CB Bain President and COO Mike Grady annually reviews the most recent local data on employment, Washington State driver’s licenses and new building permits.
“The data shows that the population growth rate in the Puget Sound region, currently at double the national rate, coupled with expected continued strong job growth, is one factor pointing to our main prediction that the real estate market will continue to be as strong as it was in 2016,” said Grady. “Nearly 200,000 people surrendered their out-of-state driver’s licenses for Washington state licenses during the past 12 months, a sure sign of a commitment to residency. Even if we conservatively apply two licenses per household, that’s still 100,000 new households moving into the area. An average of 70 percent of those move to King, Snohomish, Pierce and Kitsap counties because that’s where the majority of jobs are, according to the Puget Sound Regional Council,” he continued.
Grady also pointed to the fact that 9,120 building permits were issued over the past 12 months, compared to the 70,000 or so new households established in the area.
He stands by this prediction even considering the recent mortgage rate increase and any major decision made by the incoming Trump administration that might have a negative influence on the economy. “There’s just nothing that can be done, in our area anyway, to deflect the number of households needed for new residents to the area,” he said. “We will most definitely continue to see a seller’s market.”
In South Snohomish County, Diedre Haines, Principal Managing Broker of CB Bain – Lynnwood and Edmonds, said she also expects the 2017 market in Snohomish County “to be very similar to this year. We may see a modicum of listing increases as more new construction comes on market.”
The recent rise in interest rates “has and will continue to spur market activity,” she added. “Not only will current buyers most likely increase in numbers, but we also expect sellers that have been holding off on listing their homes to decide to go on market. Some are fearful that rates might escalate to a point of having a negative impact on sales, and if they don’t sell now, they are risking missing the boat.” She also noted that Snohomish County’s economy remains strong with low unemployment.
“Hot areas in South Snohomish are most likely going to be Mountlake Terrace and Shoreline due to new developments of both residential and condominiums, affordability, and close access to I-5,” Haines said. “Market demand will support an increase in condo/townhome sales. The majority of homes in South Snohomish are now above water or have at least appreciated to the market prices of 2007.”