2017 Windermere Real Estate Eastside Kick-off: We’re Ready For What This Year Will Bring!

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Real Estate / Windermere Eastside

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If you follow Windermere Mercer Island on social media, a week ago Friday you saw our brokers attended the 2017 Eastside Windermere Real Estate Kick-off event. And what an event! Over 500 brokers from of the Eastside offices, and the Chelan area, gathered together to get energized for the New Year.


The event, held at the Bellevue Hyatt Regency Hotel, opened with a lovely continental breakfast and the opportunity to network.  The opening emcee was Matt Deasy, owner of Windermere Real Estate/East, Inc. Mr. Deasy discussed how Windermere brokers provide value to their clients in 3 different ways: opportunity, synergy, and endurance. Windermere brokers are distinctively primed to take advantage of the strong local economy and educate clients regarding the hot Seattle area housing market.

eastsidekickoff-161The Top Producer Broker Panel featured 5 amazing brokers from Windermere offices around the region. Mike Connolly, owner of Windermere Real Estate/Central, Inc., moderated this panel that included Nicole Mangina (Bellevue Commons), Ruth Harle (Bellevue-South), Jay Agoado (Mercer Island), Clive Egdes (Kirkland – Central), and Tony Butz (Bellevue-South). Each of the stories shared by this group were unique, but their success in real estate all contained common characteristics: determination, hard work, establishing real connections with people in their communities, not being afraid of technology, and offering concierge level customer service. The panel interaction, delivered in an Inman Connect Interview format, was fast-paced and engaging. A key take-away was the importance of adding value for clients who are already data savvy regarding real estate, and to own that professional value proposition.

Tech Tools to Make You Look Like a Rock Star

eastsidekickoff-211Shawn Prutsman, Vice President of Technology with Windermere Services, was introduced by Julie Barrows, owner of Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island. She moderated this segment by asking Mr. Prutsman about the impressive new tools that will be available to Windermere brokers during 2017, and what technology updates to expect. An exciting topic was the updated listing photo gallery, and all of its amazing features, that debuted at the end of 2016. All the tools and updates scheduled for 2017 will provide further assistance to Windermere brokers– helping them effectively and beautifully market homes, assist buyer clients in our fast-paced local market, and stay cutting-edge in a region where technology is what helps drive our economy.

Amy Adams, owner of Windermere Real Estate/Bellevue Commons, presented a wonderful introduction of the man everyone in the room was eagerly waiting to hear speak – Matthew Gardner. As chief economist of Windermere Real Estate, Mr. Gardner prepares an annual forecast addressing his predictions for our economic and real estate climates. First, he covered our local economy – which is experiencing remarkable growth. The economies of the large cities in western states have been generally robust, and Washington metro areas have been at the top of the list. He sees this trend continuing into 2017, along with low unemployment. In fact, we should see more people relocating to our area during 2017 to fill jobs in the tech sector, and escape higher priced real estate in the Bay area. Two sectors he noted as slower growing are manufacturing and construction. We’re seeing that trend play out in lower numbers of single family residential permits being issued. Less new construction places pressure on our resale market, which will contribute to our housing market’s continued low inventory this year. House prices will see more increases in Western Washington. Housing affordability is an issue that needs to be addressed. King County homes are not affordable for many first time home buyers, which we’re seeing translated into people opting to purchase outside of Seattle metro.

 

NW Home Design Trends to Watch

eastsidekickoff-277Peter Hickey, owner of Windermere Real Estate/Northeast, Inc., moderated a panel of architecture and design specialists who detailed current home design trends that are especially popular in the Pacific Northwest.  Sheri Olson of Sheri Olson Architecture, Susan Marinello of Susan Marinello Interiors, Inc., and Brenda Gage with JayMarc Homes shared their favorite trends along with what they are seeing out in the field. New materials, exploring the color black as a neutral, and simplicity are all sought after in the interior design environment.  Modern, yet informal gathering places – both inside and out – are desired by homeowners in our region. Aging in place is also a hot topic in home design — with main floor masters, or dual masters on upper and main floors, an increasingly requested home feature.

