Bob’s Bugle – Real Estate Newsletter – May 2009

 

Bob's Bugle - Real Estate Newsletter

          Menu

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 May 2009REAL ESTATE NEWS & INFORMATION

 

May 12, 2009

*Pending Sales in Western Washington Rise with Improved Affordability & Buyer Incentives*

KIRKLAND, Wash. (May 5, 2009) – Northwest Multiple Listing Service members reported pending sales for April surged 11.4 percent compared to twelve months ago – and rose 21.3 percent from March.

Brokers reported 6,918 pending sales during April across the 19 counties that make up the Northwest MLS market area. That’s up from the year-ago total of 6,208, and the March figure of 5,701 pending sales (offers made and accepted, but not yet closed).

For the four-county Puget Sound area (King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish), brokers notched 5,372 pending sales, the highest total since August 2007 and a jump of 26 percent from March.

Inventory is shrinking and prices are showing some signs of stabilizing, according to data in the latest report from Northwest MLS. The median price for last month’s closed sales of single family homes and condominiums area-wide was $270,000. That matched the figure for March, but still lagged prices of a year ago (down 12.9 percent).

Inventory is down 18.3 percent from year-ago levels, with Clark, Kitsap and Pierce reporting the largest drops. Members added 10,824 new listings of single family homes and condos to inventory last month, down almost 20.5 percent from the year-ago total of 13,607 new listings.

Lower prices, record low mortgage interest rates, improving consumer confidence, the $8,000 first-time buyer tax credit and other incentives for buyers are credited with spurring activity. Industry officials, noting activity is quite strong in the lower, more affordable price ranges, hesitate to declare a housing recovery is under way:

  • Dropping inventories and rising affordability are positive signs, according to Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “The housing market may be edging toward a bottom,” he stated.
  • “April was a good market for new pending sales; we seem to be moving to a more balanced market,” said NWMLS director Meribeth Hutchings, broker/owner of Windermere Real Estate/Lake Stevens, Inc.
  • “We need several months of sustained growth to demonstrate a recovery in housing, which is necessary for the overall economy to turn around,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors®.

NWMLS director Kathy Estey agreed. “We had our best month since September,” she commented, but said sales of homes priced at $1 million or more are still slow compared to the pace of a few years ago. Estey, a managing broker in downtown Bellevue, WA, said sales of high-end homes lag in part due to limited availability of mortgages for homes priced above conforming loan limits. (The median asking price for homes currently offered for sale in West Bellevue, a market served by Estey’s office, is more than $1.5 million.)

Another MLS director reported a “terrific increase” in first-time buyer activity in Seattle’s close-in neighborhoods, calling it the best it’s been in almost two years.

“We just had five offers on a Ravenna house priced around $400,000 and it sold for considerably more than the list price,” said Mike Skahen, a broker in Seattle, Washington. He also said another one of his agents represented a client whose offer beat out 10 competitors. “I hope we’re seeing the start of the spring selling season,” something he said was lacking last year for the first time since starting his real estate career 33 years ago.

In King County, pending sales of single family homes (excluding condos) rose more than 25 percent from March. Of six “sub-areas” the MLS tracks within the county, North King County (encompassing Shoreline, Lake Forest Park and Kenmore) and the Eastside areas had the strongest month-to-month gains. Compared to March, pending sales of single family homes for April shot up nearly 52 percent in the North King County map areas, and rose more than 35 percent on the Eastside.

Prices for sales of single family homes and condos that closed last month in King County continued to lag year-ago totals (down 15.3 percent), but edged up from March (up 4.5 percent). For single family homes (excluding condos), the median selling price for April’s sales was $350,000, up 4.4 percent from March.

Condominium sales area-wide were down about 7.5 percent from a year ago, but up significantly (40.8 percent) from the previous month. In King County, which accounts for about six of every 10 condo sales, pending sales were down 8.1 percent from a year ago, but jumped nearly 42 percent from March.

Dick Beeson a Windermere Real Estate broker in Tacoma, WA,  also reports the market there is warming up, evidenced in part by increased traffic at open houses and phone calls. Many first-time buyers are still unaware of the $8,000 tax credit, according to Beeson, who says it is stimulating marginal interest. “It is almost a serendipity to first-time buyers when they discover they qualify.”

“Most everyone recognizes that real estate in our region is ‘on sale,’ and that’s certainly validated in the latest report,” stated Ron Sparks, a managing broker in Seattle, WA. Buyer demand has increased to 2006 levels in some notable area neighborhoods, according to an analysis by Sparks, who tempered his optimism by saying, “For the scale between buyers and sellers to balance, it’s important that buyer demand begin to increase so prices can stabilize. The MLS report and comments from agents in the field tell us we’re seeing some progress in that direction.”

Sparks also said in his experience, “highly advantageous buyer markets are pretty rare,” so when they appear, he’s inclined to advise people confident in their financial position to take advantage of it. He extends such advice to his own children, he admitted, noting one of them just closed escrow and another just made her first offer.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said it should take a few months for the market to gain momentum. “This increase could be the leading edge of first-time buyers responding to very favorable affordability conditions and an $8,000 tax credit, which increases buying power even more in areas where special programs allow buyers to use it as a downpayment,” he said in commenting on a new report from NAR that showed a nationwide rise in pending sales for March.

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 May 2009

Statistical Summary by Counties: Market Activity Summary for April 2009

April 2009

Single Family

Homes + Condos

LISTINGS

PENDING

SALES

CLOSED SALES

New

Listings

Total

Active

# Pending

Sales

#

Closings

Average

Price

Median

Price

King

4123

13164

2646

1242

$417,500

$350,000

Snohomish

1579

5592

1111

535

$316,271

$290,000

Pierce

1556

6145

1238

580

$245,084

$225,000

Kitsap

539

1926

377

200

$294,353

$240,000

Mason

163

746

70

46

$138,542

$137,550

Skagit

267

1308

127

77

$261,968

$225,000

Grays Harbor

168

814

86

49

$143,465

$150,000

Lewis

140

710

72

40

$192,591

$174,951

Cowlitz

166

652

78

61

$187,488

$179,000

Grant

112

682

70

43

$166,568

$144,000

Thurston

494

1657

343

196

$246,875

$232,600

San Juan

57

457

11

4

$338,000

$226,000

Island

239

1040

109

68

$278,216

$244,450

Kittitas

136

553

52

30

$231,055

$196,000

Jefferson

84

533

24

22

$278,875

$213,750

Okanogan

68

343

21

16

$175,750

$149,000

Whatcom

521

1942

274

166

$279,088

$259,450

Clark

113

399

87

43

$219,781

$202,500

Pacific

63

396

21

15

$146,293

$135,000

Others

236

1088

101

45

$251,230

$224,500

MLS TOTAL

10,824

40,147

6,918

3,478

$316,979

$270,000

 

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

334628412432
20093250340742625372        

This information is from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service which is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes approximately 28,000 brokers and agents. The organization, based in Kirkland, currently serves 19 counties in western and central Washington. 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 May 2009, copyright 2009. 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.

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.