Three Deck Design Ideas to Get Your Yard Ready for Summer

A delightfully warm spring in many parts of the Western U.S. has many folks brushing off their summer clothing early. While this is exciting for all who love the outdoors, public spaces like parks and beaches may be overcrowded. What better time, then, to focus on ways to maximize the space you have in your own home. There’s no one ideal way to design or set up your deck, but we’ve put together a few of our favorite ideas to help inspire your next redesign.

Multi-level Decks

Credit: H. Camille Smith / HGTV

Credit: H. Camille Smith / HGTV

  • Especially if your square footage is limited, tiering your deck into multiple levels is a great way to incorporate extra outdoor space into your home.
  • By separating your deck into multiple levels, even slightly, you can create a cozy sense of separation between spaces.
  • Give yourself options for privacy. Depending on your property, the base level of your deck may be below your fence-line. If you have a view you’d like to enjoy with your barbecue, consider a second tier.

Built-in Seating


  • A simple way to save space and hassle is to build in your seating spaces during your deck’s construction. 
  • It’s important to consider what you will predominantly be doing on your deck. Lounging while reading? A corner bench is a great fit and can be outfitted comfortably. Potlucks and cookouts? Consider higher benches or fences with wide tops for easy plate placement.
  • Consider your environment. If your deck will weather rain, sand, or wind consistently, don’t write off surfaces like brick and concrete, which can be framed as appealingly as wood or other stone.

Custom Lighting


  • As the sun fades, your deck’s utility can shine or fade with it. Including discreet lighting within the construction of your deck is a small step that can pay huge dividends.
  • Increasingly popular low-voltage systems have made a well-lit backyard and deck drastically more affordable.
  • Depending on your location, solar powered lighting is a worthwhile investment that can help accentuate your stairs, fences, and other outdoor decorations.

How to Get Started in Real Estate Investing

Investing in real estate is one of the world’s most venerable pathways to building wealth. When properly managed, income from renting or real estate investment trusts can provide you with the financial security to plan out the rest of your life. The conclusion is easy to envision, but knowing where to begin can be overwhelming, particularly for anyone who has never previously owned a home. 

At Windermere our goal is always to improve and support our communities, so we’ve put together a few key things to keep in mind as you enter the world of real estate investment.

Know the right type of investment for you

Investing in real estate needn’t commit you to being a landlord. A Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) is a low-maintenance way to get involved in real estate with next to none of the day-to-day monitoring required of direct property management. REITs are trusts that typically own multiple properties, and investors may purchase shares within the REIT. Typically, as the value of the property rises, so too do the values of your shares. If you’d like to dip a toe into real estate investing before diving in fully, a REIT is a great place to start.

Start with your own home

Owning the roof over your head is a basic step towards investing success. Even better, when you plan to live in the home you’re buying (rather than renting it out), you will likely benefit from lower mortgage rates and a cheaper down payment. The reasoning is straightforward – lenders see a loan to people purchasing the home they live in as an investment in people highly committed to the property. 

Once you’ve owned your own house for a few years, you can look to purchase a new home to move into. By purchasing the new home with the intent to move in, you’ll be eligible to receive more favorable financing once again. After you’ve secured your new home, your first home is primed to be transformed into a rental property, and you can continue to see a return on your investment. If you’re seeking further support with buying a first, second, or third home, our website and our agents are full of information.

Cast a wide net

The best investment opportunity isn’t always going to be right underneath your nose. While there are logistical benefits to focusing locally with your investment, you may miss more profitable opportunities in another burgeoning market. Real estate is a long game, and patience tends to be rewarded. There’s no cause to rush a decision of this magnitude, so investigating other states and regions to find the property that best fits your situation is a process worth considering.

How An Accent Wall Can Bring Everything Together


What is it about an accent wall that makes people refer to it as a “wonder wall”?

An accent wall is an emphasized wall in a room that has been designed to attract attention from adjacent walls. The simplest (and cheapest) option to go about an accent wall is by means of paint, though some may opt for wallpaper or tile. Homes with accent walls add a surprise element to a room and define an area of space that deserves attention.

