Seattle Real Estate Blog

 

June 29, 2022

7 Reasons Why Home Values Won't Collapse

 

Half-full glasses and optimism are hard to come by lately and so often cynicism rules the day when it comes to economic forecasts for our country. Despite all that, I am choosing a set of rose-colored glasses for our outlook on the housing industry, and believe there is ample data to back an optimistic perspective. My brokerage has been closely tracking interest rates and economic activity all year, but two weeks ago when the biggest single day interest rate in decades took place, we dialed in. Our team signed up for every webinar and financing class possible, researched dozens of economists' opinions and sifted through all sorts of data. Here are 7 reasons backing our optimism, and why I believe home values won’t collapse and that this is a different rodeo than the 2008 crisis.

1. Supply outweighs almost every other point to be made.  We are still in a housing supply crisis and short by millions of units.  We have not built enough to keep up with the population and demand for all types of housing in almost all markets across the country.  Even if builders ramped up production now, the delay in those hypothetical units being delivered to market does not service the demand now and in the immediate future.  This was not the case in 2008 as new construction was over-built.

 

2. Millennials - in 2008 I was a 22 year old college student racking up a tab of student loans and looking at a dismal job market upon graduation.  Home buying was not an option or even a desire at that point in time.  Fast forward to now and there are 18% more people between the age of 25-34 since 2006, over 46 million strong- this is a huge crowd.  These millennials now want to, and are ready to buy homes.  Many of them need to as they get married, have kids and rent rates are becoming burdensome.  Millennials create the demand that was lacking in 2008.  

 

3. Home Equity - the last few years have created the greatest surge in home equity in history.  9.9 Trillion dollars or an average of $185k per household is the amount of equity Americans have in their homes.  Even if prices level out or dip slightly most homeowners have an ample cushion of equity.  Being “underwater” or “upside down” in their home was a common trend after 2008 where the margins for equity were very narrow (in part due to loose lending practices) and the housing bubble was the trigger for the recession not vice versa.  What we have now is much different. 

 

4. 4 Trillion Dollars is the amount of money that is sitting in consumer bank accounts.  Chalk it up to government handouts, wage increases, lifestyle shifts with less travel, home budget awareness etc… There is a lot of money out there.  We are a consumer driven economy which begs the assumption that that 4 Trillion will be spent on something, perhaps not in 2022, but in the near future it’s a safe bet that much of that money will find its way into the housing market.  

 

5. Migration has been a demographic trend since before Covid, but has persisted and strengthened as many folks migrate from the top 25 metro areas to the South and Middle regions of the Country.  In the Pacific Northwest this has also included an influx of California residents relocating up the coast.  Movement is good for the real estate market. 

 

6. Remote Work is a driving force impacting demand for larger square footage.  Covid ultimately showed us the value of home and shifted lifestyle trends in favor of staying home, working from home, and needing bigger or better square footage.  The ongoing risk of another potential shutdown keeps home top of mind for many Americans.  Many homeowners have taken the last few years to execute remodel and home improvement projects.  This feeds into the lifestyle shifts of emphasizing home, working from home, and ultimately adds to home values across the board.  

 

7. The Dodd Frank Act is also a game changer in the then vs now comparison.  Today’s homeowners are more qualified and at way less risk of default than two decades ago.  Lending underwriting requirements, 30 year fixed interest rates, mortgage payments that include interest and principle are just a handful of things that protect homeowners which in turn is a bulwark in housing values and the overall housing market. 

 

King County Apartment Values

 

My colleagues and I speak with investors everyday who are wishing and hoping for a housing market crash that would open the floodgates to mythical deals with excessive cash-on-cash and a guaranteed “buy low, sell incredibly high someday strategy.”  Our optimism in the housing market holding its value is often not welcomed by these folks, but that doesn’t phase us at Sound Realty Group.  There are always going to be good real estate deals out there; it just might take some ingenuity and a creative perspective to source them, and put them together - good thing we specialize in just that.  

 

By: Chelsea Shapiro, Sr. Broker at Sound Realty Group, Inc.



 

Sources - Guild Mortgage, BKCO Mortgage

June 23, 2022

Burien Fourplex :: Just Listed :: 13244 12th Ave SW, Burien

Solid, turn-key fourplex with plenty of room to add value. 5.6% Cap Rate, 6.4% Market Cap Rate. Or, possible condo conversion? All units are 2bed/1bath with private patio/balcony, upper units have Puget Sound views. New owner can add coin-op machines to the shared laundry room for additional income. Rents are currently below market rates and all tenants are month-to-month. Unit interiors have been updated within the last 8 years, newer windows, and newer roof. High-demand rental close to shops and restaurants, 15-minute drive to SeaTac Airport/20-minute drive to DT Seattle.

