Yes, ’tis the season to create some memorable times. Don’t you remember your first glass of Eggnog? Or that one family get-together you can’t stop giggling about?
And, forget about the cold, dark, and short days. December truly is a great time of year. It’s a time of celebration for a year of hard work. A time for gathering with friends and family and sharing each other’s company. A time for passing on traditions to your children and new family members. It’s also a great time to slow down and take a vacation. But you know all of that. Heck, you’ve probably got something planned tonight so, we’ll keep this short.
Take in the celebrations or libations
For those of us that don’t have Festivus to attend later, here are a few ideas, from our team, to get you out of the house and into some holiday fun.
Spend some time at the Reindeer Festival
November 11 – December 24
Swanson’s Nursery website reports “[trees] are going fast,” but that shouldn’t stop you from taking the kiddos by to get their photos with Santa and his REAL reindeer. They’ve also scheduled a delightful Cello Concert at 6 pm, on December 21st.
Take in the spectacle and smells of Gingerbread Village
November 21 – January 1
Architects, builders, and culinary teams took to the Graham cracker and various sweets and frostings to create a yummy installation of the future city of Seattle. Viewing hours last nearly all day and night, so there’s no reason you can’t see this amazing dessert display. Stop by and what the city planners and developers envision for Seattle’s future.
Enjoy a holiday classic ballet, The Nutcracker
November 24 – December 28
A beautiful story in which a young girl’s favorite Christmas toy comes to life and whisks her away to a magical kingdom.
Take the family to Winterfest
November 24 – January 1 (closed December 25)
Located at Seattle Center, Winterfest is a 5-week long holiday and winter celebration. Fun for the family, including FREE events and performances at the Armory, winter train and village, ice sculptures, and ice skating.
Cheers and Feast around Seattle
So you’re not into the holiday-specific events. Maybe you just want to find some holiday style meals or drinks, look no further. On any given day, you can find about 2,041,347.134 things to do around Seattle, so we had our friends at The Stranger put this list together for us, for you. (we just searched food and drink events on thestranger.com). Enjoy!
Shop till you drop
Hey, maybe you’re not into any of those things. You could always go shopping downtown if you haven’t yet. Tis the season for deals upon deals.
Whatever you end up doing, bundle up, put on your Cheermeister crown, and enjoy your company. Oh, get your Vitamin-D. It’s important!
Grey Weather in Seattle is a trending topic
We often cruise the cosmic interwebs (e.g. Google trends, Facebook feeds, and news articles) to see what the buzz is, around Seattle. After all, we’re involved in one of the most dynamic real estate markets in the world (currently), and it’s our job to know what people are talking about. Oddly enough, a lot of people are wondering what there is to do during the cold and rainy winter season and how people survive “this weather.” We’ll assume most of the people asking questions like this are Seattle transplants, but we have encountered a few Seattleites sounding a similar request.
The fact is Seattle doesn’t shut down when the weather changes from the beautiful sunny summer to the grey…other season. Actually, quite the opposite. This is when Seattle’s culture gets to shine.
Seattle is a city of Art
See, over the years, Seattle has grown to be a thriving city for the arts community. As early as the 1920’s, Seattle began to emerge as an international arts center. Jazz, Russian ballet performances, painters, and musicians of all kinds began showcasing their talents here. As of January 2011, Seattle was home to 4,571 arts-related businesses employing over 20,000 people. If that’s not compelling enough, Seattle was recently designated by UNESCO, as a City of Literature in the Creative Cities Network. Seattle is the top city in the United States for arts organizations per capita, and our nonprofit arts landscape is the fourth largest in the USA. Needless to say, apart from the booming tech industry as of late, the art culture has always been the major factor in people’s decision to relocate to the Seattle area.
[arve url=”https://vimeo.com/133316594″ title=”Welcome to Seattle City of Literature” description=”Listen to a few of the many literary leaders in Seattle discuss why Seattle is such a literary city and why it would make such a great addition to UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network. ” upload_date=”Monday, July 13, 2015 at 2:52 AM EST” /]
To add to its recent recognition, Seattle’s art scene is amplified by more than 140 theaters, museums, galleries, and arts-related businesses.
So, when the warm summer days, hikes with friends, long walks through downtown, and neighborhood festivals are put on hold during the grey season, look to the art scene. There are some hidden gems out there.
Don’t worry if art isn’t your thing
Of course, there are endless things to do in Seattle during the grey season. Are you a beer enthusiast? Would you rather spend your time in coffee shops, by the fire? I bet you’ve always wanted to learn how to play an instrument. What about dusting off those board games that you’ve accumulated over the years? Now is the perfect time self-exploration and indoor stimulation (although rainy hikes are quite liberating, too). What’s your favorite thing to do during the rainy, winter season?
