Olympia and Thurston County Washington
Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from national market statistics to greater Olympia area home value trends and Thurston County happenings. That’s because we care about the community we serve and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all or have a question or situation we can bring clarity to, and maybe it will end up being an article to help everyone!

Search our blog for helpful videos and articles.

Feb. 15, 2024

MVP eNews February 2024

What's the #1 reason people are moving this year?

Pent-up housing demand is being created not just by declining mortgage rates, but also through milestones in people's lives (retirement, newborns, marriages, etc.). Every day people are buying and selling homes, with many making the choice to move closer to family. And with the predicted 3 million marriage, 7 million births, and 7 million people turning 65 over the next two years, more buyers and sellers are on their way.


If you know someone who might be looking to take advantage of declining rates to be closer to family, let us know! We're ready to be of service. 

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Jan. 15, 2024

MVP eNews January 2024

Here's a quick 1 minute update on the US Housing Market. You may be surprised to find out what's been going on...

Interest rates have always fluctuated, but on average have hovered in the 5-10% range for the past three decades. And industry experts believe rates will potentially fall to the low 6 percent range by the end of 2024. I hope this helps bring some perspective on the current conditions. If you have more questions or would like to talk about how this could be effecting you, reach out! Email Matthew@MVPRealtyGroup.com or call/text (360) 915-9123. I'm more than happy to help you, your family, and your friends understand what's going on. 

 

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Dec. 15, 2023

MVP eNews December 2023

For our annual Food Drive this year, we were able to send several bags of food and $5,500 with your contributions and MVP matching them! Thank you! The Thurston County Food Bank recently celebrated 51 years of continuous service. They sent us a progress report on all they've been able to accomplish this year, which highlights perfectly why MVP continues to support them! 

"As you can imagine the need to help our neighbors who struggle continues to grow. This past year one in five people (almost 61,500) in Thurston County and surrounding areas received services from the Food Bank. This included youth under the age of 18 (42%) and seniors 60 or older (21%). Donations like yours allowed us to distribute 5.5 million pounds of wholesome food!"


Alyssa and Peter Knudtson, long-time clients here at MVP, have inspired their community to come together to create art along the blank fence lines in their neighborhood; they call their initiative the OlyPlywood Project. They were recently featured in an article on Thurston Talk, detailing their endeavor and how it's brought their community closer together. Click here to read the article in full on their enterprise.

Are you up to something in your area of town? We'd love to hear about it! Drop us a line at Matthew@MVPRealtyGroup.com


Our sister company, MVP Property Pros, has been managing rental properties since 2010 and has an immediate opening for a full-time Maintenance Coordinator / Tech. Check it out at www.MVPPRopertyPros.com. And if you know someone who needs help with their rental property, we are never too busy for your referrals!

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Nov. 16, 2023

MVP eNews November 2023

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Fall Photo Contest! Our judges had some tough choices with all the gorgeous photos that were supplied.

The grand prize winner is Andrea Baker's adorably festive pup! Runner-up is Kayla Schwartz's beautifully adorned front porch. We did have an honorable mention from Michael Eekhoff - nature's decoration in the mountains. 

In the Kid's Contest, we were incredibly impressed with Ms. Olivia's entry. She elected to create her own drawing that has a wonderful open-closed effect! She is looking forward to soon being the proud owner of the World's Largest Gummy Bear. 

Scroll down to see all our winners! Thank you to all who participated! Keep your eyes peeled for the next opportunity to win fabulous prizes. 

Winter Is Coming... Pro House Tip

While we may not get that beautiful layer of white snow to stick through the season, here in the Northwest, we're still subjected to freezing temperatures that can wreak havoc on our homes. One quick way to protect your plumbing is to remove outdoor hoses and install an inexpensive hose bib cover. This helps prevent your plumbing from splitting inside your walls and causing all sorts of damage. Pick up a cover in the plumbing section of your local hardware store for only a few dollars and potentially save yourself thousands!

Small Business Saturday - November 25

This year, Small Business Saturday is on Nov. 25. A strong small business community helps to create a dynamic and thriving healthy overall community. Here are some creative and fun ways on how you can support your local small businesses this holiday season. 

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Posted in Community, MVP Events
Oct. 13, 2023

MVP eNews October 2023

Our Autumn Photo Contest is here! And looking a little different from years past, so you'll want to check out just how easy it is to enter and win this year. Cash prizes for the photo winners and some fantastical prizes for our kids' coloring contest, too. Click here to get the details. We just can't wait to see all the entries!

Less Is More

If you have "good" things you never used because you didn't want to ruin them, now is the time to enjoy them! On the other hand, if you were holding onto things you didn't love but felt guilty not using, part with them now and turn to a new chapter with something you'll actually use. Whether you're downsizing for yourself or a loved one due to a move or just decluttering, going through a home can bring up many emotions. Follow these tips to make the process go as smoothly as possible. 