The Right Mindset for 2017

eastsidekickoff-288Dan Givens, of Windermere Professional Development, closed out this year’s Kick-off event with a short presentation on having the right mindset to succeed at both work and home. He shared three simple, but impactful, mindsets that can redirect your outlook in a positive direction.

  1. Decide you are going to have fun.
  2. Set out to meet nice people each day.
  3. Help someone solve a problem.

Mr. Givens stressed during his presentation that affirmations don’t just happen by accident. If you consciously set out to change your outlook to meet your desired affirmation, that’s when the real change begins! His message offered simple ways to stay positive, and be effective in changing a habit or adding a new activity to your day.

eastsidekickoff-303What a great way to start of the year! The information shared during the event is so useful, and gave each broker who was in attendance tools that can help them improve their businesses, and deliver to their clients even better customer service during 2017. A round of applause is due for the owners and managers of the Eastside offices for offering such a terrific annual event to your brokers. And a special thank you to Julie Barrows, owner of the Mercer Island office, who organized this year’s Eastside Kick-off.

Photo credit: Frances Gaul

Jumpstart Your Healthy Resolutions With New Seasons Market Mercer Island

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Mercer Island News / Spirit of Mercer Island

Did you make any health-related resolutions at the New Year? New Seasons Market on Mercer Island is all set to help you establish healthy eating habits and pump up your nutrition knowledge!

Every Saturday this month, you can jumpstart your January by attending a free talk given by NSM nutritionist Tran Hoang. Registration is required, but other than that be ready to support your healthy resolutions with helpful information. Below is a schedule of the January Jumpstart topics, with links to the event registration pages.

You can also stop by New Seasons Market for Talk N’ Taste Thursdays. Swing by the Mercer Island store’s Solutions counter between 1-5pm on Thursdays to discuss with Ms. Hoang your nutrition questions, and sample some healthy foods that are tasty as well!

new-seasons_lets-go-shoppingIn addition to these two AWESOME opportunities to make headway on eating healthier, you can schedule a Talk N ‘ Shop appointment with Ms. Hoang throughout the month . The calendar is accessible here on the News Seasons Market website. Toggle to Mercer Island on the location drop-down menu, and pick an available date and time from the calendar. Then fill out the form to submit your booking request. This service is also free (how cool is that?!).

Here’s the January calendar of events for New Seasons. They have a bunch of other fabulous events sprinkled throughout the month. World Tour Wednesday sounds a lot of fun, and it would be easy to stop by on your way home from work! Click on the photo to access the pdf of the calendar, or view it online here.
new-seasons-january-2017-events-calendar

Tackle Wine & Coffee Spills On Your Holiday Tablecloth With Products In Your Pantry

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Green / Homeowner Tips

When attending parties and family gatherings in holiday attire, there’s a decent chance of splashing a bit of wine or coffee on your clothes, or a tablecloth, as we mingle. It seems like whenever my family gets together, there is at least one major spill per event!

Don’t worry if a spill does occur. There are products in your pantry to treat these tough stains. And even better, you can tackle them after the party! Check out Nifty’s video for guidance on treating 4 common stains, and then read the detailed instructions over on Buzzfeed.

It’s prudent to test a small area on the article being cleaned, before applying the whole treatment, to make sure it won’t discolor delicate fabrics.

Make Your Home Safe for the Holidays

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Homeowner Tips

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Originally appeared in Windermere Blog, author Tara Sharp

With all the cheer and celebration at this time of year, it’s hard to believe anything bad could happen. However, statistics show there’s a significant increase in home-related accidents, fires, and burglaries around the holidays. To protect your family, friends and property, heed these six suggestions:

  1. Keep walkways, driveways and decks free of slippery ice or moss.
  2. Have your fireplace professionally cleaned, and only use one artificial log at a time.
  3. Check the batteries in all smoke detectors and make sure a working fire extinguisher is located on every floor, as well as the kitchen and garage.
  4. Snuff out any candles before leaving the room (even for a short while), and make sure to always keep them in short holders with wide bases so they don’t fall over.
  5. For holiday lights: Only use outdoor lights / extension cords in the outdoors, and plug them into GFCI protected outlets; make sure all lights are UL-approved; know that the smaller bulbs are safer; never leave them on when you’re not home.
  6. Plug a few lamps and the TV or stereo into timers to make it appear someone is home while you’re away. Also, ask a neighbor to park their car in your driveway, pick up any mail and keep an eye out for any suspicious activity.