Choosing the right wall

Experts say that the first wall you see upon entering a room is typically the accent wall. In many cases, the wall will have a fireplace or a built-in bookshelf, or something that suggests it is the focal point of the room. In this case, you want to accent that wall by emphasizing the central point with a background color.

Choosing the right color

Color accent walls can add depth and dimension to a room, and make a room seem bigger, warmer, or brighter. If a room is large, consider using warm colors to make the room appear more welcoming, or if the space is smaller, a lighter color can make a room look more spacious. You can visually enlarge or shrink a room by choosing the right color for your room.

Light reflections

Remember to think about how lighting affects the color of a wall. The color you choose may change depending on light sources that reflect on walls. For example, incandescent lights will have a different influence in comparison to natural lighting against walls. Different light sources can affect color choices, so don’t forget to experiment with lighting against colored walls.

Tinting the ceiling

Typically, wonder-walls function independently of the ceiling, as they usually remain white. However, by adding a few drops of the wall color paint to a can of ceiling paint, you are able to slightly tint a ceiling. This subtle color scheme can make for a perfect ceiling finish to compliment an accent wall.

How to do it yourself

Painting an accent wall is an easy home improvement or do-it-yourself project. All that is needed is a short list of low-cost products, including:

  • Painter’s tape

  • Paint (with primer)

  • Tarp

  • Roller and brush

  • Putty and scraper

  • Sandpaper


The directions are simple: tape off the desired wall, spread tarp across the floor, fill any holes or cracks on the wall, sand and smooth out the surface, then paint the accent wall using zigzag strokes.

Painting an accent wall is a great DIY project for anyone to tackle over a weekend or even a few hours. What is your take on the one-wall wonder? Is an accent wall an overstatement, an understatement, or a room well-balanced?

Start Moving in the Right Direction

Moving is stressful, whether it's across town or cross-country.  Once you've closed on your house, the reality of packing, moving, and setting up a new home can become overwhelming. While no list can make a move “stress-free”, planning ahead and staying organized can help make your move a little smoother.  Here is our list of tips:

Getting started:

· Once you know your prospective move date set up a quick timeline to make sure you can get all the important tasks done and ready in time for your move.

· Consider how much stuff you have by doing a home inventory. This can help you decide whether you need to hire movers to help you or if you will be managing your move on your own. Many moving companies supply inventory lists to help you assess the size of truck you will need. You can use your list as double duty for insurance purposes later.

· As soon as you decide how you will be moving, make your reservations. In general, moving companies and truck rental services are over-booked at the beginning and very end of the month. If you are planning on hiring a moving company, contact a few in your area for a price quote. To find companies ask your real estate agent, family, or friends, and consult online reviews. It is also a good idea to request a quote and compare companies.

Preparing for your move:

· Moving is a great opportunity to get rid of clutter, junk, or outdated items. Set aside some time to sort through your closets, storage spaces, files, drawers, and more.  Go through cluttered areas and organize items by “keepers”, “give-aways” and “garbage”. You will have less to pack and an opportunity to update after you move. Contact a local nonprofit organization for your donations; some will arrange to pick up larger donations like furniture. If you have items of value, eBay or Craigslist are good options.

· Changing your address is one of the more tedious tasks in the moving process. You will need to change your address with the United States Post Office. You can find the online form here.

· You will also need to change your address with each account you have. Here is a list to get you started:

· Employers

· Bank(s)

· Utilities (Electric, Water/Sewage, Oil/Gas)

· Cable/ Telephone

· Cell phone service

· Credit Cards

· Magazine subscriptions

· Insurance companies (auto, home/renters, health, dental, vision, etc.)

· Pharmacy

· Other personal services

Let the packing begin:

· Before you start packing, it may help to visualize where everything you have will go. Perhaps furniture will fit better in a different room? Consider the floor plan of your new home and figure out what will go where. This will aid in packing and labeling as you box everything up.

· Use a tool like to plan where furniture and items will go.

· When it comes to packing you have some options. You can work with a service that provides reusable boxes for moving or you can reuse or purchase cardboard boxes.  Make sure you have enough boxes, packing tape, dark markers, and packing paper.

