Though it may feel like spring has just begun, when looking at the six phases of the housing cycle – New Year kickoff, spring market, pre-summer, summer market, fall market and winter market – April concluded the spring market. Karen Lindsay, managing broker and branch manager of John L. Scott’s Bellevue-Issaquah office, said April was a bit slower versus the previous month, but the market is still dynamic, with new listings heading into May and June’s pre-summer phase.
In the cities of Issaquah and Sammamish, homes for sale, sold and pended in the month of April were up over 2018 numbers, going up 63.6 percent, 7.2 percent and 46.1 percent, respectively. Lindsay said she thinks May will be a good month for home sales. She added that buyers are entering the marketplace with more confidence, and strategic pricing is a must to attract the attention of buyers.
“Pricing a listing at market value is extremely important if a home seller wants to sell in the first three weeks,” Lindsay said. “After three weeks, the chances of obtaining a premium price drop dramatically, as do the chances of receiving multiple offers at once. If priced competitively when it first goes on the market, the home attracts attention and is more likely to have buyers compete to buy it, which will naturally bring up the final selling price.”
Just in time for Earth Day on April 22, the National Association of Realtors released findings from a national survey of its members focused on eco-friendly home features. A majority of those surveyed said clients were interested in energy-efficiency and sustainable housing features. The report also detailed ways sustainability is influencing real estate, from solar panels to commute lengths.
While the Pacific Northwest is known as a particularly “green” area of the country, Lindsay said in the local market, affordability tends to be higher on the priority list for most buyers. However, first-time and millennial home buyers are usually naturally drawn to homes that tend to be considered more eco-friendly.
“Millennials are more conscious of sustainability and tend to gravitate to more contemporary design, which lends itself to more sustainable products and materials like concrete counters or bamboo floors,” said Lindsay. “Larger homes, with more space to heat and grounds to maintain, are not as important these days to first-time homebuyers. A home’s proximity to amenities such as light rail and bus lines, that enable commuting without cars are a draw for younger purchasers.”
For many homeowners, an interest in all things green can extend to front and back yards. Sunny days make for great gardening weather, and carefully planned out landscaping can not only make a home look great, but also potentially increase value for potential buyers. Lindsay said hiring landscaping help or developing a green thumb can pay off when looking to sell.
“I think street appeal is essential if you are planning on selling your home, and a nicely landscaped lawn with well-kept plants and flowers is a big part of that,” Lindsay said. “To show well to buyers, especially in a hopping spring market, a ‘manicured’ look is always more appealing than overgrown or messy.”