I think the headline is having some fun with me here, but whatever. I’ll allow it.

We’re a little late, but it’s better than never.  And, we’ve attached the chart this time, so we’re super excited. Everything’s coming up Milhouse.

The latest NWMLS press release came out a couple weeks ago.  Check it out here.  

I get asked fairly often about the market; as in, “Paul, what’s going on with the market?”  or “Paul, what is going on with prices?” or “Paul, why aren’t we selling more homes?”  Here are some quick thoughts also reiterated in the release:

  1. Inventory across the board is still low.  We are still not in a “balanced market.”  An aside: I don’t know what “balanced market” really means. If we don’t sell enough homes, we get yelled at for not selling enough homes. If we sell too many homes, we get yelled at for not raising the prices.  Perhaps one of you faithful readers will enlighten me, not on what a balanced market means, but what a balanced market feels like.  You know, ‘cuz it’s about feelings.
  2.  We did see a bunch of new homes come online recently.  And, that’s a good thing.  However, I do think a chunk of sellers thought it was time to cash-in and the chorus of “INVENTORY IS UP” rang across the land.  Yeah, “up” to 2 months of supply.
  3.  We’re just coming out of a historically slow time of year.
  4.  Prices have risen so fast and so quickly the laws of the universe will demand the madness to slow down a bit. Not stop, mind you, but at least slow down.
  5.  There still aren’t enough new homes being built.
  6.  Prices aren’t going anywhere but up. Sure, we’re seeing some adjustments, but I think that’s about some builders willing to make 25% margins versus 30-35%.  A little facetious here, but you know what I’m saying.
  7.  We need to be really sharp right now on prices.  We cannot price aspirationally. Price for today and to the needs of your monthly absorption requirements.

Here’s that wonderful, glorious chart…

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Before we start, and sticking with our quote of the week, here’s a little extra for you faithful readers in honor of the Pearl Jam Home Shows. I heard they played for over three hours last night. Great track. Great album. Enjoy.

Anyway, back to business. Here’s the latest NWMLS press release. You should read it, but ignore the quotes.

From the PR:  King County’s number of active listings surged nearly 48 percent from a year ago, rising from 3,465 active listings to 5,116. Snohomish County also had double-digit increases, up nearly 15.8 percent, but 15 counties reported less inventory than twelve months ago.

From me: I do think the surge in new listings represent a large swathe of homeowners who have been hearing the words “escalation,” “multiple” and “inventory” in conjunction with  “clause,” “offers” and “low” for so long they’ve decided to jump into the game.

The true fact remains. Inventory is still way below anything considered “normal” and I think it is going to remain that way for the foreseeable future.

For new construction, prices need to stabilize a bit for sure. However (here’s the broken record), land is expensive, sticks and bricks cost more as does the labor.

It’s clear pricing needs to be very sharp right now.  The arbitrary, incremental price increases should take a backseat to strategic pricing and case-by-case evaluations.  And, as always, salesmanship, sound processes, customer follow-up, broker outreach and expertise are still required every day onsite; perhaps even more so right now.

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Zillow and HERE Technologies have released a very interesting analysis aimed to track down the best home and rent values when compared against the commute to downtown Seattle. It’s a slick tool to help answer one of the biggest issues facing today’s homebuyers: “what is it worth to spend more time in traffic?” With the population growing, more businesses opening downtown and traffic conditions almost certainly to get worse, not better, it’s arguably the #1 question for most people.

Here are the big takeaways:

  • 15 minutes from downtown represents a 11.3% savings.
  • Highline is the best value to buy with a median price of $387,700 and a 38-minute commute.
  • South Park and Georgetown neighborhoods are best for renters. $2,356/mo and 27 minutes.
  • Of the MSAs studied, Seattle ranks second for highest dollar savings and forth for percentage when moving 15 minutes out of downtown.
  • “Over a 30-year career, reducing your one-way commute by just 15 minutes frees up five months of one’s life for more rewarding pursuits.” (Geekwire)
  • Seattle’s situation isn’t the same everywhere. “In areas like San Antonio, Las Vegas and Sacramento, home values actually increase when they are located farther from the city’s urban core.”

Of course we all know “15 minutes” is a relative term in this area, but the graphic helps.

Crack open that piggy bank, cash out your Bitcoin investments and sell-off your vintage action figures. Have I got a deal for you!

