New Q2 Gardner Report is Now Available
There’s an old saying in Western Washington that you have to wait until the 5th of July for summer to start and that, after a prolonged period of tedium, light starts to shine. In reviewing the latest data on the economy and real estate markets, I believe the same can be said about them.
Summer has appeared in Western Washington and this has, so far, been reflected in our economy, as well as our housing market.
Businesses have been adding staff at a fair clip and, to a degree, this has influenced people’s decision making when it comes to buying a home. The two are, indeed, intertwined.
Even with this positive data, I am still suggesting that we be a little cautious regarding the housing market. Not because I believe that we are going to see any sort of rapid decline in values, rather that the long awaited improvement that is shown here may still have some hurdles ahead.
The wait for summer has been worth it—as has the very long wait for recovery/stability in our regional economy real estate markets. The glass is definitely half full right now, but it remains too early to call for a certified recovery in home prices. Enjoy the weather while it is here!
To read this new report on Washington's housing market and see Matthew's revealing charts, go to http://thesouthsounder.com/gardner/Q2_2012.pdf
|Matthew Gardner has released The Gardner Report Q4 on his performance evaluations of Washington real estate. This quarterly report is exclusive to Windermere Real Estate but is made available here at no cost.
His conclusion to our Q4 market is:
As has been the case for all of 2011, an increase in sales of Washington real estate does not mean an increase in prices. The value of transacted units in our market declined by 15.5 percent from a year ago, excluding the volatile San Juan County which saw a drop of 14.8 percent. Looking at the specific counties within our survey, there were two that exhibited price growth from December of 2010, these being Island (+7.1%) and Clallam (+4.5%). Counties that saw the greatest price declines included: Jefferson (-30.1%), Kittitas (-28%), Mason (-26.4%), Grays Harbor (-20.5%), and San Juan (-20%).
There are, I believe, two reasons why we have not yet seen the price stability in Washington real estate that we are all looking for. The first of these is that the sale of distressed homes continues to make up a very large percentage of all transactions and these homes sell for substantially lower than market price. In King County, for example, distressed transactions made up 40 percent of all sales in 2011. Additionally, with such low levels of supply, we have seen a pronounced change in the make-up of sales with a disproportionate percentage of homes selling in very affordable price ranges. Both of these factors are having negative effects on home prices.
I am keeping the housing market at a “C-“ grade this quarter and am unlikely to change this until we start to see more housing choices become available and the percentage of foreclosures start to decline.
To see all of Mr. Gardner’s reports and his charts that make more graphical his analysis, click here to go to http://mikemostyn.com/windermeres-gardner-report/or use the navigation links to the left of this page for “Market Research” and click on Windermere’s Gardner Reports
“It will be business as usual” says the new executives at Black Ball Ferry Line who acquired the link between Victoria BC, Canada and the Olympic Peninsula. The 52-year-old company, which operates the MV Coho between Victoria and Port Angeles, has been purchased from the Oregon State University Foundation by the company’s executive management team.
Black Ball had been bequeathed to the foundation by former owner Lois Acheson in 2004 as part of a $21-million gift of her estate to establish an endowment in OSU’s college of veterinary medicine.
“The goal right now is to keep the course we have, the culture of the company intact and not try to change in too many respects,” said president and COO Ryan Burles, one of the five new owners. “The trustees at Oregon State did a great thing to keep it within the employees and maintain the legacy. It was Mrs. Acheson’s wish that the employees were taken care of.”
The Coho can accommodate 1,000 passengers and 120 vehicles on any one sailing. According to a 2006 study, it ferries more than 400,000 passengers and 120,000 vehicles and brings $123.7 million into the Victoria economy annually. The company employs more than 120 people and operates terminals in both Victoria BC and Port Angeles.
For those of us who watch the Northwest economy and how it affects Washington real estate, Mr. Matthew Gardner and Windermere Real Estate has released “The Gardner Report” for Q3.
Mr. Gardner is a land use economist and principal with Gardner Economics and is considered by many to be one of the foremost real estate analysts in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to managing his consulting practice, Mr. Gardner is a member of the Pacific Real Estate Institute; chairs the Board of Trustees for the Washington State Center for Real Estate Research; the Urban Land Institutes Technical Assistance Panel; and represents the Master Builders Association as an in-house economist. He has appeared on CNN, NBC and NPR news services to discuss real estate issues and is regularly cited in the Wall Street Journal and all local media.
The Q3 Gardner Report concludes:
- “We continue to see modest employment growth in Washington State, but improvements are certainly not equal across the counties. Continued contraction in the government sector and construction are acting as anchors by restraining any significant improvement. In as much as I still contend that Washington State does, and will continue to, fare better than the nation as a whole, uncertainty appears to have permeated all businesses. The Federal Government now appears to be understanding the importance that real estate has in our economic growth. There are numerous proposals being proposed in Congress and the Senate relative to stabilizing our housing market. Although they are not a panacea, I am glad to see that they are starting to understand how important it is.”
“The housing market continues to demonstrate modest signs of stability, but financing and appraisals are still acting as impediments. Inventory levels saw a modest increase this summer, but are starting to exhibit their traditional seasonal decline—and are still considerably down from historic averages. Pending sales remain well above figures seen a year ago and closed transactions are also trending higher.”
To download the entire report, go to http://www.thesouthsounder.com/newsletters/Gardner_Report_Q3.pdf