A new decade begins with low inventory in housing market | Real Estate Column

A monthly real estate snapshot from John L. Scott Real Estate.

  • Tuesday, January 14, 2020 1:30am
  • Business

By Erin Flemming

Special to the Reporter

New year, new me? When it comes to unsold housing inventory in Bellevue, not quite. As was the case a month ago, the local real estate market is tight on inventory – particularly in the low and mid-price ranges on the Eastside.

Tucker Petrzelka, assistant office leader and business coach of John L. Scott’s Bellevue-Main office said December was unexpectedly busy, with much more activity than he expected in what’s typically a quieter time of year.

“I was surprised by how busy we were in December,” Petrzelka said. “Buyers in the past month were really looking to get wrapped up before the new year began. Right now, the main thing we need is more inventory in the market – you can definitely feel the pressure.”

Petrzelka said many brokers in the John L. Scott Bellevue-Main office have been meeting with sellers who are getting their homes prepared to list soon.

“Though some people are still targeting spring list dates for their homes, we have seen sellers who are ready decide to bump their timing up,” Petrzelka said. “If your home is ready for market and your area has a lack of unsold inventory, listing now can be a great idea. The holidays are over and many buyers are eager to lock in their dream home.”

However, Petrzelka cautions against putting your home on the market early if you still have a list of deferred maintenance and home upgrades that should be completed before it’s listed. Though there is strong buyer demand, he said most buyers still won’t settle for a home that’s not up to snuff.

“Right now, we are really feeling the pressure from the backlog of buyers looking for homes,” Petrzelka said. “However, they are still focused on homes in good condition, especially in high-demand areas. We’re hoping to see additional quality inventory hit the market in the coming months to help curb the tide of demand.”

With the start of the new decade, John L. Scott chairman and CEO J. Lennox Scott said the key factors essential to a healthy housing market (job growth, interest rates and months of unsold supply) all bode well for a positive year ahead.

“On the Eastside, we anticipate a frenzy market in 2020, with home price appreciation reaching 6 percent-plus for homes priced up to $1 million,” Scott said. “This price range makes up 71 percent of sales activity on the Eastside.”

In Scott’s 2020 Puget Sound housing forecast, he predicts a frenzy market, with home price appreciation of 5 percent in the luxury price range of $1 to 1.5 million. Moving into the $1.5 to 3 million range, Scott said sales activity will be strong, then selective above $3 million.

“In the high-end and luxury market close to the job centers, sales activity intensity is projected to be up in spring 2020, then shift to moderate during the summer,” Scott said. “Luxury sales activity intensity will be slightly lower starting in summer as more luxury listings start coming on the market, with an approximate 15 point reduction in intensity. Buyers may have the opportunity to secure a home-for-sale contingency when negotiating to purchase a luxury home.”

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