The Gardner Report is an analysis of the Western Washington Real Estate Market, provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner. This is a great starting point to building more knowledge and helping you make better informed real estate decisions.
For more information about the real estate market in YOUR area, we have monthly Neighborhood-specific reports, as well as, our own Q3 2017 – analysis and Seattle area Report. If you have more questions please contact your Wall Street Group (of Windermere) Broker.
The Washington State economy added 79,600 new jobs over the past 12 months—an impressive growth rate of 2.4%, and well above the national growth rate of 1.2%. However, as we anticipated in last quarter’s report, we continue to see a modest slowdown in the growth rate as the state grows closer to full employment. Growth has been broad-based, with expansion in all major job sectors other than Aerospace (a function of a slowdown at Boeing). Given the current rate of expansion, I am raising my employment forecast and now predict that Washington will add 81,000 new jobs in 2017.
Given the robust job market, it is unsurprising that the state unemployment rate continues to fall. The current unemployment rate in Washington State is 4.6% and we are essentially at full employment. Additionally, all counties contained within this report reported either a drop or stability in their unemployment rate from a year ago. I maintain my belief that the Washington State economy will continue to outperform the U.S. as a whole. Given such a strong expansion, we should also expect solid income growth across Western Washington.
HOME SALES ACTIVITY
- There were 25,312 home sales during the third quarter of 2017. This is an increase of 3.6% over the same period in 2016.
- Clallam County maintains its number one position for sales growth over the past 12 months. Only four other counties saw double-digit gains in sales. This demonstrates continuing issues with the low supply of listings. There were modest declines in sales activity in six counties.
- The market remains remarkably tight with listing inventory down by 14.2% when compared to the third quarter of 2016. But inventory is up a significant 32% compared to the second quarter of this year. Pending sales rose by 5.2% over the same quarter a year ago, which suggests that closings in Q4 will still be robust.
- The key takeaway from this data is that inventory is still very low, and the situation is unlikely to improve through the balance of the year.
- Given tight supply levels, it is unsurprising to see very solid price growth across the Western Washington counties. Year-over-year, average prices rose 12.3% to $474,184. This is 0.9% higher than seen in the second quarter of this year.
- With demand far exceeding supply, price growth in Western Washington continues to trend well above the long-term average. As I do not expect to see the new home market expand at any significant pace, there will be continued pressure on the resale market, which will cause home prices to continue to rise at above-average rates.
- When compared to the same period a year ago, price growth was most pronounced in Grays Harbor County where sale prices were 20.1% higher than the third quarter of 2016. Nine additional counties experienced double-digit price growth.
- Mortgage rates in the quarter continue to test the lows of 2017, and this is unlikely to change in the near-term. This will allow home prices to escalate further but I expect we will see rates start to rise fairly modestly in 2018, which could slow price growth.
DAYS ON MARKET
- The average number of days it took to sell a home in the quarter dropped by eight days when compared to the same quarter of 2016.
- King County continues to be the tightest market, with homes taking an average of 17 days to sell. Every county except San Juan saw the days on market drop from the same period a year ago.
- This quarter, it took an average of 43 days to sell a home. This is down from the 51 days it took in the second quarter of 2016 and down by 8 days from the second quarter of this year.
- At some point, inventory will start to grow and this will lead to an increase in the average time it takes to sell a house. However, I do not expect that to happen at any time soon. So we remain in a seller’s market.
This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s housing market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors. For the third quarter of 2017, I have left the needle at the same point as the second quarter. Though price growth remains robust, sales activity has slowed very slightly and listings jumped relative to the second quarter. That said, the market is very strong and buyers will continue to find significant competition for accurately priced and well-located homes.
ABOUT MATTHEW GARDNER
Matthew Gardner is the Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, specializing in residential market analysis, commercial/industrial market analysis, financial analysis, and land use and regional economics. He is the former Principal of Gardner Economics and has over 25 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.
Here is the full Gardner Report.
Well Seattle, we made it. It’s October and the fall is upon us. (Wait, is it fall or autumn? Oh…the season with 2 names).
Every year, the fall brings us vibrant colors, cooler weather, Halloween costumes, and a strong desire to take a vacation. You spent nearly every day this year, busting your tail and getting the most out of your day, and now you’re in need of some you time. But, is escaping to a distant location possible with the holidays right around the corner? No, what you need is a local escape. Something to whisk your mind away from the daily grind and let you breathe in the Seattle Area that you’ve grown to love. Luckily, while you were doing what you do best, we did some homework for you.
Seattle has some incredible events, places, and opportunities to escape to during October. And, with Halloween right around the corner, there are some unique opportunities for personal expression. Something that we, too often, forget about.
Halloween Things to Do
Here are some Halloween themed events and activities to help you “escape” – family fun and some over 21 festivities.
Let us know if you’ve heard of an event that we missed!
