Bob’s Bugle – Real Estate Newsletter – November 2014

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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 November 2014REAL ESTATE NEWS & INFORMATION

Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter November 2014

November 11, 2014

*Northwest Washington Home Buyers Are Back – But Choosy*

– Please Honor Our Veterans –  

Kirkland, WA – November 5, 2014 – Home buyers are back and they’re savvy and selective, according to officials who commented on the latest statistics from Northwest Multiple Listing Service. For sellers, that means pricing a home correctly at the start is vital, said industry veteran Kathy Estey, a member of the MLS board of directors.

The new report summarizing October activity shows year-over-year gains in new listings, pending sales, closed sales and prices.

Northwest MLS members reported 8,643 pending sales last month, which is up nearly 6.9 percent from twelve months ago when members reported 8,086 mutually accepted offers. Most of the increases are from sales of single family homes, which rose more than 7.8 percent while condo activity was flat with less than a 1 percent rise in sales.

“Sellers who are thinking of putting their homes on the market are well advised to do so now,” suggested Estey, the branch managing broker for a real estate brokerage franchise office in Bellevue, Washington. Although the pace of sales has slowed somewhat since June, she said demand is steady, with about half of all new listings selling in the first 30 days.

Brokers are scrambling to keep inventory replenished as last month’s pending sales of single family homes and condominiums (8,643) outpaced the number of new listings (8,102).

A comparison of total inventory shows a drop of nearly 3.7 percent from a year ago. At month end there were 23,501 active listings across 21 counties in the MLS database. That’s nearly 900 fewer listings than the year-ago total of 24,391.

Inventory at the end of October, as measured by months of supply, stood at 3.24 months, a slight drop from the previous month’s figure of 3.7 months. In King County there is less than two months of supply, well below the four-to-six month level that many industry analysts use as a gauge of a balanced market.

Not all counties experienced declining inventories. Five counties served by Northwest MLS reported gains in the number of active listings: Cowlitz, Grant, Ferry, Pierce, and Snohomish.

As the selection expands, buyers who have been on the sidelines are being lured back into the market, according to MLS director John Deely, principal managing broker at a real estate brokerage franchise in Seattle, WA.

Deely noted sellers whose properties were languishing on the market are now seeing brisk activity and even multiple offers after adjusting their prices. “This activity indicates there is still strong buyer demand and that buyers are watching the inventory closely,” he added.

“Watching some markets around the Puget Sound is like watching a championship tennis match, first a buyers’ market, then a sellers’ market,” remarked George Moorhead, a board member for the multiple listing service. “As these shifts become more of a blend, as they have the last 18 months, we will see good balance and stability in our market with healthy growth and competition,” stated Moorhead, the designated broker and owner of a real estate brokerage in Bothell, Washington.

Another positive indicator during October was a healthy increase in closings. MLS members reported 7,257 closed sales during the month, a 7.5 percent gain from a year ago.

Prices on those sales were up 7 percent, rising from an area-wide median price of $271,000 to $290,000. Four counties reported double-digit price hikes, led by San Juan County, where prices jumped 18.4 percent, and Snohomish County, with a 17.4 percent year-over-year gain.

Despite only a slight improvement in the number of condo sales from a year ago, the median price system-wide surged more than 14 percent, rising from $200,000 to $228,500.

“It has never been more important to properly price properties,” advised Deely. Despite recent news about easing of mortgage standards, he reported an increase in low appraisals, which can delay or jeopardize a transaction.

MLS director Dick Beeson agreed. “The main thing sellers are realizing is that buyers have lots of data to base a sound offer on and there is no “fluff” available when pricing their home for sale,” he explained. Also, he emphasized, “Buyers are realizing they better take advantage of these incredible interest rates before they are gone, which could be after Jan. 1st.”

Beeson, the principal managing broker at a real estate brokerage franchise in Tacoma, WA, said even with attractive rates, some new home buyers are “struggling with the noose of student debt” as they try to meet underwriting standards currently imposed by lenders. There’s no easy way out of the student debt, but he expects lending standards will improve.

