Bob’s Bugle – Real Estate Newsletter – April 2011

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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

Contact Me


Bob's Bugle Real Estate Newsletter April 2011REAL ESTATE NEWS & INFORMATION

Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter April 2011

April 16, 2011

*Housing Market Doing Surprisingly Well*

KIRKLAND, WA, April 6, 2011 – Last month’s pending sales fell below year-ago totals in Western Washington, but brokers say the market is faring quite well, considering last year’s activity was boosted by federal tax credits.

The latest report from Northwest Multiple Listing Service shows 7,570 pending sales of single family homes and condominiums during March.  That’s down about 12 percent from a year ago when members reported 8,605 pending transactions (mutually accepted offers) across the 21 counties in the Northwest MLS service area.

“The market is doing surprisingly well without a stimulus,” observed Northwest MLS director OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate Company.  “Considering that this time last year there was a rush of buyers trying to beat the tax credit deadline, to have the number of sales off just slightly points towards a strengthening market,” he added. 

A comparison to two years ago reveals a double-digit jump in pending sales.  Area-wide, the volume is up nearly 33 percent, rising from 5,701 pending sales in March 2009 to 7,570 for last month. For the four-county Puget Sound region, pending sales spiked nearly 42 percent compared to two years ago (from 4,266 to 6,049).  “The glass is starting to look more half full than half empty,” Jacobi commented.

Mike Grady, president and COO of a large real estate brokerage franchise in the greater Seattle, WA area, agreed. “Most real estate professionals will be happy to move past the year-over-year comparisons that have been made the first few months of 2011, as they reflect the boost given home sales by last year’s Homebuyer Tax Credit,” he noted, adding, “Home sales are now standing on their own — without the benefit of incentives — and the market is actually behaving quite typically.”

Buyers have plenty of choices, although the selection is smaller than a year ago, reflecting fewer new listings being added to inventory.  Members added 9,812 new listings to inventory last month, which compares to 12,994 additions for the same month a year ago. At month end, the Northwest MLS database included 33,444 active listings, including 28,146 single family homes and 5,298 condominiums. That’s a drop of 5,272 properties, a decline of 13.6 percent.

“In fact, some urban core neighborhoods, such as Greenlake, Queen Anne and West Bellevue, are seeing very strong demand, and a waning supply of desirable homes for sale,” Grady reported. Many buyers looking in these neighborhoods are beginning to express frustration over the lack of available homes, according to Grady.  “As a result, Realtors are beginning to report multiple offers, with contracts settling over the list price on the best homes.”

While this certainly isn’t the norm in most areas served by the NWMLS, Grady said it is encouraging that in some areas homes are selling briskly, and distressed and bank-owned properties are still in the minority.

Distressed properties continue to drag down prices.  According to research by the National Association of REALTORS®, nearly one of every four home sales (24 percent) in Washington is classified as a short sale or foreclosure.

Northwest MLS members reported 4,590 closed sales of single family homes and condominiums last month. That total represents a drop of 7.7 percent from twelve months ago when members notched 4,972 closings.  

Prices on last month’s closed sales system-wide declined about 8 percent compared to a year ago. The area-wide median sales price was $242,925; a year ago it was $264,475.  In King County, prices dipped about 7 percent ($319,950 last month versus $343,950 for March 2010), although the gap was much narrower in some areas.  In the Northwest MLS map areas comprising the Eastside, prices were off about 2 percent ($435,000 versus 444,000), while in the Seattle area, the year-over-year drop was only about 1 percent ($357,500 versus $361,500).

“We saw a lot of qualified buyers making offers in March,” Windermere’s Jacobi remarked. “They’re out of the tire-kicking mode and ready to buy now. Inventory is low in general, and there is a particular shortage of move-in ready homes,” he stated, noting properties that are selling look like model homes. “Sellers realize if they remove any buyer objections ahead of time, their house will sell, and sell quickly.”

Jacobi said one of his company’s brokers wrote a cash offer for a client on a $1.1 million home in Bridle Trails the first day it was on the market. “The house was in perfect shape and newly painted. The sellers did a pre-inspection and spent several thousand dollars on minor repairs. The property got multiple offers,” he reported. The sellers accepted the cash offer for just under their asking price.

Grady senses some neighborhoods appear to be close to recovery, citing remarks by a broker who likened the market to a space capsule re-entering the atmosphere.  “While it might appear to be burning out of control, the heat is actually beneficial, providing the friction necessary to slow the descent and allow a safe landing. Perhaps our broader market appears to be smoldering now, but some neighborhoods also appear to be close to recovery. With ‘Spaceship Seattle’ currently offering fewer than two single family homes for sale for every buyer currently under contract, it could be an interesting summer around the real estate launch pad,” he suggested.

Commenting on the latest nationwide report on pending sales, Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said “We may not see notable gains in existing-home sales in the near term, but they’re expected to rise 5 to 10 percent this year with the economic recovery, job creation and excellent affordability conditions providing confidence to buyers who’ve been on the sidelines.”

Yun also emphasized the importance of looking at the broader trend, citing the unusually bad weather in the Northeast as having a negative impact on February’s data. “Month-to-month movements can be instructive, but in this uneven recovery it’s important to look at the longer term performance,” he said. “Pending home sales have trended up very nicely since bottoming out last June, even with periodic monthly declines.”

Check out my website(s): www.washingtonrealestatepage.com or www.washingtonlandandhomes.com

I am a Short Sale specialist for Seller’s needing to list their home for sale or Buyer’s wanting to obtain a Great deal by Buying a Short Sale home!

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 2011

Statistical Summary by Counties: Market Activity Summary for March 2011

Single

Family

Homes

+ Condos

LISTINGS

PENDING

SALES

CLOSED SALES

New

Listings

Total

Active

#Pending

Sales

# Closings

 

Average

Price

Median

Price

King

3,778

10,500

3,057

1,885

$394,918

$319,950

Snohomish

1,481

4,641

1,375

785

$267,472

$237,000

Pierce

1,556

5,184

1,317

735

$221,295

$193,900

Kitsap

414

1,573

300

225

$282,825

$229,000

Mason

131

673

86

30

$180,596

$163,875

Skagit

225

1,046

146

85

$244,323

$220,000

GraysHarbor

167

838

89

61

$135,567

$121,500

Lewis

122

681

77

62

$144,142

$139,950

Cowlitz

142

597

109

59

$140,594

$128,500

Grant

127

544

71

36

$163,651

$165,000

Thurston

490

1,613

335

220

$220,915

$201,947

San Juan

56

363

11

9

$803,693

$316,000

Island

187

860

101

62

$254,815

$224,500

Kittitas

72

419

41

26

$189,946

$178,495

Jefferson

81

441

30

19

$242,063

$260,000

Okanogan

41

340

17

6

$248,250

$166,500

Whatcom

386

1,543

263

162

$259,256

$236,000

Clark

75

269

37

38

$256,642

$237,500

Pacific

66

342

26

21

$152,490

$119,000

Ferry

5

51

1

2

$148,500

$148,500

Clallam

77

400

32

25

$210,975

$195,000

Others

133

526

49

37

$173,789

$151,000

MLS TOTAL

9,812

33,444

7,570

4,590

$302,368

$242,925

 

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

Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter April 2011

 

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

4624

4526

4765

4580

4584

4445

334628412432
2009325034074262537254985963555157645825570238293440
2010438152116821736840584239430645204350437639383474
2011427247676049         

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member brokers, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 24,000 brokers and agents. The organization, based in Kirkland, currently serves 21 counties in Western and Central Washington.

Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter April 2011, copyright 2011. 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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