  1. Only use a storage unit if absolutely necessary. It's all too easy to store items you will never use again, or worse, will have to move in the future. It's also an additional expense you will keep incurring. 
  2. Follow the rule, "Everything must have a place." This takes time, but plotting out what goes where will save you time, money, and heartache. (And no, a junk drawer doesn't count in this rule of thumb.)
  3. Regarding major appliances or furniture, ask yourself, "Does it make sense to buy a new one?" Maybe you've been having to call a repair tech more frequently, or maybe yours works just fine and you're lingering a little too long in the appliance section at Home Depot. Either way, taking stock of your situation as it stands is a good idea. 
  4. Recruit an impartial friend to help you make objective, practical decisions about what to keep, donate, or toss. 

Market Stats

For the first time in what seems like forever, our year over year median price trend in Thurston County is showing no change. Nothing to be alarmed about as we come into the Fall. Experts continue to tell us we're not going toward a recession anytime soon and we are still seeing pricing trending upward, just at a snail's crawl (normal) compared to the Superman leaps that were happening in Spring 2022 (unusual). Now, what the housing market is doing at this very second really matters the most if you're hoping to Buyer or Sell right now. If that's you, reach out to us today! We want to make sure you're educated in today's shifting market. Reply to this email or call/text (360) 915-9123.

Bonus: Do Sellers Have to Disclose if their House is Haunted?

The answer is YES - but not in Washington. The State of New York actually requires home sellers to disclose if they believe their home is haunted.  It is known as "the Ghostbuster Ruling," which is frequently discussed in property law classes, mentioned in textbooks and cited by other courts.  I guess it makes sense, since 41% of Americans believe in ghosts according to a YouGov survey! (Thanks to our associate, Kale Dunning of Windermere in Vancouver, WA for this fun fact)

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Oct. 5, 2023

The Return of Normal Seasonality for Home Price Appreciation



If you’re thinking of making a move, one of the biggest questions you have right now is probably: what’s happening with home prices? Despite what you may be hearing in the news, nationally, home prices aren’t falling. It’s just that price growth is beginning to normalize. Here’s the context you need to really understand that trend.

In the housing market, there are predictable ebbs and flows that happen each year. It’s called seasonality. Spring is the peak homebuying season when the market is most active. That activity is typically still strong in the summer but begins to wane as the cooler months approach. Home prices follow along with seasonality because prices appreciate most when something is in high demand.

That’s why there’s a reliable long-term home price trend. The graph below uses data from Case-Shiller to show typical monthly home price movement from 1973 through 2022 (not adjusted, so you can see the seasonality):

As the data shows, at the beginning of the year, home prices grow, but not as much as they do in the spring and summer markets. That’s because the market is less active in January and February since fewer people move in the cooler months. As the market transitions into the peak homebuying season in the spring, activity ramps up, and home prices go up a lot more in response. Then, as fall and winter approach, activity eases again. Price growth slows, but still typically appreciates.

After several unusual ‘unicorn’ years, today’s higher mortgage rates helped usher in the first signs of the return of seasonality. As Selma Hepp, Chief Economist at CoreLogic, explains:

High mortgage rates have slowed additional price surges, with monthly increases returning to regular seasonal averages. In other words, home prices are still growing but are in line with historic seasonal expectations.”

Why This Is So Important to Understand

In the coming months, you’re going to see the media talk more about home prices. In their coverage, you’ll likely see industry terms like these:

  • Appreciation: when prices increase.
  • Deceleration of appreciation: when prices continue to appreciate, but at a slower or more moderate pace.
  • Depreciation: when prices decrease.

Don’t let the terminology confuse you or let any misleading headlines cause any unnecessary fear. The rapid pace of home price growth the market saw in recent years was unsustainable. It had to slow down at some point and that’s what we’re starting to see – deceleration of appreciation, not depreciation. 

Remember, it’s normal to see home price growth slow down as the year goes on. And that definitely doesn’t mean home prices are falling. They’re just rising at a more moderate pace.

Bottom Line

While the headlines are generating fear and confusion on what’s happening with home prices, the truth is simple. Home price appreciation is returning to normal seasonality. If you have questions about what’s happening with prices in our local area, let’s connect.

Posted in Market Updates
Aug. 16, 2023

eNews August 2023

Cabinets - Replace or Reface?

We're here for you, even after you buy your home! Whether you're purchasing for an investment or for personal use, the whole MVP Team has your back. Our sister company, MVP Property Pros, comes fully equipped for both property management and general contracting. Take our latest blog post from owner, Matthew Plummer, for instance, about a quick kitchen facelift. Click here to read the whole article. If you have any questions about a home improvement, maintenance, or renovation, or need referrals to quality tradespeople, MVP is here to help! 


Travel Tips to Stay Healthy

Whether you're dropping your kids off at college, squeezing out every opportunity to get sunshine before it's gone, or just planning ahead for the holidays, staying healthy is key to enjoy as much of your time as you can. Here are some smart strategies for healthy traveling along the way. 

