SEVERE SHORTAGE)

THE BIG DEAL
The normal spring market intensity has kept the inventory low and the sales activity moving swiftly despite the interest rates creeping up on us again. We patiently wait for the fed to lower rates.

Enjoy The Snohomish County Market Report Video

Snohomish County Housing Report MAY 2024 | Still Waiting on the Fed


As we step into May 2024, the Snohomish County housing market presents an intriguing study of extremes. The local real estate scene is bustling, propelled by a surge in demand that has led to a fiercely competitive environment for homebuyers and sellers alike. This report aims to dissect the underlying dynamics at play, offering a comprehensive look at the current state of the market, which is characterized by rapid sales, scant inventory, and rising mortgage rates.

Economic growth in the region, particularly bolstered by the expansion of tech companies and other high-wage industries, continues to attract a myriad of buyers to Snohomish County. The area's appeal is further enhanced by its vibrant cultural scene, access to natural beauty, and a reputation as a family-friendly locale, factors that contribute to its robust real estate demand.

This month, we will closely examine three pivotal indicators that define the market's temperature: Sales Activity Intensity, Monthly Inventory Levels, and Interest Rates. Each of these factors not only sheds light on the current market conditions but also helps predict future trends. Whether you are planning to buy a home, sell one, or simply keep an eye on the market, understanding these indicators is crucial for making informed decisions in a landscape as competitive as Snohomish County's.


Detailed Explanation of the 3 Key Indicators
  1. Sales Activity Intensity:

    • Definition: This metric reflects the percentage of homes that go under contract within the first 30 days of listing. It's a direct indicator of the market's temperature, showing how quickly homes are moving from listing to pending status.
    • Scale:
          • <25%: Buyer's market – low demand, homes take longer to sell.
          • 25%: Healthy market – balanced demand and supply.
          • 35%: Strong market – increasing demand, sellers have a slight advantage.
          • 45%: Very strong market – high demand, multiple offers are common.
          • 55%: Surge – very high demand, significantly more buyers than available homes.
          • 65%: Frenzy – extreme demand, homes sell extremely quickly, often well above asking price.
          • 75%+: Extreme frenzy – unprecedented demand, highly competitive conditions.
    1. Monthly Inventory Levels:

      • Definition: This measures the number of months it would take to sell all current listings at the current sales pace without any new listings being added. It's a critical indicator of market balance.
      • Scale:
        • 0-1 month: Severe shortage – extremely low inventory, seller's market.
        • 1-2 months: Shortage – low inventory, strong seller's advantage.
        • 2-3 months: Low – less inventory, leaning towards sellers.
        • 3-4 months: Healthy – balanced between buyers and sellers.
        • 4-5 months: Selectability – more options for buyers, slight buyer's advantage.
        • 5+ months: Buyer's market – high inventory, buyers have leverage.
    2. Interest Rates:

      • Definition: This refers to the average mortgage rate available to homebuyers. Interest rates are a significant factor affecting affordability and buyer demand.
      • Scale (not a fixed scale but commonly accepted ranges):
        • 3-4%: Excellent – very favorable for buyers.
        • 5-6%: Good – relatively affordable for most buyers.
        • 7-8%: Uncomfortable – can slow down buyer activity as financing becomes more expensive.
        • 9-10%: Challenging – high rates can lead to decreased demand and slower market activity.

    Each of these indicators plays a crucial role in interpreting the dynamics of the Seattle housing market. By analyzing trends within these metrics, we can better understand the forces at play, predict future movements, and strategize accordingly. Whether you're looking to buy a home, sell one, or simply keep an eye on market developments, these indicators provide the insights needed to navigate the complexities of Seattle's real estate landscape.


    Sales Activity Intensity

    Current Effect in Snohomish County:

    With approximately 79.9% of homes selling within the first 30 days on the market, Snohomish County is experiencing an "extreme frenzy" level of sales activity. This extraordinarily high demand signals a market where buyers need to act with urgency and decisiveness. Homes are not just selling quickly; they are often receiving multiple offers, many of which surpass the asking prices. This trend is elevating home prices and reducing the duration homes remain on the market, creating a seller's market dominated by bidding wars.

    Monthly Inventory Levels

    Current Effect in Snohomish County:

    The inventory levels in Snohomish County are critically low, with only about 0.7 months of supply. This severe shortage of homes available for sale heavily favors sellers, maintaining the market's competitive nature. The scarcity of available homes means heightened competition among buyers, leading to rapid sales and further amplifying the upward pressure on home prices.

