How a Federal Interest Rate Hike Impacts Mortgage Rates

When the Federal Reserve announces a change in interest rates, it makes headlines. But does the federal interest rate directly impact your mortgage rate? See what Windermere’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner has to say.

Summer camps provide invaluable learning and socialization opportunities for youth


Child development professionals recognize the camp experience as being valuable in helping children mature socially, emotionally, intellectually, morally, and physically. Summer camps and summer programs for youth not only keep them occupied while on break from school, it provides them with a safe place to be while their parents are at work, and gives them learning experiences that will help them throughout their lives.


Through camps and other summer programs, children can make friends, reconnect with nature, learn social skills, have free time for unstructured play, grow more independent, develop life-long skills, unplug from technology, gain resiliency, build self-confidence, and spend their day being physically active. And for some youth, it gets them away from an unhealthy environment that may exist in their neighborhood.


Grants from the Windermere Foundation have allowed many of our Windermere Real Estate offices to support local organizations that provide summer activities to kids. Funding has also allowed for the expansion of existing programs, thus enabling them to serve even more children. And many of these programs also offer need-based financial assistance or scholarships that make it possible for children from low-income families to attend.


Here are just a few of the organizations that Windermere Real Estate offices have supported:


Boys & Girls Club of El Sobrante offers programs in five core areas (character and leadership development; education and career development; health and life skills; the arts; and sports, fitness, and recreation). All programs are designed to produce positive outcomes for youth and reinforce necessary life skills.


Camp Kiwanilong in Clatsop County, Oregon provides a summer youth resident program consisting of several five-to-seven-day overnight camping sessions and are designed to provide a positive environment, nurture self-esteem, and develop lasting relationships.


Camp Mak-A-Dream in Montana provides cost-free experiences in an intimate community setting for children, teens, young adults, women, and families affected by cancer, as well as programs for children who have a sibling or a parent with cancer.


Donald W. Reynolds Boys & Girls Club offers full-day summer programs for children in Henderson, Nevada. Core programs are also available that engage young people in activities with adults, peers and family members that enable them to reach their full potential.


Peer Solutions in Arizona provides peer-led activities year-round to promote positive youth development. Students become ambassadors of change and model positive behaviors, which in turn foster healthy families and communities.


Quest Summer Day Camp in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho offers a positive summer alternative for families with kids in the six-to-fourteen age group. That includes active learning and recreational experiences in the course of 10 weeks throughout the summer. Matching scholarships are available to families who can only pay a portion of the cost for their children to attend.


Royal Family Kids provides summer camps for children in the foster care system so they can experience positive memories. There are currently 12 camps and 3 clubs in Washington, and the average camp serves 45-50 children each summer.


Want to help make a difference in children’s lives over the summer? Then consider making a donation to the Windermere Foundation or donating directly to organizations that provide summer camps and programs for children in need in your community.


To learn more about the Windermere Foundation, visit

Historically low inventory levels, how we got here, and what to expect in the coming year

The housing market is performing remarkably well, with the exception of incredibly low inventory levels in many areas throughout the country. Why is this happening? Windermere’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, explains why and offers his predictions for what we can expect in the future. 


What Millennials are Looking for in an Apartment or Condo

LinkedIn recently told us that 4,279 new apartments were added to Seattle’s local inventory last year, and based on the number of cranes you constantly see around the city, we believe them. With so many choices, Millennials are getting really specific about what they want in a living space and the lifestyle it provides them. Here are some of the amenities we’re told that Millennials have come to want, and in some cases, expect:




1.  Parking & Electric Car Charging Stations

2.  High Speed Internet and WIFI (around the entire building). Preferably free WIFI on the first floor

3.  State of the Art Fitness Center  -  Fitness centers not only act as a place for exercise, but now a place to casually socialize and build friendships.  For instance, when a developer integrates fitness classes into the gym, they are creating a space where tenants can connect with their building community. 

