Bob’s Bugle – Real Estate Newsletter – December 2008

 

Bob

          Menu

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 December 2008REAL ESTATE NEWS & INFORMATION

 

December 11, 2008

*November’s Housing Activity in Western Washington Reflects “Microclimates”*

KIRKLAND, Wash. (Dec. 4, 2008) – “Real estate microclimates can behave very differently,” according to one industry leader in commenting on the latest report from Northwest Multiple Listing Service. On first glimpse, the statistics for much of Western Washington indicate a market slowdown persists, but a closer look illustrates the “microclimate” theory:

  • Inventory overall dropped slightly in November (down 1.8 percent) compared with a year ago, with 9 of the 19 counties in the NWMLS area reporting a smaller selection of listings.
  • Pending sales of single family homes and condominiums declined in all but one county. Jefferson County bucked the trend with a 53 percent jump in the number of offers made and accepted but not yet closed. Within King County, where the multiple listing service tracks 29 map areas, four of those areas reported double-digit gains in pending sales of single family homes. (The “hot spots” were Jovita/West Hill/Auburn; Skyway; Central Seattle/Beacon Hill and Bellevue -West of I-405.)
  • Prices overall for last month’s closed sales lagged figures from a year ago (down about 9.5 percent), but six counties reported gains. For the West region of the U.S., prices of single family homes plunged 26.7 percent and condo prices dropped 24.5 percent from a year ago, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

Counties where prices rose from a year ago included Cowlitz, Island, Okanogan, Pacific, San Juan and Skagit; prices were unchanged from a year ago in Lewis County. System-wide, the median price for last month’s closed sales of single family homes and condos was $285,000, down 9.5 percent from the year-ago figure of $315,000. In King County, prices fell about 5.4 percent, from $385,990 to $365,000.

Although not isolated in the NWMLS monthly reports, brokers say the rising number of foreclosures is having some impact on statistics.

“Until all the foreclosures and short sales are gobbled up, they represent a chunk of the inventory, and prices will fall,” said Dick Beeson with Windermere Real Estate. Asked to comment on reports of recent auctions of unsold inventory, he said this approach has limited usefulness, usually under special circumstances. “They may work for some new housing tracts, but probably not for individual single detached homes,” he remarked.

The existence of real estate microclimates means consumers and agents alike should understand that expertise within a specific market segment is now more important than ever, says Pat Grimm, also with Windermere Real Estate. “I remind our agents that regional trends don’t always speak for all product types, property locations or price points — the pressures on supply and demand are never evenly distributed.”

Grimm noted new construction activity tends to be understated in Northwest MLS reports, in part because of how pre-sales are handled. For example, he notes multiple high rise condominiums are in various stages of construction in downtown Seattle. Some builders-developers are pre-selling or only listing a sampling of their offerings with NWMLS brokers, he explained.

Grimm estimates around 500 additional sales around downtown Seattle are scheduled to close in the near future, but they are not listed in the MLS database. “When considering all this activity, the reality is actually better than the perception in this situation,” he remarked.

Looking at the “macro” market, condo inventory across the Northwest MLS service area is comparable to a year ago. At month end, there were 6,948 active listings of condos in the system, up slightly (1.4 percent) from the year-ago total of 6,855. Prices for condos that sold last month were down about 5.2 percent from condos that sold twelve months ago. In King County, which accounts for nearly two-thirds of all condo sales, prices fell 3.6 percent.

While condo inventory rose slightly, the choices for single family homes shrunk from a year ago. At the end of November, there were 36,636 active listings of single family homes, a drop of 908 listings (down 2.4 percent) from twelve months ago.

Recent actions by the Federal Reserve have resulted in mortgage rates dropping to their lowest levels since 2003. Lower rates are providing opportunities for homeowners to significantly reduce their monthly payment by refinancing.

Windermere’s Beeson, a member of the Northwest MLS board of directors, reports “keen interest from sidelined buyers” because of dramatic dips in interest rates. “In fact,” he remarked, once unqualified buyers are now qualified because of the full 1 percent drop in rates – “and they’re buying.”

“If inventory continues to shrink, if lower interest rates are maintained, if homebuyers are stimulated through proposals like the $7500 tax credit plan the National Association of Realtors® proposes for every buyer (not just first time buyers), if GSEs (government sponsored enterprise) set their loan limits at the highest levels, and if the banks are required to work with existing troubled homeowners by reducing their payments or arranging repayments at lower interest rates (but not focusing on debt forgiveness), we could all breathe a bit easier for 2009,” Beeson suggests.

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

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 December 2008

Statistical Summary by Counties: Market Activity Summary for November 2008

November 2008

Single Family

Homes + Condos

LISTINGS

PENDING

SALES

CLOSED SALES

New

Listings

Total

Active

# Pending

Sales

#

Closings

Average

Price

Median

Price

King

2,686

13,578

1,444

1,145

$440,062

$365,000

Snohomish

1,104

6,413

567

383

$333,143

$310,000

Pierce

1,368

6,998

670

463

$259,145

$230,000

Kitsap

337

2,356

160

166

$309,693

$252,500

Mason

79

791

40

28

$199,150

$160,000

Skagit

176

1,202

73

51

$298,437

$279,000

Grays Harbor

121

873

61

50

$147,428

$142,250

Lewis

94

771

38

38

$187,509

$172,500

Cowlitz

107

701

40

54

$204,212

$185,000

Grant

66

672

44

43

$166,979

$156,000

Thurston

337

1,925

200

177

$266,006

$246,900

San Juan

19

418

6

10

$624,460

$620,000

Island

142

1,073

52

48

$338,417

$304,000

Kittitas

54

623

17

17

$259,067

$182,500

Jefferson

33

517

26

14

$321,976

$290,500

Okanogan

21

450

9

16

$225,125

$170,000

Whatcom

247

1,871

157

117

$291,356

$265,000

Clark

80

693

44

44

$277,573

$235,000

Pacific

27

379

16

20

$189,768

$186,500

Others

172

1,280

63

53

$208,814

$185,000

MLS TOTAL

7,270

43,584

3,727

2,937

$340,350

$285,000

 

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

2975

2008

3291

4167

4520

4624

4526

4765

4580

4584

4445

33462841 

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 28,000 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 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.

Past Issues – Bob’s Bugle

Let a trained professional Windermere agent, Bob Chapman, assist you in your Snohomish County real estate home or vacant land buying or selling transaction.

This Snohomish County real estate website page also has a home loan or mortgage calculator.

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.