Home Ownership & Home Affordability

Real-Estate-PuzzleLast week I had the opportunity to hear one of the premier economists on the West Coast, Matthew Gardner. Each time I listen to him, I come away more educated, and because I provide real estate services in the greater Seattle area, encouraged.

In regards to homeownership in our area, the data below would suggest that we are in good shape in the Puget Sound.


The homeownership rate is reversing toward it’s historic norms. Excluding owners who haven’t made a payment in a year, it is currently at  62%.


If we believe that there was a “Normal” market back in the 1990’s, then it is conceivable that prices should be higher.


Here are Matthew’s conclusions.

• Prices Will Start to Solidify this Year

• Overly Stringent Financing constraining the Market

• 4-County Area Listings are Down 17% but Sales are Up 12%

• Faster Drop Off in Foreclosures in 2012

• Positive Price Growth in 2012 (1.6%).Conclusions

• Local Prices are down by 15.8% but Non-REO prices are down by 9%

• Limited Income Growth will Slow Home Value Appreciation

• Homeowners, as opposed to investors, would rather wait to pay a higher price than admit to their friends that they bought too soon!

• Recovery Will Be Unequal.

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