Welcome fall, a beautiful time of year in our neighborhood. As we enter the autumn housing market, we expect strong sales.

It’s common to see a pre-Halloween burst of activity, with increased selection and motivated buyers wishing to take advantage of this pre-winter window.

The continued low interest rates and healthy job creation in our region are key factors in the strength and stability of our market. Don’t be afraid of recession talk — rates remain low and lending standards are stronger than during the previous downturn. We don’t expect a real estate crash; maybe an adjustment, but not a crash.

The good news for the Puget Sound area is that prices are still very stable, and continue to increase in our neighborhood. Buying a home continues to be a wise investment in Greater Seattle.

Let’s dig into the numbers a bit closer in our neighborhood:

• The under $2 million market is solid, but with less frequent multiple offers.

— Compare summer of 2018 to 2019: average sale price was 2.07 percent over list in 2018, and 2019 was 1.06 percent under list.

— Average sale price went up, however, price per square foot went down.

• The high end (more-than-$2 million market) is seeing more inventory.

— Pricing has decreased both by price per square foot and average price.

— An 8.6 percent decrease in average sale price over $2 million

— Plenty of great buyers but being more selective and negotiating more.

— Homes sold in 2019 for around 4 percent under list price.

These numbers show our market is becoming more balanced. For buyers, the time they desire to make a well-informed decision is now available. For sellers, even though homes are on the market longer, and the sale prices are slightly below list, the average sale price has actually risen in 98112. Now more than ever, pricing and presentation are key. Working with a savvy broker with extensive neighborhood knowledge will help you price your home competitively. With regard to presentation, homes that hit this market should be show-ready. Otherwise, you are likely leaving money on the table. Our Compass Concierge program was designed to help sellers through this process. From staging to flooring to painting and tiling, we front the cost to transform a home before it hits the market.

We may see an increase in the number of high-end homeowners looking to sell before 2020. Washington state lawmakers recently passed a bill that will implement a graduated Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) going into effect on Jan. 1, 2020:

 

• 1.1 percent of the selling price below $500,000

• 1.28 percent of the selling price between $500,000 and $1.5 million

• 2.75 percent of the selling price between $1.5 million and $3 million

• 3 percent of the selling price over $3 million.

 

These new rates do not include the 0.5-percent tax imposed by King County. Call me for more information on what the new graduated REET means for you.

Our region continues to be a big draw for people all over the country and world. Amazon is currently seeking to fill some 10,000 openings in the Seattle area by 2020, and has more than 53,500 employees in this region, second only to Boeing among private employers. According to the Puget Sound Regional Council, the region will have nearly 3.4 million jobs by 2050 — an increase of 1.2 million.

Madison Park’s reputation as a beloved in-city neighborhood for its community feel, tree-lined streets and beautiful homes continues to engage home buyers. And at this time of year, we are definitely known for amazing leaf-peeping. I hope you put a visit to the Washington Park Arboretum on your fall bucket list (also the perfect location to schedule a photo session for those holiday cards.)

According to Ray Larson, curator of Living Collections at the University of Washington Botanic Gardens, the prime foliage will begin in mid-October and last for 2-3 weeks. He says the best place for viewing fall color is the Woodland Garden, with its sourwood, ashes and Japanese maples. Of course, Larson says the Japanese Garden is always a favorite for leaf-peepers.

As of press time, there are 27 homes for sale in Madison Park, including Broadmoor. The most expensive is a Washington Park waterfront home with 120 feet of waterfront for $12.85 million, and the least expensive is a condo in the heart of Madison Park for $399,000.

If you have given any thought to taking advantage of the continued strong market, now may be the time for you to make your move. Our Compass experts have a long history in Madison Park, and are ready to help you navigate this market to your advantage with the latest technology, top-notch marketing, and proven pricing strategies. If you’re buying, our knowledgeable agents will help you achieve success in this still-competitive market.

Evan Wyman is broker/partner for The Wyman Group at Compass.