Flying? Walk around the terminal to support circulation while you wait. Use an eye mask and sound machine to help get a better night's rest while you're in an unfamiliar sleeping environment. Pack healthy snacks and water instead of panic buying the closest candy bar and soda. Check out the whole list on the graphic below.


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Aug. 15, 2023

Cabinets - Replace or Reface?

By Matthew Plummer, CEO / Designated Broker

Oak cabinets in dated kitchen

One of the reasons kitchen remodels can get so expensive here in Olympia, Washington is the cost of replacing cabinets. Quality and features range from cheap and flimsy to solid and spendy. And then you can plan on the cost for installation of the cabinets to be 100-150% of the cost for the cabinets themselves!

Another option is to "reface" or refinish your cabinets. With the era of stained oak long passed, some folks are either hiring professional painters or having a go at DIY to give them that smooth, painted style seen in the magazines now. I have heard and seen mixed results with painting previously stained cabinetry. My mother-in-law in fact had her oak cabinets professionally painted, and they scuff quite easily.

When Valerie and I remodeled our kitchen (yes, the photo above is our old kitchen), we asked a few professional painters about refinishing, and they too had concerns about the quality and longevity of painting previously stained cabinets. We also researched new cabinets. Our current cabinets were high quality, so we didn't want something that would get beat up in just five years, but the quality cabinets were EXPENSIVE. So, here's what we did.

We tossed all the cabinet doors and drawer fronts and ordered brand-new, factory painted ones from www.CabinetDoorWorld.com, complete with soft close hinges! We got to choose a new style (we chose shaker) and provided them with the exact measurements of our previous cabinet doors and drawer fronts as well as our desired Sherwin-Williams color code.

We then did a little sanding, primed, and painted the exteriors of the cabinet boxes and face frames ourselves (Okay, Valerie did most of it. She's pretty amazing) with the same SW paint color. I then added new beadboard to a couple of the exposed cabinet sides for accent and had the pleasure of installing all the doors and drawer fronts when they arrived to our door on a pallet. The painting we did of the frames isn't perfectly smooth, but it holds up nicely, is easy to touch up, and really doesn't stand out with the brand-new doors and drawer fronts being prominent. Here's a photo.

Refinished oak cabinets to white shaker with new doors and drawer fronts.

If you have any questions about a home improvement, maintenance, or renovation, or need referrals to quality tradespeople, MVP is here to help! Or, if it would just be easier to find your next home with your perfect vision-of-a-kitchen, move-in ready, we can help with that too!

How did you go about renovating your cabinets? Comment below!

Posted in Home Improvement
July 8, 2023

Summer Specials 2023

June 1, 2023

Unicorns Have Galloped Off




Comparing real estate metrics from one year to another can be challenging in a normal housing market. That’s due to possible variability in the market making the comparison less meaningful or accurate. Unpredictable events can have a significant impact on the circumstances and outcomes being compared. 

Comparing this year’s numbers to the two ‘unicorn’ years we just experienced is almost worthless. By ‘unicorn,’ this is the less common definition of the word:

“Something that is greatly desired but difficult or impossible to find.” 

The pandemic profoundly changed real estate over the last few years. The demand for a home of our own skyrocketed, and people needed a home office and big backyard. 

  • Waves of first-time and second-home buyers entered the market.
  • Already low mortgage rates were driven to historic lows. 
  • The forbearance plan all but eliminated foreclosures.
  • Home values reached appreciation levels never seen before.

It was a market that forever had been “greatly desired but difficult or impossible to find.” A ‘unicorn’ year.

Now, things are getting back to normal. The ‘unicorns’ have galloped off. 

Comparing today’s market to those years makes no sense. Here are three examples: 

Buyer Demand 

If you look at the headlines, you’d think there aren’t any buyers out there. We still sell over 10,000 houses a day in the United States. Of course, buyer demand is down from the two ‘unicorn’ years. But, according to ShowingTime, if we compare it to normal years (2017-2019), we can see that buyer activity is still strong (see graph below):

Home Prices

We can’t compare today’s home price increases to the last couple of years. According to Freddie Mac, 2020 and 2021 each had historic appreciation numbers. Here’s a graph also showing the more normal years (2017-2019):

We can see that we’re returning to more normal home value increases. There were several months of minimal depreciation in the second half of 2022. However, according to Fannie Mae, the market has returned to more normal appreciation in the first quarter of this year.

Foreclosures 

There have already been some startling headlines about the percentage increases in foreclosure filings. Of course, the percentages will be up. They are increases over historically low foreclosure rates. Here’s a graph with information from ATTOM, a property data provider:

There will be an increase over the numbers of the last three years now that the moratorium on foreclosures has ended. There are homeowners who lose their home to foreclosure every year, and it’s heartbreaking for those families. But, if we put the current numbers into perspective, we’ll realize that we’re actually going back to the normal filings from 2017-2019.

Bottom Line

There will be very unsettling headlines around the housing market this year. Most will come from inappropriate comparisons to the ‘unicorn’ years. Let’s connect so you have an expert on your side to help you keep everything in proper perspective.

Posted in Real Estate News