Run Like A Girl 5 K – Success!

Run Like A Girl Logo

Photo Courtesy Of The Mercer Island Parks And Recreation Department

Photo Courtesy Of The Mercer Island Parks And Recreation Department

The inaugural fitness event, Run Like A Girl 5K, was so fun! While it was a bit cloudy and gray this past Saturday morning, it was perfect weather to run a 5K. We really appreciate all those who came out to walk or run at Luther Burbank Park on May 16th, and those who were on site to cheer them on. There were a total of 135 registered participants – that’s so awesome!

Diane Mortenson, Recreation Superintendent for Mercer Island Parks And Rec Department had this to share about the 5K:

This was the first 5k the MI Parks & Recreation Department has coordinated. We wanted a fun theme to attract runners. The Run Like A Girl title was based off of the viral Run Like A Girl message empowering females to be themselves. The run was a success in participation numbers, community building, physical fitness, and female comradery! What we wanted to see in this event was a variety of ages participating, fun energy and people moving! As a Let’s Move! City we strive to offer programs and events to bring awareness for better health & wellness. Thank you Windermere for your sponsorship and support at the race. We look forward to next year!

All of us at Windermere Mercer Island were honored to be a part of the fun on Saturday. Broker Emily Roberts, who ran the 5K with her sister Larkin Temme, said, “The jazzercise warmup was the best part.” Everyone danced to fun music as the participants got ready to run. Smiles were seen everywhere! Another broker who ran the event, Erin Ewing, had a really enjoyed herself. “Great event. It was fun, the energy was great and I was very impressed with the turnout! Can’t wait to do this again… ”

Photo Credits: JT Barrows, Emily Roberts, Erin Ewing, Mercer Island Parks And Rec Department

Gardner Report {First Quarter 2015}

Originally posted on Windermere Eastside:

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Economic overview

From an economic perspective, employment in Western Washington continued to grow during the first three months of the year, and unemployment rates, although moving slightly higher in some counties, are still generally trending lower. In general, the region continues to perform well when compared to the United States as a whole.

Home sales activity

• 13,112 home sales were reported during the first quarter of 2015, up by 10.2% when compared to the first quarter of 2014.
• Between the fourth quarter of 2014 and the first quarter of this year, total sales were 22% lower, but this can be attributed to a drop in listings.
• The rise in sales was most pronounced in Cowlitz and Jefferson Counties, but there were double-digit increases in a majority of the counties included in this report.
• Sales slowed in Grays Harbor County but the drop of just 16 units…

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The Weekly Economic & Real Estate Forecast – 05/18/15 to 05/22/15

Originally posted on Gardner Economics:

What I Saw Last Week

U.S. Retail Sales were flat in April after increasing an upwardly revised 1.1% (from 0.9%) in March. I had expected to see sales rise by 0.2%. Core sales, that exclude motor vehicles, increased a modest 0.1% after increasing an upwardly revised 0.7% (from 0.4%) in March. I was looking for an increase of 0.4%.

Retail Sales

The key to this report – and something that I have been raising for some time now – is that consumers are continuing to hold on to their savings.  In the first quarter of 2015, the added income that was garnered from lower oil prices was used to stockpile additional savings instead of boosting consumption. Now that gasoline prices are again on the rise, consumers are not only not liquidating their savings to pay for the higher gasoline costs, but they are adding more to their savings stockpile and not spending.

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Open Houses: Friday, May 15 through Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sold By Windermere Wowzers!!! What a full open house weekend for our office. Several new listings came to market this week and are being held open over the weekend. There are currently 8 Windermere Mercer Island listings right on Mercer Island that will be available to preview over the weekend. Most have been listed within the last week and this is their first open house weekend. There is also a brand new listing in Bellevue that will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This is going to be a fabulous weekend for previewing homes and if our office is any indication, there will be much new inventory to see!! Details for all the open houses are below by city.