4. Dog Grooming/Washing Facility & Outdoor Pet Run:  As many millennials are postponing starting a family to focus more on their career, their pets are like their children.  With that said, an apartment building that doesn't allow their fury friends will ultimately be losing out on a big portion of the millennial pie.

5. High- Tech Control Automation:  Using smart technology to control your thermostat, lights, switches, sensors, and locks while you are away.

6.  Business Center/ Work From Home Space:   With remote work becoming an increasing popular trend, the potential ways of catering to work-at-home tenants are limitless.

7. Laundry Facility/Service and Dry-Cleaning Drop Off/Pick Up- Laundry is a hassle, and most renters want the burden of doing laundry to be, well, less burdensome. Programs like “Laundry View” are used in some apartment buildings to view how many washers and dryers are in use. It will also send you text alerts when your laundry is done.

Read the full article on LinkedIn.


Community Service Day: Henry’s Story

For the past 31 years, Windermere offices have closed their doors to dedicate a day of service to provide support for members of our communities and nonprofit organizations that help our neighbors in need.

A few years ago, a group of Windermere agents and owners were hit personally when a boy in their community, Henry, was diagnosed with Birkins Lymphoma at the age of 13. This office decided to spend their Community Service Day helping to ensure Henry's home and favorite space, his back yard, was safe for him to enjoy. And even after his passing, this space continues to provide his family a place to honor his memory.

To learn more about Community Service Day projects in your area please go here


Nevada Real Estate Market Update



After losing over 134,000 jobs during the Great Recession, the Las Vegas metropolitan area has recovered all of those jobs and employment is now at an all-time high of 934,600. Year-over-year, the market added 24,600 new jobs. This is up from the annual pace of 21,300 jobs seen at the end of last year, but below the average annual rate of 32,700 seen through the whole of 2015. However, with an annual growth rate of 2.7% I see no reason to complain.

The local unemployment rate rose from 5.6% to 6.0% between February and March of this year, but this data set is not seasonally adjusted. (Seasonal adjustments remove the influences of predictable seasonal patterns to show how unemployment changes from month to month.) As such, I am not too concerned and would note that the current rate is still down substantially from the 7.2% unemployment rate that was in place a year ago.



  • Sales activity in the area rose by an impressive 7.7% when compared to the first quarter of 2015, with 7,248 home sales.
  • The fastest rate of growth in sales came in the North Las Vegas sub-market which rose by 11.3% to 757 home sales.
  • Pending sales rose across all areas, with the Sunrise sub-market showing the greatest growth when compared to the first quarter of 2015 (22.6%). This was followed by Downtown (+21.4%). Total pending sales were up by 12.9%.
  • Inventory remains tight with half of the sub-markets seeing modest increases in listings compared to a year ago, and half showing a decline. In total, listings are down year-over-year by 3.3%. The greatest increase in listings was seen in the South Summerlin/Lakes sub-market (+6.6%).



  • Average prices in the region rose by 4.4% year-over-year to $232,045.
  • All but two counties saw prices rise compared to the first quarter of 2015, and three sub-markets registered double-digit percentage gains.
  • Spring Valley saw the strongest annual growth with home prices rising by 16.2%.
  • Prices fell in the Downtown and the Green Valley/Henderson sub-markets but the declines were minimal.



  • The average days it takes to sell a home in the region dropped by six days when compared to the first quarter of 2015.
  • The average time it took to sell a home in the region was 63 days.
  • The South Summerlin/Lakes sub-market was the only market where the number of days on market increased (+3).
  • The greatest drop in days-on-market was seen in the Southeast and Summerlin markets which both dropped by 16 days.



The speedometer reflects the state of the region’s housing market using housing inventory, price gains, sales velocities, interest rates and larger economics factors. The Southern Nevada economy continues to expand and I do not see this changing in the foreseeable future. There has been some modest improvement in inventory levels across the region, but many areas are still well below historic averages, causing the market to remain in favor of sellers. While prices have not yet reached their historic peak, they’re showing strong gains, thanks in part to the continued decline of distressed home sales.


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 over 25 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K. 



