2018 Real Estate Predictions

2018 housing
Below are predictions for the 2018 real estate market, based on data that was available at the time this was written:

Interest Rates – With the Tax Reform Bill and new infrastructure, we expect interest rates to rise. A climb to 4.0%-4.5% is probable but it is possible that if the economy grows at a good clip next year, we could see rates as high as 5%. We believe the average for the year will be about 4.6%. Although this rise will cause some buyers to regroup, it will not be enough to make a strong market shift and cause buyers to leave the market in droves.

Home Price Growth – With double-digit percentage price increases in many markets across the country in 2017, we believe we will move back to price inclines below 10% in those busy markets. In fact, it is foreseeable that the average for those areas that did see such strong increases in 2017 will scale back to about 4-7% gains in 2018. Nationally, prices are expected to increase about 3.2%. Between November 2016 and November 2017, in Whatcom County the median sales price grew by 9.8%; in our Lynden market, it grew 16.5%.

New Construction – Our country needs about 1.5 million new starts per year to maintain inventory, but since 2009 we have been short a cumulative almost 6 million units. This is one of the primary causes of our inventory shortage and what is driving prices up – demand outweighs supply. Local issues in many areas such as zoning and water rights are also capping new construction opportunity. In addition, the cost of building supplies is causing problems for our builders and we expect this problem to worsen in 2018.
Housing Inventory – Although there are improvements in this category because we are adding some new housing units, it may take years or more for inventory levels to get back to a balanced level. Additionally, it is predicted that more buyers will be entering the market for a home as our economy is strong with low unemployment, which we suspect will get even lower due to our economy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate stands at 4.1% for November 2017, which is the lowest it has been since December of 2000. it is predicted unemployment to be in the high 3% range by the end of 2018.

Market Stability – we are often asked when the bubble will burst or we will see another crash. We do not foresee this in the upcoming year. Although we are seeing prices rise quickly, the conditions that our national market is facing now are not the same as what we saw just a decade ago. There isn’t the easy access to credit as there was before the last crash when banks were more de-regulated. There aren’t enough new or resale homes to satiate current demand, unlike the building boom of the mid-2000s. Buyers are not overleveraged and, in many cases, have to put more cash down to compete in multiple-offer situations, allowing buyers to start in a higher equity position. Based on our history and the facts that are in front of us, I don’t believe another crash is likely at all.

The Muljat Group North real estate office is excited for what 2018 has in store! For additional information and predictions on our local market, please call our office at 360-354-4242.

Mortgage Rates Hold Steady

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Mortgage rates were in a holding pattern this week, even after the Federal Reserve voted Wednesday to hike its benchmark interest rate.

“As widely expected, the Fed increased the federal funds target rate this week for the third time in 2017,” says Len Kiefer, Freddie Mac’s deputy chief economist. “The market had already priced in the rate hike, so long-term interest rates—including mortgage rates—hardly moved. Mortgage rates held relatively flat across the board, with the 30-year fixed mortgage rate inching down 1 basis point to 3.93 percent in this week’s survey. Mortgage rates have been in a holding pattern for the fourth quarter, remaining within a 10 basis point range since October.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending Dec. 14:
•30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.93 percent, with an average 0.5 point, dropping from last week’s 3.94 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.16 percent.
•15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.36 percent, with an average 0.5 point, the same as last week. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.37 percent.
•5-year hybrid adjustable rate mortgages: averaged 3.36 percent, with an average 0.3 point, rising from last week’s 3.35 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.19 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac

2017 Northwest Washington Fair

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Five days until the Northwest Washington Fair in Lynden. You don’t want to miss out on any of the fun! Carnival rides, great food fair, awesome grandstand entertainers, demolition derby, rodeo, animal exhibits, quilts, canning, arts, photography, 4H and FFA exhibits. For over 100 years the Northwest Washington Fair has highlighted the agriculture of the Whatcom County area. Dairy and beef cattle, horses, and many other species of livestock are shown by 4H, FFA and Open Class exhibitors. There are hundreds of exhibits featuring baked goods, canning, flowers and fresh produce grown locally.

The Fair is located at 1775 Front Street, Lynden.
The gates open at 9 a.m. each day and close at 10 p.m.. Carnival hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Demo Derby is on Monday, August 14, with shows happening at 12:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Lynden PRCA Rodeo is happening August 15 & August 16. The top cowboys in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association will compete in the 13th annual rodeo. The event includes bull riding, bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, tie-down roping, team roping and barrel racing. Children 10 and younger will be admitted for FREE to the performances, which start at 7:30 p.m., both nights. Tickets are on sale now – get them while they last!

