As we head into the final month of the first quarter of 2019, the market is starting to show signs of growth and stability.  The month over month decline that began in May 2018, is officially broken as we’re almost mid-way through March.  Experts caution it is too soon to label the market change as trend, especially since this is the first month we’ve seen growth in months.  Numbers for February were undoubtedly affected by the cold weather snap and impending “snowmageddon” that drove buyers inside to wait out the snowiest month in 50 years.

Despite the snow, the end of the month did see an increase in home values, as King County ended the month up 2.4% higher than the year before, a $14,000 price gain on the median listing across the county.  This displays and significant change, especially as prices are up 6.9% from prices in January according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. 

What Does This Mean For Investors?

At the end of 2018, we found ourselves in the predicted winter seasonal slowdown, similarly the market began correcting and created large questions on the future of real estate in the Seattle area.  Now as we progress further into 2019, many questions have been answered about the stability of the market simultaneously creating more questions for the spring and summer markets.  The spring market pickup is beginning slightly earlier than was originally expected.  Experts are hesitant to comment on what this means for the spring and summer markets.  The sudden increase in market values could be a result of many factors compounding into one sudden spike-that is not necessarily indicative of what is to come.  At this point, we cannot predict that prices will continue at year over year increases as high as 2.4%, however, the market does indicate that it is bouncing back in lieu of the correction at the beginning of the year.

Investors still need to be strict on budgets and mindful of correctly pricing homes.  While the market is bouncing back, this does not mean that we’ll see the market frenzy that the Seattle area experienced prior to the correction at the end of 2018.  Overall, this is good news for investors, as highly inflated prices are indicative of an unsafe investment.  The beginnings of growth show that the market correction was needed to keep housing costs in line with the actual value of the property. The job market in the Seattle area remains strong, and a stable market runs the possibility of a new crop of buyers either returning after fatigue drove them out of the market a year ago.  Additionally, we could see an entirely new set of buyers who have been waiting for prices to level before beginning their search.

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