    Interest Rates

    Current Effect in Snohomish County:

    Interest rates in Snohomish County currently sit at an uncomfortable 7.39%, presenting a mixed impact on the market. On one side, these higher rates diminish the overall buying power, which could potentially slow buyer activity. On the other side, despite these higher rates, the market continues to experience robust activity due to the strong demand and limited inventory. Although the high rates have not significantly dampened market enthusiasm yet, they are making affordability a pressing concern, especially for first-time and lower-income homebuyers.

    Combined Impact on the Market

    The confluence of these factors results in a highly active and seller-favorable market environment in Snohomish County. The intense sales activity and critically low inventory levels forge a market where sellers have significant leverage, commanding higher prices and expecting quick sales. However, the rising interest rates are beginning to inject caution into the market, as buyers need to consider the increased monthly costs of mortgage payments.

    Looking forward, the Snohomish County housing market may continue to see high levels of activity, but the sustainability of this trend could be tested if interest rates keep climbing or if economic conditions shift. Potential buyers might find themselves increasingly priced out of the market, which could eventually lead to a cooling period if demand wanes.

    For both buyers and sellers, grasping these market dynamics is essential. Buyers should be prepared to make swift and informed decisions, potentially exploring various financial options to counteract the impact of high interest rates. Sellers, currently in a favorable position, should remain vigilant about potential changes that could affect buyer interest and overall market activity.

    This detailed understanding of the Snohomish County housing market underscores the importance of strategic planning and market awareness for anyone looking to buy or sell in this vibrant yet challenging market environment.

    Residential Resale, Condos & New Construction in Snohomish County

    As of May 2024, the Snohomish County housing market displays distinct characteristics across different property types—resale residential homes, condominiums, and new construction. Each category influences the real estate market in unique ways due to varying buyer demands and economic conditions.

    Resale Residential Homes:

    Current Status: The resale market in Snohomish County remains highly active, driven by limited inventory and continuous demand. Homes frequently receive multiple offers and are selling swiftly, often above the asking price. This dynamic is fueled by the overall shortage of available properties, which pushes prices upward and shortens the time homes stay on the market.

    Impact on the Market: Resale homes are crucial in defining market dynamics because they constitute a significant portion of the available inventory. Their rapid turnover and escalating prices help sustain the momentum in Snohomish County's housing market, reinforcing its status as a seller's market.

    Condominiums:

    Current Status: Condominiums in Snohomish County are experiencing increased demand, particularly among first-time homebuyers and those seeking lower-maintenance living. Although the overall market is hot, condos offer a more accessible entry point into homeownership. However, they also come with HOA fees, which can impact overall affordability.

    Impact on the Market: Condos typically attract a different buyer segment than single-family homes. They absorb some of the demand from buyers who might be priced out of the market for standalone homes or who prefer a more urban lifestyle with amenities. This segment helps diversify the real estate market and stabilizes growth by providing alternative housing options.

    New Construction:

    Current Status: New construction homes in Snohomish County are in high demand for their modern amenities and potential for buyer customization. However, these properties also tend to carry higher price tags. The rate of new construction can be influenced by factors such as land availability, building costs, and regulatory issues. In Snohomish County, new developments are essential to meet the growing demand but are often insufficient to significantly alter the inventory shortage.

    Impact on the Market: New constructions are vital for long-term market health as they increase the overall housing supply. They also tend to stabilize property values by offering high-quality alternatives at premium prices, which can help moderate the price increases seen in the resale market.

    Market Trends and Implications

    The narrowing price gap between resale homes and new constructions in Snohomish County marks a significant shift from historical norms. Traditionally, new construction homes have commanded a premium due to modern features, fewer immediate repairs, and builder warranties. However, as of May 2024, the difference in cost between new constructions and resale homes has dramatically decreased. This unusual situation is due to a combination of rising costs and decreased availability of resale homes, which has driven up prices significantly. Additionally, market saturation and competition among builders might be influencing pricing strategies to attract buyers who have more options among resale properties.

    Implications for Market Participants:

    • Buyers might find that new constructions are now more accessible without the traditional premium, offering customization options and fewer immediate repairs.
    • Sellers of Resale Homes might face challenges competing with new constructions if they cannot offer comparable value, leading to a need for strategic pricing and potentially updates or enhancements to make their properties more appealing.