How about a 157-acre lot on a mountain high above Beverly Hills? Build your very own 1.5 million square foot Wayne Manor with 360-degree views, perfect for spotting approaching super villains. Laugh at the inferior size of Disneyland, which could, “fit within its confines and still have 57 acres to spare.” Be mentioned in articles along side previous owners and interested buyers such as, “Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Merv Griffin, Herbalife founder Mark Hughes, and Princess Shams, elder sister of the late Shah of Iran.”

All of this for a paltry $1 Billion.

Keep in mind that is just for the land, by the way. Dirt is expensive, but this is downright ridiculous. That being said, I would be happy to represent you on the buyer’s side when you’re ready. I’m even willing to reduce my commission on this one.

Photo by Matthew Momberger, courtesy Aaron Kirman Partners
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Keeping with our California theme today, it looks like the living legend, Snoop Dogg, has run into some issues with his recent mansion remodel. The Doggfather is currently suing his contractor for not paying subs and living up to their agreement. This is actually a counter-claim for another lawsuit in which Snoop, and the contractor he’s now suing, refused to pay a $12,385 bill for landscaping-related services. In the counter-claim he is asking for the first lawsuit to be dismissed which could include a lien against his home.

Who knows who’s in the right here. What I do know is it looks like a huge pain and another reason to buy new and avoid the drama.

The new Amazon/Lennar Connected Home is now open to tour near Atlanta. As people become more and more used to having Alexa in their life, even while “she” is maniacally laughing unprovoked, it was only a matter of time before we saw a true test home.

Some of the home features include smart locks, video doorbells, Echos, Dash buttons and media devices, most of which are all controlled from Lennar’s app. Sounds great!

Inman went to test it out a few weeks back, and it looks like there are still a few hurdles to overcome. However, after addressing a few app bugs, making a few tweaks to the presentation and a solid site audit is done (yoga mats in plastic still, ahem), it will be something to behold.

It feels like maybe a few too many toys for my lifestyle, but it’s a show home, right? Overall it’s pretty impressive and offers some intriguing options, if you’re not worried about Bezos knowing everything you do.

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The world’s first residents of a 3D printed home are moving in. Project Yhnova in France spared no effort in showing off what this technology has to offer, particularly with the curved walls everywhere and the impressive build time.

The 1,022 sqft home includes four bedrooms and will house a family of five.

Photo via BBC

According to Professor and Project Manager, Benoit Furet, it required, “54 hours to print, excluding the four months taken for contractors to fit windows, doors and roof fixtures. The building cost…is 20% cheaper than an identical construction with traditional methods.” They think they can get the 54 hour mark down to 33.

It’s strange to think one day soon we may be checking “Extruded” next to property type on a listing.

I haven’t commented on the monthly NWMLS press release in a while, but this is a good month to get back into the routine. Click here to see the most recent report and view the data at the bottom.

I’ve been hearing words like “shift” and “softening,” as well as “frenetic” and “balanced” recently.  Throw in others like “bubble” and/or “correction” and I think of words like “paranoia.”  Put them all together and you get something like, “There’s a market shift happening and housing is softening, but it’s still frenetic and we have a long ways to go to being balanced.” Anywho, here’s a couple of quotes from the release I found interesting:

•    “Inventory is up and demand has dropped,” reported Robert Wasser, an officer with the board of directors at Northwest Multiple Listing Service. That combination is “a pretty simple economic recipe for a softening market,” he added in commenting on the latest MLS statistics.

•    “Although still a quick response market, with more new listings coming on the market during the summer months, we experienced dispersed buyer energy due to the greater availability and selection,” stated J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate (my emphasis added).

•    “While home prices are still trending above average rates, the pace is moderately slowing as the housing market becomes less frenetic,” OB Jacobi, President of Windermere Real Estate stated, adding, “We have a ways to go before we approach anything close to a balanced market, but we’re certainly trending in the right direction.”

•    More from Wasser:  “It’s still a seller’s market out there, but I’m seeing signs of a more balanced market on the horizon.”

The release did address new construction (albeit briefly). The gist is local regulations (your government) and process (rules) inhibit growth.  Old days, good times I remember…

I think we’re seeing what we usually see this time of year.  School is out.  Vacations are being taken.  Peeps are busy living their lives.  I do believe a slight correction is out there waiting for us somewhere, but this won’t be anything like what a lot of us experienced before.

So go sell something.

p.s. We’re up to 1.5 months of supply.

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