Making the extra effort to keep your home safe will always be the best gift you could give family, friends and other visitors.

Photo credit: ralfor | Pixabay

5 Awesome Tips for Northwest Winter Season!

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Our Open Houses / Real Estate

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While not the first “snow” of the season, it is the first snow that stuck to the ground. The Seattle region hasn’t seen snow in while, so we’ve compiled a short list of resources to read up on for snow tips, tricks, and good-to-knows. The City of Mercer Island has a Snow and Ice Response Plan that has great information for getting around the island during the upcoming snowy season. A link off the City of Mercer Island website, brings us to the Take Winter by Storm site, which provides excellent information about all things “bad weather”. Take a peak here for tips! Seattle’s little-r winter wonderland. Staying bundled inside sounds good right now.

Here are some quick tips for people experiencing the snow:

  • Ensure proper home maintenance throughout the year.
  • Insulate outside water nozzles to keep the pipes from freezing up.
  • Get out extra warm blankets and flashlights (and batteries) and place them in spots around the house.
  • Get things like snow shovels, ice scrapers, de-icing materials, and snow brushes prepared for the winter season.
  • Consider making your vehicle “winter ready” by putting an extra blanket, snow chains, keeping a full tank of gas, and getting your car maintenance done.

We hope that the season is both fun and safe for you and your family! We here at the Mercer Island Windermere haven’t seen a ton of snow, but Portland, the mountains, Everett, and Spokane sure are!

Need A Hostess Gift, Stat? Mercer Island Businesses To The Rescue!

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community / Mercer Island Spotlight

Are you in need of a hostess gift for a holiday gathering but are short on time? Don’t sweat it, because there are several businesses located right here on Mercer Island that are poised to help you out! This week, I was able to stop New Seasons, Terra Bella, and Island Books to preview their gift selections. They all have sweet gifts available that will make your hostess smile.

New Seasons not only has a well-stocked gift section at the front of the store between the floral department (and have you seen the floral arrangements they make a New Seasons?! Lovely!) and the cash registers, but they have baubles and gift-y items sprinkled around the store.  And don’t miss their fabulous wine section!

Terra Bella is in their new location in Islandia Center, near Homegrown and Island Books.  It’s a generously sized store, and they have the Holiday Shop in the front right now. When I stopped by, the place was hopping! There are so many beautiful knickknacks and holiday décor items in their shop. If you’d like to pick up a local gourmet food item, those goods are located right at the tail end of the holiday shop area.

If you are in search of a cheeky, fun gift that will make your hostess laugh out loud, Island Books is the place to check out. Owner Laurie Raisys and her knowledgeable staff welcome questions and are quick to offer helpful suggestions. Bonus – you can get your hostess gift beautifully wrapped for free!!

Other island businesses that have fabulous hostess gifts available:

  • Au Courant – so many cute items, you will buy one for your friend and one for yourself too! This is one of the island locations selling Island Treats yummy goodies.
  • Oh! Chocolate – I swear their truffles are what dreams are made of!
  • Anthophiles – pick up a sweet bouquet to gift to your hostess. Oo la la!

Is there an island business I missed that’s your go-to place when you need a gift in a hurry? Please share in the comment section!

Windermere Living Magazine: Winter 2016

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Windermere Living

What an exciting issue of Windermere Living! W Collection homes debut in this issue, following the Faces and Places section on page 6. The W Collection homes are featured on pages 8 through 15. Other amazing content included in this issue: luxurious tips for relaxation and fab Western U.S. spots we love right now.

Speaking of Faces and Places – members of the Windermere Mercer Island team are pictured in the Beverly Hills section, top left photo (left to right, Daniel Marinello, Julie Wilson, Cynthia Schoonmaker, Kelly Weisfield, Julie Barrows, Marianne Parks, Andrew Jackson). They attended Luxury Connect in Beverly Hills during October!