Southern California Real Estate Market Update



Southern California continues to add jobs but the rate of increase has started to taper. Through the end of the first quarter of 2016, the counties that make up this report added 71,100 new jobs, and year-over-year, employment is up by 196,100 total jobs for a growth rate of 2.1%. Regional unemployment remains steady or is dropping modestly, and most counties are at or approaching full employment.



There were a total of 38,917 sales in first quarter, which is a modest increase of 1.9% compared to a year ago.

The modest increase in sales is primarily due to inventory constraints and price/affordability. Total listings were down by 5.5% in first quarter when compared to the first quarter of 2015.

Home sales grew fastest in San Bernardino County, at twice the rate of the other counties contained in this report.

San Diego County saw a modest decline in sales which is a direct result of a 9.1% decrease in active listings.



Compared to first quarter of last year, average prices in the region rose by 5.8% to $594,152. We are seeing a slowdown in price growth that can be attributed to affordability issues that are becoming prevalent in many markets.

Orange County saw the greatest appreciation in home values (+8.8%) to $767,667. This was closely followed by L.A. County where the average price rose to $747,300.



The average time it took to sell a home in the region was 56 days. This is a drop of five days when compared to the first quarter of 2015.

Homes in San Diego County sell at a faster rate than the other markets in the region. In the first quarter, it took an average of 38 days to sell a home, which is 10 days less than a year ago.

The drop in days on market can be blamed on a lack of available inventory. I am optimistic that we will see more homes for sale as we move through the year, but demand will certainly continue to outstrip supply during 2016.

All counties saw a drop in the amount of time it took to sell a home between the first quarter of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016.



The speedometer reflects the state of the region’s housing market using housing inventory, price gains, sales velocities, interest rates and larger economics factors. The regional economy continues to expand but the rate of growth has started to taper. Inventory constraints persist, which has been driving prices higher, but this has given rise to affordability issues which are becoming pervasive.

In the coming months, the housing market will continue to favor sellers; however, for the time being, concerns about escalating home prices should be offset somewhat by the continuation of very competitive mortgage rates. We will still see strong demand for homes, but I believe we’re going to start moving towards a more balanced market through the duration of 2016. 


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 over 25 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K. 

Oregon and South West Washington Real Estate Market Update



The total number of Oregonians employed in March reached 1.94 million, which was up substantially from 1.84 million in March 2015. The rapid rise in the number of employed is the main driver of an increase in Oregon’s labor force participation rate, which shot up to 62.3% in March from a recent low of 60.8% in March 2015.

Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped to a record low of 4.5% in March—the lowest point since comparable records began in 1976. Oregon’s February unemployment rate was 4.8%. A year ago, in March 2015, Oregon’s unemployment rate was 5.7%.

Rapid job growth in concert with historically low unemployment rates demonstrates to me that Oregon’s labor market is stronger than it has been in decades.



  • Sales activity rose by 8.8% compared to the first quarter of 2015, with 13,094 home sales.
  • Double-digit percentage increases in closed sales were again seen in a majority of the counties, but we did see some declines in five of the 26 counties that are contained in this report.
  • Sales rose the fastest in smaller counties, with Linn, Skamania, Yamhill, Jefferson and Marion Counties leading the way.
  • Decreases in sales activity also tend to be more prominent in smaller counties, which are prone to pronounced swings. At this point, I don’t believe any drop in sales is a function of declining demand.



  • Average prices in the region rose by 9.1% year-over-year to $315,746. The modest slowdown that was discussed in the last quarter’s report did not continue but has actually reversed course and started to increase at a faster pace than seen in recent quarters.
  • All but four counties saw prices rise compared to the first quarter of 2015, with seven counties showing double-digit percentage gains.
  • When compared to first quarter of 2015, Skamania County maintains its position as the market with the strongest price growth with home prices rising by 16.5%. This remains a function of the size of the market, which allows for substantial swings in price.
  • Double-digit growth was seen in Clackamas, Clark, Coos, Washington, Clatsop and Multnomah Counties, demonstrating that markets close to urban centers, as well as smaller counties, can show fast price appreciation.



