Despite interest rate approach, real estate ticking onward

A real estate snap shot from John L. Scott Real Estate.

  • Wednesday, February 13, 2019 1:30am
  • Business

By Erin Flemming

Special to the Reporter

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As January came to a close, the Federal Reserve chose to hold its key interest rate steady, noting the central bank will be “patient” when deciding on future rates. This new wait-and-see approach means that for the time-being, federal interest rates will remain stable, which can directly influence adjustable-rate mortgages and home equity lines of credit.

Though the Feds are in a wait-and-see mood, Julia Nordby, office leader and business coach of John L. Scott’s Bellevue-Main office, said there are benefits to buying now versus waiting, including potentially locking in a rate of 4.5 percent on their mortgage. Besides interest rate incentives, Nordby noted buying now can make the overall process a less stressful experience, with greater home selection.

“This year, many buyers who previously felt the pressure of the multiple-offer environment we saw in the past are feeling like they can actually compete in the housing market now,” Nordby said. “Right now, the selection is favorable for buyers and it’s always less stressful to get a head-start on the search for a new home.”

As the month of January progressed, Nordby said brokers in John L. Scott’s Bellevue-Main office saw more activity from those looking to buy or sell in the area.

“From Jan. 10 onward, activity began to pick up in Bellevue’s market,” Nordby said. “Our brokers are seeing more interest and activity in open houses and there’s confidence in the local job market’s health. Both buyers and sellers now are more optimistic and excited about entering the market, which bodes well for the year to come.”

Transportation in Seattle has been top-of-mind for many in the Seattle area in the past month, with the Alaskan Way Viaduct closing in January in preparation to open up the new state Route 99 tunnel. It’s one of many transportation projects in the works in Seattle and beyond.

“We’ve definitely noticed that transportation has been a more common topic of conversation in the past few years on the Eastside,” Nordby said. “This wasn’t always the case, but I feel that as more people have moved here from areas with robust public transit, desire for things like light rail has increased. As our area grows, transportation can be a major factor that influences where residents choose to set down roots.”

Already under construction on the Eastside is the East Link Extension, a 14-mile route that begins in the International District and travels through Mercer Island, Bellevue and eventually ends at the Redmond Technology Station.

“The light rail projects are pretty exciting for those currently living in Bellevue or others considering a move,” Nordby said. “We’re starting to see progress every day in areas like the Spring District, which is fueling the larger conversation around public transit and the desire to be close to the action.”