Other spots where WindermereMI brokers are featured in the Winter 2016 Windermere Living Magazine:

Winterizing Your Home

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Homeowner Tips / HouseLogic

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Originally posted on Windermere Mercer Island’s website.

1. Not Buying a $2 Protector for Your Outdoor Faucet

What It’ll Cost You: Up to $15,000 and a whole lot of grief

It’s amazing what a little frozen water can do damage-wise. An inch of water in your basement can cost up to $15,000 to pump out and dry out. And, yet, it’s so easy to prevent, especially with outdoor faucets, which are the most susceptible to freezing temps.

The simplest thing to do is to remove your garden hose from your outdoor faucet and drain it. Then add a faucet protector to keep cold air from getting into your pipes. They’re really cheap (some are under $2; the more expensive ones are still less than $10). “Get these now,” says Danny Lipford, home improvement expert and host of the “Today’s Homeowner” television and radio shows. “When the weatherman says we’ve got cold coming, they’ll sell out in minutes.”

While you’re at it, make sure any exposed pipes in an unheated basement or garage are insulated, too, or you’ll face the same pricey problem.

Wrap pipes with foam plumbing insulation — before the weather drops. It’s cheap, too, just like the faucet cover (only $1 for six feet of polyethylene insulation). And it’s an easy DIY project, as long as you can reach the pipes.

2. Instagramming Your Icicles Instead of Preventing Them

What It’ll Cost You: $500 — if you’re lucky; a lot more if you’re not

Those icicles make your home look so picturesque, you just gotta take a few pics. But you better make them quick. Those icicles can literally be a dam problem. (Yes, dam— not the curse word that sounds the same.)

Icicles are a clear sign that you’ve got an ice dam, which is exactly what it sounds like: a buildup of ice on your gutter or roof that prevents melting snow and ice from flowing through your gutters. That’s really bad news because these icy blocks can lead to expensive roofing repairs.

Depending on where you live, expect to pay at least $500 for each ice dam to be steamed off. Leave the ice and you risk long-term damage, which could ultimately cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars to your roof, depending on what type of shingles you have and the size of the damaged area.

How to prevent them? Insulation. “Ice dams, icicles, and ice buildup on the gutters is a symptom of not enough insulation in the attic,” says Chris Johnson, owner of Navarre True Value and several other stores in the Twin Cities area.

And “you need to have at least 14 inches of insulation in your attic, no matter where you live,” says Lipford. If you live in a colder climate, you’ll need more.

If you don’t have the cash to insulate, heated gutter cables, which run between $50 and $150 each, can be a less expensive alternative when temporarily affixed to areas prone to ice damming, Johnson suggests.

3. Going Lazy on Your Gutters

What It’ll Cost You: You really don’t want to be in a position to find out

It can be so tempting to skip gutter cleanups as winter nears. It seems like as soon as you clear your gutters, they clog right back up again. So what’s the point?

Well, if it looks like you’re living inside a waterfall when it rains, water is missing your gutter system completely. It’s being directed to your foundation instead. And awater-damaged foundation is never, ever cheap to fix.

A contractor can plug foundation cracks for $1,500 to $3,000, says David Verbofsky, director of training for exterior home products manufacturer Ply Gem. But a worse problem, one that requires a foundation excavation or rebuild, can set you back (gulp) $30,000 or more.

Suddenly, cleaning your gutters a few times each fall doesn’t seem so bad. A pro can do the work for anywhere between $70 and $250, depending on the size of your gutter system.

4. Giving Cold Air a Chance to Sneak In

What It’ll Cost You: Nights where you never feel warm, despite sky-high heating bills

“If it were possible to take every crack on the outside of a typical home and drag them together, you’d have the equivalent of a three-by-three window open all the time,” says Lipford. Yikes.

