If homebuilders may be considered a leading indicator of market direction, up or down, then consider the following good news from John Burns, a real estate industry consultant in the Northwest.
Seattle is starting to show some signs of recovery at least among new construction and planned community home sites. Visiting nearly 50 residential projects, including regional master planned communities like Issaquah Highlands and Snoqualmie Ridge, as well as stand-alone projects in Southeast King County the data speaks for itself.
Here are a few of the interesting trends observed that suggest Seattle is postioned for a comeback:
- Year over Year Prices are improving.
1 Year Ago Current
Median New Home Price $330,000 $344,346
1-Year Growth Rate -13.8% 4.3%
- Builders who have adopted smaller floor plans are acheiving higher prices and performing better overall than others. There is some evidence that price per square foot actually increased on a year-over-year basis in King county.
- Destination “master planned” communities appear to be garnering the best sales rates because consumers value the amenities and lifestyle.
- Plats that have been on hold for the last few years are being restarted, as some public builders and larger regional builders are finding opportunities to purchase distressed projects or re-launch mothballed projects.
- We anticipate job growth to return to Seattle in 2011 and will continue to strengthen in 2012.
Additionally, Seattle ranks 6th for commercial and multifamily investments among the nations top 50 markets. According to the Price Waterhouse Coopers report’s author, “Seattle is retaining it’s position as an up-and-coming gobal gateway.” He also says that apartments will be the only sector to see significant new construction in the region for 2011.
The bottom line?
Home prices, and particularly price per square foot, appear to be showing some new strength as home designs are reconfigured for the evolving market. Seattle is still a market with some barriers to entry, but the strongest local and national builders are finding opportunities in today’s enviornment.
Windermere Real Estate