2016 Economic & Housing Forecast by Matthew Gardner

Windermere is fortunate to have Chief Economist Matthew Gardner on staff to provide valuable analysis of the economy and housing market. Matthew recently completed his national economic forecast which details his predictions for the 2016 economy and housing market. You can read the forecast below.

The National Economic Forecast

1.The U.S. will continue to expand with real GDP growth of 2.3% in 2016.

Although a positive number, the forecasted rate of growth suggests that we will be modestly underperforming in 2016.  On a positive note, oil prices are likely to remain well below long-term averages, which puts more money into consumers’ pockets in terms of disposable incomes.  However, I believe that consumers are likely to continue to save rather than spend which will constrain growth.  That said, there is certainly no recession on the horizon – at least not yet – and a strong dollar will act as a bit of an anchor.

2.Employment will continue to expand but the rate of growth will slow. Look for an increase of 1.6% in 2016.

We are rapidly approaching full employment (generally considered to be when the unemployment rate drops below 5 percent).  As such, growth in employment has to be driven more by population growth rather than a return to employment. 2015 saw an average of around 210,000 jobs created per month and I believe that this is likely to slow to an average monthly gain of 190,000 new jobs.

3.The U.S. unemployment rate will continue to drop and end 2016 at 4.8%.

As mentioned above, we are heading toward full employment and, as such, the national unemployment rate cannot trend much lower.  That said, the less acknowledged U-6 rate (which includes those working part-time and those marginally attached to the workforce) will remain elevated at around 8%, signifying that there is still some slack in the economy and room for the rate to drop a little further.

4.Inflation will remain in check with the Consumer Price Index at 1.9%.

The Federal Reserve has begun the long-awaited tightening of monetary policy and we will likely see the Fed Funds Rate continue to move higher over the next two years. Inflation has yet to respond to the low unemployment rate, but it will.   

The core rate of inflation should remain in check and the overall rate could stay below long-term averages as a function of stubbornly low energy costs. Should we see a shift in OPEC’s position relative to oil supply, the overall rate of inflation could rise more rapidly.  Oil prices, therefore, will remain in focus during 2016.

The National Housing Market Forecast

5.Mortgage rates will rise, but we will still end 2016 with the average 30-year fixed rate below 5%.

I am taking the Fed at its word when it says that monetary tightening in 2016 will be gradual and heavily data dependent. Accordingly, I expect only a modest uptick in long-term rates in 2016. Furthermore, as long as the Federal Reserve continues to reinvest the dividends that it is receiving from their bond holdings – which is highly likely – the yield on the key 10-year treasury will remain low and hold mortgage rates in check. This is only likely to change after the general election, therefore suggesting that rates will remain very attractive relative to their long-term averages.

6.Credit Quality – which had been remarkably stringent – will relax a little.

Access to credit, specifically mortgage instruments, has not been easy for many would-be homebuyers but that is set to change.  I believe that we will see some improvement, specifically for borrowers with “near-prime” credit. This will be of some assistance to first-time buyers; however, credit quality will still be higher than it needs to be.

7.Existing home sales will rise modestly to an annual rate of 5.53 million units with existing home prices up by 4.7%.

I anticipate that we will see some improvement in overall transactional velocities in 2016, but unfortunately, demand will still exceed supply. Prices will continue to rise, but at a more constrained pace than seen over the past few years. This will be a function of modestly rising interest rates as well as slightly improving levels of inventory. I anticipate that we will see more listings come online as more households return to positions of positive equity in their homes.

8.New home sales will jump and be one of the biggest stories for 2016.  Look for a 23% increase in sales and prices rising by 3.4%.

I believe that builders will start to build to the entry-level buyer, filling a huge void.  Additionally, I see the total number of new home starts increase quite dramatically in 2016 as banks start to ease lending and builders start to believe that the downward trend in homeownership has come to an end.  This will help to absorb some of the pent-up demand currently in the market.

9.Foreclosures will continue to trend down to “pre-bubble” averages.

Any story regarding foreclosures will be a non-story as the rate will continue to trend down toward historic averages. However, we will see the occasional uptick as banks work their way through their existing inventory of foreclosed homes. Move along.  There’s nothing to see here.

10.The Millennials will start to enter the market.

There are several substantial reasons to expect an increase in Millennial buyers. Firstly, early Millennials are getting older and starting to settle down, and even with modestly higher mortgage rates, rents are likely to continue to trend upward, and this will pull many into homeownership.

Secondly, more favorable mortgage insurance premiums, additional supply from downsizing boomers, and growing confidence in the housing market will lead to palpable growth in demand from this important – and substantial – demographic.

To conclude, it appears to me that 2016 will be a year of few surprises – at least until the general election! Because it is an election year, I do not expect to see any significant governmental moves that would have major impacts on the U.S. economy or the housing market.


