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The 2016 Sotheby’s International Realty Global Networking Event

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The 2016 Sotheby’s International Realty Global Networking Event

From May 16th to the 18th, members of the Sotheby’s International Realty® brand met for the 2016 Global Networking Event at the Wynn in Las Vegas, Nevada. With over 2,300 attendees from around the world, this was the largest event in the history of the company. Thelma Channon and Brooke Beaty were fortunate to be in attendance for this spectacular event.

At the GNE, members of the Sotheby’s International Realty global team were afforded the ability to network with their peers from all over the world as well as attend breakout sessions featuring subject matter experts and visit a MarketPlace with all of the event’s sponsors.

Tracked with #SIRGNE, the hashtag was used over 1200 times across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Here’s some of what people were saying on social media!  

Leading up to and over the course of the event, members from Sotheby’s International Realty network shared their “Moments.” This was a theme that carried through GNE as the brand emphasized throughout, the importance and strength of the people who make Sotheby’s International Realty a global community. Here are some of those moments:

Maya Angelou was once quoted,”everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances.” The 2016 Global Networking Event was no exception; songs both new and old helped score GNE and create an exciting atmosphere. Experience the 2016 GNE Playlist!

The three-day event included rousing talks from Philip White, president and CEO, Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC; Wendy Purvey, chief marketing officer, Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC; Daniel Lamarre, president and CEO, Cirque du Soleil and a riveting performance piece by world-renowned sand artist, Joe Castillo during the general session assembly.

At the close of the event, President & CEO Philip White announced that the Sotheby’s International Realty brand would return to the Wynn and Las Vegas in September of 2017 for the next Global Networking Event. We will be back next year!

Sotheby’s International Realty® 2016 Global Networking Event

Intense Holiday Real Estate Market in 2015 – Gig Harbor Real Estate

“Intense” Holiday Real Estate Market in 2015 – Gig Harbor Real Estate

Latest News Release

Provided by NWMLS

KIRKLAND, Washington (December 4, 2015) – Inventory remains “critically low,” but there are fewer house-hunters in the hunt during this holiday season so motivated sellers and buyers are seeing success, according to brokers with Northwest Multiple Listing Service. Its just-released statistics for November show year-over-year gains in pending sales, closed sales, and prices, but a steep decline in inventory.

“The housing market continues to be red-hot on a seasonal basis, but this winter will be even more intense given the dangerously low inventory,” remarked J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate.

Compared to a year ago, MLS figures show drops in the number of new listings added to inventory during November (down 4.6 percent) as well in the total number of active listings at month-end (down 26.5 percent).

Twenty-one of the 23 counties served by Northwest MLS reported double-digit declines in their volume of active listings last month compared to the same time period a year ago. For the overall area, there were 15,327 active listings, which compares to the year-ago total of 20,864. Of these totals, 5,268 were new listings added during the month; a year ago, members added 5,521 listings to the selection.

“Buyers are pleasantly surprised to have less competition right now. Many are taking advantage of this by searching diligently for a home,” commented Dick Beeson, the principal managing broker at RE/MAX Professionals in Tacoma. “Sellers who stay in the market during the holidays are often rewarded by less competition as well, thus making their efforts profitable,” added Beeson, a Northwest MLS board member.

MLS members reported 7,511 pending sales during November for a 10 percent increase from a year ago when they notched 6,821 mutually accepted offers. Condo activity was brisk with pending sales jumping more than 21 percent from a year ago. Single family home sales rose about 8.5 percent.

“The rumblings of frustration have evolved to utter exasperation among buyers as inventory levels continue to drop,” reported MLS director George Moorhead, the designated broker at Bentley Properties. Despite their frustration, he said buyers are knowledgeable and “tuned into” the market, with some even factoring in the cost of breaking a lease as part of the cost of purchasing a home in this real estate climate.

Broker Ken Anderson also commented on the tight supply. “Our market is approaching record low absorption rates. We haven’t seen inventory this low in more than a decade,” stated Anderson, the president/owner and designated broker at Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty in Olympia.

Anderson said buyers have remained active all year. “Every month this year our market has improved for sellers. It is really a uniquely good time,” he observed.

