Bob’s Bugle – Real Estate Newsletter – March 2011

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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 2011REAL ESTATE NEWS & INFORMATION

Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter March 2011

March 13, 2011

*February Housing Activity Creates Optimism*

KIRKLAND, WA, March 3, 2011 – Housing activity during February continued to reflect the downside of distressed properties with fewer sales and lower prices than a year ago.  Nevertheless, brokers believe there are reasons for optimism when taking a closer look at the numbers in the latest report from Northwest Multiple Listing Service. Darin Stenvers, a managing broker in Bellingham, Washington, who made that comment, also noted consumers are gaining confidence and buyers may be seeing what they believe is the bottoming of the market. “I’m very optimistic about the housing market for 2011 and the buyers and sellers should be as well,” he exclaimed.

NWMLS members reported 5,986 pending sales of single family homes and condominiums in its market area, which covers 21 counties in Western and Central Washington.  That total is down about 9.2 percent from a year ago, but it rose 11 percent from January.  Last month’s volume of pending sales (mutually accepted offers) was the highest in six months, falling slightly below the August 2010 total of 6,037.

“I’m anticipating sales to be soft through April as compared to last year when a rush of buyers came into the market to take advantage of the tax credit, which expired April 30, 2010,” said OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate Company and a member of the Northwest MLS board of directors.

Noting a new year usually means new inventory, Jacobi commented on the smaller selection.  Both the total number of new listings added to inventory and the total number of active listings are down from year-ago figures.  

The number of new listings shrunk nearly 27 percent from a year ago, while the total number of active listings at month end was off 9.4 percent compared to twelve months ago.      

Jacobi attributes the drops to distressed properties and the influence they are having on sellers. Sellers are reluctant to compete with the prices of distressed properties, he explained, and are holding off on putting their homes on the market.  As a result, buyer choices have shrunk. That could bode well for some.

(Note: A distressed property is a dwelling that is in danger of foreclosure or that is in the process of being foreclosed due to a default under the terms of a mortgage.)

Some sellers of non-distressed properties are experiencing a stronger demand.  “It’s not unusual for sellers in neighborhoods close to the city to get multiple offers,” Jacobi remarked.  He cited the example of a home in Ballard with an asking price of more than $800,000 that drew seven offers last month, and sold for more than the asking price.

Overall, the median price for homes and condos that sold last month was $240,000, down about 7.7 percent from a year ago when the median selling price was $260,000.  Five counties reported increases, with three of them – Grant, Kittitas and Jefferson – reporting double-digit gains.

In King County, the median selling price for last month’s completed transactions was $320,000, down about 6.8 percent from a year ago. For the four-county Puget Sound region, last month’s median price for single family homes and condos that sold during February was $262,250.

Brokers point to distressed properties as a major reason for depressed prices.

Jacobi said his company’s tracking showed distressed properties accounted for 37 percent of single family home sales in King County in February as compared to 30 percent a year ago. Most of that growth was from sales of bank owned properties, he noted.

Distressed properties continue to drag down home prices, Jacobi remarked. “Since they can sell for 30-to-40 percent less than non-distressed homes, we expected a price drop. In Windermere’s analysis, if you take out the distressed sales for February, the median home price jumps from $334,000 to $390,000.”   

Jacobi also cited a “bright spot” in the distressed properties market.  He said one of their agents had a new 2-bedroom modern townhouse in Columbia City that closed last month for $130,000, less than half the original asking price. “While buying a distressed property requires a little patience, the payoff can be big,” he commented.

Northwest MLS members reported 3,080 closed sales during February, a decline of around 4.2 percent from a year ago.  The closings included 2,676 single family homes and 404 condominiums.

Brokers say they are optimistic, pointing to various indicators:

  • Frank Wilson, a branch managing broker in Poulsbo and a Northwest MLS director, said their web traffic could be a harbinger of things to come.  “Almost across the board we are seeing more consumers checking out our listings on the web, with traffic counts in some cases being three or four times what they were 30 or 60 days ago,” he stated.
  • Grady noted in many Seattle neighborhoods, there are fewer than two homes currently available for sale for every home already under contract (pending). “That is a very healthy ratio, and is surprisingly close to what it was at the peak of the market,” he observed.

Industry insiders say last week’s announcement of The Boeing Company win on the Air Force tanker contract, this week’s news from the state Employment Security Department that February marked Washington’s strongest month of job growth in more than three years, and several positive earnings reports from local corporations are all encouraging indicators for the housing market.

Check out my website(s): www.washingtonrealestatepage.com or www.washingtonlandandhomes.com

I am a Short Sale specialist for Seller’s needing to list their home for sale or Buyer’s wanting to obtain a Great deal by Buying a Short Sale home!

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 2011

Statistical Summary by Counties: Market Activity Summary for February 2011

Single

Family

Homes

+ Condos

LISTINGS

PENDING

SALES

CLOSED SALES

New

Listings

Total

Active

#Pending

Sales

# Closings

 

Average

Price

Median

Price

King

3,049

10,411

2,440

1,244

$401,339

$320,000

Snohomish

1,245

4,729

1,046

494

$256,621

$228,250

Pierce

1,227

5,155

997

488

$224,108

$202,782

Kitsap

319

1,522

284

146

$287,035

$252,700

Mason

119

680

52

35

$183,118

$158,900

Skagit

173

1,012

119

71

$241,211

$198,000

GraysHarbor

144

828

77

41

$130,951

$126,900

Lewis

83

677

60

28

$123,463

$105,500

Cowlitz

105

578

68

43

$155,488

$146,700

Grant

79

500

53

35

$183,593

$165,000

Thurston

358

1,512

293

151

$221,366

$217,600

San Juan

33

338

14

9

$896,667

$425,000

Island

128

833

86

47

$278,118

$237,500

Kittitas

80

424

34

24

$306,800

$297,000

Jefferson

61

431

21

23

$335,896

$310,000

Okanogan

39

338

13

10

$174,040

$160,000

Whatcom

299

1,487

191

109

$255,554

$234,990

Clark

46

252

37

19

$231,347

$184,000

Pacific

35

311

28

24

$143,865

$130,000

Ferry

3

51

4

1

$49,250

$49,250

Clallam

56

372

24

20

$195,404

$152,000

Others

112

481

45

18

$223,494

$127,250

MLS TOTAL

7,793

32,922

5,986

3,080

$304,501

$240,000

 

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

Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter March 2011

 

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
2010438152116821736840584239430645204350437639383474
201142724767          

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.

Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter March 2011, copyright 2011. 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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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.