Bob’s Bugle – Real Estate Newsletter – May 2013

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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 2013REAL ESTATE NEWS & INFORMATION

Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter May 2013

May 15, 2013

*Multiple Offers are the “New Normal” for the Housing Market Around Puget Sound*

KIRKLAND, WA, May 6, 2013 – Northwest Multiple Listing Service members notched their highest volume of new listings since June 2011, but the additions did little to ease inventory shortages. Brokers also reported the highest volume of pending sales since May 2007, along with anecdotes of bidding wars.

“Multiple offers have become the new normal,” remarked MLS director Diedre Haines, the Snohomish County regional managing broker at for a real estate brokerage franchise. “We have literally gone off the charts in absorption,” she stated, adding the dip in pending sales in that county “is all due to lack of inventory.”

Haines also reported low appraisals remain a problem as appraisers struggle to keep up with the fast paced activity and increasing values.

Northwest MLS figures support Haines’ observations. Brokers added 1,349 new listings to Snohomish County inventory during April, but that activity was outpaced by sales, with members reporting 1,500 pending sales in that county, slightly fewer than a year ago. Prices on sales that closed during the month surged more than 16 percent.

For the MLS market system-wide, new listings, pending sales, closed sales and prices rose compared to twelve months ago, but inventory across the 21 counties dwindled.

Members added 10,351 new listings during April, improving on the year-ago figure of 9,166 for a gain of 12.9 percent. At month end, with the additions, the selection of single family homes and condominiums totaled 19,826 listings, down about 21.6 percent from the year-ago figure of 25,291.

Area-wide pending sales of single family homes and condominiums (combined) rose 9.2 percent, from 8,790 mutually accepted offers to 9,600 transactions. That total is the highest since May 2007, when members tallied 9,743 pending sales.

Closed sales for April jumped nearly 20 percent, rising from 5,177 transactions a year ago to  6,209 completed sales. Year-over-year prices on those sales climbed 12.5 percent. A year ago, the median price for single family homes and condos (combined) that sold was $240,000. Last month, it rose to $269,950.

Through four months, closed sales are outperforming year-ago totals for same period by nearly 3,000 transactions. Haines believes the increase is an indicator “that lending restraints are beginning to ease and there are fewer and fewer short sale transactions being processed.”

Several factors are contributing to a “recipe for a frenzied May real estate market,” suggests John Deely, another member of the Northwest MLS board of directors. “The market pace has not subsided from previous months with low inventory and low interest rates being the primary drivers,” he stated. Also fueling the frenzy is the already fast pace market, news reports touting price increases of 9-plus percent both locally and nationally, positive job growth and record highs for the stock market, noted Deely, the principal managing broker at for a real estate brokerage in Seattle.

Prices for last month’s sales of single family homes (excluding condos) rose 12 percent. Area-wide the median sales price for April was $280,000, a $30,000 increase from a year ago. Among the 21 counties in the MLS report, King County had highest median price for single family homes. Last month’s 2,096 closed sales had a median price of $400,000. That’s about 11.1 percent more than the year-ago median selling price of $360,000.

Multiple offers are more commonplace, including in Kitsap County, brokers noted, even though year-over-year prices fell slightly (2.75 percent). A full price offer with an escalation clause is not uncommon on a newly listed home that is priced right, according to Frank Wilson, Kitsap district manager and branch managing broker for a real estate brokerage in Poulsbo, Washington.

 “Buyers have to be ready to buy and have an approval in hand from their lender,” suggested Wilson, who also serves as a board member for Northwest MLS. Open houses are drawing crowds, he stated, adding, “Just as sellers had to work harder to get their homes sold a few years ago, today’s buyers have to work harder to succeed in this competitive market.”

Whether the market becomes more balanced may depend on listings. Northwest MLS figures show every county in its service area had year-over-year gains in new listings during April. “Let’s hope this is the start of a positive trend for inventory,” commented Mike Grady, the president and COO of a real estate brokerage franchise in the Puget Sound region, but then added, “Considering the overall market landscape, it’s likely there won’t be enough sellers to fill buyer demand, at least for the short term.”

Gary O’Leyar, designated broker/owner of a real estate brokerage in Seattle, WA, said buyers should consider altering their searching strategy, given the limited inventory. For the past six months in many neighborhoods, the supply has averaged around 1.5 months or less, often prompting bidding wars, he noted. “Despite multiple offers on any given listing, the result is only one sale,” O’Leyar remarked.

