Bob’s Bugle – Real Estate Newsletter – May 2012

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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 2012REAL ESTATE NEWS & INFORMATION

Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter May 2012

May 19, 2012

*Western Washington Housing Market is Energized and Showing Signs of a Definite Turnaround*

KIRKLAND, WA, May 3, 2012 – Northwest Multiple Listing Service brokers reported double-digit gains in both pending and closed sales during April compared to a year ago, but the most eye-catching number may pertain to prices. For the first time in more than four years (since January 2008) the year-over-year change in selling prices was positive.

The price gain was a modest 1.27 percent for last month’s sales of single family homes and condominiums that closed in the 21 counties served by Northwest MLS. For single family homes (excluding condominiums) the price gain compared to 12 months ago was 2.9 percent. Condo prices fell 7.9 percent.

The median price for last month’s closed sales area-wide was $240,000 for single family homes and condominiums combined. That compares to $237,000 for year-ago sales. The figure for April also outgained the median price for completed transactions during the months of March ($225,000) and February ($218,944).

Prices for single family homes continued climbing. The median price for last month’s closed sales was $250,000, up from both a year ago ($242,950) and from March ($234,487).

While cheered by the figure that snapped a 50-month string of negative numbers for year-over-year price comparisons, Northwest MLS brokers said consumers must be realistic in their expectations. They also noted the market recovery will be slow and incremental.

“We’ve seen appreciation three months in a row, signaling a definitive turnaround in the market,” remarked OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate. “Due to the shortcomings in the Case-Shiller index I think it will take them until November to report year-over-year appreciation,” he added. (The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices track changes in the value of residential real estate both nationally as well as in 20 metropolitan regions.)

“As is fairly typical of a recovering market, the activity first heats up in the urban centers, and then spreads to the surrounding suburbs and outlining areas. We are now seeing this trend,” noted Jacobi, who is also a member of the Northwest MLS board of directors.

Tight inventory is creating sellers’ markets in some areas, according to reports from MLS directors. Inventory is down more than 27 percent for the Northwest MLS market overall, and by even larger margins in three counties: Snohomish (down 46.2 percent), King (down 39.4 percent), and Pierce (down 28.6 percent). Brokers say as demand outstrips supply, competition may intensify, especially for homes that are well-priced and in good condition in desirable locations.

Brokers added 9,166 new listings to inventory last month, which was 917 fewer listings than the same month a year ago. At month end, the selection totaled 25,291 active listings, a drop of 27.5 percent from a year ago according to the latest figures from Northwest MLS.

It is a seller’s market in Kitsap County, reported Northwest MLS director Frank Wilson, a branch managing broker at a real estate brokerage in Poulsbo, Washington. Statistics show inventory there is down more than 13 percent compared with a year ago, pending sales jumped 39.3 percent and median prices increased more than 14 percent.

MLS members reported 8,790 pending sales across all 21 counties during April for a 22.9 percent increase from a year ago when there were 7,154 mutually accepted offers.

Talk of a seller’s market has to be tempered, Wilson emphasized, because “when sellers hear these words in the news they instantly think their homes are worth a lot more money….and they are not. Even if our home prices appreciated 2-to-3 percent a year – which they aren’t currently — it will take many years for homes to return to the values that we saw a few years ago,” he suggested.

Despite his cautionary words, Wilson was upbeat. “We continue to see an increase in activity across the board. More people at open houses, more listings coming on the market, more buyers making offers and more multiple offer situations on correctly priced and staged homes.”

While Kitsap County experienced an uptick in new listings in April compared to a year ago, 11 other counties reported drops. System-wide, based on current inventory and demand, there is less than a three month supply, about half the volume needed for a balanced market.

Inventory is considered by many industry observers to be a key indicator affecting the housing market. In a recent Bankrate.com interview about the market’s recovery, Stuart Gabriel, director of UCLA’s Ziman Center for Real Estate in Los Angeles, suggested zeroing in on inventory, which he called “the most important statistic.”

