The real estate market in Washington State has changed quite a bit over the last few years, generating a slew of headlines in local and national news. Home prices have risen steadily, while inventory had fallen short of demand. That’s where we are now, as of summer 2018.
Many home buyers are now wondering what will be in store for 2019. Will 2019 be a good year to buy a home in Washington? Here are some facts and figures to consider as you weigh this decision.
Will 2019 Be a Good Year to Buy in Washington?
While no one can predict future real estate market conditions with complete accuracy, we can draw a few conclusions about what’s likely to occur over the next year or so. And here’s a one-sentence summary of everything that follows:
Those who buy a home in 2019 could have more inventory to choose from, but they will likely pay higher prices than those who are purchasing homes right now.
In many cities across Washington, housing inventory has increased a bit over the last year or so. According to an August 2018 report from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service: “New figures from Northwest MLS show year-over-year improvement in inventory (up 6.5 percent).”
That’s good news, considering that most real estate markets in the state have supply levels that are well below what’s considered “balanced” or normal.
So from an inventory standpoint, 2019 might actually be a better year to buy a home in Washington State. Buyers could have more properties to choose from next year. So they could also have a better chance of finding a house that checks all of their boxes and falls within their budget. But that’s if the current trend of inventory growth continues, and there’s no way to predict that with certainty.
Home-Price Forecasts Predict Steady Climb
Home prices are another important consideration for those buyers who are on the fence. Buying a home in Washington during the latter part of 2018 versus 2019 could hit your wallet in different ways.
Given the current supply and demand situation in real estate markets across the state, it appears likely that house values will continue to rise through the end of 2018 and into 2019.
According to Zillow, the median home value for the state of Washington rose to around $375,000 as of August 2018. That was an increase of nearly 11% from the same month a year earlier.
Looking forward, they predicted that the median price would rise by around 7% over the next year or so (into the summer of 2019).
While home prices in Washington continue to climb at a steady pace, mortgage rates actually leveled out over the summer. According to the long-running survey from Freddie Mac, the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage hovered just above 4.5% through June, July, and the first part of August. But economists from both Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers Association are predicting a gradual rise in rates between now and 2019.
The Job Market Is Still Strong
Employment stability is another important factor to consider, when deciding to buy a home in Washington in 2018 or 2019. And the state’s job market remains strong.
According to the latest data from the Labor Department, the unemployment rate in Washington was around 4.7% as of June 2018 (down from a high of 10.4% during the last recession). Unemployment was below 4% in the Seattle area in June.
And that brings us back to the summary we started with: While 2019 could shape up to be another good year to buy a home Washington, buyers could encounter higher housing costs next year. But they might also have more inventory to choose from.
Have questions? Sammamish Mortgage is a local, family-owned company based in Bellevue, Washington. We serve the entire state, as well as the broader Pacific Northwest region. Please contact us if you have mortgage-related questions.