Bob’s Bugle – Real Estate Newsletter – October 2009

 

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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 October 2009REAL ESTATE NEWS & INFORMATION

 

October 21, 2009

*Northwest MLS Brokers Agree – “There’s a Lot to be Optimistic About*

KIRKLAND, WA, October 5, 2009The president and COO of a large real estate brokerage in Seattle, Washington and a member of the board of directors for the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) estimates up to 10 percent of pending sales do not close because they’re caught in the short sale cycle. Still, he comments, upon reviewing summary statistics for September’s housing activity, “There is a lot to be optimistic about.” He cites interest rates that are now in the high four percents as bordering “on being epic” and the federal tax credit as stimulants to the market.

The report shows a big jump in pending sales compared to a year ago (up almost 27 percent), continued drops in inventory (down 17.7 percent versus a year ago) and brisk demand for homes at the lower end of the price spectrum.

Distressed properties in the system continue to be a drag on prices – median prices for last month’s sales were down about 7.5 percent from a year ago – and brokers continue to voice frustration with slow response time by lenders. (Banks are taking 9.5 weeks to respond to short-sale requests, versus 4.5 weeks a year ago, according to research by Campbell Communications of Washington, D.C.).

Northwest MLS brokers reported 7,581 pending sales (offers made and accepted but not yet closed) during September, outgaining the same period a year ago by 1,599 transactions for a 26.7 percent increase. Last month’s condominium sales surged, with pending sales up nearly 25 percent from a year ago after languishing in negative year-over-year figures for the first five months of 2009 and only modest gains over the past three months.

During September, members added 10,054 new listings of single family homes and condominiums to inventory, about 7.6 percent fewer than a year ago. With the combination of fewer new listings and more sales, inventory at month end dipped to its lowest level since March. At month end, the selection included 40,041 properties for sale (33,332 single family homes and 6,709 condominiums). That’s down 17.7 percent from twelve months ago.

“Our market has certainly come a long way since this time last year,” said Ron Sparks, a managing vice president of another large real estate brokerage in Seatte, WA, who said demand is at its highest level in two years. “For all the challenges that remain, it would be difficult to not appreciate the reemerging market vitality that continues to build even as the summer buying season closes,” he added.

Activity at open houses is reported to be brisk in many areas, which MLS directors attribute to a combination of factors, including expanded use of a “Public Open House” program. This program allows buyers to search schedules of all open houses in the NWMLS system from the website of any member broker that uses the feature.

Brokers also credit improved affordability, incentives and the looming deadline for the $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers as boosting activity. As the Nov. 30 deadline for the federal $8,000 tax credit program approaches, Spencer advises buyers to “be under contract by the third week of October, to close by Thanksgiving, and to stay away from short sales.”

“Because there are so many short sales and bank owned property sales, it was inevitable that prices would fall slightly,” explained NWMLS director Dick Beeson, a broker/owner of Windermere Real Estate in Tacoma, WA.

Year-over-year prices are down nearly 7.5 percent across the 19 counties served by NWMLS, but the median sales price of $273,000 for last month’s sales of single family homes and condominiums (combined) equaled the figure for January. Beeson described the price drops as “a necessary adjustment given the number of short sales and bank owned property sales in the mix. (A survey by the National Association of REALTORS indicates distressed homes accounted for 31 percent of transactions in August and July.)

A comparison of year-over-year prices of closed sales by county shows wide variation for September, from a decline of almost 17 percent in Cowlitz County to an increase of nine percent in San Juan County. For the four-county Puget Sound region (King, Snohomish, Pierce and Kitsap counties), prices were down about 7.6 percent from twelve months ago.

On a brighter note, Beeson said activity is brisk for lower priced homes in many areas. “Multiple offers are occurring on a regular basis and many buyers have to make two or three offers on different properties just to secure one,” he reports.

Sparks echoed that report, saying, “Describing much of the current market as ‘lively’ is probably a bit of an understatement,” adding, “I’ve heard agents describe open houses as ‘mayhem’ and ‘chaos.” Modestly priced homes in good condition and in popular neighborhoods can certainly draw more than one offer, according to Sparks, who also noted, “This is not to say that all neighborhoods and price points are rebounding at the same pace, but there is an awful lot of economic momentum in our region, including our housing market, that can’t be ignored.”

Emphasizing recovery comes in stages, Beeson acknowledged some “hard adjustments” are being made in higher priced homes where inventories remain high, but expects that segment to recover. He said the main focus of many agents is meeting the needs of the first-time buyers and those who have needs because of lifestyle changes due to advancing age, change in marital status, the birth of children or death of a family member. “These people always need help solving their real estate problems,” he observed.

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 October 2009

Statistical Summary by Counties: Market Activity Summary for September 2009

September 2009

Single

Family

Homes

+ Condos

LISTINGS

PENDING

SALES

CLOSED SALES

New

Listings

Total

Active

#Pending

Sales

#Closings

Average

Price

Median

Price

King
4052
12912
2927
2016
$421,293
$349,000
Snohomish
1551
5445
1222
755
$303,020
$282,000
Pierce
1513
5720
1303
838
$246,942
$221,600
Kitsap
498
1954
373
260
$295,529
$249,725
Mason
118
778
83
67
$207,691
$181,500
Skagit
261
1341
144
94
$266,821
$233,900

Grays

Harbor

132
855
116
62
$156,295
$134,000
Lewis
136
772
80
48
$176,736
$167,500
Cowlitz
152
690
85
62
$163,072
$149,900
Grant
127
726
95
65
$193,067
$160,000
Thurston
473
1754
391
265
$266,564
$242,000
San Juan
30
491
23
18
$527,251
$480,000
Island
188
1204
111
81
$333,741
$280,000
Kittitas
71
607
42
40
$280,344
$220,495
Jefferson
62
622
49
33
$286,133
$230,000
Okanogan
42
403
26
21
$211,305
$160,000
Whatcom
356
1935
314
244
$262,737
$236,450
Clark
92
334
72
50
$212,036
$197,450
Pacific
41
401
34
21
$172,222
$155,000
Others
159
1097
91
92
$218,170
$188,750
MLS TOTAL
10,054
40,041
7,581
5,132
$325,871
$273,000

 

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

334628412432
2009325034074262537254985963555157645825   

This information is from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service which is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes approximately 24,000 brokers and agents. The organization, based in Kirkland, currently serves 19 counties in western and central Washington. 

Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter October 2009, copyright 2009. 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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