Bellevue
$988,000 l 782391 l 13884 SE 64th St l Video Tour l Cherrie Lee l Friday, May 15, 4-6:30pm; Saturday, May 16, 1-4pm; Sunday, May 17, 1-4pm

Mercer Island
$685,000 l 787378 l 3410 77th Place SE l Lis Brown l Sunday, May 17, 1-4pm

$829,000 l 774787 l 9510 SE 43rd St l Video Tour l Cherrie Lee l Sunday, May 17, 1-4pm

$1,150,000 l 787108 l 4030 92nd Ave SE l Bonnie Sanborn l Saturday, May 16, 1-4pm; Sunday, May 17, 1-4pm

$1,495,000 l 783720 l 9109 SE 78th Place l Video Tour l hosted by Sharon Glatz-Scott l Saturday, May 16, 12-3pm

$1,985,000 l 777739 l 5438 91st Ave SE l Video Tour l hosted by Erin Sirianni, Saturday, May 16, 1-4pm; hosted by Daniel Marinello, Sunday, May 17, 1-4pm

$2,450,000 l 787732 l 6835 W Mercer Wy l Look Book l Nancy LaVallee l Friday, May 15, 3-7pm; Saturday, May 16, 1-4pm; Sunday, May 17, 1-4pm

$3,395,000 l 736212 l 4645 Forest Ave SE l Video Tour l Cynthia Schoonmaker l Sunday, May 17, 1-4pm

$5,600,000 l 784280 l 6220 E Mercer Wy l Video Tour l Daniel Marinello l Saturday, May 16, 1-4pm

There are a few noteworthy events on Mercer Island this weekend. Tomorrow is the Run Like A Girl 5K at Luther Burbank Park, start time 10 am. You can still sign up today if you would like to participate. We are so honored to be one of the sponsors for this inaugural 5K. Our brokers will be on hand passing out drawstring backpacks with snacks and water in them for participants. On Sunday is the Mercer Island Farmers Market season opening event “Cultivating Taste”! You can purchase tickets here . The event will be held from 5:30 – 8 pm, venue is Lilly’s at Aljoya.

The Weekly Economic & Real Estate Forecast – 05/11/15 to 05/15/15

Originally posted on Gardner Economics:

What I Saw Last Week

The Northwest Multiple Listing Service released its data on April home transactions in the region and, as I had expected, we saw increases in active listings versus March and sale prices continued to rise across the region.

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Active listings, although still well below where they need to be, did see an uptick in April which was pleasing. Sales and prices both jumped last month which is actually good and bad. Sales and prices cannot continue this upward trajectory unless we see more homes for sale.

U.S. Initial Unemployment Claims increased to 265,000 for the week ending May 2 from an unrevised 262,000 for the week ending April 25. I had expected to see a larger increase to 280,000.

Initial Claims

There is no doubt that businesses have actively cut down on their layoff activity. The four-week moving average for initial claims declined to 279,500 from 283,750. For…

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NWMLS Press Release For May: Pent-up demand triggering record pace of home sales around Western Washington

NWMLS press release photoWith an increase of qualified buyers pre-approved for mortgages and so ready to make a home purchase, April was smoking hot in the Western Washington housing market. Pending sales for our region were up 18.7% year-over-year during April. Mutually accepted offers within the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) topped out at over 11,000. In the 4-county Puget Sound Region, pending sales breached the 8,000 mark for only the second time in 16 years! NWMLS closed sales in April experienced a 24.3 % increase. Wow!!!

“We are still very clearly in the midst of a seller’s market and unless we see a significant increase in listings, it will remain that way for the foreseeable future,” OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate

The ‘more inventory’ mantra still stands firm in Western Washington. “We’re in desperate need of inventory so I hope to see an increase in listings as we move further into the late spring/early summer,” stated OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate. Within our own office, Windermere Mercer Island, we are definitely witnessing how quickly well priced, market ready homes are reaching mutual acceptance. As prices continue to pop up due to buyer demand mixed with our low inventory condition, savvy buyers are starting to let go of their “dream home” mentality and purchasing properties that fit their housing needs and offer potential of growing equity to go toward their future homes. Our historically low fixed rate mortgages are an opportunity buyers do not want to miss out on. May’s press release touched on the discussion of another housing bubble potentially emerging within our housing market. It appears housing bubble theories may not have much merit, however, since our region is not overburdened with new construction like it was in our previous housing bubble, and the buyers making home purchases today are truly qualified to buy a home due to tighter parameters they have to meet to obtain a mortgage.

Below are excerpts of May press release from the NWMLS. To read the press release in its entirety, please click here.

Northwest Multiple Listing Service members notched a record high level of pending sales during April, surpassing the year-ago volume by nearly 1,800 transactions. Both closed sales and prices also surged last month as the spring market kicked into high gear.