Yet cracks can be easily and inexpensively sealed with a simple tube of caulk, and it’s available in hundreds of colors to match your window panes, outside siding, and even brick. Not sure where to caulk? Look for visible cracks around:

  • Window sills
  • Baseboards
  • Fireplace or dryer vents
  • Anywhere something inside pokes a hole to the outside

5. Not Getting Personal with Your Thermostat

What It’ll Cost You: Money you could spend on something else besides heating

We all know we should, but we seem to have some mental block when it comes to programming our thermostats to align with our schedules. It’s not that hard, and sometimes all it takes is buying a new one that suits you. (Like maybe a Wi-Fi one that’ll give you a little money-saving thrill each time you swipe your app.)

“From a cost-savings perspective, a programmable thermostat is a great investment,” Lipford says — as much as 10% off your energy bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

6. Skipping Furnace Tune-Ups

What It’ll Cost You: A furnace that’ll die years before it should — and higher energy bills

“Forget to service your furnace and you could easily cut five years off the life of your system,” says Lipford, who added that five years is a full third of the typical unit’s life span. New units can cost around $4,000 installed, making the $125 annual maintenance charge a no-brainer.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to replace the furnace filter, which cleans the air in your home, and also keeps your furnace coils cleaner, which can shave up to 15% off your energy bill. Johnson suggests at least every three months, but possibly as often as monthly if you have allergies, pets, or smoke cigarettes at home.

7. Foregoing a Fireplace Inspection

What It’ll Cost You: Possibly your life — and your home

“A cozy fire is great, but if you don’t maintain your chimney, a fire can cost you thousands of dollars,” says Johnson, not to mention the risk to you and your family.

Schedule your maintenance appointment as early as you can.”If you wait until the busy season, you’ll have a hard time getting them out there, you’ll pay more, and you’ll get a lower quality job,” says Lipford.

Source: HouseLogic.com

Local Holiday Light Shows

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Community Happening / Exploring the Puget Sound Region

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Ready to lift your spirits? Shimmering light shows are a brilliant way to celebrate the winter holiday season. Grab a warm coat and go exploring in gardens, zoos and even on the water.  Here are five local venues that are worth braving the cold to see…

1. WildLights at Woodland Park Zoo

5500 Phinney Ave. N, Seattle WA 98103
www.zoo.org/wildlights | click here to get tickets

  • Dates/Times: Open nightly 11/25/16 – 1/1/17  |  5:30-8:30 pm
  • Cost: $7.95-$9.95 per person (ages 2 and under are free)
  • Promotion: Zoo members who purchase tickets by 12/9 get a $2 discount off each adult ticket
  • Parking: Free parking at the north (Bear Lot), inner north (Otter Lot) and and northwest lot (Penguin Lot)
  • Food: Refreshments are available at food kiosks, Pizza Corner, the Rain Forest Pavilion and at the Pacific Chowder House (with covered seating). Outside food and non-alcoholic drinks are permitted.
  • Special Events and Activities
  • Holiday Closures: 12/24 & 12/25

Wildlights at Woodland Park Zoo

 

2. Garden d’Lights at Bellevue Botanical Garden
12001 Main Street, Bellevue WA 98005
www.gardendlights.org | click here to get tickets

  • Dates/Times: Open nightly 11/26/16 – 12/31/16  |  4:30-9:00 pm
  • Cost: $5 per person (ages 10 and under are free)
  • Promotion: Free admission on 11/28, 11/29, 11/30, 12/1, 12/5, 12/6, 12/7 and 12/8
  • Parking: $5 per car in the Garden’s lot (cash only) as space allows OR park for free at Wilburton Hill Park
  • Food: Hot drinks and snacks are available at the Aaron Education Center
  • Holiday Closures: None

Garden d'Lights at Bellevue Botanical Garden

 

3. Snowflake & Celebration Lane at the Bellevue Collection
Bellevue Way & NE 8th Street, Bellevue WA 98004
http://bellevue.com/snowflake-lane

  • Dates/Times: Nightly 11/25/16 – 12/31/16  |  20 minute show starts at 7 pm
  • Cost: Free
  • Parking: Free parking at Bellevue Square, Bellevue Place and Lincoln Square.
  • Food: A variety of dining options (from happy hour, to kid fare, to gourmet meal) are all within walking distance
  • Special Events & Activities: Ice Skating, Santa Parade & Tree Lighting
  • Holiday Closure: 12/25

