July 19, 2006
*Housing Inventory Much Improved, Prices in Western Washington Still Rising*
KIRKLAND, Wash. (July 6, 2006) – Brokers added 14,541 new listings to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service database during June, boosting inventory to nearly 30,000 properties, but prices are still rising at double-digit rates in most of the 17 counties in its service area. Bidding wars are still happening too, according to the latest report from NWMLS.
A condominium in Bellevue’s Crossroads area with an asking price of $160,000 recently received 30 offers, according to D’Ann Jackson, the broker at a Mercer Island real estate office. While bidding wars typically involve more affordably priced properties, Jackson said she knew of a listing in West Seattle priced at more than a million dollars that drew multiple offers. She also noted a property on Mercer Island, where the median asking price for current listings is more than $1.3 million, had 13 offers.
Inventory is up almost 26 percent from a year ago, with most counties reporting double-digit increases. With the addition of Okanogan and Whatcom counties, which became part of the MLS system in August 2005, the month-end inventory totaled 29,856 properties. The selection includes 26,364 single family homes and 3,492 condominiums.
“We are starting to get into a rhythm, a beat of even-handedness between inventory and the number of prospective buyers in the market,” observed MLS director Dick Beeson, a broker at Windermere Real Estate in Tacoma. “The inventory continues to be higher than last year, but we’ve leveled out somewhat and it’s not increasing like it was the past few months,” he added.
Pending sales (offers made accepted but not yet closed) for June lagged last year’s record-setting pace. Members reported 10,448 pending sales system-wide, a drop of about 8.5 percent from a year ago. In the four-county Puget Sound region, sales were down about 9 percent. King County had the smallest decline (about 6.1 percent), while Pierce County had the biggest decrease (12.4 percent) among the four counties.
Three counties – Grant, Thurston and Kittitas – reported increased volumes of pending sales compared to 12 months ago.
For last month’s closed sales of single family homes and condominiums, the median sales price was $315,000. That’s an increase of 15.4 percent compared to year-ago sales. With the exception of Kittitas County, all areas reported double-digit price hikes.
For single family homes (excluding condominiums), the median sales price area-wide was $330,500, up about 16 percent from a year ago. In King County, the median price for 3,000 sales of single family homes that closed last month was $434,950. That’s almost $60,000 more than a year ago, an increase of about 16 percent. Nine counties had price jumps of more than 16 percent for completed transactions of single family homes.
“June is a little more characteristic of our spring market,” Jackson remarked. She attributes the solid market to a combination of factors, including increased Web traffic and strong open house activity. Jackson, who also serves as 2006 president of the Seattle-King County Association of Realtors®, emphasized the need for sellers to be realistic in pricing. “I think the key right now for sellers is to accurately price, not overprice,” she stated.
Rising interest rates may have some impact on escalating prices, according to Beeson. (According to Freddie Mac, the rate on a 30-year mortgage for the week ending June 30 was 6.78 percent; twelve months ago it was 5.53 percent.)
Beeson expects single-digit, rather than double-digit hikes in the coming months, perhaps “3-to-5 percent in the higher end prices and 5-to-7 percent for homes priced in the lower- and mid-ranges.” Business is very good and consistent, Beeson commented, noting an influx of new residents is a factor. “We keep beating those prognosticators of our demise,” he added.
*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!
Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter July 2006
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 2,000 companies with approximately 26,000 sales associates. Together, they serve 17 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.
|STATISTICAL SUMMARY BY COUNTIES|
Market Activity Summary for June 2006
|PLEASE NOTE: NWMLS is implementing a new field, CDOM, which stands for Cumulative Days on Market, which will depict a more precise representation of the market time for a property. During this transition, “Days on Market” figures are deleted from these reports.|
|June 2006 Single Fam. Homes + Condos||LISTINGS||PENDING SALES||CLOSED SALES|
|New Listings||Total Active||# Pending Sales||# Closings||Avg. Price||Median Price|
Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter July 2006, copyright 2006. 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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