Bob’s Bugle – Real Estate Newsletter – July 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 July 2009REAL ESTATE NEWS & INFORMATION

 

July 18, 2009

*”Aware and Prepared Buyer’s” Help Boost Western Washington Home Sales During June*

KIRKLAND, Wash. (July 6, 2009) – “Encouraging” seemed to be a common response from brokers upon reviewing the June activity summaries from Northwest Multiple Listing Service. The report shows inventory continues to shrink, pending sales increased more than 19.5 percent from a year ago, and median prices system-wide are up 4.4 percent since January.

“The positive movement in our real estate market year over year is really very encouraging,” remarked Ron G. Sparks, a managing broker in Seattle, WA. Compared to 12 months ago, the Puget Sound region has nearly 7,000 fewer homes listed for sale, and nearly 1,200 more homes under contract, he noted, adding, “In anyone’s book, that’s substantial improvement.”

Northwest MLS brokers notched 7,733 pending sales of single family homes and condominiums (combined) in their 19-county market area last month. That’s a gain of 1,263 transactions from the same month a year ago, for a 19.5 percent increase. Seven counties reported jumps in pending sales of 30 percent or more: Cowlitz, Island, Kitsap, Mason, Pacific, Skagit, and Snohomish, with Kitsap County topping the list with its 55.6 percent increase.

Pending sales (offers made and accepted) in the four-county Puget Sound region (King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish) rose more than 25 percent in June compared to the same month a year ago, increasing from 4,765 transactions to 5,693.

Closed sales and prices still lag a year ago, but prices are edging up since the beginning of the year. Brokers reported 5,146 closed sales of single family homes and condos during June, a dip of 4.3 percent from twelve months ago when they reported 5,379 completed transactions.

Viewed separately, the volume of closed sales of single family homes nearly equaled year-ago totals (4,463 closings last month, down from 4,516 for June 2008). Condo sales were off nearly 21 percent, dropping from 863 closings to 683.

The area-wide median price for last month’s closed sales of single family homes and condos combined was $285,000, a drop of 9.5 percent from the year ago figure of $314,900. In the Puget Sound region, the volume of closings nearly matched year-ago totals (3,885 versus 3,908), but prices are down about 10 percent. The median price for last month’s completed sales in the four-county area was $305,950; a year ago it was $340,000.

“There is a definite upsurge in sales activity, from a pending sales perspective and a “lookers becoming buyers” perspective,” observed NWMLS director Dick Beeson. Agents are reinvigorated that buyers can and will make decisions more today than any other time over the past 12 months, according to Beeson, a broker at Windermere Real Estate in Tacoma, Washington.

Beeson believes mortgage rates remaining low, declining inventories, and the recent stretch of warm, dry weather helped spur some buyers to act. He said the “word’ on the $8,000 tax credit has finally reached the streets, as more buyers come in aware, prepared and excited about taking advantage while the advantage is available. (The federal tax credit of up to $8,000 is available for qualified first-time home buyers purchasing a principal residence before December 1, 2009.)

House-hunters will find fewer choices than a year ago. MLS members added 11,410 listings of single family homes and condos to inventory during June, down 13.5 percent from the year-ago total of 13,187.

At month-end there were 34,278 single family homes and 7,039 condominiums offered for sale, for a total of 41,317 listings. That’s down 17.6 percent from a year ago when MLS members represented sellers of 50,143 properties.

Buyers continue to look for modestly priced homes, with first-time buyers accounting for about 40 percent of today’s market, according to estimates by Beeson.

Although the supply is plentiful with asking prices of current inventory ranging from $24,000 to $32 million, homes at the lower end of the price spectrum tend to be in short supply in some areas. In King County, for example, MLS data indicate less than 9 percent of the inventory of single family homes has an asking price under $250,000.

For condominiums in some submarkets, brokers report projects that “demonstrate their market value” are finding success. Sam Cunningham, a managing broker in the Seattle, Washington area, which specializes in center city condominiums, believes prices are stabilizing and consumer confidence is improving.

Cunningham reports inventory levels in the downtown Seattle market have been declining for a year and there’s no new construction planned. He suggests “timing the market” for buyers may finally have more to do with preferred selection and interest rates than waiting for dramatic price drops.

MLS figures indicate the median sales price for condos that sold in Seattle’s downtown core last month was $449,450. That’s down about 8 percent from a year ago, but reflects four months of steady increases.

Commenting on the MLS report, Sparks remarked, “If there is a downside, it might be that this improvement isn’t uniform across the region.” As an example, he said his company’s Lynnwood office saw year-over-year closed sales increase 144 percent, while the Gig Harbor office reported a meager 4 percent gain.

Data show some neighborhoods are rebounding faster than others, Sparks observed. “In what appears to be a transitional market, accurate neighborhood information is more critical than ever, so buyers, sellers and their agents really need to do their homework” he emphasized.

Short sales continue to be a drag on prices and source of frustration for brokers and agents, according to Beeson. A National Association of REALTORS® analysis revealed that distressed homes typically sell for 20 percent less than the normal market price, thereby drawing down the overall median price.

Many pending sales are yet to close because of short sales, which Beeson estimates take twice as long to close as a more conventional transaction. “Many pendings have to be resold because the first buyer tires of waiting for the lender’s response.”

Beeson also notes the next challenge will be reactions to the next round of foreclosed properties that are expected to come on the market in the next six months. He said there could be another dip in prices, but adds, “I think we’ve been through the worst.”

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 July 2009

Statistical Summary by Counties: Market Activity Summary for June 2009

June 2009

Single

Family

Homes

+ Condos

LISTINGS

PENDING

SALES

CLOSED SALES

New

Listings

Total

Active

# Pending

Sales

#

Closings

Average

Price

Median

Price

King

4373

13351

3042

2083

$446,044

$363,116

Snohomish
1730
5627
1191
745
$317,014
$299,000
Pierce
1668
5953
1341
798
$258,761
$230,000
Kitsap
522
1996
389
259
$291,358
$247,900
Mason
163
832
99
48
$204,728
$180,000
Skagit
282
1407
171
111
$284,342
$246,000

Grays

Harbor

204
888
90
60
$149,097
$117,750
Lewis
154
744
81
63
$164,823
$164,300
Cowlitz
152
651
105
60
$171,748
$159,500
Grant
133
710
76
53
$194,885
$163,935
Thurston
500
1752
391
312
$254,816
$239,975
San Juan
47
509
18
15
$547,880
$380,000
Island
296
1244
117
81
$284,095
$260,800
Kittitas
140
658
50
45
$251,043
$225,000
Jefferson
110
614
26
25
$232,596
$210,000
Okanogan
73
405
31
17
$238,829
$200,000
Whatcom
488
2017
308
240
$286,184
$265,000
Clark
86
370
74
48
$233,421
$206,000
Pacific
58
399
33
27
$156,298
$126,000
Others
231
1190
100
56
$242,779
$243,050
MLS TOTAL
11,410
41,317
7,733
5,146
$341,663
$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

334628412432
2009325034074262537254985963      

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 July 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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