John L. Scott Real Estate Chairman and CEO J. Lennox Scott shared his updated 2022 King County housing outlook with Seattle Agent this week.
At the end of 2021, Scott made three key predictions for the housing market in the coming year, and through nearly one-quarter of 2022, his projections seem to be on the mark. But he offered a few additional insights this week.
“Interest rates are going up faster than several economists had forecasted late last year,” he told Seattle Agent. “Additionally, the number of new resale listings coming on the market each month is adjusting upward as the spring housing market begins. These two factors will transition the spring ‘uber frenzy’ housing market down several levels of hotness to a frenzy market as we head toward the summer.”
Scott urged homebuyers to keep recent interest rate hikes in perspective, and he said job growth will be crucial to maintaining a robust housing market, something he expects to continue.
“Home mortgage interest rates have increased to the mid 4% range, which would be considered fantastic on a historical basis, but it is an adjustment from the recent low rates that we are absorbing,” he said. “With this change, the main focus for the future strength of housing will be job growth, which is the No. 1 indicator to a strong housing market. The Central Puget Sound region is currently seeing extremely strong job growth, which is likely to continue in the years ahead.”
Scott outlined his predictions for 2022 in John L. Scott Real Estate’s King County housing report released at the end of 2021. His predictions:
Intensity adjustment: “Economists are forecasting interest rates will rise in the year ahead. If this takes place, we expect the market will go through an intensity adjustment as we head toward summer,” Scott said.
Price appreciation: “The local market has seen tremendous price appreciation in the last two years. We anticipate that price appreciation will moderate slightly this year,” Scott said in the report. “After the big price boost in the spring, premium pricing may lower this summer. However, the year 2022 will end with positive price appreciation overall.”
Luxury market stability: “The luxury market has taken off over the last two years and will continue to be a strong segment of the local market due to solid job growth, the wealth effect and historically low interest rates,” Scott said.
It’s also important to keep an eye on rising energy costs as well as supply chain and staffing issues, all of which could affect the housing industry this year, the report said.