Grandstand entertainers this year include the rock band, Night Ranger, which performs 80-100 live shows annually and they continue to release new music even though the band is 35 years old. Night Ranger will be rocking the stage on August 17. Musical country star and ‘American Idol’ winner of 2011, Scotty McCreery will be performing on August 18. “Fluffy” Gabriel Iglesias, first time comedian to headline a fair grandstand show on Saturday, evening August 19.

Ride free to the Fair and everywhere! WTA is community driven and ride the buses free during August 13-19. Also, watch out for the many parking lots around town that offer free bus rides to and from the fair!

Our real estate booth will be set up in the commercial exhibit building – please drop by and say hello! Hope to see you at the Northwest Washington Fair!

19th Annual Curt Maberry Memorial Classic 3-On-3

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The Curt Maberry 3-On-3 literally took over Lynden last weekend. Our office presents and organizes this community event every year and next year will be the 20th year. We welcomed over 200 teams to Lynden with athletes from kindergarten to men’s competitive.
The 3-On-3 is held in conjunction with the Northwest Raspberry Festival with fun-filled activities on Friday and Saturday.
Live music, a classic car & truck show, street market, kid’s zone, a food court, and street vendors were just a few of the highlights that were held downtown.
The $2 icecream icecream from Darigold topped with local raspberries from Maberry Farms is always a delight and favorite dessert.
If you missed the 2017 Northwest Raspberry Festival or the Curt Maberry Memorial 3-on-3 mark your calendars for the 3rd weekend of July, 2018! See you next year!

Escalation Clause With Competing Offers


It’s a hot real estate market! The brokers at the office are dealing with competing offers and some buyer’s are willing to pay more that what the seller is asking. With multiple-offer situations, we see escalator clauses being more widely used. Adding an escalation clause to your offer is strategy you can use when competing with another bidder. It is designed to keep your offer competitive and there is no guarantee that the seller will accept your offer, even if it is the highest bid. A seller is free to accept the offer they choose to work with. In some instances, a seller sees a lower cash offer being better than a higher financed offer. Buyers should write an escalation that retains an appraisal contingency, so that the actual price will conform to the lender’s appraisal.
Check out the graph depicted showing the median amount of days that homes are on the Market – Whatcom County being the green line and the red line being homes in Lynden. What a difference from 2015 to 2017!
Call our office 360.354.4242 and we will set you up with a licensed Realtor that knows the Whatcom County real estate market. It’s a seller’s market out there – don’t hesitate!

10 Tips To Increase Your Home’s Value!

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#1. Fix All Repairs! Remember that not all improvements are cosmetic. Fixing roofs, inspecting for termites and hidden water leaks are just some of the things to keep an eye out for. Consider hiring an inspector to help.
#2. Add Fresh Paint. Simply purchasing a $25 gallon of neutral paint (to appeal to a broader audience) you’re enhancing the value of your home by making it look clean and updated!
#3. Replace Carpet. Replacing old, dusty carpets with new ones or wood floors improves air quality & creates a modern look!
#4. Low-Maintenance Landscaping. Planting trees and shrubs adds valuable curb appeal & is great for the environment!
#5. Enhance the bathroom. If you don’t have the money to make large bathroom upgrades like replacing old toilets and showers, try simply replacing outdated wallpaper or upgrading the rest of the décor.
#6. Upgrade, Upgrade, Upgrade! Don’t stop at upgrading the bathroom! An upgraded kitchen adds a TREMENDOUS value to your home! Again if you can’t afford big upgrades simply replace a countertop or paint over your cabinets with a new paint finish. Consider upgrading other rooms in your house as well!
#7. Consider a Ceiling Spruce. 1/6 of your room’s total area is the ceiling. Again, even if you don’t have a lot of money, consider adding a molding or box beams to increase the value of the room by improving the look of the ceiling.
#8. Create a Welcoming Entrance. Consider going to a home improvement store to give your old, outdated front door an attractive replacement. Front doors should compliment your home’s overall design.
#9. See the Light! Consider hiring an electrician to add lights to rooms that are dim or smaller than others. Adding lights make the rooms look larger and shows you have nothing to hide.
information by HGTV

