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Kittitas County Real Estate Update – May 2021 Market Activity

The summer market is in full swing, with many new properties entering—and quickly leaving—the market. In fact, the median days-on-market in Upper Kittitas County last month was just 9 days! This year is moving faster than most, but a surge of activity is always expected as families transition between school years.

Here are the Rarden Team, we’ve been working hard to help our clients in this busy season. From listings to Let’s look at the rest of May’s statistics

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Welcome Briscoe! (and Congratulations Hailey!)

We have a new addition to the Rarden Team trail family: Briscoe, the blue roan quarter horse.

Briscoe is just 4 years old, so he is the youngest of our group of five horses. His birthday was May 18th, the day we got to Sandpoint Idaho to pick him up. (Happy birthday, new buddy!) He’s trail broke and we’re going to be learning a lot together. Hailey is thrilled to have Briscoe as her new partner in crime adventure.

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Kittitas County Real Estate Market Update – April 2021

Have you been searching for a second home property in Kittitas County? Looking for a piece of land or even looking for an upgraded primary residence? If so, you probably know how tough it is for buyers right now in our limited-supply market in Upper Kittitas County. That is why you need the Rarden Team at your side! We are strategists when it comes to buying in this super-competitive market and hope to put our skills to work for you.       

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Horsing Around in Cle Elum? You better believe it!

We love this time of year! The flowers are blooming, the sun feels great, and the horses love love love to get out on the trails. Real estate in our area is booming due to the recreational opportunities throughout the year – hiking, biking, fishing, and tube floating in the summer, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling in the winter. Fortunately/unfortunately, Kittitas County’s secret is out and demand for Cle Elum’s homes have been flying off the market due to our access to recreation and the amazing sunny days.

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Kittitas County Real Estate Market Update– March 2021

It has been great to get out and about in Kittitas County this spring! The birds are singing, the arrowroots are in bloom, and our horses are LOVING being on the trails.

Our real estate market is already red-hot and it is still April! Although the market has been warmer than usual for the last several years, in March when the pandemic hit, it went crazy with many homes selling in record days on market and for record prices.

Let’s take a closer look at the numbers!

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Kittitas County Real Estate Market Update– February 2021

Spring is right around the corner and in Kittitas County, that means the buyers are looking forward to putting away their snowshoes and ready to get out on the trails in boots and sneakers. This is a very interesting time for our area as we are experiencing EXTREME demand for housing – not just from area residents, but also from folks on the westside, searching for drivable vacation homes. How much has our area’s real estate market been changing? Let’s take a look:

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Combating Work from Home Fatigue

We may not have control around when things will get back to normal, but we do have control over our mindset and our space. Below we have outlined ways you can make your home and life continue to optimally function while your home is multi-tasking.

Currently, in the middle of October, we find ourselves seven months into the coronavirus pandemic. The majority of the workforce is still working from home and the perks of commuting two minutes down the hall and attending department meetings in pajama pants are starting to wear off.

Who knew our homes would also become a workplace, recreation hub, and in some cases – school? A recent survey by conducted by architecture and design firm, Vocon, found that employers are starting to witness a decrease in productivity with many employees are eager to get back to the office.

We may not have control around when things will get back to normal, but we do have control over our mindset and our space. Below we have outlined ways you can make your home and life continue to optimally function while your home is multi-tasking.

Have a Clear Division of Space

Separate your working areas from the leisure areas if possible. Try to set up a designated home office that serves the purpose of strictly working. If this is not possible, try to pick any space but your bedroom. Your mental health will appreciate the separation of work and relaxation by keeping the office away from where you sleep.

Know When to Stop Working

When your work is right at your fingertips it is tempting to check your email at 10:30 pm as you get into bed with your tablet. Make a conscious effort to disconnect from work outside of your work hours. The reality is that email can most likely wait until the next day and your work performance will benefit greatly when you don’t become resentful about being always plugged in. 