    Understanding these dynamics is crucial for stakeholders in Snohomish County's real estate market to effectively navigate the changing landscape.

    The Fed's Influence

    In May 2024, the Federal Reserve opted to maintain the current interest rate levels, stabilizing them at 5.25% to 5.50%. This decision reflects the Fed's delicate balance of fostering economic growth while controlling inflation. The Fed has projected that these rates might decrease to around 4.00% to 4.25% by the end of 2024 and further to 2.25% to 2.50% by the end of 2025, as it expects economic conditions like inflation to stabilize towards its target of around 2%.

    The choice to hold interest rates steady suggests a cautious stance by the Fed amidst current economic indicators. This approach often indicates an attempt to monitor ongoing economic trends without introducing additional stimulus or constraints. For the Snohomish County real estate market, this implies that mortgage rates might remain relatively higher than the historic lows previously experienced, at least in the short term. Higher borrowing costs can impact buyer affordability and could decelerate some housing market activities.

    However, with the Fed's anticipation of potential rate cuts later this year, a shift in the economic landscape could be forthcoming. These expected cuts hinge on inflation returning to target levels, potentially allowing for more aggressive rate reductions to bolster economic growth. For the housing market, this scenario could lead to a revival in buyer activity as financing becomes more affordable, potentially stimulating home demand and supporting the market.

    In the immediate future, while steady rates might slightly cool the housing market by keeping borrowing costs elevated, the projected reductions in interest rates over the next couple of years could energize it. This scenario presents a complex landscape for both buyers and sellers to navigate, highlighting the necessity of staying well-informed about upcoming economic and policy changes as they make their real estate decisions.

    Bonus Tip: With the market's current dynamics, some listings, especially those on the market for more than 7-10 days, may offer negotiation opportunities for seller's concessions. These concessions could potentially be applied toward your closing costs. Now might be a particularly advantageous time to negotiate seller concessions for buying down your interest rate, whether through a permanent or a temporary 2/1 buydown. This strategy can provide financial relief and improve the affordability of a mortgage amidst higher interest rates.

    Seasonality

    Seasonality significantly influences the real estate market in Snohomish County, impacting everything from inventory levels to buyer behavior. Typically, the market reaches its peak activity from March through May, which is widely regarded as the optimal time to list homes due to several factors:

    • Increased Demand: The desire to relocate and settle before the new school year boosts buyer activity in the spring. This urgency often results in quicker sales and heightened competition, especially in markets like Snohomish County where inventory is notably low.

    • Favorable Weather: Spring's mild weather conditions are ideal for showcasing properties. Homes tend to appear more inviting with blooming gardens and clear skies, enhancing curb appeal. Additionally, buyers are more likely to visit open houses when the weather is agreeable.

    • Longer Days: The extended daylight hours in spring afford more opportunities for showings and open houses, benefiting both buyers and sellers by aligning with busier schedules.

    Given that it's currently the peak of the spring market, sellers in Snohomish County can anticipate high foot traffic from potential buyers and possibly higher offers due to the increased competition. The seasonal surge typically leads to both an increase in sales activity and a rise in property prices, offering a prime opportunity for sellers to maximize their returns.

    Conversely, buyers face a highly competitive market characterized by multiple offer scenarios and limited negotiating power due to the strong demand. It's crucial for buyers to have their financing arranged and be prepared to act swiftly to secure a property in this fast-paced market environment.

    Understanding the effects of seasonality is essential for stakeholders in the Snohomish County real estate market, enabling them to make well-informed decisions on the most strategic times to buy or sell.

    Being Prepared as a Buyer and Seller in Snohomish County

    For Sellers: Getting Market Ready

    In the current Snohomish County market, where approximately 79.9% of new listings go pending within the first 30 days—often in multiple-bid scenarios—it's crucial for sellers to be thoroughly prepared.

    Listings that are turnkey—those that are new constructions, fully updated, or in exceptionally good condition—tend to sell quickly and often above the asking price. Conversely, properties that require significant updates, are poorly located, or are overpriced tend to linger on the market, sometimes resulting in price reductions.

    Key Seller Strategies:

    • Quality and Condition: Ensure your property is in excellent condition. Addressing necessary repairs or making updates before listing can prevent delays and make your home more appealing.
    • Pricing: Set a realistic price that reflects the current market conditions and the quality of your home. Overpricing can lead to extended market times and eventual price cuts.
    • Staging and Presentation: Well-staged homes tend to sell faster. Professional staging can help highlight your home's best features.
    • Marketing: Utilize professional photos and consider virtual tours to reach a broader audience, crucial in a market where buyers are ready to move quickly.

