Bob’s Bugle – Real Estate Newsletter – February 2009

 

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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 February 2009REAL ESTATE NEWS & INFORMATION

 

February 11, 2009

*Home Buyer’s Starting to Seize Opportunities in Some Western Washington Areas*

KIRKLAND, Wash. (Feb. 4, 2009) – Pending sales during January jumped from the same month a year ago in eight of the 19 counties in the Northwest Multiple Listing Service area. Last month’s pending sales outgained December’s weather-hampered activity by nearly 1,100 transactions, prompting one MLS director to report “We’re starting to feel the train building up steam.”

The latest report from Northwest MLS shows inventory is shrinking and prices in most areas are below year-ago levels.

NWMLS members tallied 4,353 pending sales of single family homes and condominiums area-wide during January, up from December’s total of 3,255, but down about 3.3 percent from a year ago when sellers accepted 4,499 offers. Sales surged more than 26 percent in both Pacific and Pierce counties, according to the new figures from Northwest MLS. Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Kitsap, and Okanogan counties also experienced double-digit gains in pending sales compared with a year ago.

Pending sales of single family homes, which accounted for about 86 percent of last month’s residential volume, increased about 1.2 percent from a year ago. Condo activity remained sluggish: area-wide sales dropped more than 24 percent from twelve months ago.

“The market seems to be gaining momentum, and buyers seem to be feeling more confident,” reports Northwest MLS director Meribeth Hutchings. Agents are more optimistic and banks are getting more realistic on pricing bank-owned homes and bank-controlled homes (short sales), which is helping move that inventory, she stated. “The sooner we can eliminate that inventory, the sooner we will get back to a healthy market,” says Hutchings, the broker/owner of Windermere Real Estate/Lake Stevens, Inc.

NWMLS brokers reported year-over-year drops in both the number of new listings added to inventory during January, and in the total inventory at month end. Members added 10,713 new listings, nearly 2,500 fewer than a year ago, for a decline of nearly 19 percent. At month end, there were 38,171 active listings in the MLS system, about 8 percent fewer than the year-ago total of 41,498. Thirteen counties reported shrinkage in inventory. 

MLS director Dick Beeson, a broker at Windermere Real Estate, agreed. He estimates one in four pending sales in Pierce County last month were short sales (a sale in which the proceeds are less than the balance owed on a loan; such sales are typical to prevent foreclosure). Beeson attributes the uptick in pending sales to short sales along with low interest rates and a buyer pool that’s “finally waking up to the excellent values in the marketplace.

“There’s no question that buyers are being educated and coached by agents in how to craft offers within lender approved guidelines that garner good price values along with seller concessions for closing costs and needed repairs to the property,” according to Beeson. Given the pent-up demand, he believes passage of a stimulus package with key elements for housing would spur a housing rebound.

Members reported fewer closed sales in January compared to a year ago, reflecting the slower pace of sales during the last few months of 2008. Prices area-wide slipped about 13.7 percent from a year ago.

Viewed separately, condo prices were unchanged from a year ago. Condos that sold last month had median selling price of $250,000, which compares to a price of $249,950 for sales that closed during the same month a year ago. In King County, which accounts for about two-thirds of the MLS condo sales, prices increased 3.4 percent, rising from $270,500 to $279,750.

“It’s pretty clear that the real estate train came to a complete stop over the past few months,” acknowledges NWMLS Pat Grimm, a broker at Windermere Real Estate. “The good news is that the train was moving pretty fast before and now people have an opportunity to get aboard.” Affordability is the key, according to Grimm. “With interest rates and prices down, dream properties are within reach again and we’re starting to feel the train building up steam.”

Officials from the National Association of Realtors® say “significant uncertainty” still clouds the housing market despite improved affordability conditions. “For a sustainable housing market recovery and, hence, sustainable economic recovery, we need a significant housing stimulus and mortgage availability for qualified borrowers,” stated Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.

“The market is fragile given the economic backdrop,” declared NAR president Charles McMillan. The Dallas-Fort Worth broker emphasized additional steps are needed to meaningfully drawn down inventory and stabilize home prices.

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 February 2009

Statistical Summary by Counties: Market Activity Summary for January 2009

January 2009

Single Family

Homes + Condos

LISTINGS

PENDING

SALES

CLOSED SALES

New

Listings

Total

Active

# Pending

Sales

#

Closings

Average

Price

Median

Price

King

4159

12035

1500

906

$464,628

$364,138

Snohomish

1980

5595

668

359

$314,171

$295,000

Pierce

1647

6183

832

382

$256,880

$235,000

Kitsap

514

2060

250

126

$284,230

$234,200

Mason

136

680

41

19

$201,482

$170,900

Skagit

246

1082

81

56

$283,712

$246,950

Grays Harbor

146

795

58

36

$159,213

$155,856

Lewis

93

679

43

24

$174,352

$158,250

Cowlitz

127

622

66

29

$165,952

$161,500

Grant

84

580

42

30

$154,815

$152,558

Thurston

484

1584

291

177

$267,131

$239,950

San Juan

43

367

9

4

$587,250

$573,500

Island

200

946

70

36

$308,819

$243,803

Kittitas

82

523

27

7

$232,929

$230,000

Jefferson

57

452

21

12

$229,750

$227,500

Okanogan

28

389

16

12

$158,167

$139,000

Whatcom

346

1646

194

107

$289,752

$245,000

Clark

105

574

48

28

$239,157

$221,000

Pacific

61

331

19

9

$189,333

$182,000

Others

175

1048

77

43

$187,641

$183,500

MLS TOTAL

10,713

38,171

4,353

2,402

$341,914

$273,000

 

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

334628412432
20093250           

This information is from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service which is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes approximately 28,000 brokers and agents. The organization, based in Kirkland, currently serves 19 counties in western and central Washington. 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 February 2009, copyright 2009. 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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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.