We are still seeing strong demand for
housing from most Amazon employees and as they are required to be back in the office next week, we
expect to see demand for homes closer to downtown pick up, especially condos.
Real estate news was light this week,
with the only data-driven news being the Case-Shiller data for February.
This is our monthly reminder that this data is so out of date, that it's not
worth reporting on.
On the mortgage front, rates are
holding, but there's a ton of confusing and misleading news about the FHFA Loan
Level Adjustments that many are describing as upside down mortgage policy. So
big that the FHFA released an official statement titled,
"Setting the Record Straight on Mortgage Pricing: A Statement from FHFA
Director Sandra L. Thompson."
You don't even need to go to TikTok to
find confusion, simply reading this USA Today article after
reading the FHFA statement illustrates the confusion. It's worth pointing out
that USA Today also revised the article after the FHFA announcement, and it
still leads with the clickbait the FHFA was trying to clarify, "In some
cases, people with higher credit scores may end up paying more while those with
lower credit scores will pay less."
While it might sound like pricing is
upside down, the FHFA describes it as "a pricing framework that is more
accurately aligned to the expected financial performance and risks of the loans
TL;DR: FHFA is subsidizing a small
subset of borrowers like first-time buyers, increasing upfront loan level
pricing for many scenarios, and creating a new credit score tier with better
Diving deeper into actual mortgage
rates, not upfront loan level pricing, we watched rates bounce around this week
and we ended up flat from last week at 6.67% for a 30-year fixed mortgage,
according to Mortgage News Daily.
Finally, the The New York Times syndicated this
column looking at the possibility: "Can we turn office
buildings into housing?" One of the guests on my ski trip a few weeks ago
was a Seattle architect working on this exact problem. He mentioned that of the
many challenges, the donut problem is the biggest challenge—what do you do with
all the space in the middle? See bottom right floor plan.
By The Numbers
This week we saw 244 new listings hit the Seattle / Bellevue / Kirkland areas, down 7% from last week's 262.