Bob’s Bugle – Real Estate Newsletter – November 2007

 

Bob's Bugle - Real Estate Newsletter

          Menu

Search for Homes and Real Estate

Washington State Real Estate - Search Homes and Land

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 November 2007REAL ESTATE NEWS & INFORMATION

 

November 7, 2007

*Housing Activity Still Slower Than Year Ago, But Showing Some Signs of Reviving*

KIRKLAND, Wash. (Nov. 6, 2007) –  Pending sales perked up around Western Washington in October, reversing four months of month-to-month declines, according to new figures from Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS). The report also shows some slowing in both listing activity and price appreciation.

Brokers reported 6,127 pending sales (offers made and accepted, but not yet closed) across the 19 counties served by Northwest MLS. That total includes 379 more transactions than September (a 6.6 percent gain), but still lagged activity of a year ago. Compared to the same month a year ago, October’s pending sales were down about 28 percent.

MLS members added 11,785 new listings to inventory – the fewest number since February when they added 11,333 new listings. With those additions, there were 47,381 active listings of single family homes and condominiums in the MLS system, about 31 percent more than a year ago.

The current selection includes 40,252 single family homes with an area-wide median asking price of $375,000 and 7,129 condominiums, listed at a median price of $289,900.

Prices for sales that were completed during October were essentially unchanged from a year ago, but closer examination shows wide variation among the 19 counties. Seven counties had slight drops (most less than 2 percent) and five counties had double-digit price gains compared to 12 months ago. For the four-county Puget Sound region, prices for last month’s closed sales of single family homes and condominiums combined rose about 1.3 percent from a year ago, increasing to $344,250 from $339,950.

NWMLS director Joe Spencer described current conditions as the “Buy Zone” and “the perfect buyer’s market.” Looking at the housing market graphically over the past 25 years, it’s evident there are periods when conditions make it the perfect time to buy a home, he explained. “The numbers show the housing market typically has a six to seven year boom, followed by a two year decline. This decline represents an ideal opportunity to buy because homes can be purchased at a premium value – and that’s exactly what we’re experiencing in the Puget Sound region,” Spencer stated. Combine this with low interest rates and a healthy supply of homes to choose from and you have yourself the perfect buyer’s market,” he added.

Mike Welty of Liberty Financial Group in Bellevue said he is seeing the return of the jumbo product, better pricing and greater flexibility. (In general, jumbo loans are for $417,000 or more.) Rates are still very good, he noted, even as the industry has returned to more prudent underwriting and scrutiny. “Equity, income and good credit are still necessary to get the most favorable terms for a mortgage,” Welty added. Acknowledging some industry associates are complaining about the lack of available mortgage products, he said “We have greater flexibility and a broader range of mortgage products” than he has seen in his first 20 years in the business. “A qualified buyer can get a great deal today,” he emphasized.

Despite slower activity, brokers remain optimistic, citing steady population growth, job creation and a demand for median-priced homes near job centers that outstrips supplies as factors that are contributing to the area’s relatively strong and stable real estate market.

“The market is stabilizing in South Sound and buyer confidence is shoring up,” said NWMLS director Dick Beeson, broker/owner for Windermere Real Estate. He reports brisk traffic at open houses as more buyers are realizing the bottom of the market may be here and not likely to continue much longer.

NWMLS figures show pending sales in Pierce County increased 8.2 percent last month compared to September. During the same timeframe, the selection shrunk, with 242 fewer listings offered for sale (a drop of about 2.8 percent) at month-end compared to September. “Buyers need to take advantage of the market right now,” Beeson suggests, adding he believes it is poised for a rebound.

Mike Skahen, owner/broker in Seattle, also detected improving activity. “The past couple of months we’ve noticed a definite slowing in buyer activity,” he observed, attributing the slowdown to negative press, fallout from the subprime mortgage crisis and difficulty in obtaining jumbo loans. However, he remarked, “In just the past two weeks there’s been a noticeable increase in sales and several listings that have been on the market for months have sold, so I think buyers are realizing they’ve waited long enough and are trying to take advantage of negotiable sellers and buy before the holidays.”

Skahen, a member of the NWMLS board of directors, also noted people need to buy and sell houses due to life changes so they can only wait so long. “The current sales statistics really reflect a return to a more normal market,” he commented, adding, ” Seattle’s economy is too strong for this [slowdown] to last long.”

Another MLS director, Kathy Estey, echoed that optimism. “This is a time of opportunity. There is an abundant selection so instead of having to ‘settle’ for a home buyers can actually find homes that meet most of their requirements,” she believes.

Estey, also urged sellers to seriously consider the first offer they receive, suggesting waiting may only result in lower offers. “Testing” the market may not be a viable option with so many competing homes on the market, she said. Only serious, motivated sellers should put their homes on the market, according to Estey who suggests those who aren’t serious could risk economic damage by being rejected by the marketplace and creating a negative stigma for their 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 November 2007

Statistical Summary by Counties: Market Activity Summary for October 2007

October 2007

Single Fam. Homes + Condos

LISTINGS

PENDING SALES

CLOSED SALES

New Listings

Total Active

# Pending Sales

# Closings

Avg. Price

Median Price

King

4442

14240

2366

2359

$482,839

$387,500

Snohomish

1923

6857

894

847

$388,643

$352,874

Pierce

2033

8439

883

844

$304,061

$266,157

Kitsap

592

2577

304

265

$348,366

$285,000

Mason

155

847

68

88

$260,497

$201,000

Skagit

203

1187

137

165

$291,884

$260,000

Grays Harbor

175

911

89

103

$178,361

$158,000

Lewis

129

786

77

63

$210,522

$200,000

Cowlitz

142

759

96

85

$223,105

$195,000

Grant

148

622

100

79

$208,416

$175,000

Thurston

483

2228

335

332

$284,671

$256,895

San Juan

27

340

17

15

$764,167

$700,000

Island

194

1132

91

85

$358,637

$288,000

Kittitas

93

600

39

43

$309,735

$255,000

Jefferson

70

515

42

45

$445,617

$349,000

Okanogan

46

395

45

38

$175,953

$160,250

Whatcom

401

2251

285

275

$311,689

$279,000

Clark

185

936

96

79

$302,524

$255,900

Pacific

41

384

27

17

$212,553

$154,500

Others

303

1375

136

132

$251,208

$215,950

MLS TOTAL

11,785

47,381

6,127

5,959

$382,311

$314,400

 

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

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 2,100 companies with approximately 26,000 sales associates. 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 November 2007, copyright 2007. 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.

Washington Real Estate Page

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.