Bob’s Bugle – Real Estate Newsletter – March 2008

 

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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 March 2008REAL ESTATE NEWS & INFORMATION

 

March 10, 2008

*NWMLS Reports Pending Sales Increase 23% from Month Ago*

KIRKLAND, Wash. (Mar. 5, 2008) –   February housing activity around western Washington signaled signs of an emerging spring market with a noticeable increase in open house traffic, reports of multiple offers and a big jump in pending sales from the previous month.

New figures from Northwest Multiple Listing Service show a 23.6 percent increase in pending sales (offers made and accepted, but not yet closed) compared to January. Prices for last month’s closed sales of single family homes and condominiums (combined) were up in 12 of the 19 counties in the MLS service area. 

Area-wide, the MLS reported 5,563 pending sales of single family homes and condominiums for February, up from January’s total of 4,499. Last month’s total still lagged the busier market of a year ago when there were 8,043 pending sales of single family homes (a decline of nearly 31 percent).

While encouraged by last month’s jump in pending sales from January, brokers also acknowledge hesitancy still exists among some buyers. However, among sellers, one broker said “they’re motivated like never before and willing to listen to reasonable offers much more readily today.”

The fluctuation in interest rates has confused some buyers, according to NWMLS director Dick Beeson, a broker/owner for Windermere Real Estate. “Buyers need stability to trust that all is well and that they’ll be able to obtain financing,” he suggested.

One certainty house hunters have is ample selection. Inventory is up almost 39 percent from a year ago. At the end of February there were 43,927 active listings of single family homes and condominiums in the Northwest MLS system, which covers most of western Washington.

The selection of homes in King County is about two-thirds larger than a year ago, boosted in part by nearly twice the number of condominiums offered for sale. At the end of February, MLS brokers reported 3,478 condos for sale countywide, up from 1,784 listings a year ago. The inventory of single family homes in King County is up about 61 percent from a year ago, rising from 6,124 listings twelve months ago to 9,875 at the end of last month.

Brokers added 12,104 new listings of single family homes and condominiums to inventory during February, bringing the system-wide total to 43,927. That compares to figures of 11,333 new listings during February 2007, for a year-ago total inventory of 31,658 residences (up nearly 39 percent). Compared to January, inventory increased about 6 percent.

Even with a bigger selection, some brokers are reporting multiple offer situations. NWMLS director Diedre Haines, said she assisted agents with negotiations on 10 multiple offers during the past month.

“The atmosphere is definitely changing, Haines commented, noting agents reported more than 100 visitors to an open house a few weekends ago at a new housing development in Mill Creek. Reflecting on her 32 years in the business, she said — somewhat in jest — that she’s tempted to going back to selling rather than being a managing broker. “There’s an opportunity to really have a lot of business,” she commented.

Selling prices for all residential sales across all counties dipped slightly (about 2 percent) from a year ago, even though 12 of the 19 counties reported gains.

In the four-county Puget Sound region, prices for single family homes and condos that sold in King County last month were essentially unchanged from a year ago, rising about one-half percentage point, from $393,250 to $395,000. Snohomish, Pierce and Kitsap reported modest price declines from a year ago.

Despite the plentiful selection of condominiums, prices still increased from a year ago. For last month’s completed transactions, the median selling price of a condo was $257,075, up 2 percent from the year-ago figure of $252,000. In King County, where six of every 10 condo sales occurred, the median selling price was $289,000, up 1.3 percent from the year-ago figure of $285,250.

Brokers say uncertainty about financing is prompting some buyers to stay on the sidelines. “No down payment loans are pretty much a thing of the past and FHA loans are becoming more attractive because of low down payment and reasonable qualifying standards,” Windermere broker Beeson said. Low FHA loan limits are making a difference in King County, but are not a deterrent in Pierce County, he noted. Worries about the subprime mortgage debacle and adjustable rate mortgages are apparent, he said, adding, “But there are solutions for every real estate problem. We’ll handle them all,” he proclaimed.   

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 March 2008

Statistical Summary by Counties: Market Activity Summary for February 2008

February 2008

Single Family Homes + Condos

LISTINGS

PENDING SALES

CLOSED SALES

New Listings

Total Active

# Pending Sales

# Closings

Avgerage Price

Median Price

King

4430

13353

2102

1541

$479,698

$395,000

Snohomish

2102

6434

912

582

$364,302

$329,950

Pierce

2011

7854

913

539

$295,031

$260,000

Kitsap

628

2489

240

190

$352,158

$253,000

Mason

165

765

59

38

$218,882

$209,500

Skagit

273

1249

132

97

$300,928

$277,500

Grays Harbor

149

832

85

37

$155,286

$150,000

Lewis

150

671

59

37

$208,619

$200,000

Cowlitz

162

763

71

42

$202,223

$177,500

Grant

124

609

56

36

$198,415

$169,750

Thurston

571

1977

338

223

$286,627

$259,950

San Juan

28

294

15

9

$520,944

$492,500

Island

223

1041

80

50

$370,101

$305,000

Kittitas

74

523

43

31

$379,879

$275,000

Jefferson

97

444

26

25

$367,836

$275,000

Okanogan

31

377

15

7

$215,200

$205,000

Whatcom

439

1851

248

209

$303,499

$270,000

Clark

176

844

62

41

$276,754

$255,000

Pacific

69

376

11

9

$225,156

$199,500

Others

202

1181

96

84

$207,292

$191,200

MLS TOTAL

12,104

43,927

5,563

3,827

$378,256

$316,950

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 31,000 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 March 2008, copyright 2008. 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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