Bob’s Bugle – Real Estate Newsletter – April 2012

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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 2012REAL ESTATE NEWS & INFORMATION

Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter April 2012

April 11, 2012

*Home Shoppers have Edge as Brokers Report Rise in Multiple Offers*

KIRKLAND, WA, April 5, 2012 – The housing market in the Puget Sound region is pointing toward a sustainable recovery, according to several brokers who commented on the March activity report from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

MLS Members reported 9,126 pending sales during March, a year-over-year increase of nearly 21 percent. That total surpassed the previous month by 1,503 transactions (up 19.7 percent). Coupled with shrinking inventory, attractive financing, and rising consumer confidence, the market is becoming more balanced, and even being described by some brokers as “frenzied.” Other brokers commented on the “remarkable opportunities for investing in the residential rental market.”

Brokers added 8,170 new listings last month — nearly 1,000 fewer than the number of pending sales, and about 1,100 fewer new listings than the same month a year ago. With those additions, the number of active listings at month end totaled 24,883 across the 21 counties in the Northwest MLS service area. Compared to a year ago, inventory is down 25.6 percent.

“Buyers are screaming for more inventory and they’re being more aggressive with presenting offers on homes,” reported MLS director George Moorhead, branch manager of a real estate brokerage in Bothell, Washington. Home shoppers perceive the bottom is nearing, he noted, “and both buyers and sellers want to catch the historically low interest rates.” Area-wide, he said bank-owned home sales are increasing. “The lagging inventory is actually helping prices stabilize, which we hope will have a positive impact on the real estate market as the year progresses,” he added.

Northwest MLS brokers reported 5,044 closed sales last month, improving on the year-ago total by nearly 10 percent. The overall median price on last month’s completed transactions was $225,000, which reflects a decrease of 7.4 percent from the year-ago median sales price of $242,925.

Noting stabilizing prices are “forcing buyers to make offers that reflect a more balanced market,” Northwest MLS director Darin Stenvers said house-hunters have taken note of rising rents, fewer choices and increasing fuel costs. The trends are not universal, he acknowledged, but certainly reflect a higher buying confidence level and even a small uptick in new construction. “I’m seeing new home starts in areas that had been at a standstill for years,” reported Stenvers, the office managing broker at a real estate brokerage in Bellingham, WA.

Multiple offers are occurring with regularity in some neighborhoods according to Northwest MLS directors. “The housing market in Seattle’s close-in neighborhoods began to show signs of buyer panic in February but reached a breaking point in March,” reported Mike Skahen, owner and designated broker of a a brokerage in Seattle, Washington. “I haven’t seen buyers this motivated since 2006 and in my opinion, prices on good houses have recovered at least 10 percent of their value since the low point a year ago,” he added.

Skahen said a small Ballard home listed for around $370,000 recently drew five offers and sold for considerably more than the list price. “It’s becoming common for multiple offers on most houses, especially those priced under $400,000 where the selection is very limited,” he observed.

“Now that buyers can track new listings online they are aware of how quickly most listings are selling and fear they’ve missed catching the bottom of the market. They realize continuing to wait would be a mistake,” Skahen commented.

Diedre Haines, another Northwest MLS director, said pending sales in Snohomish County, which jumped 21 percent, would have been “considerably greater were it not for the buyer competition due to the magnitude of multiple offer situations.” She said they are seeing the return of price escalator forms, pre- inspections, set dates for sellers to review offers and properties selling above list price,” according to Haines, the regional managing broker at a real estate brokerage in Lynnwood, WA. “Prices are not increasing dramatically but those properties that are listed and priced correctly, especially in the $300,000 and below range, are selling within days of coming on market,” she noted.

Haines also said they are seeing multiple offer situations in the higher priced market “but not as many over list price sales.” She reported the demand ratio in Snohomish County, based on a recent analysis, “is at the highest levels we have experienced since 2006.” She also noted the report showed there are two buyers for every current home on market in Snohomish County.

