Bob’s Bugle – Real Estate Newsletter – October 2007

 

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Bob's Bugle Real Estate Newsletter October 2007REAL ESTATE NEWS & INFORMATION

 

October 11, 2007

*Prices, Inventory Still Rising, Sales Still Slower Around Washington State*

KIRKLAND, Wash. (Oct. 5, 2007) –  With Halloween on the horizon, should buyers be spooked about the local housing market? Not according to the latest figures from Northwest Multiple Listing Service and reactions from some brokers who believe now is an ideal time to be making offers.

Trying to time the market is “a fool’s game,” remarked one MLS director. “If you are buying a home to live in for more than three years, then buy the one you love, not the one that you can save $25,000 on,” advises Matt Deasy, general manager at a Windermere Real Estate office in Bellevue, Washington.

Just-released figures from Northwest MLS indicate prices are still rising but inventory levels may have peaked. Sales, though, are still sluggish compared to year-ago volumes.

Brokers added 12,385 new listings to inventory during September – the fewest number since February when they added 11,333 new listings. When added to the existing offerings, there are nearly 49,000 residential properties for sale across 19 counties. That’s about 33 percent more than a year ago.

“Buyers have an excellent selection of homes and condos today in all price ranges,” said NWMLS director Dick Beeson, a broker/owner of Windermere Real Estate office in Tacoma, Washington. He believes the market is slowly starting to turn. “With inventory starting to dip slightly, buyer’s choices will be reduced as the year progresses,” Beeson suggests.

The condominium inventory is about 62 percent larger than a year ago, thanks in part to the addition of several new projects coming on line. The MLS analysis shows about three of every 10 condos currently offered for sale is classified as new construction.

“The time is right for buyers on the sidelines to step forward. They have many more home choices now than in the past few years,” observed Marcie Maxwell, adding, “and they may have opportunities to negotiate with sellers.” Maxwell, an associate broker at a Windermere Real Estate office in Renton, Washington and Certified Residential Specialist, has been selling real estate for 18 years. She cites the example of a well-located 3-bedroom home with a remodeled kitchen on a large lot in Renton. She is surprised it has not yet sold, considering less than a year ago it probably would have been in a bidding war. “There are a lot of nice homes for sale in the $200,000-to-$400,000 range,” Maxwell remarked.

MLS brokers reported 5,748 pending sales (offers made and accepted, but not yet closed) during September, about 32 percent fewer than 12 months ago. (For the same month a year ago, members notched 8,499 pending sales.) Through nine months, pending sales are at about 89 percent of last year’s volume.

Prices area-wide for sales of single family homes and condos (combined) that closed during September rose more than 4 percent compared to a year ago. Seven counties (Cowlitz, Grant, Grays Harbor, Kitsap, Mason, Pacific and San Juan) registered double-digit price gains from 12 months ago.

For single family homes (excluding condos) prices are up about 3.7 percent from a year ago. In the four-county Puget Sound market, Kitsap County claimed the largest year-over-year gain at 12.8 percent, followed by King County at 5.9 percent. The median price of a home that sold in Snohomish County rose about 2.7 percent compared to a year ago, while Pierce County report a very slight (1 percent) dip.

Condominium price gains continued to outperform single family homes. Area-wide, condo prices surged nearly 10 percent from a year ago. For condo sales that closed last month in King County, the median price was $299,900, a jump of 14.8 percent from the year-ago figure of $261,250.  

The current market presents some good opportunities for both buyers and sellers, according to industry insiders.

Now is a good time for buyers to negotiate favorable terms of sale – but not always with a price reduction, Beeson suggests. For example, he said buyers may ask to have certain personal property included in the agreement, such as washer/dryer, lawn mowers, swing set, hot tubs, satellite dish and furnishings. Closing dates that favor the buyer and a seller’s willingness to make repairs as indicated by inspections are other items that can be negotiated, he noted.

Beeson expects homes near urban centers and employment centers will become more expensive as demand outpaces supply. He also anticipates rising demand for services from professional agents. “The professional agents of 2007 are educating their buyers and sellers like never before, and both parties need to listen and follow their advice so they will make wise and prudent decisions,” he emphasized.

Daniel Kennedy, president of the Seattle-King County Association of Realtors, agreed, saying sellers with unreasonably priced properties or who have homes that not properly prepared for showing will be disappointed. “Buyers are savvy and will not put up with previewing overpriced houses,” he remarked. Sellers should heed their agent’s advice when they are counseled to de-clutter, clean or make minor repairs, according to Kennedy, a real estate agent in Seattle.   

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 October 2007

Statistical Summary by Counties: Market Activity Summary for September 2007

September 2007

Single Fam. Homes + Condos

LISTINGS

PENDING SALES

CLOSED SALES

New Listings

Total Active

# Pending Sales

# Closings

Avg. Price

Median Price

King

5149

14537

2203

2515

$486,405

$395,000

Snohomish

1929

6968

872

977

$383,275

$344,500

Pierce

1912

8681

816

818

$303,157

$269,925

Kitsap

527

2704

262

288

$390,111

$317,200

Mason

146

904

76

70

$263,276

$221,500

Skagit

271

1250

146

138

$315,131

$274,231

Grays Harbor

149

957

91

84

$206,167

$177,500

Lewis

151

845

57

84

$224,940

$202,500

Cowlitz

159

792

84

64

$227,378

$206,000

Grant

151

627

87

65

$200,508

$171,238

Thurston

503

2295

325

349

$282,530

$258,000

San Juan

31

358

11

8

$811,644

$659,000

Island

169

1182

97

111

$386,976

$281,000

Kittitas

94

627

50

68

$297,041

$236,000

Jefferson

83

553

36

31

$300,267

$295,000

Okanogan

54

415

35

30

$216,072

$195,000

Whatcom

438

2393

246

294

$304,985

$269,500

Clark

196

1194

100

117

$310,614

$280,000

Pacific

40

407

31

31

$213,781

$199,000

Others

233

1280

123

120

$240,700

$200,500

MLS TOTAL

12,385

48,969

5,748

6,262

$387,955

$321,600

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

 

 

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 October 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.

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