Practice Mindfulness to Make Transitions

One of the difficulties about working from home is the indistinct way the day unfolds. We experience significant brain drain when we move from one task to the next without a clear transition. Before beginning the work day take a couple of minutes to take some deep breaths and set some intentions for your workflow. Additionally, when you finish working take 5 minutes to practice a quick meditation to clear your mind. This will allow you to disengage from work stressors and be ready for home and family life.

The reality is we are all juggling a lot more than we are used to within the confines of our home. Nobody is immune from the inconveniences and irritants of being home 90% of our time. Remember that perfection is unattainable.

However, what do you do when your space is just NOT conducive to all these tasks it is now expected to host? If you have tried various setups, I recommend first asking for an outside opinion who can give you advice on solving your space and function challenges. However, there are some spaces that are just not destined to be functional in the way you are envisioning. If you are ready to think about a big change, give me a call. I would be happy to think outside the box with you and see if there is another space on the market that is a better fit for today’s needs as well as what tomorrow may bring.

Are Your Finances Ready for Homeownership?

Owning real estate is a key component of the American Dream. Are your finances ready for your first homeownership purchase – or an upgrade?

Most people only prepare themselves for the mortgage application and home buying process.

They think about their credit rating and how much they have saved for a down payment and closing costs.

However, it is important to remember there are other expenses that need to be taken into account that are associated with owning a home.

Owning real estate is a key component of the American Dream. Are your finances ready for your first homeownership purchase – or an upgrade? Most people only prepare themselves for the mortgage application and home buying process.

They think about their credit rating and how much they have saved for a down payment and closing costs. However, it is important to remember there are other expenses that need to be taken into account that are associated with owning a home:

Home Maintenance

After the home purchase is complete, homeowners can expect to have ongoing home maintenance. It is recommended that each year homeowners set aside 1% of their home’s value for maintenance costs. That means if you are buying a home for $500,000, having $5,000 in home maintenance is on par. Replacing a room or furnace can take a big chunk out of this budget and need to be prepared for.

Utilities

Utilities are another cost that tend to increase after purchasing a home. People who are used to their landlord footing the bill for these or paying less in a smaller space when upgrading can be surprised when those first bills begin to arrive.  I advise asking the seller for what was paid in utilities in the last year.

HOA

If you are moving to an area with an HOA or Condo Association, the regular payment amount is usually listed front and center. But what about special assessments or if the HOA votes for an increase? When buying in an HOA, I encourage buyers to review the HOA minutes for the last year or so to make sure the HOA is financially sound, is functional, and see if there are clues regarding upcoming assessments.

Furnishing

A survey on consumer spending data conducted by the National Association of Builders found that new homeowners spend $4,500 more per year on appliances, furnishing, and home improvements than a similar non-moving homeowner. In fact, a non-moving homeowner will spend about $7,568 per year on furnishings and upgrades, where new homebuyers will spend $12,023.

To be comfortable in your new home and to avoid surprises, take all of these factors into account to determine the true cost of owning a house and make sure it is affordable. Overall, the costs of homeownership are well worth the sense of pride in calling something your own. And don’t forget about how homeownership builds your net worth! If you are thinking about a purchase or an upgrade, let’s talk! We can discuss your goals and I can help you determine if your dreams fall in line with your finances.

Real Estate Market on Track for Strong Summer

Despite the current state of our world being what it is, the real estate market is showing no signs of slowing down as we head into summer.

Kittitas county in particular appears to be healthy as ever — home values grew an astonishing 2.9% from April 2019 to April 2020. Read our latest blog post to learn more!

The coronavirus pandemic created an economic freefall experienced across the country this spring, causing a lot of uncertainties in the real estate market.

At a time when the real estate is gearing up for its hottest season of the year, the country was experiencing record unemployment claims. Some sellers have cancelled their listings, while many opted to wait to list their homes until things settled down.

Here’s the good news: stay-at-home orders are being lifted across the nation and we are finding our new normal as the real estate market shows promise for a strong resurgence this summer.

Summer Will Pick Up Spring’s Slack

Experts predict that the summer will be hotter than usual as it picks up some of traffic that the spring season would have seen.