    For Buyers: Adapting to New Norms

    For buyers, the market conditions in Snohomish County require readiness to act swiftly, with many homes receiving multiple offers shortly after listing. However, not every property will be involved in a bidding war, especially those that are less than ideal.

    Key Buyer Strategies:

    • Pre-approval: Have your financing in order before you start looking. A pre-approval letter from your lender will make your offer more attractive to sellers.
    • Flexibility and Patience: Be ready to move quickly when a suitable property comes up, but also maintain patience to wait for the right opportunity.
    • Negotiation Readiness: For homes that are on the market longer, be prepared to negotiate. These homes may offer the chance to secure a better deal, possibly including seller concessions or credits.
    • Market Research: Stay informed about current market trends and potential shifts in interest rates or inventory levels which can affect your buying power and strategy.

    Market Context:

    With only 0.7 months of inventory currently available, Snohomish County remains a seller's market. This shortage means competition is still fierce for well-positioned listings, and buyers need to be exceptionally prepared to act. However, the market can favor buyers when it comes to properties that are not in prime condition or optimally priced.

    Conclusion:

    Both buyers and sellers must be well-prepared and informed to successfully navigate the complexities of Snohomish County's real estate market in 2024. Sellers should focus on presenting their homes in the best possible light to maximize returns, while buyers should be ready to quickly capitalize on opportunities as they arise, maintaining the flexibility to adapt to a market that still presents significant challenges and opportunities.

    The Rent vs. Buy Conversation in Snohomish County

    If you're considering buying a home in Snohomish County and are concerned about rising interest rates, it's crucial to weigh that against the benefits of homeownership.

    Buying a Home Means Avoiding Rising Rents

    • When you rent: Your monthly payment typically increases each time you renew your lease.
    • When you buy: Your fixed-rate mortgage payment remains constant for the duration of your loan.

    Homeowners Own a Valuable and Tangible Asset

    • According to CoreLogic, the average U.S. homeowner now has about $290,000 in equity.
    • When you rent: The money you pay each month offers no return on investment.
    • When you buy: As home prices increase, and as you pay down your mortgage, you accumulate equity.

    Owning Your Home Grows Your Wealth Over Time

    • Dr. Lawrence Yun notes, “A monthly mortgage payment is often considered a forced savings account that helps homeowners build a net worth about 40 times higher than that of a renter.”
    • When you rent: Rising rental costs can make it challenging to save for a down payment on a home.
    • When you buy: Building equity over the years significantly enhances your net worth.

    In Snohomish County, just like in many parts of the country, rent remains high. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that rent is the second highest category affected by inflation, with an 8.3% increase from the previous year. This stark rise underscores the long-term financial benefits of buying a home in the current market, despite higher interest rates. The stability of mortgage payments and the growth in equity make buying a compelling option for those looking to improve their financial future.

    According to Zillow the average rent for a Seattle 3-bedroom home is $3,400 per month. This equates to approximately a $600,000 home (view 3 Bedroom Seattle homes for sale in the $500K - 700K price range) with 20% down on a 30-year fixed 7% bought down to as low as 5% with a temporary 2-1 buydown interest rate loan.

    PRE-SUMMER HOUSING MARKET

    As the Spring market continues through May and June, we will begin to see a peak number of new resale listings hitting the market. Currently, we are at an extreme frenzy Sales Activity IntensityTM level up to $1.5M, where 94% of homes go under contract. Additionally, we are seeing strong sales activity to $3MJ Lennox Scott


    LENNOX SCOTT

    CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate


    lennox scott ceo of john l scott
    Snohomish County Real Estate GRAPHS & Data

    SALES ACTIVITY AND INVENTORY


    snohomish county sales activity

    With .7 months of supply if no other homes were listed in the next 18 days we would run out of houses to buy.

    If you are looking for homes over 1.5 mil you are seeing more inventory with 1.6 months supply.

    908 homes were sold in Snohomish County last month.

    As you can see from the table above anything below 5 months is considered low.  Low inventory means higher demand.  Higher demand drives the price up.

    In Snohomish County homes in the 350K-1mil price range are the most commonly listed and sold.