$1,100,000 |  13244 12th Ave SW, Burien

View On SoundMultiFamily.com 

Posted in Exclusive Listings
April 18, 2020

Landlord Tips for COVID19

So much of real estate feels like a moving target in the era of COVID19.  Just this week Gov. Inslee extended the moratorium on evictions until June 4, and also enacted a rent freeze. To help navigate the changes and assist landlords in protecting their investments we’ve assembled a few tips and best practices for landlords and investors amidst COVID19.

Rent Collection:

As more tenants find themselves in a financial bind and unable to pay rent, here’s a few ideas on mitigating the loss of income.  

  • Convert all or part of the security deposit into rent
  • Offer a weekly payment program (some tenants might have an easier time breaking the rent into smaller chunks)
  • Offer a later payment date.  Perhaps they can pay by the 10th or the 15th and your mortgage payment isn’t due till after that. 
  • Offer tenants incentive to pay rent up front - for example: offer a 30% discount on rent if they pay all rent for the rest of the year
  • Create a payment plan, here’s one idea:
    • Allow month of April/May to be delayed and paid over the course of a 10 month period - for example, 1 month rent = $1000… if not paid for month of May then payments made June - March 2021 could be $1100 
  • Offer a pay by credit card option and waive any credit card fees associated with that

We also recommend some amount of screening before offering any rent abatement or forgiveness.  Creating some kind of simple application for tenants to describe exactly how COVID19 has impacted them could ensure that you are helping actual hardships, not just handing out discounted or free money to tenants who might not need help right now.  Also remember to get any agreement or plan in writing and signed by all parties!  

 

Mortgage Payments: 

More Resources: 

https://www.rhawa.org/covid-19## Rental Housing Association of Washington has great resources, webinars, and support for both tenants and landlords. 

April 1, 2020

2-Bed residential property for sale in Seattle | 3700 SW Myrtle St

*PENDING*

 

Beautiful Cape Cod in desirable Gatewood with elevation for inspiring Sound & Mountain views! South-facing home brings maximum natural light through well-appointed butcher block kitchen and living room with ample space to entertain. Limitless possibilities downstairs with laundry and rec-room/office options. Fully-fenced private yard with Detached Garage and open space for summer BBQ and personal garden. Potential for 360º rooftop deck or second floor! Completely renovated around 2006.

>>CLICK HERE<< to search all 1-Bed properties for sale in Seattle

 

Posted in Exclusive Listings
March 27, 2020

1-Bed Condominium in Seattle | 1815 14th Ave #6, Seattle

*SOLD*

 

A walker & commuter paradise w/ Walk & Transit Scores of 98 & 92 this cute Cap Hill condo is in the coolest neighborhood in Seattle on a quiet tree-lined street. Brand new kitchen appliances, fresh paint & warm bamboo floors make this home shine. Covered, private balcony off dining rm w/city & sunset views & space to entertain! In-unit W/D, deeded parking spot & fantastic storage offer convenience & value. Great floorplan & fireplace make for comfy living. Secure 9 unit bldg w/ strong HOA.

Posted in Exclusive Listings
March 26, 2020

We're Open... Despite COVID 19 Pandemic

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In a crisis, it's always good to focus on what we can do to make a positive impact. Much of our business can be done remotely and we can still bring value to our clients. SRG's physical office is closed, but we are very much still open for business. The real estate market is HOT and STRONG right now and all our agents are still putting together deals remotely and transactions are closing smoothly. Contact us today for help with your all your real estate needs in the midst of COVID19! .

Posted in News
Feb. 10, 2020

Thoughts on the Housing Shortage:

We’re missing 225,000 housing units.  From the year 2000 to 2015 there were 225,000 housing units that should have been built in Washington state but were not.  Various reasons and issues created this gap - the recession, construction costs, a diminished labor force in the building industry, oppressive government and municipal regulations, land use and building code etc… Supply and demand is economics 101, but the local trends have not honored this principle with the job and population growth creating a demand that the supply falls dramatically short of. This missing number of houses includes both owner and rental units, and it impacts everyone in slightly different ways.  It impacts the young professionals who would/could be first time buyers but are priced out of the neighborhoods they want to live in.  It impacts the families that want to raise their children with enough space in an affordable, but nice neighborhood. It clogs the freeways and traffic as more residents flee the urban core looking for affordable housing and then congest the roads commuting to their jobs.  It hits the low income renter who watches rent rates creep up and sees their rent dollars yield a diminished rental property condition and location. As WA residents we all pay for this 225,000 disparity in different ways, and we hope that solutions are enacted soon that effectively close the gap.

