Bob’s Bugle – Real Estate Newsletter – November 2006

 

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Bob's Bugle Real Estate Newsletter November 2006REAL ESTATE NEWS & INFORMATION

 

November 15, 2006

*Home Buyers, Sellers Look Beyond Elections*

KIRKLAND , Wash. ( Nov. 7, 2006) – Not everyone spent the month of October campaigning. Nearly 12,000 homeowners around western and central Washington state put their homes on the market last month and 8,567 owners accepted offers on their properties, according to the latest figures from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

October’s activity was similar to September when brokers reported rising inventory, higher prices and fewer pending sales compared to a year ago.

MLS members reported 11,910 new listings of single family homes and condominiums during October, about 500 more than twelve months ago.

With those additions, the inventory at month end stood at 36,282 listings. That total encompasses 19 counties and marks a 48 percent increase in active listings from a year ago. (Starting with October, NWMLS is reporting data for Clark and Pacific counties; previously, transactions in those areas appeared in the “Other/Out of area” segment of the monthly report.)

“When it comes to current market conditions, it’s important to keep things in perspective,” cautioned Lennox Scott, a real estate broker/owner.

“Housing sales are down, but this has created a greater balance in the market between buyers and sellers,” Scott remarked, adding, “Since we’ve come off of the frenzy market of the past year, buyers have more selection, there’s less competition for homes and interest rates are still low. Home prices continue to appreciate in most areas and we’re on track to have the third most productive year in the history of real estate.”

System-wide, the median price for a home that closed last month was $315,000. That is $28,000 more than a year ago, an increase of about 9.8 percent. For a single family home (excluding condominiums) the median selling price was about $332,000; for a condominium the median price was $243,450.

In King County, which accounts for about four of every 10 sales in the MLS service area, the median price of a single family home (excluding condominiums) rose 12.8 percent, increasing from $390,000 a year ago to $440,000 for sales that closed last month. Condo prices jumped 20.8 percent, climbing from a median selling price of $215,000 twelve months ago to last month’s figure of $259,700.

For most counties in the Northwest MLS market area, price gains from a year ago tended to be in the range of 9-to-11 percent.

Every county experienced a double-digit buildup in inventory and all but three counties reported dips in pending sales.

“The evidence looks pretty convincing that the market has corrected itself and we are experiencing a tilt to the buyers’ side in the arena of negotiations,” observed NWMLS director Dick Beeson. This “gentle incline,” as he described it, presents some good opportunities for buyers, particularly in areas like Pierce County where the selection is about 50 percent larger than a year ago.

Overall, traffic has been steady at open houses and “perfect” properties still get multiple offers, according to Beeson a broker/owner at Windermere Real Estate in Tacoma.

“Knowing 2005 was the zenith year in real estate sales, having an adjustment this year was to some degree expected,” Beeson noted. Nonetheless, he expressed some surprise at the growing ratio of vacant homes that are currently on the market. He believes this could be the result of “natural” vacancies from job transfers and buyers who are moving up or downsizing as well as some selling by investors.

Another NWMLS director, Ken Bacon, a broker at Windermere Redmond, expressed little worry about the slippage from last year’s record-shattering sales volume. “The 9 or 10 percent decline in pending sales from the boom year of 2005 illustrates the demand for housing in the Seattle area remains strong,” he commented.

Appreciation continues because of this demand, according to Bacon, but he emphasized “Pricing is critical as the market now allows buyers time and options prior to making a commitment.”

“We are still seeing some multiple offers in price ranges between $300,000 and $800,000 depending on the neighborhood, house, and location,” Bacon said. Contingent sales are also being written, he reported, but said in his experience the first buyer is often bumped by a second buyer within a couple of weeks.

Condominiums continue to fuel demand among entry level buyers and downsizing sellers, according to Bacon. The combination of tight inventory, close-in locations and sought-after amenities is sustaining demand and creating some bidding wars.

