Is the Seattle real estate market back on track? Well, yes…and no. The homes that are listed for sale in areas of north Seattle are selling almost as quickly as they are listed, and often times with multiple offers. Is it consumer confidence? Lower interest rates? More realistic sellers? It is all of these things.
Starting with consumer confidence, the buyers that fled from the market in droves with the collapse of the mortgage market are back. The pendulum swung from an Oprah-esque, “everyone gets a mortgage, you get a mortgage and you get a mortgage…” to a Soup Nazi mortgage mentality, “No Mortgage For YOU!” Thankfully, it is now resting comfortably in the middle of those two extremes. Lenders are lending again. Potential buyers are feeling more stability in their employment situations. And buyers are armed with a little more power than ever before, knowing that while it’s not a complete buyer’s market (it’s actually a more balanced market), they don’t feel like they’ve got to throw in their first born to get the deal done. Consumer confidence.
Interest rates are another driving force in the Seattle real estate market’s resurgence. You’ve all heard Hayes Barnard tell you to ‘recognize, rates are at a historic low’. Man those commercials are annoying. But true. The current interest rates coupled with more realistic sellers asking prices are really making the market move, in ways it hasn’t since June 2007.
Ah yes, realistic sellers, my last point. It only took 4 years for most sellers to come to grips with reality. Similar to the seven stages of grief…from denial to acceptance. Their 2 bedroom/1 bath bungalow in Phinney Ridge is no longer “worth” the $600,000 it once was…and if there is equity in their homes, they are able to sell, and they are asking the right and fair market price. They are also being guided by listing agents who have weathered the storm, who’ve made it though the tumultuous and often times, uncharted territory that have been the last four years. There was a point when everybody and their brother, sister, cousin & mailman were also real estate agents. The strong have survived and representation of sellers by their agents has never been better.
Reason for hope, dare I say optimism…yes!