Scott agreed, noting “there is more pressure on new listings than we had last winter.” A higher percentage of homes is selling within the first 30 days, according to his analysis. “This is setting the stage for a frenzy market in the spring of 2016. Even if interest rates go up slightly, buyer demand and low inventory will push prices up,” he believes.

Commenting on figures showing only nine of the 23 counties served by Northwest MLS have more than six months of supply (a figure some use to indicate a balanced market), MLS director Darin Stenvers said “that trend is not likely to change anytime soon.”

Stenvers, the managing broker at John L. Scott’s Bellingham office, said it is also unlikely “that even a small upward movement in interest rates alone will change our housing market’s future. We expect many buyers will be staying in their homes much longer than in the past,” he stated, “and this is contributing to the shortage of new listings.”

Acute shortages are in evident King and Snohomish counties, both with less than two months of supply.

“The low market inventory continues to be the stress factor for buyer and brokers,” said Kathy Estey, the branch managing broker at John L. Scott, Inc. in Bellevue. She reported multiple offers are continuing on homes that are in top condition and priced competitively. But, she emphasized, “over aggression in pricing is always detrimental to sellers.”

“The Snohomish County market continues to be extremely active,” said David Maider, designated broker/owner at Windermere Real Estate M2 in Everett and a member of the MLS board of directors. “With interest rates maintaining historically low levels and no indication that more property is headed for the market, we expect prices to increase in the first quarter of 2016. Multiple offers are happening on well priced and prepared properties, but not at the frequency that was occurring this past spring and summer,” he reported.

Mike Grady, president/COO of Coldwell Banker Bain | Seal, agreed. “Sales prices and rents will continue to increase next year, making ours a tight market for home buyers.” Commenting on the anticipated hike in interest rates, Grady said he isn’t expecting an increase to slow sales locally. “Adding nearly 65,000 new households to the greater Puget Sound region in the past 12 months reflects not only a great job market but also a growing demand for housing. We expect sales and median home values will continue to rise in 2016.”

Even as prices rise, until supply improves, sellers will remain firmly in the driver’s seat of an “insanely competitive housing market,” commented OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate.

“I’m still very concerned with the lack of inventory in the Seattle housing market,” Jacobi stated, adding, “Even with the drop in inventory we normally see this time of year, the current levels are critically low. Looking at the data as far back as 1999, we’ve never seen a lack of homes for sale to this degree.”

MLS director John Deely, principal managing broker at Coldwell Banker Bain in Seattle, said the combination of low listing inventory, the seasonal slowdown, and pent-up demand is fueling multiple offers on properties in all price ranges. “Ballard, Queen Anne and Beacon Hill are single family hot spots, with Capitol Hill and Belltown/Downtown leading the condo sales activity,” he reported.

Northwest MLS data show extremely low supplies of both single family homes and condos in the map areas closest to the major job centers. Not surprisingly, prices in most of those areas are escalating.

Prices on homes and condos that closed last month rose nearly 6.6 percent from a year ago, from $289,000 to $308,000. For single family homes, the increase was about 5.7 percent, from $299,000 to $316,000, with seven counties reporting double-digit gains.

In King County, the median price for home sales that closed during November was $499,950, a jump of 13.6 percent from the year-ago figure of $440,000.

Condo prices surged 17.8 percent, rising from $225,000 to $265,000.

Prices can vary widely within counties. For example, within King County, where the MLS tracks 29 map areas, median prices for homes and condos that sold last month ranged a low of $235,000 in the Dash Point/Federal Way area to more than $1 million on Mercer Island.

“Given that the median home price of a single family home in King County is just shy of a half-million dollars, we can assume buyers are choosing to buy further away from Seattle and Bellevue in areas where homes are substantially cheaper,” remarked Jacobi. MLS figures reveal wide variation from county-to county. While the median selling price on last month’s sales in King County was $499,950, it was $350,000 in Snohomish County and even less in both Kitsap ($259,000) and Pierce ($249,900) counties.

Pricing is still as important as ever, cautioned Moorhead, who said in today’s market a home will not sell for less than market value. “Sellers still have to be careful as buyers clearly show their knowledge, which is obvious when a home has been on the market longer than 30 days.”