· Pack rooms according to your floor plan. Label boxes with contents and room. This will make it easier to unpack your home, knowing where everything is going.  

· Real Simple magazine has some great tips on packing for your move.

· If you have to disassemble any of your furniture, make sure you keep all the parts and directions together.

· Make sure you set aside your necessities for the day you move. Being tired and unable to take a shower or make your bed can be hard at the end of a long moving day. Here are some ideas of what you may like to pack in your “day-of-move” boxes.

· Clean linens for the beds, pillows and blankets

· Clean towels

· Shower curtain, liner and hooks

· Toiletries, hand soap, toothbrush, etc.

· Disposable utensils, cups, napkins, etc

· Rolls of toilet paper

· Snacks and water

· Change of clothes

· Tools for reassembling furniture, installing hardware, and hanging photos

Making your move

· Come up with a game plan with your family, so everyone has a role and a part to play.

· Once the house is empty, do a once over on your old place to make sure it is clean for the next owners/occupants. Here is a useful checklist for cleaning.

Warming your new home

· Once you have settled into your new home, warm it up by inviting friends and family over to celebrate.

· Announce your move to far-away friends and family through moving announcements to make sure you stay on the holiday card mailing list.

Why the Seattle Head Tax is not Progressive; it is Regressive & Bad Policy


The major topic of conversation at many Seattle businesses – both large and small – is the Seattle City Council’s proposal for a head tax on large companies. The city proposal is to raise $75 million annually for homeless and housing services through taxing businesses whose revenues exceed $20 million annually.


As a company that champions home ownership, we spend considerable time and resources thinking about housing affordability and homelessness. In Seattle alone, Windermere donated more than $465,000 last year towards these efforts. We have ideas as to how the region can address them; however, a head tax is not one of them.


In my opinion, and that of the rest of Windermere’s executive leadership team, this is clearly a regressive tax – and bad policy – and it should not be passed by the City Council. However, if it is passed, Mayor Durkin should immediately veto it if she has the option to do so.


Here is our rationale for taking this position:

  1. Has the Seattle City Council really considered the potential consequence of a head tax? We do not believe that the real effects on taxing Seattle’s largest employers have been adequately considered. While the Seattle City Council has convened a “Progressive Revenue Taskforce” to deliberate on the proposed head tax, it has failed to commission any sort of formal study that fully explores the potential consequences. In fact, statements in the media suggest that some council members’ rationale for supporting the head tax is because they have not seen any studies that say it will have negative effects. But if there have been no studies conducted, how can one come to this conclusion?


  1. A tax on revenues is totally inappropriate. This tax, in a similar fashion to Business & Occupation taxes, is based on revenues (gross sales), and not profits. Consider the company that breaches the $20 million threshold in revenues, but their actual profits are well below that figure. A tax like this could cause those companies irreparable harm, resulting in them leaving Seattle altogether.                                                                                                                                                                                                            It is also important to understand that different business sectors have very disparate profit margins – some much thinner than others. For example, the retail sector is particularly susceptible to such a tax as they typically have thin margins. They, along with other thin margin sectors, also employ the lower skilled workers who are supposed to benefit from the tax revenue raised. But if their employer is now being hit by a new head tax, it’s not a stretch to surmise that many of these workers will eventually lose their jobs due to a loss of revenue.


  1. A head tax will undoubtedly exacerbate the housing affordability crisis. Taxpayers and businesses alike must understand that the proposed headcount tax turns into a payroll tax in 2022, and it is generally understood that payroll taxes are a much heavier burden on the middle classes because they tend to decrease earnings. There are a plethora of academic papers on this topic that should be considered by the Seattle City Council[1].

                                                                                                                                                                                      Additionally, a payroll tax could quite possibly exacerbate the housing affordability crisis that already exists in Seattle. Ignoring for a moment that this tax is intended to assist in reducing the homeless population, it is proposed to revert from a head tax to a payroll tax after the first two years. Such a tax will lower incomes for employees of the companies that are impacted. With housing costs in Seattle rising quickly, more personnel may have to leave the city just to afford to live. Is this really helping with workforce housing?


