Bob’s Bugle – Real Estate Newsletter – March 2015

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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 March 2015REAL ESTATE NEWS & INFORMATION

Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter March 2015

 March 10, 2015

*Inventory Drought Facing Early Spring Homebuyer’s*

Kirkland, WA – March 5, 2015 – Favorable weather and restored confidence are propelling home buying activity around Western Washington to the highest level in nearly a decade, according to Northwest Multiple Listing Service sources.

“The pent-up demand being unleashed has rocketed pending sales back to the levels of our record year in 2006,” said Ken Anderson, president/designated broker at real estate brokerage in Tumwater, Washington. Buyers have come off the sidelines, the former MLS director commented, adding “At the same time, homes for sale are near a 10-year low.”

Northwest MLS figures show pending sales system-wide surged 18.7 percent in February compared to the same month a year ago, rising from 7,247 mutually accepted offers to 8,599. Twenty of the 23 counties in the service area reported double-digit increases in pending sales.

Those numbers might be even higher given the ample supply of buyers, but inventory is far from ample.

“Listings are flying off the shelf faster than allergy medicine in this early spring market,” quipped MLS director Frank Wilson, the branch managing broker at a real estate brokerage franchise in Poulsbo, WA.  He said the brisk activity is posing challenges for buyers. “They will probably make several offers before one is accepted and they just need to expect to be competing with others,” he cautioned.

Northwest MLS broker-members added more new listings to the database during February than 12 months ago (7,852 last month versus 7,234), but the higher sales volume kept inventory levels well below year-ago totals. The MLS reported 16,946 total active listings at month end. That compares to a total of 19,273 for the same month a year ago for a drop of about 12 percent.

John Deely, principal managing broker at another real estate brokerage franchise in Seattle, Washington, also commented on the imbalanced market. “The early spring weather has brought a bumper crop of buyers to a market experiencing a drought of listings.” The MLS director said activity in Seattle continues to move “at the fastest pace in memory.”  It is not uncommon for weekend open houses to draw upwards of 100 group visits and bidding competitions, he reported. “Multiple offers rule the day, with many bids at 20 percent over well-priced properties around Greater Seattle.”

For the 4,761 sales of single family homes and condominiums that closed during February, the median price was $280,000.  That reflects a gain of about 6.5 percent from the year-ago sales price of $263,000. The volume of closed sales jumped about 13.5 percent from a year ago. Brokers reported 4,761 closed sales last month, which compares to 4,196 for the same month a year ago.

For single family homes, which accounted for 86 percent of all sales, the median price system-wide jumped about 7.4 percent, rising from $270,000 to $289,925.

A comparison of the four-county Puget Sound region shows single family homes in King County had the highest median price at $429,900 (up 6 percent from a year ago), followed by Snohomish County where February’s completed transactions commanded a median price of $330,00 for a year-over-year gain of nearly 4.8 percent. Kitsap’s median price was $238,903; in Pierce it was $233,000.

Condo prices increased 6.7 percent year-over-year, from $215,500 to $230,000. The total number of sales increased 6.7 percent.

“February was a very robust month,” observed Gary O’Leyar, a past chairman of the Northwest MLS board. “If there is any real estate market slowdown, we’re not seeing it,” he said, suggesting doubters look at King County’s Eastside corridor for new or newer high end homes in the $900,000-plus price range.

Northwest MLS figures show 68 homes sold for $900,000-plus in its Eastside segment during the first two months of 2015, outgaining the same period a year ago when brokers sold 36 such homes. “Be prepared to get in line to get into the new home pipeline,” O’Leyar advised.

The market for waterfront homes also appears to be gaining momentum.

“This is the year for waterfront homes in Kitsap,” reported Frank Wilson, noting they have been the last to recover price wise. “Values for waterfront homes were pretty flat in 2014 and they should start appreciating in 2015,” he said. “In the future, buyers will say ‘I wish I would have bought a waterfront home back when they were affordable.’ Today they are affordable.”

“Undeniably, our unusual spring-like weather has not only fueled and jump started an early allergy season, but the market as well,” suggested Diedre Haines, principal managing broker for a South Snohomish County real estate brokerage. Characterizing the market as “exceedingly active,” she noted garden shops, home improvement stores, furniture stores and other retailers that sell home-related items are also experiencing high levels of activity.