Also crimping activity is the practice of a delayed seller’s review of offers. “Interestingly, new listings without the delayed review restrictions are often not selling immediately, but in a few days or within a week there are suddenly multiple offers,” Estey reported. “Many buyers are just not willing to compete, so they wait to see what happens with a new listing, then ultimately end up in competition.”

Diedre Haines, another MLS director, said seasonal factors are starting to affect activity. “We are seeing the beginning signs of the post-election, year-end, holiday slowdowns,” she remarked, but described them as “modest” compared to past history. “First time and second time move-up buyers are still in abundance, but they’re taking their time in making decisions and offers,” according to Haines,  the regional managing broker for a real estate brokerage in Snohomish County.

Commenting on anticipated increases in interest rates, Haines said they are not expected to be dramatic. “The recent changes in FHFA’s easing of standards for mortgage qualifications will give the buyers’ ability to buy a major boost in the coming year,” she predicts. She also expects the relaxed qualifications will spur an increase in activity during the first quarter of 2015 and continuing throughout the year.

Northwest MLS brokers also commented on distressed sales and upticks in remodeling and new construction.

REO (bank-owned) inventory levels have continued to fall, according to an analysis by Moorhead, who also found a slight increase in foreclosure filings, “but nothing alarming for the local economy.”

Haines reports more buyers, “first time and otherwise,” are completing major renovations on their purchases before moving into that property. She said the most common improvements are kitchen and bathroom updates or makeovers, along with patios, decks and garage extensions.

“With the promise of increases in new construction by local builders, a positive economic forecast for the region, and more homeowners surfacing from being “under water” and now able to sell due to increase in appreciation, 2015 is gearing up to be as active if not more so than 2014,” Haines stated.

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 November 2014

Statistical Summary by Counties: Market Activity Summary for October 2014

Single Fam. Homes + CondosLISTINGSPENDING SALESCLOSED SALES*Months of Inventory
New ListingsTotal Active# Pending Sales# ClosingsAvg. PriceMedian PriceThis monthSame mo., year ago
King3,1625,6143,3502,870$504,655$399,9501.962.07
Snohomish1,2642,7761,3271,113$332,751$317,0002.492.53
Pierce1,2343,7251,3631,127$249,095$228,0003.313.52
Kitsap3601,262429378$300403$244,4753.344.52
Mason10958710396$181,387$152,5006.119.47
Skagit183673195163$265,693$245,0004.135.31
Grays Harbor10668510793$140,885$122,0007.379.83
Lewis12665510182$156,516$151,9507.9912.89
Cowlitz11548713997$187,805$164,5005.024.26
Grant1055148675$174,368$161,0006.859.28
Thurston3851,222433302$247,561$227,5004.054.23
San Juan253523528$500,429$454,75012.5715.56
Island138602166159$326,708$278,0003.796.76
Kittitas664618865$254,468$197,0007.097.33
Jefferson654286456$297,600$296,5007.6411.26
Okanogan414655130$169,877$139,00015.5020.96
Whatcom3091,351319267$286,083$260,0005.065.14
Clark571955669$234,354$228,0002.835.75
Pacific323624742$133,525$119,2508.6213.84
Ferry57472$59,500$59,50037.0023.00
Clallam663485761$222,210$200,0005.706.84
Others14966312082$231,314$225,9758.097.90
MLS TOTAL8,10223,5018,6437,257$364,286$290,0003.243.61

* Months of inventory are calculated using active listings divided by closed sales.

4-County Puget Sound Region Pending Sales (SFH + Condo combined)

(Totals include King, Snohomish, Pierce & Kitsap counties)

Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter November 2014

 

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

7295

6733

6489

6341

5871

6453

5188

4181

2013

5548

6095

7400

7462

7743

7374

7264

6916

5951

6222

5083

3957

2014

5406

5587

7099

7325

8055

7546

7169

6959

6661

6469

  

NorthwestMultiple 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 23 counties in Western and Central Washington.

Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter November 2014, copyright 2014. 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.

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