  1. Seattle already taxes its businesses substantially. When it comes to business, it is commonly known that Seattle has some of the most regressive tax policies in the nation. High Business & Occupation taxes, ST-3 property taxes, soda taxes, short-term rental taxes – all hit companies of every size. There are also proposals under discussion for an income tax, luxury real estate tax, and a tax to drive on Seattle streets – not to mention the increase in the minimum wage that has gone into effect. Seattle businesses currently account for almost 60 percent of the total city budget.[2] At what point will companies decide that it’s just too expensive to operate here?


  1. How is the City of Seattle spending its current funding on addressing homelessness? According to data from the City of Seattle[3], funding to address homelessness has already increased by 60 percent from $39 million to more than $63 million over the past four years. Additionally, according to the Greater Seattle Business Association in a Seattle Times op-ed, the city’s budget increases have done nothing to address the problem they are spending to solve, as there has been a 37 percent increase in the homeless population during the same period.

                                                                                                                                                                                        With such an increase in homelessness, it makes one wonder how well Seattle is managing the funds they already have. As Starbucks stated in a May 10, 2018 story in the Seattle Times, it makes sense to have a plan in place before any additional taxes are imposed. We wholeheartedly agree with this position.


  1. The Seattle City Council claims that large businesses should “Pay their fair share”. Seattle is considered one of the most philanthropic cities in the country and a majority of businesses already donate generously to non-profit organizations that provide services to the homeless. For example, it is well known that Amazon donated more than 47,000 square feet of space within one of their buildings to create a permanent home for the Mary’s Place Family Shelter. Along those same lines, more than $6 million has been raised for the “No Child Sleeps Outside” campaign, thanks in large part to Seattle area businesses. Any additional taxes on companies will very likely curtail this type of giving.


  1. Jobs are vital to the health of any city – and Seattle is no exception. There have been head taxes levied in other cities and their examples should be considered. For instance, Chicago had a per-employee head tax of $4 per month, or $48 per year. That tax (which represents less than 9 percent of the amount contemplated in Seattle) was decried to be a job killer by Mayor Rahm Emanuel[4]. Keep in mind, the Seattle head tax proposal is 11 times the size of the tax Chicago abandoned for contributing to unemployment.


  1. Head taxes are not unique, but the level of tax Seattle is proposing is. Some cities in Pennsylvania impose employment-based “local services taxes[5]” at rates of $10 to $52 per year. Denver has a $4 per month[6] head tax. Such taxes are uncommon and often maligned as nuisance taxes, but they are not unprecedented. What is unprecedented is taxing Seattle companies approximately $42 per month per employee.

                                                                                                                                                                              Seattle’s proposed head tax would make it costlier to employ new or lower-skilled employees, potentially nudging employers further in the direction of automation, or into hiring a smaller number of higher-compensated employees to do work that might otherwise have been distributed among lower-skilled, lower-wage employees.


Let’s be clear, this is not just a tax on Amazon although, given their size, they are certainly central to both sides of the argument as they will be contributing roughly one third of the annual tax. The real question is do we really want businesses moving out of Seattle in favor of other cities? Ultimately, I believe that the proposed tax gives businesses an incentive to either layoff personnel, slow/stop proposed growth (think Amazon), or leave the city entirely and move to a more business-friendly location like Bellevue or Kirkland.


The City of Seattle has grown dramatically over the last few decades and nobody would argue that such growth brings with it a unique set of issues. That said, the implementation of a regressive tax that, arguably, will do nothing to solve the issues that the city faces, is naive and bad policy. A scattergun policy of “shoot-aim-ready” is not a solution.


To conclude, homelessness and housing affordability are certainly very big issues that need addressing; however, we believe that these are issues that should be addressed at the regional level and not by simply adding more taxes to Seattle businesses that are almost entirely responsible for the economic vitality of our city.


Seattle-based Windermere Real Estate is the largest real estate company in Seattle with 20 offices within the city limits. Last year, these offices donated a collective $465,000 to organizations that provide services to low-income and homeless families.