    DAYS ON MARKET

    sales intensity

    79.9% of homes are selling in less than 30 days in Snohomish County. A normal market is closer to 30%.

    Houses in the $750K-1m price range are selling 83% of the time in the first 30 days.

    Because there are less homes for sale and there are still many buyers trying to buy… the homes that do list are usually selling fairly quickly.

    PRICE

    AVERAGE SALE PRICE: $779,631

    SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENTIAL:  $865,465

    CONDOS: $606,201

    AVERAGE SALES PRICE 5 YEARS AGO: $501,839

    % INCREASE OVER 5 YEAR SPAN: 55%

    LISTINGS SELLING COMPARED TO LIST PRICE: 102.4%

    TIMING

    Sales Activity Intensity

    Current Effect in Snohomish County:

    With approximately 79.9% of homes selling within the first 30 days on the market, Snohomish County is experiencing an "extreme frenzy" level of sales activity. This extraordinarily high demand signals a market where buyers need to act with urgency and decisiveness. Homes are not just selling quickly; they are often receiving multiple offers, many of which surpass the asking prices. This trend is elevating home prices and reducing the duration homes remain on the market, creating a seller's market dominated by bidding wars.

    Monthly Inventory Levels

    Current Effect in Snohomish County:

    The inventory levels in Snohomish County are critically low, with only about 0.7 months of supply. This severe shortage of homes available for sale heavily favors sellers, maintaining the market's competitive nature. The scarcity of available homes means heightened competition among buyers, leading to rapid sales and further amplifying the upward pressure on home prices.

    Interest Rates

    Current Effect in Snohomish County:

    Interest rates in Snohomish County currently sit at an uncomfortable 7.39%, presenting a mixed impact on the market. On one side, these higher rates diminish the overall buying power, which could potentially slow buyer activity. On the other side, despite these higher rates, the market continues to experience robust activity due to the strong demand and limited inventory. Although the high rates have not significantly dampened market enthusiasm yet, they are making affordability a pressing concern, especially for first-time and lower-income homebuyers.

    Combined Impact on the Market

    The confluence of these factors results in a highly active and seller-favorable market environment in Snohomish County. The intense sales activity and critically low inventory levels forge a market where sellers have significant leverage, commanding higher prices and expecting quick sales. However, the rising interest rates are beginning to inject caution into the market, as buyers need to consider the increased monthly costs of mortgage payments.

    Looking forward, the Snohomish County housing market may continue to see high levels of activity, but the sustainability of this trend could be tested if interest rates keep climbing or if economic conditions shift. Potential buyers might find themselves increasingly priced out of the market, which could eventually lead to a cooling period if demand wanes.

    For both buyers and sellers, grasping these market dynamics is essential. Buyers should be prepared to make swift and informed decisions, potentially exploring various financial options to counteract the impact of high interest rates. Sellers, currently in a favorable position, should remain vigilant about potential changes that could affect buyer interest and overall market activity.

    This detailed understanding of the Snohomish County housing market underscores the importance of strategic planning and market awareness for anyone looking to buy or sell in this vibrant yet challenging market environment.

    Residential Resale, Condos & New Construction in Snohomish County

    As of May 2024, the Snohomish County housing market displays distinct characteristics across different property types—resale residential homes, condominiums, and new construction. Each category influences the real estate market in unique ways due to varying buyer demands and economic conditions.

    Resale Residential Homes:

    Current Status: The resale market in Snohomish County remains highly active, driven by limited inventory and continuous demand. Homes frequently receive multiple offers and are selling swiftly, often above the asking price. This dynamic is fueled by the overall shortage of available properties, which pushes prices upward and shortens the time homes stay on the market.

    Impact on the Market: Resale homes are crucial in defining market dynamics because they constitute a significant portion of the available inventory. Their rapid turnover and escalating prices help sustain the momentum in Snohomish County's housing market, reinforcing its status as a seller's market.

    Condominiums:

    Current Status: Condominiums in Snohomish County are experiencing increased demand, particularly among first-time homebuyers and those seeking lower-maintenance living. Although the overall market is hot, condos offer a more accessible entry point into homeownership. However, they also come with HOA fees, which can impact overall affordability.

    Impact on the Market: Condos typically attract a different buyer segment than single-family homes. They absorb some of the demand from buyers who might be priced out of the market for standalone homes or who prefer a more urban lifestyle with amenities. This segment helps diversify the real estate market and stabilizes growth by providing alternative housing options.