Commenting on the market in Kitsap County, MLS director Frank Wilson noted prices there are up 15 percent since January, with the median price on single family homes rising from $225,000 (in January) to $259,000 for last month’s sales.

“We are seeing the typical seasonal cycle, including a slight slowdown in open house traffic as we moved toward Thanksgiving,” Wilson reported. He expects a pick-up in activity the week before Christmas and then an earlier than usual spring market – perhaps starting in mid-January.

“As our spring market blooms this year, it will be earlier. Buyers will find fewer choices and what is available will be at a higher price,” Wilson predicts. “Sellers still need to make sure their homes are priced correctly and that it looks good, smells good and feels good – the basics have not changed,” he emphasized.

For now, Wilson said sellers who have their home on the market can expect “condensed traffic,” which he likened to a “good soup broth with every sip full of flavor. Every buyer who looks at a home is serious. They have fewer choices, so sellers will likely see greater success than during other times of the year.”

MLS members reported modest increases in the number of completed transactions from a year ago, 5,999 versus 5,872 for a 2.2 percent gain. Anderson attributes this to a timing factor due to the last day of the month following on a Monday. “We had a huge block of closings on November 30th, but those won’t be reflected until the December numbers.”

Other brokers also commented on seasonal factors.

“With people going to and from work in the dark, the weekends get busier for brokers. The time for showing a property is compressed,” commented Beeson. But, he added, “smart brokers keep working through the winter months knowing that a fool fails to plant a crop in season, and when harvest comes they look but find nothing.”

“Many sellers feel spring or summer are better times to sell, but statistics show December to be an excellent time for sellers to market their homes because there is less competition, rates continue to be favorable and holiday decorations add to the staging of a home,” commented Estey, who also serves as a board member at Northwest MLS.

Buyers may also benefit from slower activity, Estey added. “In the last few weeks we have seen some homes within 20 miles of city centers of Bellevue and Seattle come on the market and not sell immediately. Some buyers have actually been able to negotiate a little with these sellers,” she noted.

Wilson also mentioned the impact of the new TRID rules (a set of documents required during the mortgage process). “Buyers, sellers and brokers need to be patient at the end of the transaction as lenders comply with the new laws. Gone are the days of last minute changes to the terms of the agreement,” he stated.

Deely said the new TRID rules seem to be catching some lenders and closing service providers off guard while they adjust their operations and systems to deal with the new regulations.

Brokers who commented on the latest MLS report tended to express optimism for 2016.

“There are still countless more buyers who are waiting for the right home to come on the market. Savvy sellers will look to market their homes earlier in 2016,” suggested Anderson.

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership of nearly 2,100 member offices includes more than 25,000 real estate professionals. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 23 counties in Washington state.

Real Estate Market News – Gig Harbor Real Estate

Real Estate Market News – Gig Harbor Real Estate

“There’s no place like home.” News from the housing sector was front and center, and with rates remaining near historic lows, great opportunities remain for those looking to purchase or refinance.

Housing Starts sizzled in December, rising 4.4 percent from November to 1.089 million annualized units, coming in above expectations. The rise in Housing Starts was the strongest annual pace in seven years and it was led by a jump in starts for single-family homes, which reached their highest level since early 2008.

Building Permits, a sign of future construction, did decrease by nearly 2 percent in December but still came in at a strong 1.03 million. Both Building Permits and Housing Starts figures were also revised higher in November.

Also of note, the January National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index was 57. Readings above 50 are considered positive sentiments about market conditions. Meanwhile, December Existing Home Sales rose from November. However, sales in 2014 were lower compared to 2013 due to a sluggish start in the beginning of the year. Overall, the housing sector continues to improve.

In news overseas, the European Central Bank has announced that it will enact a massive Quantitative Easing, or QE, style of Bond purchases to fight off deflation and promote economic growth in the region. The news has caused extreme volatility in U.S. markets. However, Mortgage Bonds and home loan rates (which are tied to Mortgage Bonds) remain near historic best levels.

