Broker focus on affordability continues

Affordability, lack of inventory, having enough choices for their clients: those are the business concerns of brokers in our 2019 Membership Survey. Not surprisingly, affordability remains top of mind for King County brokers, as it has for the last several years.

Seattle King County REALTOR® members completed the survey in July, answering questions about their outlook and for business and the market. When asked, “Rate the following factors that limit your clients in completing a transaction,” almost half of respondents rated “Lack of affordable choices” as “Extremely Important”. Other top responses were “Limited housing inventory” and “Unrealistic seller expectations”.

REALTORS® are feeling more uncertain about the market than our 2016 survey, when the market was climbing. In 2016, over 80 percent of survey respondents had a positive outlook; that number dropped to 68 percent this year, with “Unsure” pulling in 28 percent of respondents to 2016’s 18 percent.

Despite this uncertainty, REALTORS® are seeing opportunities in the market as well. Nearly half rated “Continuing low interest rates” as extremely important in growing their business in the coming year. Area job and population growth is also giving brokers reason to expect good things this year.

This week NAR’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun, said that consumer confidence remains high during the longest economic expansion in U.S. history (2009-2019). Yun, whose remarks were given to an audience of REALTOR® leaders from across the country, pointed out that unemployment is at an unprecedented low of 3.7 percent and homeowner vacancy is at a 40-year low. He stated no change in his housing sales forecast for 2020, that unit sales would be higher if not for low inventory and that recession was unlikely if a trade agreement is reached with China.

REALTORS® are already planning ahead for 2020, using this data to guide decision-making and continue to focus on bringing more homeownership options of all sizes, shapes and price points to our market.