Helping Fight Hunger in Our Communities


Recent research from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) found that more than 13 million children in the U.S. experience food insecurity. That’s one in six children who live in households where they do not have enough food to eat on a regular basis. And over 20 million children rely on free or reduced-price school lunches for their meals during the school year.


For those families relying on the free and reduced meals during the school year, summer can be especially stressful. Many families do not have access to food assistance programs during the summer. And the national summer meal programs reach only a small percentage of children who need help when school is not in session--around 16 percent. That is why many of our Windermere offices choose to support local non-profits that provide weekend and summer meals to children and families in need.


One of those non-profits that Windermere offices support is the Hunger Intervention Program (HIP) in Seattle, Washington, whose mission is to increase food security for underserved populations in North King County through nutritious meals, educational programs, and advocacy. According to HIP, one in four children in Washington State live in households where families experience hunger. Their Healthy HIP Packs Program is a weekend food backpack program that provides nutritious and kid-friendly foods, enough for six meals and two snacks per child, when school meals are not available during the school year. And HIP’s Summer Eats for Kids program provides freshly made, nutritious lunches at kid-friendly locations around the north Seattle community during the summer.


The Windermere Northgate, Sand Point, and Wedgwood offices have supported Hunger Intervention Program since 2013 with donations via the Windermere Foundation. A total of $14,700 has been donated to HIP over the years, to help fund meal programs so that children do not have to go hungry on the weekends or over summer break. 


Thanks to donations from our Windermere owners, offices, and agents, and donations from the public, the Windermere Foundation is able to provide support to local nonprofits that provide nutritious meals for children in need. If you’d like to help support food programs for children experiencing hunger in your community, please consider making a donation to the Windermere Foundation through a Windermere office near you. Just click on the Donate button.


To learn more about the Windermere Foundation, visit

Premier Crews from Four Nations Highlight 32nd Windermere Cup This Saturday


On May 5 the Montlake Cut will play host once again to the Windermere Cup rowing regatta. For the past 32 years, Windermere Real Estate and the University of Washington have joined together to host this event, which brings the world’s best crews to Seattle to compete against the perennially acclaimed UW men’s and women’s teams. Held annually on the first Saturday in May, the Windermere Cup is both an international sporting event and opening day party, followed by the world’s largest boat parade.


The races will be headlined by four of the strongest crews in the world. On the men’s side, UW Rowing will be opposed by two strong squads. Oxford Brookes University is the defending collegiate champion in Great Britain, and the University of British Columbia holds the most recent collegiate title in Canada. Both will oppose a Washington men’s crew that has been the most dominant program of the decade in the United States and missed out on a national championship by less than a tenth of a second in 2017. The reigning national champion UW women will be opposed by the Dutch national team, which recently placed 6th in the world at both the World Championships and the 2016 Olympic Games.


In addition to the 23 crew races throughout the morning, the family-friendly Windermere Cup event also includes food vendors, booths to purchase UW and Windermere Cup apparel and commemorative gear, as well as a bouncy house for the kids. Admission to the event is free.


Windermere Cup App:

The crew races start at 10 am and end around noon. Following the final Windermere Cup race is the Seattle Yacht Club’s Opening Day Boat Parade. Download the Windermere Cup App by downloading Attendee Hub, available on the App Store for both Android and iOS. There you can access schedule and team information, event details, and more! For live race results:


Windermere Party on the Cut:

This year’s pre-race Party on the Cut will take place Friday, May 4th, from 6 PM to 10 PM. Join us on the Montlake Cut for an evening of live music, lawn games, and food and drinks. $25 gets you into the beer garden where you can hear live performances by Groove Surfers, Brian DiJulio & the Love Jacks, and Spike & the Impalers. Kids get in for just $10, and tickets can be found through Brown Paper Tickets.


Windermere Cup Book:

This book is about the athletes, colorful characters, and brilliant people the Windermere Cup rowing regatta has featured every first Saturday in May since 1987. Through interviews, original documents and pages upon pages of breathtaking photographs, author Gregg Bell captures this event’s more than 30 remarkable years, its spirit and its soul.

The Windermere Cup is a touchstone for our company, our family of offices and agents, and the University of Washington. Not only is this an international sporting event, it’s a celebration of camaraderie, teamwork, and community – and truly great tradition that we are honored to be a part of.


