Bob’s Bugle – Real Estate Newsletter – April 2008

 

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Bob Chapman
Managing Broker

Windermere Real Estate
Lake Stevens, Inc.

9327 4th St. NE, Ste #3
Lake Stevens, WA 98258
USA
Ph: (425) 268-2940
Fax: (425) 335-1838

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Bob's Bugle Real Estate Newsletter April 2008REAL ESTATE NEWS & INFORMATION

 

April 16, 2008

*Northwest MLS Brokers Report Stable Prices, “Great Opportunities” for First-time Buyers*

KIRKLAND, Wash. (Apr. 4, 2008) – Stable housing prices and strong real estate fundamentals are creating an attractive market for buyers, according to officials from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. Commenting on just-released figures for activity for the month of March, MLS director Matt Deasy noted prices have been stable for six months and conditions have changed to a buyer’s market.

Abundant supply and a slower pace of sales are among factors favoring buyers. Brokers added 13,274 new listings of single family homes and condominiums during March. With those additions, there were 46,358 active listings in the NWMLS market area, which covers 19 counties. That inventory is about 34 percent larger than a year ago, when there were 34,463 active listings.

Seattle differs from many U.S. cities, Deasy emphasized, citing “more moderate price appreciation, fewer subprime loans, fewer foreclosures, a strong local economy and geographical and land use issues that make supply more limited.”

Prices have been stable for six months. “The year over year price decrease the press is reporting is old news,” Deasy suggested, noting that price correction happened in August and September of 2007.

MLS figures show the median price of a single family home in King County has fluctuated by only $4,050 over the past six months. The median price for a single family home that sold in King County last month was $439,900. That’s down about 3.3 percent from a year ago, but up $10,000 (2.3 percent) from February. Last month’s median selling price in King County reversed a downward or flat trend that started in July. For the MLS area overall, prices have fluctuated during the past six months.

Pending sales of single family homes and condominiums (combined) in the MLS system topped the 6,000 mark for the first time since October. Brokers notched 6,040 pending sales (offers made and accepted, but not yet closed) last month, improving on February’s figure of 5,563 transactions. Compared to the same month a year ago, the volume was down about 35 percent.

“The current market offers great opportunities for first time buyers,” said J. Lennox Scott, a broker/owner in the Seattle area. “Home values in our area are still holding strong, yet there is less competition for homes, so buyers can afford to be more selective and less aggressive,” he added.

Continued low interest rates combined with new government-backed loans are providing first time buyers with more options for reliable mortgage products, according to Scott. “Prices are predicted to increase in the coming years due to population growth, a strong local economy, and the highly anticipated impact of Generation Y — many of whom will soon be entering the housing market,” he commented.

“Gen Y” and other first-time buyers, along with empty-nesters (all among market segments that are prime prospects for condominiums) currently have an unprecedented selection across a wide price spectrum.

According to NWMLS figures for March, there were 7,708 condominiums offered for sale at month end, about 64 percent more than a year ago. Despite plentiful inventory, prices have been trending upward since October. At that time the median sales price area-wide was $259,950. For last month’s sales, the median price climbed to $263,000. That’s up nearly 4.4 percent from the year-ago median selling price of $252,000.

In King County, the median price for a condo that sold last month was $294,000. That compares to the year-ago figure of $281,000 for a 4.6 percent increase.

NWMLS director Dick Beeson believes the local market has “reached bottom – or pretty darn close.” Even though inventory continues to grow, Beeson acknowledged, “so does optimism among buyers, sellers and agents.”

Beeson, a broker/owner at Windermere Real Estate, points to the pace of pending sales in Pierce County as a positive sign. The number of pending sales in the first quarter of 2008 increased at a faster pace (53 percent) than first quarter of 2007 (45 percent), he noted.

Renewed interest in higher end properties is also notable, according to Beeson. This bodes well for properties at or below median prices, he suggested. “Trickle down or up really works in real estate.”

Despite some challenges with credit markets that make it difficult to qualify some buyers, Beeson said there is “vigor and energy in the local markets that we have not seen in more than six months.”   

Referrals are a “very” important part of my business. Please let me know of anyone that you know who may be considering Buying or Selling real estate – or please give them my name and contact information!

Thank You!

Bob Chapman

Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter April 2008

Statistical Summary by Counties: Market Activity Summary for March 2008

March 2008

Single Family Homes + Condos

LISTINGS

PENDING SALES

CLOSED SALES

New Listings

Total Active

# Pending Sales

# Closings

Avgerage Price

Median Price

King

49851426023142011$491,537 $405,000

Snohomish

20576801911828$370,636 $335,000

Pierce

219080081014804$290,381 $258,405

Kitsap

6122570281222$334,169 $277,637

Mason

2038307548$216,323 $194,000

Skagit

2981328132108$338,555 $272,000

Grays Harbor

1838837871$155,159 $145,880

Lewis

1527176857$202,065 $186,500

Cowlitz

1527658271$201,971 $184,500

Grant

1666378450$168,977 $149,500

Thurston

6262058369314$283,135 $249,925

San Juan

783461010$578,200 $412,000

Island

25211428979$332,958 $260,000

Kittitas

1165744038$270,360 $234,950

Jefferson

894892926$328,335 $309,800

Okanogan

724151918$189,050 $152,500

Whatcom

5092004231217$299,568 $264,900

Clark

1798887580$288,157 $247,500

Pacific

734051712$139,408 $139,950

Others

2821238122100$217,902 $202,000

MLS TOTAL

13,27446,3586,0405,164$377,617 $314,500

 

4-County Puget Sound Region Pending Sales (SFH + Condo combined)
(totals include King, Snohomish, Pierce & Kitsap counties)

 

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

2000

3706

4778

5903

5116

5490

5079

4928

5432

4569

4675

4126

3166

2001

4334

5056

5722

5399

5631

5568

5434

5544

4040

4387

4155

3430

2002

4293

4735

5569

5436

6131

5212

5525

6215

5394

5777

4966

4153

2003

4746

5290

6889

6837

7148

7202

7673

7135

6698

6552

4904

4454

2004

4521

6284

8073

7910

7888

8186

7583

7464

6984

6761

6228

5195

2005

5426

6833

8801

8420

8610

8896

8207

8784

7561

7157

6188

4837

2006

5275

6032

8174

7651

8411

8094

7121

7692

6216

6403

5292

4346

2007

4869

6239

7192

6974

7311

6876

6371

5580

4153

4447

3896

2975

2008

3291

4167

4520

 

This information is from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service which is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Based in Kirkland and owned by its member brokers, it currently encompasses more than 2,100 companies with approximately 31,000 sales associates. Together, they serve 19 counties, mostly in western Washington, plus Grant, Kittitas and Okanogan counties in the central part of the state. NWMLS recently added service to Clark County with the opening of an office in Vancouver.

Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter April 2008, copyright 2008. All material contained herein is owned and protected. Any attempts to reproduce this information without the express written consent from the owner will be prosecuted.

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