In King County, there is slightly more than a two month supply of condominiums (2.3 months) to meet demand at the current pace of sales; for single family homes there’s a 3.2-month supply. (Nationwide, there was a 7.3 months supply of existing homes for sale nationwide at the end of September, according to the National Association of Realtors® .)

Bacon described open house activity as “steady but not strong,” pointing to inclement weather, weekend sports activities and growing popularity of computer tours as factors that affect open house visits.

Asked about “hot” neighborhoods for his office in downtown Redmond, he said properties that combine views, acreage and good locations typically draw multiple offers. Close-in communities such as Marymoor Heights (if priced under $800,000) and Bridle Trails (if priced under $1 million) and affordable communities such as Education Hill are experiencing high demand among buyers.

Bacon expects some seasonal leveling will continue during the fourth quarter and predicts election results will have no impact on housing activity. He believes the area’s strong economy, good prospects for job growth and stable interest rates will continue to fuel the local market.

This information is from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service which is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Based in Kirkland and owned by its member brokers, it currently encompasses more than 2,000 companies with approximately 27,000 sales associates. Together, they serve 17 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.

 

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 November 2006

STATISTICAL SUMMARY BY COUNTIES

Market Activity Summary for October 2006

 

October 2006 Single Fam. Homes + Condos
LISTINGS
PENDING SALES
CLOSED SALES
New Listings
Total Active # Pending Sales # Closings Avg. Price Median Price

King Co.

4407

9871

3312

3148

$476,759

$391,300

Snohomish

1815

4523

1358

1284

$367,958

$333,500

Pierce

2111

6335

1369

1228

$308,468

$270,000

Kitsap

524

2124

364

334

$350,575

$282,691

Mason

160

637

112

114

$243,894

$195,340

Skagit

244

957

175

172

$317,336

$269,375

Grays Harbor

145

776

134

119

$178,163

$145,500

Lewis

140

600

98

73

$219,665

$178,000

Cowlitz

164

595

111

107

$193,452

$173,000

Grant

111

405

94

102

$165,560

$133,000

Thurston

554

1984

361

382

$275,175

$246,950

San Juan

21

239

21

22

$557,920

$455,000

Island

194

882

140

127

$337,871

$283,500

Kittitas

59

373

64

51

$295,172

$259,950

Jefferson

66

440

41

40

$357,396

$354,750

Okanogan

35

237

28

36

$164,428

$142,750

Whatcom

489

2220

328

289

$318,069

$262,500

Clark

455

1973

315

270

$318,224

$268,000

Pacific

55

288

50

44

$204,816

$158,000

Others

161

823

92

94

$276,445

$233,250

MLS TOTAL

11,910

36,282

8,567

8,036

$377,651

$315,000

 

4-COUNTY PUGET SOUND REGION PENDING SALES

(SFH + Condo combined)


(totals include King, Snohomish, Pierce & Kitsap counties)
 JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
20003706477859035116549050794928543245694675 41263166
20014334505657225399563155685434
5544
4040
4387
4155
3430
2002429347355569543661315212552562155394577749664153
2003474652906889683771487202767371356698655249044454
2004452162848073791078888186758374646984676162285195
2005542668338801842086108896 820787847561715761884837
20065275603281747651841180947121769262166403

 

INVENTORY – MONTHS SUPPLY (4-county Puget Sound region)

Months supply

Res + Condo (combined)

Res only

Condo only

County

Total Active

Pending

Months Supply

Total Active

Pending

Months Supply

Total Active

Pending

Months Supply

King

9,871

3,312

2.98

7,865

2,440

3.22

2,006

872

2.3

Snoh.

4,523

1,358

3.33

3,994

1,133

3.52

529

225

2.35

Pierce

6,335

1,369

4.63

5,793

1,233

4.7

542

136

3.99

Kitsap

2,124

364

5.83

1,839

328

5.6

285

36

7.92

 

Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter November 2006, copyright 2006. 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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