Population and job growth are on the rise in the Puget Sound region, leading local real estate experts to believe the market will remain strong in 2017

Bellevue-based Coldwell Banker Bain recently released its 2017 market predictions, and the local real estate market shows no signs of slowing down.

For its predictions, Coldwell Banker Bain looked at the local employment rate, number of Washington state driver’s licenses issued, and new building permits to create its forecast for the year ahead.

“The data shows that the population growth rate in the Puget Sound region, currently at double the national rate, coupled with expected continued strong job growth, is one factor pointing to our main prediction that the real estate market will continue to be as strong as it was in 2016,” said Mike Grady, Coldwell Banker Bain president and COO.

Grady also noted that over the past year, nearly 200,000 people traded in their out-of-state driver’s licenses for Washington ones. He calls this a sure sign of commitment to residency. “Even if we conservatively apply two licenses per household, that’s still 100,000 new households moving into the area,” he said.

In addition to population growth, the report also looked at the number of building permits issued last year, which totaled 9,120 for the area, not counting the 70,000 households that also were established in the region. While recent mortgage rate increases could affect how people buy, Grady said there’s nothing that can be done in our area to deflect the number of households needed for new residents. “We will most definitely continue to see a sellers’ market,” he said.

Thadine Bak, principal managing broker for Coldwell Banker Bain Bellevue agreed. “Though higher mortgage rates may soften buying power for some buyers, we don’t expect this to restrict price growth as Eastside inventories will continue to be extremely tight, with limited new construction,” she said. “While sellers will remain in relative control of the market, they will — as always — need to position their homes properly, with the right preparation, pricing, and marketing.”

In the Redmond market, Rick Costello, principal managing broker for Coldwell Banker Bain Redmond, said he expects home prices to surge in the months ahead. “Based on the current market conditions (extremely low inventory and high number of ready buyers) and with the number of people moving to the area, 2017 will mirror 2016 and competition will push prices up even higher,” he said.

With no signs of the market slowing anytime soon, 2017 already is poised to be a strong year for local real estate.