 

  

At Sound Realty Group we see this issue through the investor/property owner perspective.  Here’s what this 225,000 unit shortage means for landlords: There is a desperate need for “affordable.”  That doesn’t necessarily mean low income, but it does mean “attainable.”  “Since 2000, the state under-produced 181,000 rental units for households earning 80% or less of AMI relative to the increase in the number of households formed in these income levels.”  That means that out of that 225,000 number, 181,000 units should have been for average, middle income renters. AMI (Area Median Income) in King County households for 2016 was $84,897. This isn’t just a low income problem, this is a middle class problem.  Working with this number and applying the 30% rule (ideally 30% of one’s income covers housing costs) this median King County household would be paying around $2,100/month in rent. The current opportunity for landlords is creating and curating a rental product that appeals to that middle income renter.  The majority of the new construction apartment projects being delivered target a higher income renter. These buildings are typically more luxury level, with high end amenities and a high price tag for monthly rent plus extra fees. Some of these high brow amenities could/should be replicated in the middle class and “mom and pop landlord” rental space, like secure package delivery space and pet rent options. 

However, most median income renters are just looking for an affordable and clean rental unit in a safe and conveniently located neighborhood. We’re encouraging our clients to invest in this space since the data points to a need for rental space for middle and low income tenants. Hopefully more development and government regulations will contribute to more units (both rental and owner occupied) coming online to serve this gap, but until then we recommend buying/building and holding onto this type of real estate! 

 

 

Sources: https://ofm.wa.gov/sites/default/files/public/dataresearch/economy/median_household_income_estimates.pdf

 

https://www.upforgrowth.org/sites/default/files/2020-01/HousingUnderproductionInWashingtonState2020-01-10.pdf

Posted in News
Feb. 5, 2020

3-Bed residential property for sale in Seattle | 1537 NW 59th St, Seattle

*SOLD*

 

Stunning new construction corner home in the heart of Ballard minutes from local shops, dining, Ballard library & parks. Featuring an open & efficient layout w/a plethora of natural light from walls of windows, hardwood floors, floating staircase & gourmet kitchen w/SS appliances. Top floor master suite w/5-piece spa-like bath & large walk-in closet. 2 spacious bdrms w/bath on lower level. Entertainer's roof top deck w/views. Designated parking space included. Super Walkscore of 96. Built Green.

>>CLICK HERE<< to search all 3 bedroom residential properties for sale in Seattle

Posted in Exclusive Listings
Jan. 30, 2020

2-Bed residential property for sale in Tacoma | 3612 S Sheridan Ave

*SOLD*

 

Cute, clean, and affordable home located in the heart of Tacoma's historic Lincoln district. Move-in ready! Newly refinished hardwoods; new appliances; updated bath; windows & roof replaced within the last few years. 1 bedroom, bath, formal dining room, & separate laundry room on main floor; 2nd bedroom and bonus room on upper floor. Off-street parking off alley in rear. Great quiet neighborhood - close to shopping, schools, and I-5.

>>CLICK HERE<< to search all 2 bed residential properties for sale in Tacoma

Posted in Exclusive Listings
Dec. 31, 2019

4-Bed residential property for sale in Seattle | 10838 11th Ave NE, Seattle

*SOLD*

 

Beautiful, Serene & Rare Find in Maple Leaf. 4BD/1.75BA Glowing Hardwoods on Main Level w/Large Living Area. Big Picture Window Looking out to Entertainment Deck Overlooking Thornton Creek. Kitchen w/New Quartz Counters, Eating Area & Separate Dining Room. New Flooring in Kitchen & Bath. Lower Level Offers New Carpet, 3rd & 4th BRs, Lots of Storage & Workshop Spaces. Large 1-car Garage as well as Off-Street Parking. High Walk Score. Close to I-5, Grocery, Shopping, Community Center & More.

>>CLICK HERE<< to search all 4 bed residential properties for sale in Seattle

Posted in Exclusive Listings