Upper Kittitas County – June 2021 Real Estate Market Round-Up

The heat is on—and we’re not just talking about the weather.  The summer surge is upon us as families look for a place to settle before the school year and those who vacation here consider taking up part-time residence. The market was positively buzzing last month, with new properties coming on and then flying off the market almost as fast.

In fact, 74% of homes that closed in Upper Kittitas County last month spent 2 weeks or less on the market! The average time on market was only 16 days. (There was one outlier that spent 213 days on the market. If we exclude that one listing, the average becomes 13 days!)

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Real Estate Agent vs. REALTOR®

Although the terms may be used interchangeably, they are not the same thing. All REALTORS® are real estate agents, but not all real estate agents are REALTORS®. So what’s the difference between a real estate agent and a REALTOR®? And how does it impact your bottom line?

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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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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.

Tips for Buying a Home in a Low Inventory Market

Many real estate markets across the United States are currently experiencing low inventory. Several factors contribute to low inventory in markets, but the largest driving factor right now are low-interest rates — buyers want to take advantage of these rates before they rise and are eager to enter the housing market.

However, many homeowners already have low-interest rates on their homes and may not be keen on selling and moving. Navigating a market with limited inventory can be an extra challenge, but it can be done successfully when following this advice:

1- Be Financially Secure

Take the appropriate steps to have your financing secured before you go to look at houses. Get a mortgage pre-approval and have all the necessary documentation ready to send into your lender. Do not enter the housing market until you are fully financially prepared with a solid down payment and a reputable loan. This will help you stand out to sellers when you make an offer on a house. 

2- Be Realistic About What You Can Afford

Most homebuyers do not buy the perfect house. The truth is the average home buyer does not have an unlimited budget and therefore must make compromises on their home purchase. Keep an open mind while looking at houses and understand that the goal is to find a home that meets all of your needs and most of your wants. Be open to making changes to a home to create the exact home you are looking for. 

3- Avoid Looking at Houses at the Very Top of Your Budget.

In low inventory markets, houses tend to sell over asking price due to competition amongst buyers. Therefore, it is wise to stay away from homes that are at the absolute top of your price range. If you are approved for $350,000 it is wise to look at home $340,000 or less which will allow you to bid a little higher on a house. Also, you won’t fall in love with a house that ultimately, you won’t be able to buy. 

4- Put Your Best Offer Forward

In low inventory markets, it is critical that you put your best offer forward. Most likely, you will be competing against other offers, therefore, there typically isn’t a lot of negotiating that goes on. 

5- Be Ready To Move

Real estate markets with low inventory turn over quickly. Most buyers and sellers have contingencies on other contracts that restrict the amount of time before they can close. The average contract length is shorter and requires you as a buyer, to be ready to move quickly. Start packing and researching your moving options while you are looking for options, so the moving process is as seamless as possible once you’re under contract. 

Purchasing the home you want is possible even in a market with limited inventory. Be prepared and manage your expectations throughout the process and ultimately you will find a home that you love.