Bob’s Bugle – Real Estate Newsletter – May 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

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Bob's Bugle Real Estate Newsletter May 2011REAL ESTATE NEWS & INFORMATION

Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter May 2011

May 9, 2011

*Housing Market: Brokers Reporting Multiple Offers in Some Areas*

KIRKLAND, WA, May 5, 2011 – Home sellers around Washington state are starting to a see something that had all but vanished in recent months: multiple offers.

Several directors of Northwest Multiple Listing Service noted they are encountering more bidding wars in certain neighborhoods and price ranges, even though the latest figures show fewer sales and lower prices than a year ago. Shrinking inventory is spurring activity, with some brokers reporting a “shortage of good listings” and “signs of normality.”

Northwest MLS members reported 7,154 pending sales during April, a 24 percent drop from a year ago when buyers were scrambling to take advantage of a federal tax credit that expired April 30, 2010.

Going back two years, pending sales rose by a modest 3.4 percent; when compared to the same month in 2008, last month’s pending sales (mutually accepted offers) jumped 15.2 percent.

Northwest MLS directors in King County, along with representatives from Whatcom and Kitsap counties, also commented on the uptick in multiple offers.

  • “Because of the lack of inventory in many areas we have seen a large increase in multiple offers on homes that are properly priced.” (Darin Stenvers, Bellingham, WA)
  • “There is a severe shortage of good listings in the close-in Seattle neighborhoods that is causing many multiple offers and the first signs of price increases on homes under $500,000 and also on desirable higher priced homes.” (Mike Skahen, Seattle, Washington)
  • Brokers and sellers in Kitsap County are beginning to see multiple offer situations, especially for homes priced $200,000 to $350,000 (Frank Wilson, Poulsbo, WA)

The new report from Northwest Multiple Listing Service shows members in the 21 counties it serves added 10,083 new listings during April, down 20 percent from the same month a year ago. Through the first four months of 2011, nearly 11,000 fewer new listings have been added to inventory when compared to the cumulative total for the same period a year ago (34,855 versus 45,590), a drop of 23.5 percent.

Total inventory is down nearly 13 percent from a year ago. At month end, the multiple listing service inventory encompassed 34,862 active listings, including the new additions during April. A year ago, brokers represented 39,999 active listings of single family homes and condominiums (combined).

“We just had three offers on two new listings, one in North Seattle at $320,000, and the other in Ballard at $429 000,” said MLS director Mike Skahen. He cited a local blogger who reported a meager 1.1 month supply of homes in the Green Lake/Ravenna area, the lowest in four years.

“While buyers remain cautious, they are ready to pounce on attractive, well priced homes and the open house traffic is very heavy,” Skahen remarked. He credits the hiring at Amazon and general improvement in the Seattle economy with the boost, adding “a good recovery is under way.”

Kitsap may be one such stabilizing area. Northwest MLS director Frank Wilson described it as being in an “interesting place, market wise.” Common perception is that it’s a bad market, he said, but the reality is at some price points it’s a robust market. Brokers and sellers are beginning to see multiple offer situations, and tools that have not been used in a while, such as escalation clauses, are returning, according to Wilson, a broker in Poulsbo, Washington. Fewer buyers are making low-ball offers and sellers are being more proactive about pricing their homes to be competitive in today’s environment. “Both buyers and sellers are beginning to get the message of today’s market, which is ‘be realistic’.”

Brokers reported 4,581 closed sales during the month, of which 3,994 were single family homes. That’s a drop of about 12.6 percent from the year-ago figure of 5,243 closings.

The median price on the 4,581 completed sales for April was $237,000, a decline of 9.2 percent from the year-ago median price of $261,000. In King County, prices are down about 4.6 percent, from $340,000 to $324,500. The dips reflect a significant number of foreclosed homes and short sales that are in the mix.

NWMLS director OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate, said an analysis by Windermere shows distressed properties accounted for about 35 percent of home sales in King County in April, up from 21 percent a year ago. Bank owned properties account for much of the growth, according to Windermere’s research. “The good news is that while there is significant bank-owned inventory, it looks like the banks are starting to work their way through it.” he observed.

Jacobi said his company’s analysis shows the median price of bank-owned homes that sold in King County in April was 49 percent lower than the median price of non-distressed homes. Short sales prices were 23 percent lower.

While distressed properties may skew some statistics, Jacobi said they can present great opportunities for buyers looking for bargains. For example, a broker with his company sold a nice 5-bedroom bank-owned home in the Greenwood neighborhood last month for $315,000. (A quick search of the Northwest MLS inventory shows the median asking price for a non-bank-owned 5-bedroom home in Seattle is $635,000.)

Stenvers, a broker in Bellingham, WA, believes several indicators show the housing industry is recovering on its own. Acknowledging it is a slow process, he said he expects it will continue for the balance of 2011 and into 2012.

Many of today’s buyers are not seeking loans that stretch their budgets as in the past, prompting banks and the secondary market to regain confidence, and eventually loosen their credit guidelines and roll out new loan programs, Stenvers suggested. He expects buyers will have to look at making their first offer their best offer, even on bank-owned homes. “The days of lowball offers will soon fade and short sales losses will tighten.” As prices stabilize and inventories drop, Stenvers said many buyers will “feel the chance at home ownership at bargain prices slipping from their grip.”

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 May 2011

Statistical Summary by Counties: Market Activity Summary for April 2011

Single

Family

Homes

+ Condos

LISTINGS

PENDING

SALES

CLOSED SALES

New

Listings

Total

Active

#Pending

Sales

# Closings

 

Average

Price

Median

Price

King

3,900

10,894

2,987

1,896

$410,289

$324,500

Snohomish

1,449

4,617

1,233

734

$256,576

$225,000

Pierce

1,545

5,313

1,212

779

$217,711

$195,000

Kitsap

475

1,703

300

198

$258,262

$209,998

Mason

182

758

75

60

$171,309

$147,000

Skagit

207

1,053

131

89

$234,777

$210,000

GraysHarbor

167

869

84

57

$128,220

$116,000

Lewis

146

728

64

48

$151,932

$130,000

Cowlitz

110

582

101

64

$131,385

$125,450

Grant

114

588

61

37

$154,602

$150,000

Thurston

414

1,638

322

188

$227,310

$209,233

San Juan

75

410

10

11

$505,127

$430,000

Island

215

926

104

77

$272,472

$232,000

Kittitas

110

477

43

33

$288,078

$194,500

Jefferson

109

513

25

25

$223,710

$219,990

Okanogan

57

367

16

19

$171,649

$132,000

Whatcom

409

1,660

221

166

$266,298

$241,750

Clark

71

282

40

22

$197,268

$170,000

Pacific

61

367

22

17

$139,515

$105,000

Ferry

8

49

8

4

$137,999

$113,498

Clallam

80

420

38

18

$237,339

$162,450

Others

179

648

57

39

$211,846

$167,900

MLS TOTAL

10,083

34,862

7,154

4,581

$305,285

$237,000

 

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

Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter May 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
20114272476760495732        

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 May 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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