Gig Harbor Real Estate – April Rates Bring May Closing Dates

Gig Harbor Real Estate: April Rates Bring May
Closing Dates

In mid-April, investors fled the Stock market by moving their money over to Bonds, which resulted in the lowest home loan rates seen in a month. Were they enough to get more buyers signing on the dotted line?

Despite the mid-April decline in home loan rates, the number of new home loan applications did not recoup the first quarter’s weak application figures as reported by the industry’s leading lenders. Applications for home loan refinances were still down 70 percent from a year ago, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, while applications to purchase a home were down 14 percent from the same time period in 2013, when rates were almost 1 percent lower.

Good News for Homebuyers
Recent lower rates welcomed homebuyers ahead of the spring season. Reports surfaced that many homebuyers and especially first-timers were getting squeezed out of a competitive buying market. And while rising home prices and more strict lending guidelines—in the form of higher credit and asset requirements—had prevented many from home ownership, we hope that the lower rates will stay low for the season to come.

For homebuyers, it’s important to have a solid pre-approval in place prior to home shopping. With less homes available on the market for sale nationwide, competition for desirable homes will be fierce. Thus, it’s more important than ever for qualified homebuyers to prove their ability to follow through on purchase offers. Home supply will hopefully see signs of improvement as home builders increase housing starts.

Lower rates may also help those homeowners who have not yet refinanced or missed earlier opportunities to do so.

The Bottom Line
Home loan rates remain attractive compared to historical rates and good deals are available in many parts of the country. If you have any questions about your personal situation or would like to inquire about housing and home loans, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Thelma Channon


Gig Harbor Real Estate – Chinese Real Estate Rush to Seattle?

Gig Harbor Real Estate – Chinese Real Estate Rush to Seattle?

Chinese Real Estate Rush to Accelerate in Seattle? Canada Cuts Off “Buy a Green Card” Immigration Policy

Vancouver, British Columbia has been a favorite international destination of Chinese real estate investors for decades.  Immigration laws in Canada have allowed for wealthy foreign investors to “buy” citizenship through a direct investment in the domestic economy, and Vancouver was the poster child for Asian investment.

That investment appeal is now shifting South toward Seattle, as Canada’s immigration policies have abruptly changed this year and altered the benefits of buying in these two nearby cities.  Canada has ended their policy of granting citizenship to foreign investors, while the United States has recently streamlined its investment program, allowing for an easier route to a “green card” for foreigners.

The U.S.’s EB-5 program has been in existence for years, but its application and review process had previously been painstakingly slow.  Created to generate job growth, its applications numbered only in the hundreds per year and investors were wary of being tied up in bureaucracy.  Recent changes to the program promise to cure those bottlenecks, though, and as applications are now rising into the thousands per year, it appears that the timing couldn’t be better with the change in international interest.

In the simplest terms, the EB-5 requires foreign investors to:

  • Make a $1,000,000 investment
  • Create or preserve 10 jobs locally

There are some exceptions, but these rules apply to most applicants.  The applicants receive in return:

  • Conditional permanent resident visas for applicant and dependents
  • 2 years to prove the creation of those jobs and the investment

As thousands of applications pour in every year now, the numbers will likely balloon as Chinese investment shifts to the Puget Sound region.  Real estate prices are significantly lower in Seattle than they are in Vancouver, and the ability to buy a luxury home, get a world-class education for your children, and live in a healthy, beautiful, and safe area like Greater Seattle is unmatched.  Foreign home buyers on the Eastside already make up a significant portion of the buying market today.  The trend will likely accelerate moving forward if the immigration policies of the two countries continue on their current courses.


Canterwood Market Update – Winter’s Grip on the Housing Sector

Home sales have been in a major rut for much of this year around the country and Gig Harbor real estate and Canterwood is no exception.

The good news is that winter’s grip on the housing sector is starting to lessen after a dismal winter around most of the country.

The next few months are important for the housing industry as  springtime often sees an uptick in buying. Families like to move in the summer so their kids can get a fresh start at school in late summer.

Economists expect the next few months to improve as pent up demand catches up to the housing sector.

Look for more SOLD signs in Canterwood in the months to come!

Current Canterwood Inventory: 40 active listings

Homes Pending/Sold in January- April: 9 homes

See more at: for our current invenory on Canterwood and Gig Harbor.