For more information please visit and follow us at and @WindermereCup on Twitter.

Simple Steps for Maintaining Air Quality in Your Home


Most of us tend to think of air pollution as something that occurs outdoors where car exhaust and factory fumes proliferate, but there’s such a thing as indoor air pollution, too.  Since the 1950s, the number of synthetic chemicals used in products for the home has increased drastically, while at the same time, homes have become much tighter and better insulated. As a result, the EPA estimates that indoor pollutants today are anywhere from five to 70 times higher than pollutants in outside air.

Luckily, there are many ways to reduce indoor air pollution. We all know that buying organic and natural home materials and cleaning supplies can improve the air quality in our homes, but there are several other measures you can take as well.

How pollutants get into our homes

Potentially toxic ingredients are found in many materials throughout the home, and they leach out into the air as Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs. If you open a can of paint, you can probably smell those VOCs. The “new car smell” is another example of this. The smell seems to dissipate after a while, but VOCs can actually “off-gas” for a long time, even after a noticeable smell is gone.

We all know to use paint and glue in a well-ventilated room, but there are many other materials that don’t come with that warning. For instance, there are chemicals, such as formaldehyde, in the resin used to make most cabinets and plywood particle board. It’s also in wall paneling and closet shelves, and in certain wood finishes used on cabinets and furniture. The problems aren’t just with wood, either. Fabrics—everything from draperies to upholstery, bedding, and carpets—are a potent source of VOCs.

The good news about VOCs is that they do dissipate with time. For that reason, the highest levels of VOCs are usually found in new homes or remodels. If you are concerned about VOCs, there are several products you can buy that are either low- or no-VOC. You can also have your home professionally tested.

How to reduce VOCs in your home

Make smart choices in building materials. 

  • For floors, use tile or solid wood—hardwood, bamboo, or cork – instead of composites.
  • Instead of using pressed particle board or indoor plywood, choose solid wood or outdoor-quality plywood that uses a less toxic form of formaldehyde.
  • Choose low-VOC or VOC-free paints and finishes.

Purify the air that’s there. 

  • Make sure your rooms have adequate ventilation, and air out newly renovated or refurnished areas for at least a week, if possible.
  • Clean ductwork and furnace filters regularly.
  • Install air cleaners if needed.
  • Use only environmentally responsible cleaning chemicals.
  • Plants can help clean the air: good nonpoisonous options include bamboo palm, lady palm, parlor palm, and moth orchids.
  • Air out freshly dry-cleaned clothes or choose a “green” cleaner.

Fight the carpet demons.

  • Choose “Green Label” carpeting or a natural fiber such as wool or sisal.
  • Use nails instead of glue to secure carpet.
  • Install carpet LAST after completing painting projects, wall coverings, and other high-VOC processes.
  • Air out newly carpeted areas before using.
  • Use a HEPA vacuum or a central vac system that vents outdoors.

Prevent Mold. 

  • Clean up water leaks fast.
  • Use dehumidifiers, if necessary, to keep humidity below 60 percent.
  • Don’t carpet rooms that stay damp.
  • Insulate pipes, crawl spaces, and windows to eliminate condensation.
  • Kill mold before it gets a grip with one-half cup of bleach per gallon of water.

We hope this information is helpful. If you would like to learn more about VOCs and indoor air quality, please visit

Idaho Real Estate Market Update


The following analysis of select Idaho real estate markets is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. We hope that this information may assist you with making better-informed real estate decisions. For further information about the housing market in your area, please don’t hesitate to contact me.



Idaho has added 24,000 new jobs over the past 12 months, representing an impressive growth rate of 3.4%. In February, the state unemployment rate was 3% and, with the ongoing growth in the labor force, there are clearly still jobs out there to be had. Through the duration of the year, I expect Idaho’s employment growth to continue outperforming the U.S. as a whole. 



  • There were a total of 4,496 home sales during first quarter, representing an increase of 14.7% compared to the same period last year.
  • Sales rose the fastest in Payette County, where they were 48% higher than the first quarter of 2017. There were also noticeable increases in Canyon and Blaine Counties.