Northwest MLS director Meribeth Hutchings, designated broker/owner of Windermere Real Estate in Lake Stevens also commented on surging activity. She credits favorable interest rates and low inventory for spurring activity. “The demand for ‘good clean homes’ is extremely high,” she commented, noting, “Our primary buyer today is still the first time homebuyer.” Hutchings, who has more than 27 years of real estate experience, also suggests sellers who want to sell and have the equity should be placing their homes on the market now.

Also commenting on inventory and the lively market was MLS director Joe Spencer, area director for a large real estate brokerage franchise in the Northwest Region.

“As Yogi Berra said, ‘It’s like déjà vu all over again’ as the Puget Sound real estate market continues trending in the same positive direction for the fourth month in a row,” Spencer remarked. With new and available inventory in a diminished state, he said there’s been a strong increase in buyer activity. “Low interest rates continue to energize buyers, while for sellers, prices in the Puget Sound are stable and up in areas close to job centers,” according to Spencer.

Darin Stenvers, an real estate office managing broker in Bellingham, WA believes the housing industry is recovering on its own, citing double-digit decreases in inventory for the past several months and a corresponding rise in pending sales as key indicators.

“It’s a slow process, but I expect it will continue for the balance of 2012 and through 2013,” Stenvers stated, noting he anticipates a return to home value appreciations in most markets by mid-2013. He also predicts consumer confidence will hold interest rates down through the fall elections and well into 2013.

“Consumers are bothered by the lack of inventory and are ready to make sure that they do not miss out on what may be the leveling off of the declining market values,” Stenvers stated. Buyers who were expecting to have offers accepted that are well below market value “are beginning to express frustrations” that this is no longer occurring, he added. “As prices stabilize and inventories drop many buyers will feel the chance at home ownership at bargain prices slipping from their grip,” the MLS director observed.

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 2012

Statistical Summary by Counties: Market Activity Summary for April 2012

Single

Family

Homes

+ Condos

LISTINGS

PENDING

SALES

CLOSED SALES

New

Listings

Total

Active

# Pending

Sales

# Closings

Avg.

Price

Median

Price

King

3,436

6,604

3,659

2,260

$385,804

$319,950

Snohomish

1,263

2,486

1,570

886

$265,819

$236,817

Pierce

1,297

3,792

1,368

747

$208,966

$192,000

Kitsap

502

1,479

418

197

$312,577

$239,900

Mason

127

639

82

53

$120,560

$113,000

Skagit

242

850

165

103

$215,349

$190,000

Grays Harbor

146

772

94

59

$127,056

$117,000

Lewis

139

647

75

39

$157,459

$147,500

Cowlitz

143

528

95

45

$144,938

$122,000

Grant

116

545

59

43

$162,165

$158,900

Thurston

428

1,306

388

219

$227,386

$214,990

San Juan

75

404

17

12

$383,492

$283,500

Island

211

829

114

73

$245,968

$225,000

Kittitas

119

437

66

39

$232,363

$175,000

Jefferson

89

475

45

27

$272,722

$250,000

Okanogan

81

365

31

24

$219,424

$149,700

Whatcom

376

1,375

268

163

$268,898

$245,000

Clark

48

249

65

30

$272,824

$232,750

Pacific

54

390

37

23

$125,539

$115,000

Ferry

8

59

4

2

$161,500

$161,500

Clallam

86

412

31

22

$183,379

$120,000

Others

180

648

139

111

$190,038

$140,500

MLS TOTAL

9,166

25,291

8,790

5,177

$300,408

$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 May 2012

 

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        

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member brokers, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 22,000 brokers and agents. The organization, based in Kirkland, currently serves 21 counties in Western and Central Washington.

Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter May 2012, copyright 2012. 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.

Past Issues – Bob’s Bugle

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Please use the navigation bar at the LEFT of the page or CLICK on one of the “City“, “County” or “State” Link pages above to locate Snohomish County Washington real estate. These will quickly take you to the specific information that your Snohomish County real estate search requires.

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.