Seattle weekly wrap-up: Amazon freezes hiring, rate hikes, and thoughts on the future
Wild weather this weekend! We live on a floating home so windy days like Friday are something else on a floating home – everything is moving, the dock and homes creak and groan, the lights sway, and the power flickers, good times.
What isn’t good times is the news this week. Amazon, a huge driver of our housing market, is pumping the brakes with a hiring freeze for the next few months. It’ll be months before we know the effect on the real estate market, but it will have an effect. The other big news is that the Fed raised its rate this week. While mortgage rates aren’t tied to the fed rate, they are influenced by it – we saw mortgage rates go from 7.08% at the end of last week to ending Friday at 7.29%.
After a big 25% drop the week before, new listings were actually up 15% week-over-week last week to 218. Likely the last time we’ll see more than 200 new listings a week this year. Meanwhile, buyers put 149 homes under contract last week, this was down 4.5% week-over-week. We even heard of a few bidding wars, like on this Portage Bay waterfront home.
The numbers for October are out – two things stand out for single-family homes (and townhomes). The first is that the median price increased (!!!) $19k to $910k and the second is that very few buyers went under contract on homes in October – 530 this year vs 936 last year. This October was the slowest month for that in the last ten years. As for condos, the same story, the median price was up $10k to $480k, and condos going under contract was down to 133 (vs last year’s 255).
So why aren’t prices dropping more than they are? It’s still early and there likely aren’t many forced sellers right now. Instead we’re seeing sellers de-list and rent, or change their plans if they aren’t able to sell for the price they want. Very few Seattle sellers are panic price reducing. Maybe that will change. Or maybe we’ll have a relatively soft landing with sellers taking a break for winter and re-listing in 2023 when rates are perhaps lower, or at least less volatile, and there are enough buyers excited about buying again.
All that said, we still have clients buying. One is relocating from San Diego and is under contract on a north Seattle townhouse that just did a big price drop and we were still able to negotiate an additional big closing credit so he could lower his rate. Another client was looking for a change of scenery and we helped them negotiate a discount on a brand new $3m home even though it had just hit the market the day before. Meanwhile, we had two of our own listings go under contract, a Lynnwood rambler and land on Perkins Lane, but still have a few listings looking for buyers, a Perkins Lane view home, a loft at Monique, a condo at the Emerald and a top floor condo at the Gridiron.
Thinking of buying or selling? we’re always happy to strategize! Or sign-up for our home buying class this Wednesday at 4 pm.
What caught our eye? Just this $43m Hunts Point estate!