Snowflak Lane at the Bellevue Collection

 

4. Christmas Ship Festival
Launch locations include Lake Union Park, Kirkland City Dock, Leschi Marina, Des Moines Marina, Poulsbo Marina, Seattle Waterfront – Pier 55, Tacoma (Dock Street Marina), Port of Edmonds Marina, Fishermen’s Terminal, AGC Marina, and Shilsole Bay Marina
www.argosycruises.com | click here to get tickets

Christmas Ship at Lake Union, Photo Courtesy of Seattle Parks

 

5. Zoolights at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
5400 N. Pearl Street, Tacoma WA 98407
www.pdza.org/zoolights
click here to get non-member tickets OR click here to get member tickets

  • Dates/Times: Open nightly 11/25/16 – 1/1/17  |  5-9 pm
  • Cost: $8.50-$10.00 per person (ages 2 and under are free)
  • Promotions:
    -$5 tickets for zoo members
    -Combo Pass that includes daytime zoo admission ($12-$16)
    -Military Nights ($8 for US Veterans): 11/28, 11/30, 12/5, 12/7, 12/12 & 12/14
    -Scout Night ($8 for registered Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts): 12/6
  • Parking: Free parking in zoo lots (entrance on Pearl Street)
  • Food: Hot drinks and treats are available at the café and kiosks throughout the zoo
  • Activities
  • Holiday Closure: 12/24

Zoolights at Point Defiance

©Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island

The Trump effect. How will it impact the US economy and housing?

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Real Estate

Originally published on Windermere Blog by author Matthew Gardner, chief economist of Windermere Real Estate.

american-flag-1208660_960_720The American people have spoken and they have elected Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States. Change was clearly demanded, and change is what we will have.

The election was a shock for many, especially on the West Coast where we have not been overly affected by the long-term loss in US manufacturing or stagnant wage growth of the past decade. But the votes are in and a new era is ahead of us. So, what does this mean for the housing market?

First and foremost I would say that we should all take a deep breath. In a similar fashion to the UK’s “Brexit”, there will be a “whiplash” effect, as was seen in overnight trading across the globe. However, at least in the US, equity markets have calmed as they start to take a closer look at what a Trump presidency will mean.

On a macro level, I would start by stating that political rhetoric and hyperbole do not necessarily translate into policy. That is the most important message that I want to get across. I consider it highly unlikely that many of the statements regarding trade protectionism will actually go into effect. It will be very important for President Trump to tone down his platform on renegotiating trade agreements and imposing tariffs on China. I also deem it highly unlikely that a 1,000-mile wall will actually get built.

It is crucial that some of the more inflammatory statements that President-Elect Trump has made be toned down or markets will react negatively. However, what is of greater concern to me is that neither candidate really approached questions regarding housing with any granularity. There was little-to-no-discussion regarding housing finance reform, so I will be watching this topic very closely over the coming months.

As far as the housing market is concerned, it is really too early to make any definitive comment. That said, Trump ran on a platform of deregulation and this could actually bode well for real estate. It might allow banks the freedom to lend more, which in turn, could further energize the market as more buyers may qualify for home loans.

Concerns over rising interest rates may also be overstated. As history tells us, during times of uncertainty we tend to put more money into bonds. If this holds true, then we may see a longer-than-expected period of below-average rates. Today’s uptick in bond yields is likely just temporary.

Proposed infrastructure spending could boost employment and wages, which again, would be a positive for housing markets. Furthermore, easing land use regulations has the potential to begin addressing the problem of housing affordability across many of our nation’s housing markets – specifically on the West Coast.

Economies do not like uncertainty. In the near-term we may see a temporary lull in the US economy, as well as the housing market, as we analyze what a Trump presidency really means. But at the present time, I do not see any substantive cause for panic in the housing sector.

We are a resilient nation, and as long as we continue to have checks-and balances, I have confidence that we will endure any period of uncertainty and come out stronger.

Matthew Gardner is the Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, specializing in residential market analysis, commercial/industrial market analysis, financial analysis, and land use and regional economics. He is the former Principal of Gardner Economics, and has over 25 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

Photo Credit: Aktim Ι Pixabay