The NWMLS press release is available to view here.

The news is mostly positive for June. Here are a few highlights:

  • Half the counties showed an increase in inventory year-over-year, with King County leading the way at 32%.
  • Prices climb a bit (up 4.82% NWMLS system-wide from a year ago).
  • Overall, the report indicates there is 1.76 months of inventory area-wide (matching May), with eight counties having less than two months of supply.
  • Just so you saw it, there is 1.76 months of inventory. One. Point. Seven-Six. Months!
  • Hidden in the release was this tidbit: “The new tax measure changes the REET rate from a flat 1.28 percent of the selling price to a graduated rate for real property sales, with exceptions for timberland and agricultural land. This will impact sales velocity and absorption at the higher price points.” MORE ON THIS IN FUTURE BLASTS!

So what’s it all about, Alfie?  The market is micro-location driven right now. We’re talking right down to individual streets in some places. Price sharply. Razor sharp. And, build the right stuff, too.


This analysis from Zillow caught my eye a few weeks back. It’s about the correlation between some specific marketing terms used in listings, and higher selling prices / shorter time on market.

These features alone probably aren’t the magic bullet, but it’s clear from this chart the details matter to buyers. And, builders who have an eye for the right ones are benefitting.

Most importantly, if you’re selling a home with any of these features, you had better make sure you bring them up!


If you haven’t taken a look at the NWMLS press release yet, you can view it here.

There are a few interesting statements here, but not anything too out of the norm, and it is mostly good news. Inventory is up and buyers are taking advantage of lower interest rates.

Probably the best part of this was this sentence:

“King County recorded the largest gain in total inventory, at more than 62 percent, but supply remained below 2 months in that and several other counties.”

I find it interesting a 62% increase in inventory isn’t mentioned until the end of the 7th paragraph, especially since it feels like low inventory is all anyone ever talks about, but there it is! Also, it’s crazy there was that large of an increase, yet we’re still 4 months from what is considered a “balanced market.” That sure goes to show just how low inventory really was, doesn’t it?

Feel like some extra reading? Here’s a few stories that caught my attention.

While Amazon sets its sights on Bellevue, Apple brings 2,000-4,500 jobs to Seattle to help Expedia clog Mercer even more.

Is Renton about to be a big deal? I don’t see why not.

Will Seattle ban “big” homes? I guess we’re about to find out.


The New Home Council’s annual Seafair event is coming up on August 2nd from 12:30-4:30. If you’ve never been, it’s a great way to have some fun with your colleagues while watching the Blue Angels pull off some incredible stunts directly overhead. Lunch will be served on the lake and the bar will be open, of course!

This event sells out every year, so make sure to purchase your tickets soon!

Click here to reserve your spot


A tad late on this, but I bet you’re a little busy right now, too. We do have some interesting news to talk about, though, so let’s get to it. You can check out the full press release here.

The biggest takeaway to come out of the press release, at least for me, was the “S” word – i.e. supply. It’s still low.

Here’s a quick 4-county survey:

  • Pierce – 1.2 months
  • Snohomish – 1.3 months
  • Kitsap – 1.4 months
  • King – 1.9 months

Some additional, interesting tidbits:

  • Prices are up 3.5% year-over-year across the entire NWMLS (22 counties)
  • King County is down YoY (-0.4%), but it is up slightly from February. Considering the blistering pace prices rose here last year, I don’t think this should be a surprise to anyone

Considering Earth Day is Monday, let’s take a few minutes and talk about solar power. Don’t worry, I’m not going to go all “hippy” on you. Just hear me out.

A new study by Zillow shows, “homes with solar-energy systems sold for 4.1% more on average than others nationwide in the past year.” Using the median King County price from the recent NWMLS press release of $622,500, that’s $25,522!

5kW systems are fairly typical across the country, according to Energy Sage, and cost an average of “$10,675 after the 30% Federal ITC discount (not factoring in any additional state rebates or incentives).”

“But this is Washington!” you say. “What is this so-called ‘Sun’ you speak of?” Well, you might be surprised how effective and efficient these systems can be. Check out your “Sun Number” before you jump to any conclusions. You may find a new money-maker for your design center AND help out the planet.

The latest NWMLS press release came out a week and a half ago so we’re a little late, but hey, somebody’s got to sell something.

Anyway, in case you missed you it, it’s here. I’m sure next month’s will be close to the same as this month’s and the previous. However, here are a couple quick thoughts.

  • Inventory is still an issue, or the lack thereof.
  • We’ve seen a reset in pricing already occur, but there may be a bit more to go. Maybe 5%? This is straight conjecture on my part.
  • Make sure your product is dialed-in.
  • Make sure your pricing is beyond dialed-in. A 15% margin is better than 10%.

So I was texting with Bezos the other day…Too soon?

Following the decision to cancel their New York HQ2 plans, it would appear Amazon has decided there’s no place like home. The Puget Sound Business Journal announced the company has put down non-refundable earnest money to buy the 600 Bellevue development.

According to the PSBJ’s sources, Amazon is “considering taking property and projects for an additional 2.84 million square feet,” on top of the 1 million they already have in Bellevue. This is enough room for approximately 25,826 employees by their calculation, also known as roughly the number they were planning to house in New York. T-Mobile, the largest current employer in Bellevue, only has 6,200 employees.

Amazon hasn’t commented yet, so we’ll just have to see how this develops, but I would be surprised if T-Mobile stays the largest for much longer.

Image from NBBJ via The Registry

You may have detected a hint of sarcasm with our choice of the Words to Live By above. In the case of Washington’s Condo Act, the threat of spending more time in the courtroom than the boardroom has pushed practically all developers to go apartment. Now, we sit with an apartment vacancy rate of 18% in some areas (10.5% regional average) and rents continuing to fall due to oversupply (and, yes, market adjustment), yet, the demand for more affordable housing options is sky high.

Here’s a possible light at the end of the tunnel for both the condo industry and hopeful condo buyers. Last week, a new bill was finally introduced to the state senate, SB 5334. As Dan Bertolet at Sightline Institute describes it, “The proposed bill would tighten what qualifies as a warrantable defect, and it would more explicitly shield condo association board members from personal liability so they would be less inclined to file lawsuits just to protect themselves.”

I won’t go into all the details of the situation (Mr. Bertolet already does a great job of that), but overall, it seems like a much-needed revision to get us back on track. I’m hopeful.

For now, I’ll just leave you with this chart from the article. Those gray bars represent lost opportunity.

This just about made me spit out my coffee. A large company investing $500M in programs to help solve the local affordable housing crisis? Really?

This new investment by Microsoft is, “Likely the largest-ever housing commitment by an American corporation,” according to Samantha Sharf of Forbes.

It’s hard to complain about the way Microsoft is going about it, either. Since it is cost prohibitive for many builders to build starter homes, they’ve decided to provide low-interest construction loan options to help make it an attractive segment again.

Another $225M will also go toward “the preservation and construction of middle-income residences” and a grant to fight homelessness.

Good lookin’ out, Microsoft. I’m very interested to see how this unfolds.