Buyer confidence and buyer ability to purchase are fueling activity, [now that the previously constrained demand is finally moving forward.] MLS members reported an 18.7 percent year-over-year increase in pending sales, with the volume of mutually accepted offers rising from 9,590 transactions to 11,384. For the four-county Puget Sound region members logged 8,671 pending sales to top the 8,000 mark for only the second time in the past 16 years.

Closed sales and prices also accelerated, according to Northwest MLS statistics. Across the 23 counties covered by the report there were 7,696 closed sales. That total represents a 24.3 percent increase from the year-ago volume of 6,190 closings. Within the four county region, Pierce County experienced a jump of nearly 38 percent in closed sales compared to a year ago, followed by Snohomish County with a 35 percent increase, prompting one MLS director to comment, “That is super amazing.”

“We are still very clearly in the midst of a seller’s market and unless we see a significant increase in listings, it will remain that way for the foreseeable future,” remarked OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate. Jacobi and other brokers reiterated the dire need for listings.

Members added 11,495 new listings to inventory during April, but brisk sales kept supply tight and well below the level of a year ago. At the end of April, the MLS reported 18,132 listings of single family homes and condominiums in its database, a drop of more than 15 percent from the year-ago total of 21,390.

Compared to March, inventory at the end of April improved by 6.6 percent, but pending sales jumped 13.7 percent from the previous month.

“We’re in desperate need of inventory so I hope to see an increase in listings as we move further into the late spring/early summer,” stated Jacobi.

Northwest MLS figures show less than 2.4 months of supply at the end of April, down from the March figure of 2.5 months and down from a year ago when there was about 3.5 months of supply. Inventory is especially tight in King County, with 1.3 months of supply, and Snohomish County, with about 1.5 months. Many industry analysts use a range of four-to-six months as an indicator of a balanced market.

Prices on last month’s closed sales were up 12.4 percent. The median price for April’s sales of single family homes and condos was $309,000, which compares to the year-ago price of $275,000. For single family homes only (excluding condos), the median price rose from $287,500 to $320,000 for a gain of 11.3 percent. Condo prices jumped nearly 13.8 percent system-wide.

In King County, where homes fetch the highest prices, the median price of last month’s sales of single family homes was $480,000. That reflects a gain of 11.5 percent from the year ago price of $430,500. King County condo prices increased about 8.8 percent from a year ago, rising from $250,000 to $272,000.

[Homes that come to market in good condition and priced right are moving quickly due to the current inventory situation] … buyers [can’t be] “playing games” with sellers. [ Buyers may need to purchase a home for building equity toward their dream home. It’s advised to not wait for your dream home and then have to settle at a higher price in a year.]

Brokers do not appear to be worried about a housing bubble.

“Some are talking about the potential for another housing bubble given the lack of homes for sale and the bullishness of buyers in bidding up properties,” acknowledged Jacobi. “For now,” he said, “I believe there are sufficient safeguards in place to keep this from happening.” [Two factors differentiate today’s market. First, there is not the surplus of new construction that was present during our last housing bubble. Second, buyers are actually qualifying for today’s mortgages. Our current housing market is set on a more stable foundation.]

4 county pending sales for April
Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 23,000 real estate brokers. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 23 counties in Washington state.

Spring Native Plant Sale Saturday, May 9th, at Mercerdale Park

Instagram_Lisa Lewis_BeeCalling all gardeners! This Saturday, May 9th, is the annual spring native plant sale at Mercerdale Park. The sale will run from 10-4pm on the 9th (but if you are a member of Washington Native Plant Society [WNPS] you are eligible for early bird entry at 9am). The theme for this year’s plant sale, and the accompanying environmental fair, is NATIVE PLANTS for BIRDS and POLLINATORS. Gardening experts will be on hand to answer questions. There will be a nice selection of native plants for you to use in your landscaping that can serve as refuge for the birds and pollinators who live in our region. In addition, rain garden plants and lovely potted plants for balconies and patios will be available.

If you would like to learn more about gardening for bees, check out this Houzz story slideshow below before going to the plant sale. The article features information on different kinds of native bees, why we should think about the bees native to our region, and how to build habitat for native bees to flourish in.

If you pick up some plants on Saturday, please share what you purchased in the comment section. Bonus points if you share how the plants are helpful for birds and pollinators!!

Photo courtesy of Lisa Lewis