O’Leyar suggested buyers look at properties that have been on the market for an extended period of time, that meet their basic requirements, but that may need some work. “Oftentimes, getting a better priced property may mean looking outside the immediate metro market and into the nearby suburban markets. The best buys are not always the properties that are newly listed,” he emphasized.

Along with widening their search area, some buyers are adding a step to the process before engaging in competitive bidding. “We are seeing more and more buyers completing pre-inspections on homes they’re interested in,” reported MLS director Haines.

To accommodate demand, builders around the state appear to be ramping up their activity. Figures from one industry group show a surge in permit activity for January, its most current reporting period. The number of permits more than doubled from a year ago, from 969 to 2,213, according to a report from the Building Industry Association of Washington.

A comparison of permits shows a significant shift in the types of housing BIAW members plan to build. This year, the January permits were almost equally divided between single family homes (about 51.6 percent), and multi-family (about 48.4 percent). That compares to the year-ago proportion, when permits for single family homes accounted for about 77 percent of the activity.

While most of Washington is experiencing brisk activity, many areas of the country show only “modest movement,” according to the National Association of Realtors®.

In a news release accompanying NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index (an indicator based on contract signings), Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the market appears to be leveling off. “Contract activity has been in a narrow range in recent months, not from a pause in demand but because of limited supply. Little movement is expected in near-term sales closings, but they should edge up modestly as the year progresses,” he said. “Job additions and rising household wealth will continue to support housing demand.”

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 2013

Statistical Summary by Counties: Market Activity Summary for April 2013

 

Single

Family

Homes

+ Condos

LISTINGS

PENDING

SALES

CLOSED SALES

MONTHS

SUPPLY

New

Listings

 

Total

Active

 

# Pending

Sales

 

#

Closings

 

Avg.

Price

 

Median

Price

 
 
King

3,779

4,146

3,809

2,672

438520

$352,000

1.09

Snohomish

1,349

1,530

1,500

1,020

293010

$275,000

1.02

Pierce

1,517

2,835

1,671

916

242177

$217,000

1.70

Kitsap

577

1,387

482

281

269651

$233,310

2.88

Mason

188

690

84

62

162903

$136,975

8.21

Skagit

254

758

224

125

254396

$228,000

3.38

Grays Hrbor

181

781

93

50

104738

$91,975

8.40

Lewis

155

632

86

68

133711

$126,000

7.35

Cowlitz

162

422

114

80

152421

$138,500

3.70

Grant

152

495

91

49

183218

$175,294

5.44

Thurston

481

1,068

469

270

232588

$225,000

2.28

San Juan

84

368

16

16

492297

$362,000

23.00

Island

259

754

165

91

276178

$247,500

4.57

Kittitas

126

374

88

49

271642

$185,000

4.25

Jefferson

112

408

45

37

281369

$235,000

9.07

Okanogan

82

392

24

15

165960

$174,000

16.33

Whatcom

447

1,303

330

212

276733

$248,250

3.95

Clark

74

133

85

62

273026

$228,500

1.56

Pacific

91

384

42

25

114676

$105,000

9.14

Ferry

10

73

3

2

176250

$176,250

24.33

Clallam

123

387

61

42

206714

$190,250

6.34

Others

148

506

118

65

245819

$209,000

4.29

MLS TOTAL

10,351

19,826

9,600

6,209

333563

$269,950

2.07

 

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

Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter May 2013

 JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
2000370647785903511654905079492854324569467541263166
2001433450565722539956315568543455444040438741553430
2002429347355569543661315212552562155394577749664153
2003474652906889683771487202767371356698655249044454
2004452162848073791078888186758374646984676162285195

2005

542668338801842086108896820787847561715761884837

2006

527560328174765184118094712176926216640352924346

2007

486962397192697473116876637155804153444738962975
2008329141674520462445264765458045844445334628412432
2009325034074262537254985963555157645825570238293440
2010438152116821736840584239430645204350437639383474
2011427247676049573259635868565759445299538448144197
2012492160697386701572956733648963415871645351884181
20135548609574007462        

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 21 counties in Western and Central Washington.

Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter May 2013, copyright 2013. 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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