Chief Economist Danielle Hale, from Realtor.com, told Yahoo Finance, “There are a lot of indicators showing that the summer is going to be a good period for the housing market. I think we’re going to see some of the buying that would have happened in the spring shift into the summer.”

Housing prices and mortgage applications support these predictions.

Mortgage Applications

Heading into the month of March, mortgage rates were starting to rise, making a promise for a spring market with a lot of pent up demand as buyers tried to lock in rates before seeing any additional increases.

However, as the pandemic set in, mortgage rates dropped to a 30 year low. This, in combination with Americans who are ready to resume life despite the pandemic, has caused a surge in mortgage applications.

Data from the Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey conducted by the Mortgage Bankers Association shows that mortgage applications have increased in the beginning of June by 13% higher than June of 2019.

Housing Prices

Throughout the pandemic, housing values have shown resiliency. In April the median home value in the Cle Elum area increased by 2.9% of the year prior and by mid-May values had increased by 1.8% year over year. Even June saw growth over last year’s performance, finishing the month with a current median home price of

Rising home values coupled with historically low rates and lower available inventory indicate an active and busy summer real estate market.

Here’s a look at how our local market is shaping up:

 May 2019May 2020
Homes Sold91
Median Home Value$338,000$342,000
Avg. Days on Market29

During an unprecedented time, it is reassuring the see the real estate market recovering in this strong of a manner. If you were planning to make a move in real estate this year, the summer is looking to be a great season to do it.

Why the Housing Market Will Remain Strong Despite Social Distancing

A lot has changed in our world over the past couple of months and we are facing an unprecedented situation unlike anything the world has ever seen. Everyday life has changed tremendously for nearly everyone in the world and naturally, people are examining the short-term and long-term implications of these changes.

Despite the major impact on our global economy, the real estate market in the United States is showing promising signs that it will weather this storm

A lot has changed in our world over the past couple of months and we are facing an unprecedented situation unlike anything the world has ever seen. Everyday life has changed tremendously for nearly everyone in the world and naturally, people are examining the short-term and long-term implications of these changes.

Despite the major impact on our global economy, the real estate market in the United States is showing promising signs that it will weather this storm.

Business is Being Conducted Virtually

The real estate industry is responding to the coronavirus crisis just like the rest of the world — it is adapting. We are seeing many new ways to conduct business while maintaining social distancing. Title companies are performing drive-through closings that allow both buyers and sellers to sign required documents without going into the office. Mortgage lenders are relying on their already-established virtual capabilities for accepting applications and receiving documentation.

Realtors are finding creative ways of showing properties without having buyers physically present by relying on “virtual tours” and utilizing tools like Facebook Live to conduct open houses. Sellers are opting for “touch free” showings by leaving cabinets and closet doors open.

Buyers Eager to Purchase

Despite the current coronavirus outbreak, buyers are still showing many signs of urgency within the market. Mortgage rates still hover around all-time lows, and those in favorable economic conditions want to buy a home now to take advantage of these rates.

The number of video tour requests for showings has been steadily rising. A recent poll conducted by RedFin showed that many buyers are opting to make an offer on a property sight unseen. They are making offers after seeing properties through virtual tours. Last week 12% of offers made were by customers who had toured the home only by video, up from 6% last week and nearly 0% at the beginning of March. 

Pent-Up Housing Demand

Historically, spring has been the hottest season for real estate. Currently, the number of listings on the market has decreased from last year. However, it is promising that once the social distancing has finished, there will still be a great number of homeowners that need to sell, and buyers who want to move forward.

Before social distancing was implemented, the real estate market throughout much of the country was experiencing low inventory. In many areas new construction builds were not considered essential services, therefore drastically decreasing the number of new builds available for purchase. This will create an even greater shortage of inventory and retain value for the existing homes being listed for sale.

Ultimately, the majority of Americans still feel like it is a good time to buy or sell a property. Although it feels like the world has come to a halt, there are still houses being listed, buyers looking to purchase and real estate professionals ready to help.