Winter chill begins to settle into real estate market

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

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

By Erin Flemming

Special to the Reporter

Bellevue-area residents are beginning to pull warm jackets on, as leaves are falling and the weather shifts toward winter. The real estate market is also experiencing predictable hallmarks of the season. Specifically, brokers locally saw an uptick in the number of new listings, pending home sales and sold properties in September and October, with things quieting down as the November chill returned.

Tucker Petrzelka, assistant office leader and business coach of John L. Scott’s Bellevue-Main office said his office saw good sales activity while affording buyers the best selection until spring. He noted that some pricing sweet spots in the lower to mid-price ranges in popular areas saw a lot of interest, with some garnering numerous showings and even multiple offers. However, things were a bit slower for homes in the luxury price ranges.

With Thanksgiving occurring a week later than it has in past years, consumers will be faced with a slightly more compact holiday season – one that Petrzelka said could affect the market pace. Holidays are always slower in real estate, but Petrzelka noted that year-round there are always “true buyers” out and motivated to make a move – but that pool is smaller in the winter.

Petrzelka said if you’re a seller ready to list now, ensuring your home is priced appropriately is critical.

“The ‘true buyers’ are out there, but overpricing your home at this time of year won’t do you any favors in attracting buyers who are ready to commit this winter,” Petrzelka said. “Depending on numerous factors, including your home’s location, condition and local competition, it could be beneficial to hold off listing until late February or so. I recommend chatting with a trusted broker early in the process so you can develop a game plan that’s appropriate for your home and individual situation.”

Petrzelka said homeowners planning to list their home in the spring may want to work with a broker to identify a priority list of repairs and upgrades that could bring a good return on investment.

“The holiday season may be too hectic for homeowners to prep their home for a spring sale, but once the festivities wrap up, it’s time to see what makes sense in the new year,” Petrzelka said. “Usually I recommend making interior upgrades first, then focus on things like landscaping and exterior painting when the weather begins to warm.”

Recently, a handful of local cities earned high ranks on the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual median household income list that measures cities with 65,000 or more residents. Sammamish topped the list this year, with a median household income of $183,038. Redmond, Kirkland and Bellevue also ranked near the top, with median household incomes of $134,844, $119,844 and $113,698, respectively.

Petrzelka said he wasn’t surprised to see these cities rank highly on the U.S. Census Bureau’s list, as these cities, along with others in the area are heavily driven by the hot job market locally.

“Bellevue has a lot to offer for people in the technology sector locally,” he added. “Younger tech workers may be drawn to downtown condo living for walkability and ease in commute. Families often prioritize homes within one of our top school districts on the Eastside. With big companies like Amazon making investments locally, I think we’ll continue to see growth in Bellevue.”