  • Year-over-year sales growth was generally positive across the state. Only Shoshone and Valley Counties experienced modest drops.
  • First quarter home sales data indicates that demand for housing remains very strong.




  • The average home price in the region rose 14.6% year-over-year to $315,528. 
  • Valley County again led the market with the strongest annual price growth. Homes there sold for 32.4% more than a year ago.
  • Price increases were a mixed bag when compared to the first quarter of 2017. All but one county in Southern Idaho saw prices rise, but two of three counties in Northern Idaho saw prices drop from a year ago. 
  • Although prices dropped in some markets, I don’t believe there’s a cause for concern because these areas are relatively small.




  • The average number of days it took to sell a home in the region dropped by nine days when compared to the first quarter of 2017.
  • It took an average of 130 days to sell a home in Northern Idaho and 106 days in the southern part of the state. 
  • Homes in two out of three Northern Idaho counties took less time to sell than they did in the same quarter of 2017. Three out of five Southern Idaho counties saw a drop in the time it took a home to sell.
  • Again, homes sold the fastest in Ada and Canyon Counties, where it took an average of 45 and 51 days, respectively.




The speedometer reflects the state of the region’s housing market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors. Consumer confidence in housing seems to have returned, causing the markets in this report to perform well overall, and for home prices to continue trending upward.

I still contend that we will see solid demand for well-positioned, well-priced homes, resulting in the continuation of a seller’s market.




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 more than 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

Central Washington Real Estate Market Update


The following analysis of the Central Washington real estate market is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. We hope that this information may assist you with making better-informed real estate decisions. For further information about the housing market in your area, please don’t hesitate to contact me.



The Washington State economy added 96,900 new jobs over the past 12 months, representing an annual growth rate of 2.9%—still solidly above the national rate of 1.5%. Most of the employment gains were in the private sector, which rose by 3.4%. The public sector saw a more modest increase of 1.6%.

The counties contained in this report added 1,616 new jobs over the past 12 months, which was a modest growth of 0.8%. The local unemployment rate for the area continued to fall, with a drop from 9% to 8%.



  • Home sales throughout Central Washington were generally higher in the first quarter of the year; four out of five counties saw growth in sales. In total, there were 859 home sales in the quarter—an increase of 13.5% from the same period in 2017.
  • Sales rose most in Douglas County, which almost doubled. That said, the actual number of sales only rose by 48. Sales fell in Kittitas County, but this was likely due to lack of inventory rather than lack of interest.

  • Demand for homes remained strong even as mortgage interest rates rose through the quarter. I do not expect that rising rates will impact sales until they breach the 5% barrier, but that is unlikely to happen until next year.
  • The lack of homes for sale remains an issue, but I am optimistic that inventory levels will rise modestly as we move toward the summer.




  • Year-over-year, the average home price in the region rose 6.3% to $291,728. Price growth picked back up in the first quarter and remains well above the long-term average as demand continues to exceed supply. 
  • Chelan, Yakima, and Kittitas Counties saw relatively modest price contractions. I believe this is due to seasonality, and it is not a cause for concern at the present time.
  • All five counties in this report saw prices rise compared to the fourth quarter of 2017. Douglas and Okanogan Counties stood out with very substantial increases. This is largely due to the fact that they are both relatively small markets and, therefore, can see large swings in sale prices. 
  • Home-price growth continues to increase at above-average rates due to supply constraints. I expect this trend to continue through the duration of 2018.




  • The average number of days it took to sell a home dropped nine days compared to the first quarter of 2017.
  • The average time it took to sell a home in the region was 79 days, down four days compared to the fourth quarter of 2017. 
  • All the markets contained in this report, other than Chelan, saw days-on-market drop from the same quarter in 2017.
  • Homes sold fastest in Douglas County, where it took an average of 50 days to sell a home. The greatest drop in days on market was in Kittitas County, at 22 fewer days than in the fourth quarter of last year.




This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s housing market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors. 

For the first quarter of 2018, I held the needle at the same position as last quarter. The market still favors sellers, but supply is improving—albeit modestly.




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 more than 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.