    New Construction:

    Current Status: New construction homes in Snohomish County are in high demand for their modern amenities and potential for buyer customization. However, these properties also tend to carry higher price tags. The rate of new construction can be influenced by factors such as land availability, building costs, and regulatory issues. In Snohomish County, new developments are essential to meet the growing demand but are often insufficient to significantly alter the inventory shortage.

    Impact on the Market: New constructions are vital for long-term market health as they increase the overall housing supply. They also tend to stabilize property values by offering high-quality alternatives at premium prices, which can help moderate the price increases seen in the resale market.

    Market Trends and Implications

    The narrowing price gap between resale homes and new constructions in Snohomish County marks a significant shift from historical norms. Traditionally, new construction homes have commanded a premium due to modern features, fewer immediate repairs, and builder warranties. However, as of May 2024, the difference in cost between new constructions and resale homes has dramatically decreased. This unusual situation is due to a combination of rising costs and decreased availability of resale homes, which has driven up prices significantly. Additionally, market saturation and competition among builders might be influencing pricing strategies to attract buyers who have more options among resale properties.

    Implications for Market Participants:

    • Buyers might find that new constructions are now more accessible without the traditional premium, offering customization options and fewer immediate repairs.
    • Sellers of Resale Homes might face challenges competing with new constructions if they cannot offer comparable value, leading to a need for strategic pricing and potentially updates or enhancements to make their properties more appealing.

    Understanding these dynamics is crucial for stakeholders in Snohomish County's real estate market to effectively navigate the changing landscape.

    The Fed's Influence

    In May 2024, the Federal Reserve opted to maintain the current interest rate levels, stabilizing them at 5.25% to 5.50%. This decision reflects the Fed's delicate balance of fostering economic growth while controlling inflation. The Fed has projected that these rates might decrease to around 4.00% to 4.25% by the end of 2024 and further to 2.25% to 2.50% by the end of 2025, as it expects economic conditions like inflation to stabilize towards its target of around 2%.

    The choice to hold interest rates steady suggests a cautious stance by the Fed amidst current economic indicators. This approach often indicates an attempt to monitor ongoing economic trends without introducing additional stimulus or constraints. For the Snohomish County real estate market, this implies that mortgage rates might remain relatively higher than the historic lows previously experienced, at least in the short term. Higher borrowing costs can impact buyer affordability and could decelerate some housing market activities.

    However, with the Fed's anticipation of potential rate cuts later this year, a shift in the economic landscape could be forthcoming. These expected cuts hinge on inflation returning to target levels, potentially allowing for more aggressive rate reductions to bolster economic growth. For the housing market, this scenario could lead to a revival in buyer activity as financing becomes more affordable, potentially stimulating home demand and supporting the market.

    In the immediate future, while steady rates might slightly cool the housing market by keeping borrowing costs elevated, the projected reductions in interest rates over the next couple of years could energize it. This scenario presents a complex landscape for both buyers and sellers to navigate, highlighting the necessity of staying well-informed about upcoming economic and policy changes as they make their real estate decisions.

    Bonus Tip: With the market's current dynamics, some listings, especially those on the market for more than 7-10 days, may offer negotiation opportunities for seller's concessions. These concessions could potentially be applied toward your closing costs. Now might be a particularly advantageous time to negotiate seller concessions for buying down your interest rate, whether through a permanent or a temporary 2/1 buydown. This strategy can provide financial relief and improve the affordability of a mortgage amidst higher interest rates.

    Seasonality

    Seasonality significantly influences the real estate market in Snohomish County, impacting everything from inventory levels to buyer behavior. Typically, the market reaches its peak activity from March through May, which is widely regarded as the optimal time to list homes due to several factors:

    • Increased Demand: The desire to relocate and settle before the new school year boosts buyer activity in the spring. This urgency often results in quicker sales and heightened competition, especially in markets like Snohomish County where inventory is notably low.

    • Favorable Weather: Spring's mild weather conditions are ideal for showcasing properties. Homes tend to appear more inviting with blooming gardens and clear skies, enhancing curb appeal. Additionally, buyers are more likely to visit open houses when the weather is agreeable.

    • Longer Days: The extended daylight hours in spring afford more opportunities for showings and open houses, benefiting both buyers and sellers by aligning with busier schedules.