Annual Spring Craft & Antique Show

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Lynden Craft Show
The first day of Spring is next week Monday! We are so excited as we were hit with a ton of snow and rain this winter. The snow was beautiful but it lingered on and on. I know that I’m ready for some sunshine, how about you?
If you are anticipating Spring you may want to check out Lynden’s 31’st Annual Spring Craft & Antique Show. It starts today at the Northwest Washington Fairgrounds in the Expo Building. Meet local artisans and be inspired by all the creativity. Enjoy all the fabulous booths featuring handcrafted wares, home and holiday décor, gourmet food, re-purposed and up-cycled vintage treasures. It truly is one of the largest shows of its kind in the Northwest. Meet over 100+ artisans who will inspire you with their creativity. Do you enjoy handcrafts, antiques and original art? Looking for home décor to spruce up your home? Well, please visit the Craft and Antique Show ~ you won’t be disappointed! For more information click the following: Lynden Craft and Antique Show
Thursday & Friday Hours: 10:00am – 8:00pm
Saturday hours: 10:00am-5:00pm
Admission: Adults $6.00 | Senior (60+) $5.00 | Children 12 and under are free | free parking & return privileges

Whatcom County Home & Garden Show

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The 38th Home & Garden Show is happening this weekend at the Northwest Washington Fairgrounds – Henry Jansen Ag Building.
It’s scheduled to run from Friday, March 3 through Sunday, March 5.
Approximately 150 vendors will be present, says the sponsoring Building Industry Association of Whatcom County.
It’s a great place to talk to local experts on home design, gardening & home building.
Popular gardening expert, Ciscoe Morris, will be speaking at noon on Sunday.
Date night is Friday and Saturday will bring live comedy and music.
So if you have a free weekend, why not check out the Home & Garden Show in downtown, Lynden!

Whatcom County Water Rights

The Washington Supreme Court decision in Hirst et al. vs. Whatcom County, WA Sup. Ct. No. 91475-3, took away the right of rural property owners to develop small household sized wells. This case, you may recall, concerned Whatcom County’s use of exempt wells to allow construction in the unincorporated portions of Whatcom County, particularly in areas where the watershed had not been closed. The County argued that it was able to rely on the Dept. of Ecology’s determinations concerning water availability to make such decisions and to grant permits for construction where the water would be provided by an exempt well.
The Senate’s effort to save household wells was highlighted at a hearing Tuesday, February 21, 2017, before the Senate Ways and Means Committee. Property owners from Whatcom County and elsewhere said they have been devastated by the Supreme Court’s decision last fall that took away their rights to drill wells, and with it, their right to build on the land. A vote on SB 5239 is expected this week.
A hearing in Olympia makes a compelling case for household wells, property owners. Please watch the following Hearing:


Follow effort to save household wells on Washington State Senator, Doug Erickson’s, webpage: Senator Doug Erickson Webpage

Housing Market 2017

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These 3 trends will shape the housing market in 2017

1. Rates: In December, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for only the second time since 2006, and a majority of the members of the Fed’s rate-setting board predict there will be three more increases coming in 2017.

2. More Credit: Though mortgage rates may fall, mortgage credit will likely be more widely available due to slightly looser lending standards. The Federal Housing Administration will likely lower fees it charges first-time homebuyers. In addition, starting in 2017, government-owned mortgage companies will begin backing large mortgages for the first time in over a decade, making it easier for buyers in expensive markets to finance their purchases.

3. More New Homes: The overall trend in home construction is clearly positive, with the average annual rate of new groundbreakings reaching a 1.163 million rate so far in 2016, up about 5% from 1.108 million in 2015. Expect this to continue in 2017, as home buyers are encouraged by higher wages, looser credit, and increased demand from buyers.

According to 2016 data from the Northwest Washington Multiple Listing Service the average listing price for a 3 bedroom home in Lynden was $317,3999. The average sold price for a 3 bedroom home in Lynden was $310,954 and the the average square footage: 1,835.

So will you be jumping into the 2017 marketing market? The mortgage rates are still low and if you have strong credit we encourage you to take the plunge. Really, any day is a good day to invest in real estate. Call our office and talk to a licensed and experienced, Realtor®, whether it be purchasing real estate or selling real estate. We have an onsite mortgage consultant, Casey Porter, Caliber Home Loans who would gladly answer your mortgage inquiries.

fortune.com/2016/real-estate-trends