Bob’s Bugle – Real Estate Newsletter – November 2008

 

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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

Contact Me


Bob's Bugle Real Estate Newsletter November 2008REAL ESTATE NEWS & INFORMATION

 

November 12, 2008

*Housing Activity in Western Washington During October Described as “Disappointing, but not Unexpected”*

KIRKLAND, Wash. (Nov. 6, 2008) – Housing activity for Northwest Multiple Listing Service members was disappointing last month, but not surprising, according to one industry executive. He and other representatives of the Northwest’s largest MLS believe the situation is improving.

“The results we’re seeing from October’s homes sales were not unexpected,” said Ron Sparks, a real estate brokerage manager in Bellevue. He said a unique and historic combination of events has frozen many buyers. “The daily roller-coaster of events in the financial sector this past month has understandably caused a high degree of uncertainty with buyers and sellers alike, and uncertainty is not a good thing when making one of life’s most important decisions,” he noted.

October’s pending sales fell more than 27 percent from the same month a year ago, and dropped nearly 26 percent from September. Northwest MLS members reported 4,445 pending sales of single family homes and condominiums across its 19-county market area last month. All counties reported double-digit drops.

Sparks said the added anticipation of electing a new president who will have his own ideas about how to support the housing recovery created a recipe for the market ‘suspension’ this area and other markets experienced during the past month.

Others pointed to the stock market turmoil and misperceptions about the availability of mortgage loans as restraints on activity.

Listing activity also slowed during October, with members adding 9,647 new properties to inventory. The total, which included 8,129 single family homes and 1,518 condominiums, was the smallest number added to inventory since December 2007. Inventory is at its lowest level since February. At month end there were 46,189 active residential listings in the MLS system. That’s down 2.5 percent from a year ago when members reported 47,381 active listings. The highest volume so far in 2008 was of 51,817, the total inventory at the end of May.

Prices followed the downturn. For October’s 4,512 closed sales of single family homes and condominiums combined, the median price system-wide was $291,000, down 7.4 percent from a year ago. A comparison with September shows a 1.3 percent decline from the median selling price overall of $295,000.

Prices for completed sales of single family homes (excluding condos) fell about 9 percent last month compared with a year ago. Condominium prices dipped only 3.8 percent overall from a year ago.

The perception that “no one is lending money” is inaccurate, said NWMLS director Matt Deasy of Windermere Real Estate. Most loans have been federalized via Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but money is available, he emphasized. Deasy suggests potential buyers talk with real estate agents for referrals to good sources for mortgage loans.

“The public is waiting for a sign that all is going to be okay,” remarked NWMLS director Ken Bacon also with Windermere Real Estate. Incentives are also needed, he believes. For example, Bacon said the suggested reduction in interest rates would be buyers’ best stimulus, while admitting some misgivings about federal bailout programs. “The bailouts have to some extent created a different mentality for our buyers who wonder what these bailouts will do for them.

“A 1 percent or so reduction in interest rates would be viewed as a sign that they too may benefit from the bailout mentality,” Bacon commented, adding, “It would open the minds of ‘waiting to see buyers’ and create the first step for more buyers to pursue their dream of home ownership.” He believes a reduction, or buy down, in interest rates could accelerate the stabilization and turnaround of the housing market, and is confident Seattle’s market will recover, noting “only the timing is uncertain.”

Ron Sparks also commented on the mortgage market. “Our real estate market continues to be affected by lending institutions. Many banks appear to have the ability to lend, but at a time when cash reserves are so precious, lack the desire to lend. This lack of desire is very apparent when you see how mortgage interest rates have increased steadily over the last 30 days,” he stated.

(According HSH® Associates, the nation’s largest publisher of mortgage and consumer loan information, the rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage for the week ending 10/31/08 was 7.05 percent; a year ago it was 6.73 percent.)

NWMLS leaders agreed consumer confidence will take time to rebuild, but are optimistic.

“Thankfully, we now see tangible housing and lending programs being initiated, with many more on the horizon,” said Sparks. “Interest rates are softening. We appear to be moving in a positive direction again!”

Check out my website(s): www.washingtonrealestatepage.com or www.washingtonlandandhomes.com.

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 2008

Statistical Summary by Counties: Market Activity Summary for October 2008

October 2008

Single Family Homes

+ Condos

LISTINGS

PENDING

SALES

CLOSED SALES

New

Listings

Total

Active

#

Pending

Sales

#

Closings

Average

Price

Median

Price

King

3,753

14,655

1,727

1,722

$447,281

$358,500

Snohomish

1,546

6,760

626

613

$339,536

$317,000

Pierce

1,515

7,244

754

721

$273,665

$241,000

Kitsap

411

2,461

239

247

$287,310

$250,000

Mason

131

842

40

50

$223,049

$191,500

Skagit

195

1,256

72

93

$298,321

$256,990

Grays Harbor

144

918

66

66

$154,801

$132,500

Lewis

120

796

59

49

$186,069

$160,000

Cowlitz

154

717

66

70

$179,782

$159,500

Grant

116

689

57

62

$156,116

$148,315

Thurston

455

2,002

261

316

$286,967

$254,000

San Juan

41

435

14

20

$543,233

$395,000

Island

156

1,174

66

75

$355,166

$265,000

Kittitas

64

683

29

23

$325,534

$254,500

Jefferson

51

559

16

21

$396,221

$342,500

Okanogan

33

486

17

24

$205,851

$154,750

Whatcom

343

1,989

185

173

$288,796

$260,000

Clark

128

763

46

58

$264,189

$241,000

Pacific

43

412

15

11

$204,986

$169,000

Others

248

1,348

90

98

$207,773

$172,000

MLS TOTAL

9,647

46,189

4,445

4,512

$346,621

$291,000

 

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

3896

2975

2008

3291

4167

4520

4624

4526

4765

4580

4584

4445

3346

 

 

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 31,000 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 2008, copyright 2008. 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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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.