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!
For the last 15 years, continued through warm hearts and selflessness, agents of the Wall Street office have had the privilege of providing Thanksgiving groceries to families in need. The organization that makes this possible is ChildHaven, a 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1909 to heal families and children and stop the cycle of abuse and neglect.
This year we were humbled to lend a hand to 15 families in need. By providing all of the items necessary to make a wonderful Thanksgiving meal, nearly 140 people (children, parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles) were able to commune with one another over their truly home-cooked meal.
We would like to give a special thank you to the QFC on lower Queen Anne who helped facilitate the food shopping experience. General Manager, Christopher Randish, Produce Manager, Jeremiah Kelly, and their team made the experience effortless by having items arranged, boxed, and nearly ready to go when we showed up at 8:00 am. Everything went smoothly with their generous help.
We were so grateful to be able to touch the lives of so many families this year and will continue to look forward to the next opportunity to reach out to our community to provide what we can. We also had a lot of fun. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
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.
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 Q2 2017 – Seattle Metro Report. If you have more questions please contact your Windermere-Wall Street Group Broker.
Washington State economy has been expanding at a rapid pace but we are seeing a slowdown as the state grows closer to full employment. Given the solid growth, I would expect to see income growth move markedly higher, though this has yet to materialize. I anticipate that we will see faster income growth in the second half of the year. I still believe that the state will add around 70,000 jobs in 2017.
Washington State, as well as the markets that make up Western Washington, continue to see unemployment fall. The latest state-wide report now shows a rate of 4.5%—the lowest rate since data started to be collected in 1976.
I believe that growth in the state will continue to outperform the U.S. as a whole and, with such robust expansion, I would not be surprised to see more people relocate here as they see Washington as a market that offers substantial opportunity.
HOME SALES ACTIVITY
- There were 23,349 home sales during the second quarter of 2017. This is an increase of 1.1% from the same period in 2016.
- Clallam County maintains its position as number one for sales growth over the past 12 months. Double-digit gains in sales were seen in just three other counties, which is a sharp drop from prior reports. I attribute this to inventory constraints rather than any tangible drop in demand. The only modest decline in sales last quarter was seen in Grays Harbor County.
- The number of homes for sale, unfortunately, showed no improvement, with an average of just 9,279 listings in the quarter, a decline of 20.4% from the second quarter of 2016. Pending sales rose by 3.6% relative to the same quarter a year ago.
- The key takeaway from this data is that it is unlikely we will see a significant increase in the number of homes for sale for the rest of 2017.
- Along with the expanding economy, home prices continue to rise at very robust rates. Year-over-year, average prices rose 14.9%. The region’s average sales price is now $470,187.Price growth in Western Washington continues to impress as competition for the limited number of homes for sale remains very strong. With little easing in supply, we anticipate that prices will continue to rise at above long-term averages.
- Price growth in Western Washington continues to impress as competition for the limited number of homes for sale remains very strong. With little easing in supply, we anticipate that prices will continue to rise at above long-term averages.When compared to the same period a year ago, price growth was most pronounced in San Juan County where sale prices were 29.2% higher than
- When compared to the same period a year ago, price growth was most pronounced in San Juan County where sale prices were 29.2% higher than second quarter of 2016. Eight additional counties experienced double-digit price growth.
- The specter of rising interest rates failed to materialize last quarter, but this actually functioned to get more would-be buyers off the fence and into the market. This led to even more demand which translated into rising home prices.
- The average number of days it took to sell a home in the quarter dropped by 18 days when compared to the same quarter of 2016.
- King County remains the tightest market; homes, on average, sold in a remarkable 15 days. Every county in this report saw the length of time it took to sell a home drop from the same period a year ago.
- Last quarter, it took an average of 48 days to sell a home. This is down from the 66 days it took in the second quarter of 2016.
- Given the marked lack of inventory, I would not be surprised to see the length of time it takes to sell a home drop further before the end of the year.
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 second quarter of 2017, I moved the needle a little more in favor of sellers. To define the Western Washington market as “tight” is somewhat of an understatement.
Inventory is short and buyers are plentiful.
Something must give, but unless we see builders delivering substantially more units than they have been, it will remain staunchly a sellers’ market for the balance of the year.
Furthermore, increasing mortgage rates have failed to materialize and, with employment and income growth on the rise, the regional housing market will continue to be very robust.
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.
It’s a noisy world out there. In our daily lives, we’re constantly bombarded with instant notifications, emails and phone calls, alarms, construction on every corner, car horns, and all of that city noise to navigate through. The rush and the pressure to keep your footing, in an increasingly hectic atmosphere, certainly bears influence over the state of our homes and our minds.
Hit the pause button. Take back some semblance of calm when your environment’s chatter threatens to blow your proverbial speakers. Cultivating a Zen space for meditation in your home is for YOU and it’s right now (almost).
The easy stuff! This is the mondo fun part where you get to repurpose a section of your home for your greater good.
Choose your space.
Your ideal meditation space should provide maximum privacy and minimal distraction. So, probably not smack dab in the middle of your living room or home office. Choose a quiet spot you can imagine yourself relaxing in. Once you’ve claimed your stake, it’s time to appeal to the senses.
Supply your space according to sight, touch, sound, and smell.
Adorn your Zen space with visuals that are minimalist but meaningful, and help to inspire a sense of calm. Create mood lighting, hang framed photos of botanical scenes or philosophical mantras (anything you find simple and beautiful). These are all great visual cues to set your mind on the right path.
Invest in items that support your body while you meditate. A large comfortable throw pillow or removable couch cushion is a must. Keep soft blankets nearby in the event that your meditation session turns into the perfect nap-portunity (because naps are healing to the mind too, friends).
Provide a meaningful auditory experience. This can be an important component of meditating as well, especially if you’re a novice. Learning to quiet your mind doesn’t necessarily mean that silencing your entire environment is mandatory. While a track of nature sounds or instrumental music can help to fade outside noises to the background, they can also drown out deafening silence which often leads to the bombardment of thoughts. Your chosen auditory ambiance will focus you, and make your mediation session that much more effective.
Aromatherapy. Whether by scented candle or essential oils, aromatherapy aids in reducing and eliminating stress. Not into fragrance? No problem. Unscented candles help to create that mood lighting we talked about earlier. Win, win.
Keep your space sacred.
The most difficult set up to maintain: no technology! With the exception of the device you choose to play your music (or guided meditation app), a ban on technology removes the temptation to check in with social media or work obligations and to check out of your Zen space.
Now you have a beautiful, serene, and self-made space to achieve peace of mind. As my Designated Broker, John Wellman, always says, “The proof is in the practice”. So make it happ’n, capp’n! Take the time to enjoy your new Zen space, to practice the technique of resting the mind through meditation, and to show off your tricked-out space to all of your friends. As they say, calm inspires calm. And wouldn’t that be lovely?
Need More Guidance?
There is a ton of information out there regarding zen spaces, chi, peace in your life, quite rooms, relaxation, and creating peace of mind. Our recommendation is to pick one reliable source and see what you can get out of that one source. No need to overwhelm yourself looking at 20 different sources on Zen…talk about counterintuitive. We found this article from Yoga International to be just what we were looking for.