June 12, 2006
*Northwest MLS Reports Growing Inventory, Rising Prices and Highest Sales Volume in 8 Months*
KIRKLAND, Wash. (June 6, 2006) – Expanding inventory should please many house-hunters — unless they’re hoping to find a home close to urban job centers. Competition in those areas is still intense, according to brokers and the latest report from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
Other indicators tracked by the multiple listing service show an up-tick in pending sales (offers made and accepted, but not yet closed) and prices.
The MLS report for May reflects a hefty gain in the number of active listings compared to the same month a year ago (27,660 versus 21,499). The snapshot at month’s end shows inventory of single family homes and condominiums is up 18.3 percent across the seventeen counties served by NWMLS. In King County, however, the increase in active listings was less than 8.4 percent, with several Seattle and Eastside-area neighborhoods reporting sharp declines.
“We continue to see a lack of viable inventory in those areas close to the job centers in Bellevue and Seattle, while the outlining areas have leveled out and now have more than enough supply for the demand,” observed Lennox Scott a broker/owner in the NWMLS.
Members reported 10,817 pending sales during May, out-gaining the previous month by 1,115 transactions for an increase of 11.5 percent. Last month’s total lagged the record-setting volumes of a year ago when there were 10,973 pending sales (a difference of about 5.9 percent), but it was the highest number of pending sales since August 2005 when members notched 11,546 pending sales.
Six counties improved on year-ago totals for pending sales (Kittitas, Lewis, Pierce, San Juan, Snohomish and Thurston counties). Prices system-wide jumped 13.7 percent from a year ago, with every county registering a double-digit increase. For last month’s completed transactions of single family homes and condominiums, the median sales price was $302,500. A year ago it was $266,000.
In King County, the median selling price rose from the year-ago figure of $329,389 to $385,000 (up 16.9 percent). Those prices include single family homes and condominiums. For single family homes only (excluding condominiums) the median sales price was $427,950. That’s up 15.5 percent from the year-ago price of $370,500. Condo prices in King County increased almost 17.9 percent, rising from the year-ago figure of $209,145 to $246,500.
NWMLS director Dick Beeson said the market continues to adjust to the increase in inventory. While the pace isn’t as brisk as some recent months, “there is still a strong demand for the better priced properties,” he remarked.
“I think buyers are slightly overwhelmed at the ability to pick and choose more now than at any time in the past several months,” said Beeson, the broker at Windermere Real Estate/Commencement Associates. He believes asking prices will remain high, and may be driven even higher for properties close to employment centers, particularly if fuel prices continue to escalate.
Despite rising costs of gas, traffic at open houses remains strong, according to Beeson. Buyers are tending to preview homes online before visiting in person, he observed. Both buyers and sellers remain optimistic about real estate ownership, although he said some sellers are becoming anxious if their home doesn’t sell quickly. “Nervous buyers need to relax and pay attention to the advice of their agents,” which he said may mean adjusting the price and more thorough cleaning and de-cluttering.
Lennox Scott anticipates strong activity through 2006. “While sales are down slightly compared to last year, the key economic indicators are in alignment and will continue to sustain a healthy housing market despite higher interest rates,” he stated.
*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 June 2006
|STATISTICAL SUMMARY BY COUNTIES|
Market Activity Summary for May 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.|
|May 2006 Single Fam. Homes + Condos||LISTINGS||PENDING SALES||CLOSED SALES|
|New Listings||Total Active||# Pending Sales||# Closings||Avg. Price||Median Price|
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.
Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter June 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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