Posted on January 12, 2016 at 6:42 am
Jerry Paine | Category: Wenatchee Properties Blog

2014 Housing Crystal Ball

I found the linked article on MSN Money this morning regarding the prognosis for the housing market for 2014 and thought it had some really good points.  You can read the article here.

Of course this is a national estimate and each market is different.  Give me a call to discuss how things look for the Wenatchee, Cashmere and Leavenworth markets for 2014.  I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have about the value of your current home or real estate questions in general.

Happy holidays to all,

Jerry Paine

Posted on December 12, 2013 at 10:08 am
Jerry Paine | Category: Wenatchee Properties Blog

Homeownership – the road to wealth

As a broker, my job is to list and sell homes, so of course, I'm going to tell you that you should invest in real estate if you want to build long term and lasting wealth.  

We all know that the housing market took a big hit in late 2008-2009 and the recovery has been slow.  Although things are looking better with rising prices and a lack of inventory, causing cases of multiple offers, values have not skyrocketed like they did in the period between 2005-and mid 2008.

Some pundits have insisted that perhaps housing is not the best investment vehicle for long term wealth acquisition.  A recent KCM blog offers a little insight on this question.  Please click here to read the article. 

All in all, it appears that home ownership is still the single smartest and safest way to build long term wealth.

When you're looking to buy or sell a property, please give me a call.  I always contribute a portion of my commissions to the Wenatchee Valley Humane Society.  With your help we can put some deserving dogs and cats into new homes too!


Posted on October 14, 2013 at 11:49 am
Jerry Paine | Category: Real Estate Happenings, Wenatchee Properties Blog, Wenatchee Real Estate | Tagged , , , , ,

Wenatchee Real Estate Today

I was recently looking at the latest snap shot report from Pacific Appraisal and it reaffirms what most agents are seeing and feeling in the market place – that values are starting to rise and if you put a home on the market, it will sell for list price in less then 30 to 60 days.  In some price ranges, this could be true.  When looking at homes under $250,000 the average days on market is under 4 months and values in some price ranges have risen as much as 8% since this time last year.  All this points to a great market, correct?

Yes, this is a trick question.  At the first of the year, there was a true lack of inventory and those homes that were placed on the market were priced correctly, were market ready – staged, repairs done and were cosmetically appealing.  Those homes did bring a great price, they sold in less then 100 days and they had less concessions due to repair needs.  As late as May of this year, interest rates were still around 3.5% and it seemed that the sky was the limit.  

Since then we've seen interest rates rise by a point to 4.5%.  I've also seen some sellers trying to take advantage of the uptick in the market.  Unfortunately, the lack of presentation for the perceived value in their minds is evident.  You still have to make sure the property is priced right based on recently sold properties (this is how an appraiser values your home – not on what the house around the corner is listed for) .  I've also seen some properties that were not even close to being ready to sell.  Your home doesn't have to be on the cover of BHG, but it does need to be clean, staged and repaired.

As part of my marketing plan, I incorporate pre-inspections, staging and have repair personnel that can help with the process.  I also provide professional photographs.  If you agent isn't doing these things, how do you expect to get the best offer in the least amount of time?  When you're ready to sell your home, hire a true professional Realtor.  Give me a call for all your real estate needs.

Posted on August 15, 2013 at 8:41 am
Jerry Paine | Category: Wenatchee Properties Blog

Monthly Real Estate Snap Shot Report

The Pacific Appraisal Real Estate Snapshot report came out this morning for April and as expected, it shows that the Wenatchee market area is seeing robust sales, climbing values and more building.  

Sales volume, when compared to April 2012, show a 21% increase.  This is a phenominal number and rivals the increases we saw in the period between 2005 and early 2008.  The average sales price has also increased by 8% from $228,551 to $246,833.  

Homes that are priced below $350,000 are selling quickly and they average less then 5 months on the market.  A balanced market is considered to average 6 months selling time, so this by all accounts looks to be a sellers market again.

I've linked the Pacific Appraisal report here.  Take a look and see how the market it doing.

Posted on May 22, 2013 at 9:28 pm
Jerry Paine | Category: Wenatchee Properties Blog

2013. A good year to sell? Part 3

People often ask me if now is a good time to sell.  The answer is really dependant on personal circumstances, but for the most part right now is the best time to sell that I've seen in the past 5 years.  

In the previous two post, I covered the aspects of the shrinking existing inventory and pent up buyer demand is actually spilling over and creating a lack of existing homes on the market.  

Today we'll talk a little about a recent KCM blog that outlined why new construction homes will be your new competition.  Please see the article here.

