Yesterday was the annual Windermere kick off . All Windermere agents, from 17 offices, gathered at the Hyatt Regency to hear some of the industry's most renowned players give their perspective for 2016. Two of the speakers included Matthew Gardner, Windermere's chief economist and Skylar Olson, senior economist from Zillow. Here are their highlights:
- In 2015 home prices in the Seattle Metro area (King, Snohomish and Pierce Counties) rose by 9.2%. Seattle itself saw double digit growth, and Bellevue/Renton 10% growth. If you're a homeowner you certainly got a good return on your investment – likely higher than anything else in your investment portfolio.
- In 2016 they both predict a 6% rise in home values.
- In Seattle, the rent/buy break even point is just 2 years. Rents are now becoming so expensive that in just 2 years, it would be just as cost effective to buy. With rents increasingly accounting for more and more of the monthly expenditure, it's proving impossible for many to get out of the rent trap and buy. As a result they are also putting off other big ticket items in life – marriage, babies etc.
- The current unemployment rate in Seattle is below 4%, effectively meaning that we're have full employment. Good news indeed!
- Expect to see a 2% job growth in 2016. More good news!
- Wage growth is predicted to rise by 4%. This compares to 3% nationally. Even better news! So, don't be too shy about asking for that pay rise come annual review!
- They predict that Mortgage rates will rise to between 4.4 and 4.9% by the end of the year. We finished 2015 at 3.9%. While breaking above 4% will be a huge mental barrier for some, the cost of borrowing remains at an all time low. Anyone remember when they were at a staggering 18%? If you don't chances are your parents do – and not too fondly at that.
The round off the morning, the key note speaker was Ron Culberson. I'd not heard of him before but it turns out that he's a very, very, very funny man. If anyone is lucky enough to be invited to any of his his 'Do It Well, Make It Fun' events throughout the year I strongly encourage you to attend.
In a nutshell, all signs are pointing North for a very strong 2016. Here's to success in whatever you do this year.