Bob’s Bugle – Real Estate Newsletter – August 2007

 

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Bob's Bugle Real Estate Newsletter August 2007REAL ESTATE NEWS & INFORMATION

 

August 8, 2007

*Housing Prices in Western Washington Still Rising Despite Fewer Sales & Expanding Inventory*

KIRKLAND, Wash. (Aug. 6, 2007) –  Fewer homes sold last month around Western Washington compared to 12 months ago, but they fetched higher prices, according to a new report from Northwest Multiple Listing Service. Its figures show both inventory and prices are still rising.

NWMLS members reported 8,614 pending sales across the 19 counties in its market area during July. That volume of offers made and accepted (but not yet closed) is down 6 percent from a year ago when members notched 9,165 pending sales.

Prices are still rising, but at more moderate rates in most areas. Area-wide, the median price for last month’s closed sales of single family homes and condominiums rose 6.3 percent from July 2006.

In King County, the median sales price for last month’s completed transactions of single family homes and condominiums (combined) jumped nearly 9 percent from a year ago, rising from $390,000 to $425,000. The median selling price for a single family home rose 10.6 percent to $481,000.

Members added 14,875 new listings of single family homes and condos to the inventory during July – the smallest number since March when they added 14,281 new listings. Those additions brought the system-wide total to 47,106 offerings across 19 counties. The current selection is about 48 percent larger than a year ago when there were 31,910 active listings.

Homes that are well-priced and well-prepared for showing will stand out from the competition and command top dollars, brokers emphasize.

“The prettiest homes with the most reasonable prices on the block are selling – and some are getting multiple offers,” said NWMLS director Kathy Estey and broker in Bellevue.

Contrary to many areas with slower activity, Bellevue remains robust. The volume of closed sales surpassed year-ago totals and prices are rising at a faster clip than the MLS average. The median price for last month’s closed sales of single family homes (excluding condos) with a Bellevue address was $750,000, a jump of $80,000 (11.9%) from 12 months ago.

“It’s a nice time to buy and sell,” Estey commented. “The market feels a lot more peaceful as the frenzy cools and a more balanced market takes its place. We are healthy on the Eastside,” she exclaimed.

Sam Pace , the South King County housing specialist for the Seattle-King County Association of Realtors® and a Realtor®, agreed. “We’ve got a very healthy, positive, stable market in South King County and north Pierce County — one of the best in the nation,” he stated, adding, “Homes that are well-priced by serious and savvy sellers are continuing to be snapped up rather quickly.

Pace said the South Sound area offers some of the best opportunities for single family buyers in the central Puget Sound Region, “but only if buyers are pre-approved and ready to act expeditiously.”

In contrast to the eastside of King County, where last month’s median sales price for single family homes and condos was $550,000, dwellings that sold in southeast King County had a median price of $350,000; in the southwest section of the county, the median selling price was an even more affordable $310,000.

Pierce County continues to have the most affordably priced inventory in the four-county region, with more than 40 percent of current listings of single family homes priced under $300,000:

 

County

# current listings

(as of 8/4/07)

(single family homes only)

Median list price (asking price)

# priced under $300,000

% priced under $300,000

King

9,199

$513,443

745

8.09%

Kitsap

2,288

$361,000

828

36.2%

Pierce

7,228

$329,950

2,947

40.8%

Snohomish

5,166

$419,945

684

13.2%

 

NWMLS director Dick Beeson said despite a rising frustration level for some agents who “are not keeping their head in the game,” and the slower market, “There is still a lot of business being done.” Beeson, a broker/owner at Windermere Real Estate in Tacoma, noted buyers are still seeking bargains and many sellers remain unrealistic in their pricing. Buyers are getting good values, he acknowledged, but overpriced properties are languishing on the market.

“The market has settled into a steady rhythm,” Beeson remarked, who said he believes the market will actually pick up toward the end of summer and into fall.

Condos Outperforming Single Family Homes
The condominium market remains active, with the volume of both pending sales and closed sales out-gaining year-ago totals. Pending sales rose about 3.7 percent. Prices for last month’s completed transactions were about 10.5 percent higher than for condos that sold a year ago.

Condo buyers have a wide choice of styles across the price spectrum. Inventory is almost 75 percent bigger than twelve months ago. According to New Home Trends, a Bothell company that tracks new construction, there are approximately 29,000 condos in various stages of development and construction in the four-county Puget Sound region, with only a fraction of them currently in the MLS database.

Nearly half the condo inventory in the NWMLS system is located in King County. Of the nearly 3,000 listings currently offered for sale within the county, about one of every five is classified as new construction.

Fallout from Risky Loans
Lawrence Yun, senior economist at the National Association of Realtors® , said tightening lending standards are continuing to hamper sales, but fewer risky loans will put the market on a healthier path.  Mixed signals about the housing market are causing some hesitancy among consumers, Yun believes. Although general buying conditions remain favorable for long-term home buyers, he said it appears “some buyers are looking for more signs of stability before they have enough confidence to make an offer.”

Both Beeson and Estey commented on more restrictive lending practices. “The subprime market failures have hurt the re-fi market and this could eventually mean more properties will come up for sale,” Beeson stated. Lenders are tightening the reins on qualifying, Estey remarked, adding, “But rates are good.”

Mortgage rates for a 30-year fixed rate loan dropped slightly last week to an average of 6.71 percent, according to Bankrate.com’s weekly national survey. HSH Associates, Financial Publishers reported a slightly higher rate of 6.87 percent.  

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 August 2007

Statistical Summary by Counties: Market Activity Summary for July 2007

July 2007

Single Fam. Homes + Condos
LISTINGS

PENDING SALES

CLOSED SALES

New Listings

Total Active

# Pending Sales

# Closings

Avg. Price

Median Price

King Co.

5357

12902

3412

3417

$529,773

$425,000

Snohomish

2242

6408

1342

1261

$385,138

$348,250

Pierce

2337

8700

1249

1141

$313,398

$281,400

Kitsap

704

2714

368

383

$382,783

$303,000

Mason

223

908

107

97

$270,788

$239,999

Skagit

327

1256

182

183

$302,281

$252,569

Grays Harbor

268

1019

105

91

$194,006

$179,900

Lewis

179

792

100

71

$236,791

$231,400

Cowlitz

197

749

120

96

$205,823

$195,000

Grant

162

590

101

71

$204,643

$165,000

Thurston

693

2379

472

396

$321,557

$275,174

San Juan

49

370

22

23

$687,109

$420,000

Island

290

1192

141

131

$378,798

$305,000

Kittitas

150

598

74

87

$311,571

$265,650

Jefferson

105

567

38

50

$344,841

$320,000

Okanogan

66

396

38

34

$257,730

$162,500

Whatcom

596

2496

376

356

$323,438

$270,000

Clark

502

1348

172

143

$336,572

$294,000

Pacific

92

424

26

20

$189,984

$161,000

Others

336

1298

169

159

$241,308

$210,500

MLS TOTAL

14,875

47,106

8,614

8,210

$414,341

$337,500

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

 

 

 

 

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 26,000 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 August 2007, copyright 2007. 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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