“Everything Changed in the Past Six Weeks”

Bryon Ziegler, part of Redfin’s crack Capitol Hill team, just wandered into my office to talk about bidding wars. The last ten straight offers he has handled all turned into bidding wars. This isn’t just the usual $300,000 bank-owned property being auction-priced for a quick sale.

Except for maybe Belltown condos — which are like a vast, derelict Atlantis, all underwater — every decent listing seems to be getting multiple offers. Bryon just put in a multi-million dollar all-cash offer on a home that had been on the market for 300+ days, only to have two other offers turn up at the same time.

“Everything changed just in the past six weeks,” Bryon said. “In February, you were the savior if you came in with an offer. Now, the reaction is: take a number. And if you don’t come with all guns blazing, you’re usually a day late and a dollar short.”

And yes, we know that we just posted a long analysis on how Case Shiller numbers for the whole Seattle area took another hit. But that’s a three-month moving average for December, January and February. We’re talking about deals that aren’t going to hit the public records for another eight weeks; Case Shiller won’t account for these sales until September 27.

And Case Shiller numbers cover the whole Seattle-Tacoma-Everett area, from Pierce County up to Snohomish County. In Capitol Hill and other hot neighborhoods around Seattle, there’s a real inventory crunch.

Redfin’s Bellevue team lead, Loren Ellingson, sees the same trend on the Eastside. “I’ve been coming up against a lot of multiple offers, especially on bank-owned properties over the past three months,” Loren said. “A lot of buyers decide an offer isn’t even worth the trouble when the listing agent comes back with 5+ offers already in the bag, all over the asking price. My last three listings have all had multiple offers, too.”

It’s a weird world where prices are falling, and homes are getting bid up, where traffic on our website is high, but sales volume is limited by inventory. But that’s what Redfin is seeing.

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  • Johhnylaw

    I can't see this happening market-wide. Maybe in sporadic cases, and on the always hot neighborhoods. Location, location, location.

    This smacks of a similar trend that I always see on MSNBC, even when the markets are tanking. The falsely optimistic over reporting of good news when everything else indicates otherwise.

    I hope Redfin is not attempting to goose sales by doing the same.

    • Jrmack33

      Amen Johhnylaw. There is nothing more annoying than an unrealistic, Real Estate Cheerleader.

  • Dan Statlander

    Enjoyed reading this post.
    Dan Statlander
    (Real estate experts in Boca Raton Florida)

  • jericho

    Yeah I don't mean to be rude, but over the last 3 weeks something called “Spring” arrived. You know, that time of the year when people start going out and looking at houses more?

    Just wait a few months until everyone is desperate to sell their houses before the school season starts. Price is truth, and prices are still moving down.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Glenn-Roberts/1029551430 Glenn Roberts

    Don't worry about what the market is doing or not doing. If you got in trouble 2004-2008, that's what you were doing. Buy a home if it is the right thing for you to do at the time. Up or down doesn't make any difference unless you're an investor or a flipper. Make a smart buy that you can live in…and keep it a good long while.

  • Maria

    I'm an agent, and not a redfin agent, this is real. In the past week I have worked with both buyers and sellers – in both cases activity has been frantic and offers multiple! Call it Spring, call it optimism, call it anything you like; it is still REAL!

  • Fabula Docet

    That's what I like about anecdotal information; it takes the mountain of data normally required to shape an intelligent opinion, and creates a molehill of opinion guaranteed to fit within one's narrative.

  • JK

    As someone who is looking to buy in one of these “hot areas” I can say that some of what was said in the article appears to be true. The key is that buyers are getting smarter and realize “bank-owned” and “short-sale” are code for “headache” so when a clean, WELL PRICED, home comes on the market, everyone jumps. I will say that sellers should not get greedy, I have seen some homes, where sellers are expecting multiple offers, get an offer and try to “fish for other offers” and end up getting burned. I put an offer on a home, sellers played with me for two days, didn't respond to my offer in time, and they are still on the market. (I refused to over-pay) Zillow is there for the world to see, if you price more than 10% over…not going to get it.

  • Picky Buyer

    Part of the excitement is just seeing non-dump houses finally hitting the market. As a potential buyer, I've looked at one dump after another for close to 2 years. Recently 3 nice houses have hit the market in my neighborhood. (Of course, now we are tied down into a lease, and may not buy for another 2 years.)

  • http://www.finddaytonohiohomes.com www.finddaytonohiohomes.com

    Most banks these days will even try and make a small investment on preparing homes for resale. Hopefully the days of the completely gutted foreclosures are well behind us.

  • Anymuench

    Belltown is the BEST location! Go compare.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/CTMVO2ZCIDDF5D5LGSXSPN53EE Anti

    Dream on Dream on Dream until your dreams come true….

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  • hermans mom

    It's high season.  There was one good weekend, and the 3 great homes that were priced under market went like hotcakes.  The following week, 8 houses in our price range came on the market here, priced as if there was a buying frenzy, and they're all still on the market.  Buyers aren't “panicked buyer” — if you want to sell, have a nice house ready to occupy, and price it 5% lower than what you think it's worth.  That way, you might sell in the next month or so!  Alternatively, price high, wait 90 plus days, lower the price several times, and I'll snap it up in October for 20% below its fair value.  Either way, the buyer wins!

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