Bob’s Bugle – Real Estate Newsletter – October 2010

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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 2010REAL ESTATE NEWS & INFORMATION

Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter October 2010

October 6, 2010

*”Prudent Buyers” Taking Advantage of Lower Prices to Purchase Stellar Homes*

KIRKLAND, WA, October 5, 2010 – Home sales remained subpar around most of Washington during September, but directors from Northwest Multiple Listing Service say they are encouraged by some positive signs. 

Among positive indicators the directors cited were pending sales (“starting to show signs of life”), month’s supply of inventory (pointing toward a more balanced market), stabilizing prices (with more homes being priced competitively), the market adjusting to no more tax credits, and strong sales of “specialty homes.”

Northwest MLS members reported 5,741 pending sales during September across the 21 counties in its service area.  That’s a drop from August (down 4.9 percent) and from the same month a year ago (a decline of 24.3 percent), but an improvement on the total number of mutually accepted offers for May, June and July. 

MLS director Pat Grimm, managing broker at Windermere Real Estate in Seattle, WA, reports an upsurge in people looking at properties, particularly move-up buyers. He attributes some of that activity to homes “finally being priced competitively.”   The new pool of potential buyers are “getting their feet wet, but they’re taking their time before they jump in,” he commented.

Prospective buyers have plenty of choices across the price spectrum.  MLS members added 9,038 new listings to inventory during September, bringing the total selection to 42,153 active listings.

“There are many very wise buyers taking advantage of what may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Mike Skahen, whose real estate career spans nearly 30 years.  “We haven’t seen a summer like this in home sales since 1982 when interest rates were hovering around 16 percent,” he observed.

Skahen, an owner and designated broker in Seattle and a member of the NWMLS board of directors, said the buyers they’re seeing have good jobs with Google and Amazon. “They realize they have the chance to get stellar homes in great locations at 25 percent off what they were selling for three years ago and at interest rates approaching 4 percent.  I doubt you’ll see a market and selection better than right now,” he commented.

Skahen said his office just had a $600,000 Green Lake mid-century home sell with four competing offers, and his company was one of three brokerages that presented offers on a $770,000 Ravenna listing, but they were outbid.

“Buyers are snapping up homes in all price ranges that are well located, in good condition, and that are priced fairly,” Skahen reported.

NWMLS members reported 3,997 closed sales during September, down from the same month a year ago, when members notched 5,132 completed transactions.  Year-to-date, the volume is up about 9.8 percent from the first nine months of 2009 (40,318 closings through Sept. 2010 versus 36,714 closed sales through Sept. 2009).

Last month’s closed sales of single family homes and condominiums (combined) had a median price of $257,600.  That’s down about 5.6 percent from the year-ago price (area-wide) of $273,000.  Ten of the 21 counties served by NWMLS reported year-over-year price increases.

“The types of homes that are selling particularly well are specialty homes– homes that have a unique mix of character and amenities.  It can be a waterfront estate or a Craftsman cottage, but there are qualities about the home that really make it stand out. Those homes are one of a kind and they’re never bought on price alone,” said OB Jacobi, general manager of Windermere Real Estate Company.     

“Crazy requirements” are impeding the pace of sales, according to NWMLS director Dick Beeson, a broker/owner with Windermere Real Estate in Tacoma, Washington.  “Agents are finding it’s much more difficult to navigate the closing process than ever before.  If it’s not the conditions of an inspection report, it’s the appraisal coming in off sale price or lenders reviewing and re-reviewing the buyer’s qualifications or buyers rethinking whether or not to buy,” he explained.

Looking ahead, Beeson expects the balance of the year to be “somewhat fickle,” in part because of upcoming elections and lingering uncertainty around the slow pace of the recovery.

“Sellers know they must position themselves better than their competition on all levels – price, condition, terms,” Beeson stated, while noting buyers who procrastinate risk losing purchasing power because of anticipated increases in interest rates. 

“Interest rates below 5 percent are an extraordinary event, and buyers need to take advantage of them,” Beeson emphasized.  A 1 percent increase in the interest rate on a $300,000 mortgage increases the monthly payment by $183, he explained, adding experts expect rate hikes. “It’s not if, it’s when,” he contended.

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 2010

Statistical Summary by Counties: Market Activity Summary for September 2010

Sept 2010

Single

Family

Homes

+ Condos

LISTINGS

PENDING

SALES

CLOSED SALES

New

Listings

Total

Active

#Pending

Sales

# Closings

 

Average

Price

Median

Price

King

3789

13,922

2187

1467

$431,968

$349,950

Snohomish

1404

5768

895

615

$296,319

$261,353

Pierce

1355

6108

985

628

$247,080

$220,250

Kitsap

357

1904

283

213

$289,336

$240,000

Mason

115

859

58

53

$215,773

$185,000

Skagit

198

1271

113

87

$237,583

$215,000

GraysHarbor

133

1032

80

52

$152,287

$120,250

Lewis

110

873

65

34

$198,451

$170,450

Cowlitz

125

681

69

62

$170,926

$153,500

Grant

91

674

53

47

$171,691

$165,000

Thurston

432

1932

319

247

$260,034

$233,000

San Juan

30

499

17

13

$520,225

$420,000

Island

138

1081

100

74

$305,948

$254,089

Kittitas

72

577

60

48

$302,325

$233,500

Jefferson

52

613

31

25

$291,275

$240,000

Okanogan

38

452

21

16

$179,589

$171,500

Whatcom

360

2027

256

173

$294,613

$239,900

Clark

46

296

30

42

$246,186

$217,450

Pacific

40

460

38

21

$120,615

$95,000

Ferry

5

57

3

4

$107,500

$115,000

Clallam

67

508

31

35

$231,994

$226,000

Others

81

559

47

41

$226,459

$190,000

MLS TOTAL

9,038

42,153

5,741

3,997

$324,779

$257,600

 

4-County Puget Sound Region Pending Sales (SFH + Condo combined)
(Totals include King, Snohomish, Pierce & Kitsap counties)

Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter October 2010

 

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
2009325034074262537254985963555157645825570238293440
2010438152116821736840584239430645204350   

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member brokers, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 24,000 brokers and agents. The organization, based in Kirkland, currently serves 21 counties in Western and Central Washington.

Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter October 2010, copyright 2010. 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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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.