Dick Beeson, the principal managing broker at real estate brokerage franchise in Tacoma, WA and a member of the Northwest MLS board of directors, believes the market is adjusting to scarce inventory and the abundance in the buyer population in the form of multiple offers and frustrated buyers and sellers. “But buyers will not be dissuaded,” he believes, in part because they anticipate hikes in interest rates. “Sellers are frustrated because they can’t find replacement homes. Some won’t list their homes because of fear of not finding a suitable replacement,” Beeson believes. “This cycle will work its way out as spring brings more inventory, hopefully, and sellers give in and say they trust there will be a home for them somewhere,” Beeson stated. 

Like Beeson, brokers around the Northwest MLS service area are clamoring for listings:

  • “Hopefully, more potential sellers will seize this market window of opportunity as a good time to sell before the regional real estate market does finally start to level out and take a breath; which it will eventually.”  — Gary O’Leyar, real estate broker;
  • “We desperately need inventory. Potential sellers of all shapes, sizes, price ranges and locations should be contacting their brokers and jumping off the proverbial fence.”  — Diedre Haines;
  • “Sellers haven’t experienced a market this favorable since those frothy days (of 10 years ago). With home prices now consistently on the rise, savvy sellers looking to trade up know this is the time to make that move.”  — Ken Anderson.

Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter March 2015

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 2015

Statistical Summary by Counties: Market Activity Summary for February 2015

Single Fam. Homes + Condos

LISTINGS

PENDING SALES

CLOSED SALES

*Months of Inventory

New Listings

Total Active

# Pending Sales

# Closings

Avg. Price

Median Price

This month

Same mo., year ago

King

2,919

3,555

3,217

1,790

$473,846

$375,000

1.99

2.55

Snohomish

1,221

1,880

1,406

740

$340,444

$319,000

2.54

3.22

Pierce

1,220

2,836

1,475

789

$252,792

$233,000

3.59

4.44

Kitsap

390

830

443

228

$287,875

$235,000

3.64

5.10

Mason

119

464

85

64

$167,404

$130,700

7.25

11.50

Skagit

156

459

193

100

$255,193

$235,250

4.59

6.17

Grays Harbor

119

584

99

56

$126,634

$104,500

10.43

11.29

Lewis

114

517

99

54

$147,446

$149,000

9.57

13.72

Cowlitz

142

410

136

85

$176,344

$165,000

4.82

7.70

Grant

89

419

78

39

$175,356

$165,000

10.74

9.79

Thurston

402

1,050

409

243

$229,657

$219,500

4.32

5.45

San Juan

24

251

24

16

$618,056

$533,500

15.69

25.64

Island

156

475

144

87

$296,125

$263,000

5.46

7.18

Kittitas

84

373

67

40

$248,437

$225,225

9.33

7.85

Jefferson

62

300

59

40

$274,193

$218,500

7.50

13.16

Okanogan

28

331

31

20

$205,586

$156,500

16.55

13.44

Whatcom

309

938

319

196

$281,600

$258,759

4.79

7.52

Clark

35

86

69

32

$240,788

$218,500

2.69

7.36

Pacific

52

294

51

29

$139,093

$136,500

10.14

14.26

Ferry

2

64

4

2

$86,100

$86,100

32.00

17.67

Clallam

68

296

64

33

$243,759

$215,000

8.97

14.50

Chelan

77

248

56

34

$298,143

$230,000

7.29

w/Other

Douglas

37

86

36

23

$191,708

$185,000

3.74

w/Other

Others

27

200

35

21

$134,761

$117,500

9.52

15.69

MLS TOTAL

7,852

16,946

8,599

4,761

$346,002

$280,000

3.56

4.59

**Please note:

  1. Starting January 2015, statistics for Chelan and Douglas counties appear on separate lines, instead of being part of the “Others” data.
  2. Months of inventory are calculated using active listings/closed sales.

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

4520

4624

4526

4765

4580

4584

4445

3346

2841

2432

2009

3250

3407

4262

5372

5498

5963

5551

5764

5825

5702

3829

3440

2010

4381

5211

6821

7368

4058

4239

4306

4520

4350

4376

3938

3474

2011

4272

4767

6049

5732

5963

5868

5657

5944

5299

5384

4814

4197

2012

4921

6069

7386

7015

7295

6733

6489

6341

5871

6453

5188

4181

2013

5548

6095

7400

7462

7743

7374

7264

6916

5951

6222

5083

3957

2014

5406

5587

7099

7325

8055

7546

7169

6959

6661

6469

5220

4410

2015

5791

6541

          

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member brokers, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 21,000 brokers and agents. The organization, based in Kirkland, currently serves 23 counties in Western and Central Washington.

Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter February 2015, copyright 2015. 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.

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

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