    Given that it's currently the peak of the spring market, sellers in Snohomish County can anticipate high foot traffic from potential buyers and possibly higher offers due to the increased competition. The seasonal surge typically leads to both an increase in sales activity and a rise in property prices, offering a prime opportunity for sellers to maximize their returns.

    Conversely, buyers face a highly competitive market characterized by multiple offer scenarios and limited negotiating power due to the strong demand. It's crucial for buyers to have their financing arranged and be prepared to act swiftly to secure a property in this fast-paced market environment.

    Understanding the effects of seasonality is essential for stakeholders in the Snohomish County real estate market, enabling them to make well-informed decisions on the most strategic times to buy or sell.

    Being Prepared as a Buyer and Seller in Snohomish County

    For Sellers: Getting Market Ready

    In the current Snohomish County market, where approximately 79.9% of new listings go pending within the first 30 days—often in multiple-bid scenarios—it's crucial for sellers to be thoroughly prepared.

    Listings that are turnkey—those that are new constructions, fully updated, or in exceptionally good condition—tend to sell quickly and often above the asking price. Conversely, properties that require significant updates, are poorly located, or are overpriced tend to linger on the market, sometimes resulting in price reductions.

    Key Seller Strategies:

    • Quality and Condition: Ensure your property is in excellent condition. Addressing necessary repairs or making updates before listing can prevent delays and make your home more appealing.
    • Pricing: Set a realistic price that reflects the current market conditions and the quality of your home. Overpricing can lead to extended market times and eventual price cuts.
    • Staging and Presentation: Well-staged homes tend to sell faster. Professional staging can help highlight your home's best features.
    • Marketing: Utilize professional photos and consider virtual tours to reach a broader audience, crucial in a market where buyers are ready to move quickly.

    For Buyers: Adapting to New Norms

    For buyers, the market conditions in Snohomish County require readiness to act swiftly, with many homes receiving multiple offers shortly after listing. However, not every property will be involved in a bidding war, especially those that are less than ideal.

    Key Buyer Strategies:

    • Pre-approval: Have your financing in order before you start looking. A pre-approval letter from your lender will make your offer more attractive to sellers.
    • Flexibility and Patience: Be ready to move quickly when a suitable property comes up, but also maintain patience to wait for the right opportunity.
    • Negotiation Readiness: For homes that are on the market longer, be prepared to negotiate. These homes may offer the chance to secure a better deal, possibly including seller concessions or credits.
    • Market Research: Stay informed about current market trends and potential shifts in interest rates or inventory levels which can affect your buying power and strategy.

    Market Context:

    With only 0.7 months of inventory currently available, Snohomish County remains a seller's market. This shortage means competition is still fierce for well-positioned listings, and buyers need to be exceptionally prepared to act. However, the market can favor buyers when it comes to properties that are not in prime condition or optimally priced.

    Conclusion:

    Both buyers and sellers must be well-prepared and informed to successfully navigate the complexities of Snohomish County's real estate market in 2024. Sellers should focus on presenting their homes in the best possible light to maximize returns, while buyers should be ready to quickly capitalize on opportunities as they arise, maintaining the flexibility to adapt to a market that still presents significant challenges and opportunities.

    The Rent vs. Buy Conversation in Snohomish County

    If you're considering buying a home in Snohomish County and are concerned about rising interest rates, it's crucial to weigh that against the benefits of homeownership.

    Buying a Home Means Avoiding Rising Rents

    • When you rent: Your monthly payment typically increases each time you renew your lease.
    • When you buy: Your fixed-rate mortgage payment remains constant for the duration of your loan.

    Homeowners Own a Valuable and Tangible Asset

    • According to CoreLogic, the average U.S. homeowner now has about $290,000 in equity.
    • When you rent: The money you pay each month offers no return on investment.
    • When you buy: As home prices increase, and as you pay down your mortgage, you accumulate equity.

    Owning Your Home Grows Your Wealth Over Time

    • Dr. Lawrence Yun notes, “A monthly mortgage payment is often considered a forced savings account that helps homeowners build a net worth about 40 times higher than that of a renter.”
    • When you rent: Rising rental costs can make it challenging to save for a down payment on a home.
    • When you buy: Building equity over the years significantly enhances your net worth.

    In Snohomish County, just like in many parts of the country, rent remains high. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that rent is the second highest category affected by inflation, with an 8.3% increase from the previous year. This stark rise underscores the long-term financial benefits of buying a home in the current market, despite higher interest rates. The stability of mortgage payments and the growth in equity make buying a compelling option for those looking to improve their financial future.