A similar scenario exists in Kitsap County. “Inventory is down by 11 percent, buyers making offers are up almost 34 percent, multiple offer situations are on the rise, and more people are coming by our open houses,” reported Frank Wilson, branch managing director at a real estate brokerage office in Poulsbo, Washington. “While the median price in Kitsap is down by 5 percent it is only a matter of time before prices stabilize,” he believes.

The optimism comes with a cautionary note. “It is still extremely important for sellers to price their property correctly,” Haines emphasized. Even with high demand, homes that are priced above comparable properties are not receiving offers, she explained, adding, “We are seeing very positive signs of a continuing recovery but buyers are well educated regarding values and pricing. Sellers should not expect huge increases in values and need to price their properties accordingly and realistically.”

The uptick in activity is attracting not only first-time and move-up buyers, but also investors, according to industry experts.

“Rental demand is surging, interest rates are at historic lows, and recent economic activity has erased nearly a decade of appreciation,” reported MLS director OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate.. He believes the combination of these three factors has created “remarkable opportunities for investing in the residential rental market,” explain “The long-term financial benefits can be significant, but the first step is to closely analyze the details with your real estate agent.”

Another MLS director was equally upbeat. “The market in the Puget Sound region is showing optimistic signs of not only stabilization, but turning point towards a sustainable recovery,” said Joe Spencer. He suggested the cause is “simply the growing imbalance of supply and demand, which has resulted in the lowest inventory levels since 2006. This doesn’t mean that we’re out of the dark yet,” he acknowledged, adding, “However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see modest appreciation, especially close to job centers, in the latter half of 2012 or early 2013.”

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 2012

Statistical Summary by Counties: Market Activity Summary for March 2012

Single

Family

Homes

+ Condos

LISTINGS

PENDING

SALES

CLOSED SALES

New

Listings

Total

Active

# Pending

Sales

# Closings

Avg.

Price

Median

Price

King

3,415

6,700

3,878

2,082

$379,213

$295,000

Snohomish

1,210

2,617

1,665

828

$250,191

$228,500

Pierce

1,260

3,788

1,439

803

$193,570

$175,000

Kitsap

418

1,400

404

217

$287,581

$217,500

Mason

131

628

85

58

$148,478

$151,600

Skagit

192

787

154

106

$269,702

$209,995

Grays Harbor

176

735

98

75

$99,161

$89,000

Lewis

92

611

77

45

$145,508

$118,599

Cowlitz

132

494

91

58

$131,539

$125,950

Grant

99

505

57

37

$155,017

$150,000

Thurston

409

1,299

386

219

$215,571

$212,000

San Juan

35

343

28

12

$336,958

$281,750

Island

176

746

135

71

$282,122

$220,000

Kittitas

78

397

45

26

$319,248

$194,450

Jefferson

92

453

37

27

$238,215

$222,500

Okanogan

38

316

27

20

$133,808

$122,750

Whatcom

364

1,285

280

186

$271,838

$235,000

Clark

46

252

56

38

$209,392

$183,550

Pacific

86

376

30

28

$117,175

$107,500

Ferry

7

61

5

2

$67,250

$67,250

Clallam

81

379

43

31

$297,620

$167,500

Others

173

711

106

75

$150,328

$134,900

MLS TOTAL

8,710

24,883

9,126

5,044

$268,957

$225,000

 

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

Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter April 2012

 

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
2011427247676049573259635868565759445299538448144197
2012492160697386         

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member brokers, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 22,000 brokers and agents. The organization, based in Kirkland, currently serves 21 counties in Western and Central Washington.

Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter April 2012, copyright 2012. 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.

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

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Please use the navigation bar at the LEFT of the page or CLICK on one of the “City“, “County” or “State” Link pages above to locate Snohomish County Washington real estate. These will quickly take you to the specific information that your Snohomish County real estate search requires.

Please visit the links pages in the navigation bar. There you will find links to: Snohomish County & Washington State School Districts information which includes the official websites of School Districts in Snohomish County and Washington State; The official Washington State government website, Snohomish County & City government websites and Valuable Real Estate Informational and Resource links.