  • The average number of days it takes to sell a home in the region dropped by 13 days when compared to the first quarter of 2015.
  • The average time it took to sell a home in the region was 109 days.
  • Jefferson and Skamania Counties were the only markets where the average time it takes to sell a home rose, but they are remarkably small areas, so the change does not concern me at this point.
  • The fastest sales pace was seen in Washington and Multnomah Counties, which registered at a little over one month.



The speedometer reflects the state of the region’s housing market using housing inventory, price gains, sales velocities, interest rates and larger economics factors. Growth in the Oregon economy is impressive and unlikely to slow down in the foreseeable future. This bodes well for the housing market.

Anticipated inventory growth in the spring has yet to emerge, but I am hopeful that we will see a modest uptick in listing activity as we move toward the summer months.

Interest rates will remain at very favorable levels which will continue to encourage buyers who, unfortunately, will still have to be very patient during the home buying process. As such, I have moved the needle just a little more in favor of sellers.


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 over 25 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K. 

Join Us This Weekend at the 30th Annual Windermere Cup

This Saturday, May 7 marks the 30th anniversary of the Windermere Cup rowing regatta – an event held in conjunction with the Seattle Yacht Club on the Opening Day of boating season. This year is an especially exciting year as we celebrate 30 remarkable years of an event that was started by Windermere founder John Jacobi and the University of Washington, who came together to turn Seattle’s opening-day rowing regatta into something that could attract the highest caliber crews from around the world.

Over the years, countless universities and more than 20 countries have rowed in the Windermere Cup, including England, Germany, New Zealand, China, Australia – and the former Soviet Union, who raced in the event’s historic first year during what were very politically unstable times between the U.S. and USSR. Thirty years later, the Windermere Cup has invited Russia back to compete against the Husky men, bringing the event full circle.

“The very first Windermere Cup saw the former Soviet Union take on the UW in an epic matchup that would ultimately make international sporting history,” said OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate. “Bringing Russia for the 30th anniversary is as close as we can come to recreating that celebrated first race of this storied event.”

In addition to Russia, the UW men will face Stanford, while the UW Women will go up against the University of San Diego and Cambridge University.

To celebrate this year’s milestone anniversary, Windermere has released a coffee table book that tells the story of the Windermere Cup. Through insightful interviews, original documents, and breathtaking photography, the book captures the historic moments and colorful stories that have turned the Windermere Cup into an enduring, world-renowned rowing event. For more information and to purchase a copy of the Windermere Cup book, please visit

We hope to see you along the shores of the Montlake Cut on Saturday, May 7 for this free, family-friendly community event. Races start at 10:20 ending with the Windermere Cup around noon, and followed by the Opening Day boat parade. There will also be food vendors, booths to purchase UW and Windermere Cup gear, as well as a bouncy house. More information can be found at You can also follow us at and @WindermereCup.




#YourStoryIsOurStory: It’s Never too Late to Fall in Love

In November 2015, Windermere Real Estate agent, Vivian Peterson met some new friends that would teach her an invaluable lesson.

At an open house, Richard (76) approached Vivian about selling his current home. After almost 40 years in his place, a home he shared with his first wife until she passed away, Richard was looking to sell. This is a move uncharacteristic of Richard, but he had recently met a special woman, Virginia (74) on OK Cupid, and was looking to move to a home the two of them could share for the rest of their lives.

Vivian helped the two love birds exchange a multi-level home for a single story rambler in Monroe, accommodating her mobility needs, and in-turn made some lifelong friends. When Richard and Virginia tie the knot, Vivian is invited as a witness. In Vivian’s words, working with Richard and Virginia taught her a valuable lesson: it’s never too late to fall in love. 



Throughout the year we will be posting some of our favorite #YourStoryIsOurStory videos, photos, and blog posts. Please take a minute to share your experiences, and follow #YourStoryIsOurStory on our blogFacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube, and Pinterest pages.