Five things we now know that we didn’t know before the end of 2007.

1.)  The housing crash did not happen in Seattle despite constant media reports, bearish pundets, and market crises in most other regions of the US throughout 2006.

2.)  It is possible for one of the nation’s top mortgage companies, American Home Mortgage, to stop funding approved loans leaving some homebuyers unpleasantly surprised at their closing appointments.

3.)  In Seattle, the biggest portion of new construction inventory, approximately 3500 units is proposed for 2010. However, these inventories may not all come through.

4.)  Homebuyers care deeply and intensely about how developers communicate with them on the delays for their condo and aren’t afraid to blog, post, and comment about it. Some of those developers and marketers will probably get more skepticism on their future projects.

5.)  Most buyers went into wait and see mode in late 2007 and, for the most part, sellers didn’t budge, took their properties off the market, or made symbolic price reductions.

Five things we suspected were true in 2007 but now we know for sure.

1.)  Seattle strong job growth is keeping the demand up.

2.)  Retiree (65 and above) and baby boomers formed the largest group of home buyers for new condo projects in downtown Seattle.

3.)  There is material demand for previously untested hotel/condo combo projects in the Seattle market.

4.)  Apartment-to-condo conversions decreased the supply of rentals and local job growth pushed up previously stable rental prices. 

5.)  The days of easy double digit appreciation and speculative flipping are over (at least for the next few years).

Five things we need to know as soon as possible if we want to know what is going to happen for Seattle condo market in the long term.

1.)  Will buyers re-enter the market in the first quarter of 2008 or will they continue to wait and see?

2.)  Will sellers continue their relative discipline and patience or will they start a price race to the bottom?

3.)  Will Seattle’s employers maintain their growth or will they be affected by slower economic growth as seen in other regions in the country?

4.)  Will rental properties raise rents enough to make waiting less attractive than buying?

5.)  Will the sub-prime mortgage mess spread to the rest of the mortgage industry?