Here are a few points from the recent article:



  • Single-family authorizations in February were at a rate of 600,000.
  • This is 25.5% above February 2012.


  • Single-family housing starts in February were at a rate of 618,000.
  • This is 18.5% above February 2012.


  • Single-family housing completions in February were at a rate of 574,000.
  • This is 32.9% above February 2012.

As we mentioned, new construction can be strong competition to a seller of an existing home. It may make sense to list your home before this new inventory makes its way to market.  Give me a call to see if selling now makes sense for you.  Thank you, Jerry

Posted on April 26, 2013 at 11:01 am
Jerry Paine | Category: Wenatchee Properties Blog | Tagged , , , , , ,

April 2013 Real Estate Snap Shot Report

Last week I was interviewed by KPQ radio for the business beat talking about the health of the real estate industry in the Wenatchee Valley.  Pacific Appraisal Associates prepares and publishes a monthly snap shot report showing how the market is compared to the same month in the previous year.  

This report shows a vast improvement in the local housing market.  See the most recent Snap Shot Report here.

The number of homes sold and the actual dollar volume has increased significantly when compared to April 2012.  It also shows that the number of new listings is decreasing and that will eventually lead to a slow down of sales.  

In another post, I've been talking about the lack of inventory nationwide and how 2013 will be a great year to try to sell your home.  Low interest rates and low inventory equate to the best seller's market that we've seen for several years.  Don't miss your chance if you're thinking about selling – now is a great time.

When you're ready to sell your property give me a call and lets talk about how my experience and marketing plan can help you achieve your real estate goals.

Jerry Paine 

Posted on April 22, 2013 at 11:04 am
Jerry Paine | Category: Real Estate Happenings, Wenatchee Properties Blog | Tagged , , , , , , ,

2013. A good year to sell? Part 2

Across the country housing inventory levels are dropping like a rock.  According to the National Association of Realtors, the average housing inventory is below a 5 month supply, this is 20% below the levels of just one year ago.  Please read the KCM Blog about this info here.

Here in the Wenatchee Valley, the same thing is true with extremely low levels in all price ranges under $500,000.  With the exception of the price range from $350,000 to 400,000, all other value ranges are showing less then a 4 month supply on the market.  


While there is no steadfast rule that will apply to pricing in every category of housing, here is a great guideline:

1-4 months’ supply creates a sellers’ market where there are not enough homes to satisfy buyer demand. Appreciation is guaranteed.

5-6 months’ supply creates a balanced market. Historically home values appreciate at a rate a little greater than inflation.

7-8 months’ supply creates a buyers’ market where the number of homes for sale exceeds the demand. Depreciation follows.

Now is the best time to sell since 2005 according to KCM, and I have to agree.

Call me when you're ready to make a move, I'll put my experience to work for you.

Posted on April 22, 2013 at 6:34 am
Jerry Paine | Category: Wenatchee Properties Blog | Tagged , , , ,

2013. A good year to sell? Part 1

More and more, I'm seeing articles from a variety of news and real estate sites that say this year will be a good year to sell your home.  In most parts of the county, inventory levels are shrinking and demand is increasing.  This is leading to some speculation that a new construction boom is right around the corner.  

A recent 3 part article from the KCM Blog deals with the perceived demand, shortage of inventory and the inevitable building boom that will take place.  Read part one here.


When selling anything, owners can only hope there is a strong demand for that which they are selling. The great news for today’s home sellers is that the current housing market is experiencing a stronger demand than we have seen in some time. The  spring housing market of 2013 is projected to be one of the best in years.

If you've been thinking about selling, there may not be a better time to do it.  Inventory levels are low and selling now puts you in the best position to capture the buyer before they have new construction choices to consider.

Give me a call to discuss the best way to market your home and help you achieve your real estate goals.

Jerry Paine

Wenatchee Properties.

Posted on April 13, 2013 at 3:00 pm
Jerry Paine | Category: Wenatchee Properties Blog | Tagged , , , ,

It’s all about curb appeal

Spring is here and it's time to plant flowers, clean up beds, green up the grass and touch up the paint.  The old adage of you never get a second chance to make a first impression is so true when it comes to selling your home.  If the lawn and flower beds don't look pristine, then a buyer will believe that the inside of the home is also not pristine.  This may not be a fair judgement, but it exist anyway.

A couple hundred dollars spent in landscaping and flowers will go along way to keeping a prospective buyer interested enough to set an appointment and look at the inside of the home as well.  This doesn't have to be elaborate or require a landscape architect, but color and clean edges will show off the home and give it that all important curb appeal.

For more expert tips or information on how I can help you achieve your real estate goals, give me a call.

Posted on April 12, 2013 at 11:13 am
Jerry Paine | Category: Wenatchee Properties Blog | Tagged , , ,