Bob’s Bugle – Real Estate Newsletter – December 2007

 

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

 

December 8, 2007

*Housing Activity Shows Seasonal Slowdown & Stable Prices*

KIRKLAND, Wash. (Dec. 6, 2007) –  A “typical holiday market,” “the start of an optimum buy zone,” “a good time to beat the spring rush,” and a “wonderful time to be a home buyer” are among reactions by directors of Northwest Multiple Listing Service upon viewing the activity summary for November.

The latest recap report issued by Northwest MLS shows little price fluctuation from a year ago, ample inventory (about 31 percent more listings than a year ago, but 6.3 percent fewer than the previous month), the expected seasonal slowdown of sales activity, along with reports of “busy agents” who are working with motivated buyers and sellers.

For its 19-county market area, MLS members reported 5,194 pending sales of single family homes and condos (combined) last month, down from 7,022 for the same month a year ago, a drop of 26 percent.

An analysis of the falloff in activity in the four-county Puget Sound region from October to November shows this year’s decline, at 12.4 percent, is the third lowest of the past eight years. Since 2000, pending sales from October to November have dropped from a low of 5.3 percent (in 2001) to a high of 25 percent in 2003.

Prices on completed sales of single family homes and condos dipped slightly — 1.35 percent area-wide — from a year ago. For November’s closed sales, the median price was $315,000, which compares to the year-ago figure of $319,300.

For the four-county Puget Sound region (King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties), the median selling price for last month’s closed sales of single family homes and condominiums was $340,000, down about 1.2 percent from the same month a year ago when the price was $344,000. For single family homes only (excluding condos), the median price for the four-county area rose about 1 percent, from $363,500 to $367,352. For condos, the median price increased more than 3.9 percent, from $255,000 to $265,000.

In King County, the median price declined 2.9 percent for the “blended” property types (single family homes and condominiums); the price declined from $397,500 to $385,990. The price for single family homes only (excluding condos) was unchanged at $435,000. The median selling price for condos that sold in King County last month was $284,450, an increase of 4.2 percent from twelve months ago when the median price was $272,950. One factor contributing to the price dip is the growing popularity of condos, which tend to have lower prices. A year ago, condos accounted for 25.3 percent of closed sales in King County; last month, condos made up 30.3 percent of sales countywide.

A NWMLS director Kathy Estey, also attributes the price dip to the broader selection. “From my perspective we are seeing a great deal more activity in the lower price ranges because there is more inventory in those ranges now,” she remarked, explaining an increased volume of sales at the lower end of the spectrum means the median price (half sell for more, half for less) will adjust downward.

“Most homes have not lost value – and good properties are still attracting more than one buyer,” Estey stated, while noting premium pricing is rarely in effect. Last week, her office had four different multiple offer situations for homes priced under $700,000. She also reports two different multiple offer situations in the past few weeks for homes priced over a million dollars. Pent up demand is starting to show signs of moving buyers from the sidelines into the market, she noted. “Our agents are busy,” she reports, adding, “It is a good time to beat the spring rush.”

Selection is plentiful, with 44,399 active listings offered for sale at the end of November. That’s up about 31 percent from a year ago when there were 33,817 active listings. The inventory includes 8,805 new listings that were added during the month.

“Welcome back to normal,” commented MLS director Ken Bacon, a Windermere broker. He characterized the market as “a typical holiday market,” and while different that the past few years, it’s similar to markets in the prior decade with appreciation of about 3 percent per year, a great job environment and buyers driven by a need and desire for homeownership. Bacon expects buyer interest to build after the holidays, with single digit appreciation likely to continue. “What a wonderful time to be a homebuyer,” he exclaimed.

MLS director Dick Beeson, broker/owner of a Windermere office, reports less volatility in the market. “The market seems to have leveled out,” he commented, with buyers resuming their search as interest rates continue to fall and inventory starts to shrink.

“Some sellers have finally reduced their price or come on the market at the right price” to facilitate a quicker sale” according to Beeson. “Correct pricing gets the most money in the quickest time,” he emphasized. Open house traffic has been “up and down” and there are still many non-committal buyers undergoing prolonged searches as they seek a perfect blend of neighborhood, price and amenities, Beeson noted. He anticipates a “great first quarter,” with lower inventory and lower rates brewing up a slight rebound in spring and summer.

Although traffic is down, Steve Little, an associate broker at Windermere, reports having a noticeably higher percentage of serious buyers at his open houses. “The ‘just lookings’ and ‘maybe in the future’ or ‘looking for remodeling ideas’ visitors have decreased, according to Little. Buyers don’t seem to have the sense of urgency they had a few months ago, he remarked, adding, “Wait until spring when they will think, ‘I should have bought when the market was not as hot.’ ”    

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to All! The “Market” will be improving next year – get ready!

Thank You!

Bob Chapman

Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter December 2007

Statistical Summary by Counties: Market Activity Summary for November 2007

November 2007

Single Family Homes + Condos

LISTINGS

PENDING SALES

CLOSED SALES

New Listings

Total Active

# Pending Sales

# Closings

Average Price

Median Price

King

3248

13188

2084

2187

$476,207

$385,990

Snohomish

1361

6413

760

835

$364,750

$335,000

Pierce

1505

7981

828

784

$296,996

$262,950

Kitsap

437

2454

224

240

$342,028

$265,000

Mason

103

805

43

54

$233,948

$182,475

Skagit

285

1224

116

118

$295,570

$276,500

Grays Harbor

142

877

74

64

$206,283

$166,000

Lewis

121

713

69

63

$195,901

$172,500

Cowlitz

135

751

63

82

$193,729

$183,250

Grant

86

618

59

74

$168,872

$158,985

Thurston

405

2087

273

253

$293,660

$260,000

San Juan

23

327

14

16

$866,063

$597,500

Island

139

1072

67

75

$359,865

$275,000

Kittitas

77

575

46

38

$334,334

$254,500

Jefferson

42

501

17

28

$330,746

$307,500

Okanogan

38

381

27

25

$238,798

$144,000

Whatcom

278

2009

223

220

$314,889

$279,200

Clark

145

841

66

106

$304,676

$261,000

Pacific

23

343

22

27

$212,444

$185,000

Others

212

1239

119

93

$235,530

$189,000

MLS TOTAL

8,805

44,399

5,194

5,382

$378,070

$315,000

 

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

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 December 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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