It’s that time again: the annual look at whether there is a convincing consensus among real estate experts for what to expect in the coming year. Seattle area homeowners and potential homeowners found generally welcoming conditions throughout 2016, as steadily improving property values and low mortgage interest rates echoed the national picture. With lending rates beginning to rise, there could be reason to question whether an equally agreeable Seattle area real estate climate will prevail in 2017.
Apparently, there is not much to worry about. Despite the usual qualification that the nation’s real estate experts are no more clairvoyant than are experts in any field, when you look over this batch of New Year’s predictions, you can’t help but emerge with the impression that there’s a more than usual degree of certainty about the immediate future. Almost unanimously, there is confidence that the nation’s real estate prospects are good—and likely to stay that way. The most frequently recurring adjectives are “moderate” and “moderating”—and no mention of major obstacles that might upset the apple cart. If Washington and Seattle area real estate markets follow suit, the optimism voiced by most commentators should mean continuing good news locally. Here are some samplings:
Fiscal Times: Rising prices will keep pushing up homeowners’ net worth.
CBS MoneyWatch: Millennials and baby boomers will be big buyers; home appreciation rates will normalize.
Realtor.com: Home prices projected to increase 3.9%; new home sales expected to grow 10%.
Nela Richardson: 2017 will be the fastest real estate market on record (measured by average number of days spent on market).
Home Buying Institute: Mortgage rates will rise gradually, but stay below 5%.
The Washington Post: Expect home sales and prices to moderate; suburbs will make a comeback.
Zillow: Homeownership rates will bounce back; rental affordability will improve as incomes rise.
Kiplinger: Rising national GDP, retail sales and jobs growth should result in steady demand for housing—as well as spurring price growth.
For some reason, the editors at Fortune didn’t have anything to add about real estate—perhaps because continuing with the current moderate growth scenario doesn’t make for interesting reading. They did predict that in the coming year a Tesla will drive itself across the country…and drones will deliver pizza and burritos (let’s keep an eye out for that in the Seattle Area).
We’ve seen New Year’s predictions go wide of the mark in the past, but the unanimity of this year’s projections make it hard to imagine that will happen in 2017. In any case, I’ll stay tuned and close to the phone, as well—ready to help with any and all of your Seattle area real estate needs!