    According to Zillow the average rent for a Seattle 3-bedroom home is $3,400 per month.  This equates to approximately a $600,000 home (view 3 Bedroom Snohomish County homes for sale in the $500K - 700K price range) with 20% down on a 30-year fixed 7% bought down to as low as 5% with a temporary 2-1 buydown interest rate loan.

    yearly housing cycles

    As you can see from the John L. Scott 6 phases to a yearly house cycle chart we are entering the ultra busy pre-summer market.

    JOB AND POPULATION GROWTH

    WHILE WE ARE NOT SURE HOW THE EMPLOYMENT NUMBERS WILL END UP HERE IS THE CURRENT UNEMPLOYMENT SITUATION

    CURRENT UNEMPLOYMENT RATES


    employment rate

    WA Employment Security Department

    Where Counties are Growing[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]

    Snohomish County added a few thousand to their population in 2021.

    Snohomish County Housing Market Stats


    STATS PROVIDED BY: INFOSPARK

    • $779,621 was the average sold price for listings in Snohomish County.
    • 1,255 new listings went on the market this month.
    • 970 homes were for sale during the month.
    • 1,051 homes went pending in Snohomish County.
    • 908 homes sold this month
    • .7  months of inventory available in Snohomish County.
    • 16 was the average days on market for a home to sell in Snohomish County.
    • 102.4% was the average listing price vs. sales price percentage
    • $417 was the average price per square foot in Snohomish County.
    • $707,676,444 | was the total closed sales volume for Snohomish County.
    • 7.39% was the interest rate
    • 79.9% of homes sold in the first 30 days in Snohomish County.
    • 15 Showings to go Pending
    • 8.5 Showings per Listing

    SNOHOMISH COUNTY HOMES FOR SALE


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    SEARCH SNOHOMISH COUNTY

    Snohomish County Housing Market Summary


    As we wrap up our analysis of the Snohomish County housing market for May 2024, several key metrics highlight the ongoing vibrancy and competitive nature of this real estate landscape. Supported by data from InfoSpark, these statistics not only reflect current market conditions but also provide insight into the trends that are shaping the area’s real estate dynamics.

    • Average Sold Price: Homes in Snohomish County are fetching high prices, with the average sold price reaching $779,621. This figure underscores the area's desirability and the premium that buyers are willing to pay in this competitive market.
    • New Listings and Sales Activity: With 1,255 new listings hitting the market and 908 homes sold, the turnover rate indicates a brisk pace of sales. This is further evidenced by 1,051 homes going pending, suggesting that many homes are quickly attracting buyers.
    • Inventory and Days on Market: The market is incredibly tight with only 0.7 months of inventory available, which is a clear seller’s market indicator. Homes are selling rapidly, with an average of just 16 days on market before a sale is secured.
    • Pricing Dynamics: Homes are not only selling quickly but also for more than their listing prices on average, with the sales price exceeding the listing price by 102.4%. This overage indicates that bidding wars and competitive offers are commonplace.
    • Price Per Square Foot: At an average of $417 per square foot, property values in Snohomish County remain robust, reflecting the high demand and the area's overall market health.
    • Total Sales Volume: The total closed sales volume of approximately $707.7 million illustrates the significant economic impact of the real estate sector in this region.
    • Interest Rates and Market Response: Despite a relatively high interest rate of 7.39%, the market shows resilience with 79.9% of homes sold within the first 30 days, highlighting strong buyer demand.
    • Showings: On average, it took 15 showings for a home to go pending, with about 8.5 showings per listing, indicating that while homes are moving quickly, buyers are still shopping around somewhat diligently.

    These statistics paint a picture of a market that, while challenging due to low inventory and high prices, remains highly active and favorable for sellers. Buyers, on the other hand, face a competitive environment where speed and decisiveness are key. As interest rates hover at uncomfortable levels, the market’s response suggests that the desire to secure a home in Snohomish County outweighs the deterrent effect of higher borrowing costs.

    For stakeholders in the Snohomish County real estate market—whether buyers, sellers, or observers—understanding these trends is crucial. It provides a solid foundation for making informed decisions and strategizing effectively in a landscape that continues to evolve rapidly. The data from May 2024 offers valuable insights into how market forces are playing out locally, and serves as a critical tool for navigating the complexities of real estate in Snohomish County.

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