In the past few years, home value appreciation in the Puget Sound area has stood out among markets around the country, but a recent report now ranks Seattle 12th in the nation for home value appreciation. The rate at which homes appreciate is now comparable to the national trend, the first time Seattle has seen this slower pace in almost seven years. However, while the rate of appreciation has slowed, the latest data still shows rising prices in the Puget Sound area.
U.S. home prices rose by an average of 3.6 percent from a year ago, while Seattle is reporting an average increase of 4.1 percent compared to this same time last year. In February, average hourly earnings rose by 3.4 percent over a year ago, indicating wage increases are beginning to match rises in home prices. Buyers should consider taking advantage of these trends given the current state of the market. Mortgage rates for a 30-year fixed are averaging around 4 percent, with the expectation that rates could remain steady in 2019. But as interest rates are in some ways tied to the global economy, we could see world events push rates higher later in the year.
With current mortgage rates steadily decreasing in the past few weeks, applications for refinances have surged. Some loan types reached their lowest level, in terms of rates, since January 2018, and the volume of applications is 58 percent higher than a year ago. Current homeowners should act fast if considering refinancing, while rates are at this threshold. Real estate experts predict that home prices in Seattle and along the l-5 corridor will continue to rise throughout the spring season. The real estate season for Seattle and surrounding areas kicked off to a good start with the number of sales increasing over 2018. Our healthy economy, which has spurred job growth and wage increases, is providing a positive environment for both buyers and sellers through the first quarter of 2019.