Bob’s Bugle – Real Estate Newsletter – June 2007

 

Bob

          Menu

Search for Homes and Real Estate

Washington State Real Estate - Search Homes and Land

Bob's Bugle Real Estate Newsletter June 2007REAL ESTATE NEWS & INFORMATION

 

June 13, 2007

*Western Washington Housing Market Continues Trend of Expanding Inventory, Fewer Sales, Rising Prices*  KIRKLAND, Wash. (June 6, 2007) –  Fewer home sales, more choices and higher prices were the themes again in May, according to new statistics from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Figures show three key indicators — pending sales, active listings and selling prices — for last month’s activity followed the pattern of recent months. The report covers 19 counties, mostly in Western Washington.

Pending sales (offers made and accepted, but not yet closed) fell about 9.9 percent compared to twelve months ago, with wide variation across the MLS service area. King County, which accounted for about 40 percent of the pending sales volume, lagged year-ago totals by 7.5 percent. Three counties, Okanogan, Pacific and Skagit, improved on May 2006 activity. Thirteen counties reported double-digit drops in pending sales of single family homes and condominiums (combined).

In the four-county Puget Sound region (King, Snohomish, Pierce and Kitsap counties), brokers reported 7,311 pending sales during May. That was 1,100 fewer transactions than the same month a year ago (a 13 percent decline), but the largest volume since August 2006.

Inventory continued to grow. Member brokers added 16,888 new listings of single family homes and condominiums to the inventory during May. At month end, buyers could choose from 42,514 active listings, a 53.7 percent larger selection than a year ago when there were 27,660 listings area-wide.

Despite the slower pace of sales, prices are still rising. Area-wide, the median selling price for last month’s closed sales rose nearly 10 percent (9.95 percent) from a year ago. The sales price for May’s 8,590 completed transactions (including single family homes and condominiums) was $332,600, which compares to the year-ago figure of $302,500.

For single family homes only (excluding condominiums), the median sales price was $350,258, up 9.8 percent from the year-ago figure of $319,000. In King County, the median price for a single family home that sold and closed last month was $469,000, up more than $41,000 (9.6 percent) from twelve months ago when the median selling price was $427,950.

Condo sales dipped last month as well. Brokers reported 99 fewer pending sales compared with the same month a year ago for a 5.5 percent decline. In King County, where about two-thirds of the pending sales occurred, the volume nearly matched year-ago numbers. Brokers notched 20 fewer pending sales for a 1.8 percent decline from twelve months ago.

Prices for condominiums continue to jump at a fast clip. For last month’s closed sales, the median selling price system-wide was $270,000, up 18.4 percent from a year ago. In King County, the median price for last month’s closed sales of condos increased 17.6 percent, rising from $246,500 a year ago to $289,950.

“Bargain deals are few and far between,” observed NWMLS director Kathy Estey, a managing broker in Bellevue, WA. “In spite of growing inventory, prices are still increasing and homes that are priced right are selling very quickly,” she commented, adding, “Insulting a seller with a ridiculous offer is not necessarily a winning negotiation strategy.”

Procrastinating may be counter-productive as well, according to some brokers.

Buyers who take their time to decide may be “surprised and sorrowful when they lose their favorite property because they waited a day too long to make an offer and someone else sneaks in before them,” reports Northwest MLS director Dick Beeson, a broker/owner for Windermere Real Estate in Tacoma.

Beeson said sellers with unrealistic expectations are changing their approach, too. Those who expect last year’s rapidly escalating prices are realizing that simply isn’t happening in 2007, he noted. More sellers understand the importance of getting their properties market ready before listing them, Beeson remarked.

In a season of growing competition, sellers need to have strategies in place to market their home and attract other agents with serious, qualified buyers, Estey emphasized. “More than ever, sellers need to hire full-time, knowledgeable trusted advisors – not just someone who can dump the listing into the MLS system.”

Buyers are being conservative in not selling their homes first, Estey reported, “for fear of not having one to move into, yet they don’t have alternative financing arranged – in other words they want to buy contingent.”

Although this is still not really a contingent buyers’ market, Estey said the likelihood of getting bumped is high so sellers should be prepared to consider contingent offers. “With building inventory they may not get other non-contingent buyers in to see their home,” she explained. Carefully structured contingent sales may be a viable option after the home has been fully exposed to the market for a few weeks without a sale, she suggests.

Estey also reported seeing a “great deal of activity on million-dollar plus properties.” Northwest MLS figures show a 28.5 increase in the number of closed sales of million-dollar plus properties in King County for the first five months of this year compared to same period a year ago. From January-May 2006, brokers reported 568 closings of single family homes and condominiums priced at one million dollars or more. Through the first five months this year, there have been 730 completed transactions in that price category.

Brokers are not seeing much local fallout from the recent shake-up of the subprime mortgage market, although they acknowledge prospective borrowers in the “least creditworthy” category may have more difficulty finding favorable terms. Bankrate.com estimates about 15 percent of mortgage borrowers are in the subprime category and may be subject to stricter standards in the form of higher minimum credit scores, lower maximum loan amounts and requirements for bigger down payments.

NWMLS director Pat Grimm, president of Windermere Western Washington Services Company, said he still hears of occasional success stories about “exotic” loans. He mentioned clients who had purchased a condo in Kirkland’s Totem Lake area 30 months ago on a zero down loan. “They had to bring only $50 to the closing table,” he recalls, adding, “Now, they’re ready to sell and move up – with more than $125,000 in equity in that same condo.”

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 June 2007

Statistical Summary by Counties: Market Activity Summary for May 2007

May 2007

Single Fam. Homes + Condos
LISTINGS

PENDING SALES

CLOSED SALES

New Listings

Total Active

# Pending Sales

# Closings

Avg. Price

Median Price

King Co.

6056

11204

3966

3514

$521,402

$411,868

Snohomish

2476

5753

1509

1378

$383,558

$353,779

Pierce

2857

8039

1436

1311

$315,512

$281,000

Kitsap

851

2488

400

336

$405,819

$307,000

Mason

264

821

91

100

$247,759

$205,450

Skagit

391

1161

227

179

$327,765

$269,900

Grays Harbor

269

877

112

105

$178,113

$162,000

Lewis

223

766

94

83

$228,293

$187,000

Cowlitz

215

668

120

97

$193,864

$170,000

Grant

198

475

117

91

$193,021

$150,000

Thurston

843

2266

501

438

$303,341

$265,475

San Juan

109

348

25

26

$1,006,538

$578,500

Island

332

1090

145

128

$331,699

$280,750

Kittitas

157

526

55

54

$320,167

$235,750

Jefferson

124

518

55

46

$357,784

$322,000

Okanogan

74

395

41

35

$203,601

$150,000

Whatcom

707

2375

422

314

$309,155

$280,450

Clark

328

1224

222

205

$301,805

$274,900

Pacific

83

365

44

23

$162,022

$144,000

Others

331

1155

161

127

$218,436

$191,000

MLS TOTAL

16,888

42,514

9,743

8,590

$407,565

$332,600

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 26,000 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 June 2007, copyright 2007. 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.

Washington Real Estate Page

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.