[ai1ec view=”agenda” cat_name=”Family Fun, Age Restricted”]
Washington State is a National Leader in STEM!
In 2013, the state of Washington passed a bill to significantly improve its STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) learning opportunities and educational outcomes for K-12 students. Simply put, Washington schools, government, and non-profit organizations have teamed together to create more ways to give our children opportunities to learn and apply STEM skills. Each year, more opportunities arise, more grant money is budgeted, our children get excited, and a brighter future is painted.
Why is STEM important?
So, you may think STEM education has been around since you were in school. Unless you participated in Science Fairs and went out of your way to expose yourself to STEM activities, you probably only scratched the surface of what is available to children today. Traditional education teaches about cool technology, math equations, and engineering marvels. STEM education goes a step further and puts the student in the driver’s seat and creates opportunities to put their education to work. Wouldn’t it be fun to learn how to build a robot? Code a program to control the robot? Or use the robot to gather samples of ecosystems in the Puget Sound? With real-world application, students are given the opportunity to get excited about possible career paths at an early age.
- education standards and curriculum quality education will increase
- high school graduation rates will increase
- job satisfaction will increase
- the global economy will increase, beginning in Seattle
- there will be a greater number and quality inventions
- the poverty level will decrease
- the price of education will decrease
Washington STEM put together an amazing video outlining what STEM means and how students can thrive from STEM education.
[arve url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=27&v=DT5wR70lNDY” title=”Washington STEM – Inspire, Engage and Unleash Potential” description=”Washington STEM advances excellence, innovation, and equity in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education for all Washington students. Our vision is to see all students succeed in thriving communities all within a vibrant Washington state.” upload_date=”Nov 29, 2016″ /]
STEM is Important for Seattle
Let’s be frank for a minute. Consider the industry that has moved into Seattle. No, we’re not talking about all of the construction. We’re talking about the tech industry that is creating all of the construction. Companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Expedia (and the list goes on) are continuing to grow and change the landscape of Metro Seattle – not to mention the other giant corporations like Boeing, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Nintendo, Weyerhauser, and Windermere. The employees that these global companies are looking for are (for all intense and purposes) STEM employees. That said, 30% of their tech-savvy and STEM employees are transplants (not from Seattle).
The more foreign employees these companies recruit, the more real estate construction and buildings will be built to accommodate them. Following all of these employees will be more consumer businesses, restaurants, traffic and more advancements in the city infrastructure, and ultimately a bigger Metropolitan area.
The changes in Seattle are happening and will continue for years to come. The key to growing with the city is to acclimate our children to the new and future economy. Resources are widely available and access is becoming easier.
How can my child get involved in STEM education?
There’s a good chance your student is already involved in STEM education at school. Beginning in preschool and Kindergarten, students in Seattle public and private schools are provided with workshops, classroom learning and out of classroom exposure to STEM education. Middle and high schools offer clubs and organizations to further their interests.
Extra-Curricular STEM Opportunities
Help us expand our list! Let us know which STEM Ed opportunity opened your student’s eyes.
STEM Success Stories
STEM grads step right into the future by The Seattle Times
A life-changing summer in Seattle for six STEM students by PATH – Stories of innovation and impact
Inside the pioneering Seattle area school that’s shaking up how STEM education is taught by GeekWire
The poke craze
Seattle is no doubt known for its seafood. Tourists come from far and wide to watch fish thrown through the air, at Pike Place Market. But what is this poke phenomenon taking the city by storm? Could it replace coffee, as the number one craze in Seattle? Probably not, but since early 2016 – when poke was only found on menus as specialty items and at high-end grocery stores – more than 45 businesses have opened to provide you with poke, within the Seattle Metro area.
Am I saying it wrong?
Poke (pronounced ‘po-kay’) originated in Hawaiian cuisine as a raw fish appetizer. When fisherman had extra cutoffs from their catch, they would season the fresh fish and eat it as a snack. However, you won’t find anyone snacking on poke in Seattle. This dish it too good! We need it in a large bowl, “and don’t skimp on the seaweed.”
Now that we’ve got your mouth watering, check out our poke map, and figure out if your favorite Seattle neighborhood will make the cut in dishing up some awesome poke. Maybe you’ll fall deeper in love with your neighborhood.
Click the icon in the top left corner of the map to filter your poke choices by neighborhood.
Let us know where your favorite poke spot is. Also, if we missed one, let us know!
Capitol Hill/Central/First Hill
Downtown/International Dist./Pioneer Square
South Lake Union
Check out more poke info:
7 Things You Need to Know About Poke, from Food & Wine
Our 5 Favorite Seattle Poke Restaurants, from Seattle Magazine
Finding Perfect Poke in Puget Sound, from King 5
3rd Annual Seattle Poke Contest Winners Announced (Photos), from InsiderSeattle