Bob’s Bugle – Real Estate Newsletter – June 2010

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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

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Bob's Bugle Real Estate Newsletter June 2010REAL ESTATE NEWS & INFORMATION

Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter June 2010

June 17, 2010

*Home Sales Adjusting after Surge before Tax Credit Expired*

KIRKLAND, WA, June 4, 2010 – Home sales during May tapered off around Washington state following a surge of activity in April as buyers hustled to meet deadlines for tax credits.

Northwest Multiple Listing Service brokers reported 5,242 pending sales (mutually accepted offers) last month, a decline of more than 44 percent from April’s total of 9,438 pending sales.  Compared to twelve months ago when members tallied 7,160 pending sales of single family homes and condominiums, the volume dipped about 27 percent, but year-to-date figures show 2010 sales are well ahead of 2009.

Through five months, NWMLS members in 21 counties have notched 35,398 pending sales, outpacing the same period a year ago by 6,707 transactions for an increase of more than 23 percent.  

Listing activity also sagged during May after strong upticks in March and April during the buildup before the incentives lapsed.  Brokers added 9,385 new listings to inventory last month, down nearly 17 percent from year-ago totals. The additions included 8,122 single family homes and 1,263 condominiums.

At month end, the area-wide inventory included 41,690 active listings, about the same total as a year ago when there were 41,318 residential properties for sale in the MLS database.

“Inventory is inching up compared to last year as more sellers are becoming optimistic that if they price their home competitively they will find a buyer in this market,” observed NWMLS director Dick Beeson, a broker/owner of a Windermere Real Estate franchise in Tacoma, Washington. 

Beeson noted the “extremely low interest rate phenomenon” is expected to last through the summer and into fall, which he believes will help give a nudge to buyers that “no longer can look to the tax credit for incentive.”  He characterized the long-term effects of low interest rates as “very positive,” saying such rates make homeownership even more of a bargain than the price adjustments that have occurred over the last few years.

Frank Wilson, another MLS director and a managing broker in Poulsbo, WA, agreed the slowdown during May was due in part to the end of the incentive program, but noted overall activity so far this year is stronger than a year ago.  As the market returns to normal, Wilson expects home values may continue to decline in some parts of Kitsap and within some price ranges.

As an example, Wilson mentioned the waterfront category, noting it “continues to soften with the bottom hopefully in sight later this year.”  Conditions still favor buyers, he observed, citing low interest rates and “a lot of choices within the active inventory.”

Prices for home sales that closed last month declined about 3.6 percent compared to a year ago, but increased 3.4 percent from April.  The area-wide median price was $269,950, down from twelve months ago when the median price was $280,000.  Despite the overall dip in prices, ten of the 21 counties served by Northwest MLS had year-over-year price gains.

The volume of closed sales rose 27.3 percent from a year ago, rising from 4,154 completed transactions to 5,290 closings.

Commenting on the latest numbers, Northwest MLS director Bobbie Petrone Chipman said the statistics support her belief that the real estate industry will experience inverted first and second quarters due to the now expired tax credit.  “Whereas traditionally the first quarter of the year reflects a yawn and stretch of the marketplace as it awakens into a more boisterous second quarter, this year was shaken awake during the first quarter by the tax credit,” she remarked.   Petrone Chipman, a co-managing broker in Tacoma/Puyallup, WA, expects a slight lull for the second quarter.

 “As interest rates remain phenomenally low and inventory remains high, first-time buyers will continue to recognize the tremendous opportunity and benefit of owning their own home,” Petrone Chipman commented, adding, “Move up buyers may not see as much equity return on the sale of their homes, but they will benefit from purchasing homes that may have been beyond their means a few short years ago.”

Pointing to closed sales, Petrone Chipman noted year-to-date volumes are up significantly (more than 38 percent) when compared to the same five-month period of 2009. “This is an indicator that the overall 2010 real estate market is moving in a healthy direction,” she declared.  She also believes the Seattle area’s high rankings on various “best cities” polls are other reasons for optimism.  For example, she cited a recent report by editors of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine that ranked Seattle second among “10 best cities for the next decade” based on an assessment of vitality and growth potential.

Commenting on activity in Pierce County, where his office is located, Beeson said homes in the mid- to lower-price ranges are still the favorites of buyers, leaving many high-end sellers anxiously waiting in the wings for their day. He described the market as “steady” and “edging along” after the torrid pace of activity in late April as the tax credits were ending.

Beeson said research by the National Association of Realtors and the Washington Research Council indicates approximately 58,000 first-time homebuyers in Washington state used the tax credit. These sales generated $640 million in state revenue and $6.5 billion in state economic activity.

Nationally, a report by the Mortgage Bankers Association issued in mid-May reflected adjustments in activity coinciding with the expiring tax incentives. In a statement on May 19, Michael Fratantoni, MBA’s vice president of research and economics, said purchase applications plummeted 27 percent during the previous week and declined almost 20 percent over the past month, despite relatively low interest rates. 

“The data continue to suggest that the tax credit pulled sales into April at the expense of the remainder of the spring buying season,” Fratantoni stated.  “In fact,” he continued, “this drop occurred even as rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages continued to fall, and at 4.83 percent are at their lowest level since November 2009.  However, refinance borrowers did react to these lower rates, with refi applications up almost 15 percent, hitting their highest level in nine weeks.”

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 June 2010

Statistical Summary by Counties: Market Activity Summary for June 2010

May 2010

Single

Family

Homes

+ Condos

LISTINGS

PENDING

SALES

CLOSED SALES

New

Listings

Total

Active

#Pending

Sales

# Closings

 

Average

Price

Median

Price

King

3480

13345

2169

2233

$422,978

$346,000

Snohomish

1381

5621

790

852

$295,862

$272,000

Pierce

1443

6196

859

741

$246,146

$221,000

Kitsap

413

1978

240

261

$297,620

$243,000

Mason

155

847

55

60

$191,940

$160,400

Skagit

226

1254

114

108

$252,546

$212,500

GraysHarbor

155

943

72

67

$141,032

$130,900

Lewis

128

818

47

43

$158,509

$164,950

Cowlitz

118

681

62

69

$162,842

$150,000

Grant

124

685

71

53

$193,762

$170,000

Thurston

464

1907

278

259

$248,506

$229,000

San Juan

63

484

14

6

$520,083

$376,250

Island

235

1189

90

76

$302,473

$254,200

Kittitas

117

566

37

47

$245,479

$202,999

Jefferson

107

675

30

29

$285,184

$313,500

Okanogan

67

454

23

17

$186,189

$180,000

Whatcom

391

2179

184

229

$270,406

$240,000

Clark

60

301

25

45

$223,144

$204,000

Pacific

63

451

24

27

$163,532

$127,000

Ferry

6

43

1

3

$224,333

$188,000

Clallam

39

205

11

22

$190,105

$171,500

Others

150

868

46

43

$238,693

$207,000

MLS TOTAL

9,385

41,690

5,242

5,290

$328,575

$269,950

 

4-County Puget Sound Region Pending Sales (SFH + Condo combined)
(Totals include King, Snohomish, Pierce & Kitsap counties)

Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter June 2010

 

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
2009325034074262537254985963555157645825570238293440
201043815211682173684058       

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member brokers, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 24,000 brokers and agents. The organization, based in Kirkland, currently serves 21 counties in Western and Central Washington.  Ferry and Clallam counties are now included in the monthly statistical reports.

Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter June 2010, copyright 2010. 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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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.