Bob’s Bugle – Real Estate Newsletter – September 2013

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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 September 2013REAL ESTATE NEWS & INFORMATION

Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter September 2013

September 9, 2013

*Demand for Puget Sound Area Homes Still Strong*

KIRKLAND, WA, September 5, 2013 – Northwest Multiple Listing Service figures for August show brisk sales, escalating prices and some improvement in inventory, prompting one MLS director to declare, “What these numbers tell us loud and clear is that buyer demand in the Puget Sound region is still incredibly strong.”

In making that comment, OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate, noted the housing market tends to experience some slowing during August, but rising inventory levels and sustained buyer demand fueled “higher than expected home sales and another month of strong appreciation.”

The latest figures from Northwest MLS show pending sales (mutually accepted offers) during August increased 8.7 percent from a year ago. Brokers in the 21 counties served by the MLS reported 9,065 pending sales system-wide. That’s a drop of 500 units from July, but an increase of 727 transactions compared to a year ago (August 2012). In the four-county Puget Sound region (King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish), the total of 6,916 pending sales was the highest volume for August since 2006 when members notched 7,692 sales.

Prices also reflected an upward trajectory. The area-wide median price for last month’s completed sales of single family homes and condominiums was $283,000, which compares to the year ago figure of $250,000 for a gain of 13.2 percent. Only two other months this year have had higher year-over-year increases: March (14.9 percent) and May (13.4 percent). Since January, prices have jumped 18.3 percent.

Prices on single family homes (excluding condos) that sold during August increased from $263,495 to $294,000 for a gain of 11.6 percent.

Northwest MLS director Frank Wilson, the Kitsap District manager and branch managing broker for real estate brokerage franchise in the Poulsbo-Kingston, WA area noted prices in Kitsap County have not spiked as much as some other areas during this recovery period. For sales in that county that closed during August, prices rose slightly more than 3 percent compared to a year ago. “Since recovery should be a long-term return to normalcy, there seems to be a bit more sanity in Kitsap,” he remarked.

Despite moderate price gains in Kitsap County, buyers were active, with year-over-year pending sales jumping 19.7 percent.

Inventory is showing signs of stabilizing in many Western Washington areas, with members adding nearly 1,800 more new listings to the MLS database during August compared to the same month a year ago. With that 21 percent increase in new listings, the total number of active listings at month end (26,433) was almost on par with a year ago when the selection encompassed 26,506 homes for sale.

Dick Beeson, the principal managing broker of another real estate brokerage in Tacoma, Washington, noted some key indicators are trending lower or slower as the market adjusts to a “new normal.” The former chair of Northwest MLS also said it would be hard to continue the near record-setting pace of the last few months.

“While the overall market remains vibrant and active, we don’t appear to have the frantic ‘must have this home because there may not be another’ mentality among buyers,” Beeson reported, adding, “The increase in both inventory  — a near return to 2012 levels — and the sharp increase in interest rates have been the most influential factors in an end-of-the-summer market adjustment.”

Another past chairman of Northwest MLS, Mike Gain, said inventory shortages are still common in many parts of King County. MLS figures show of 22 of the 29 map areas it tracks in King County had fewer listings at the end of August than at the same time a year ago.

Measured by months of supply, King County, with only 1.7 months of supply, is well below the 4-to-6-month level that many analysts use as an indicator of healthy levels or a balanced market. The selection is also squeezed in Snohomish County, where there is 1.8 months of supply. System-wide, the figure is at 2.9 months.

Gain, the CEO and president of NW Washington State real estate brokerage, said many industry-watchers predicted rising interest rates would slow down the market. “Well, it has not, because despite jumps in prices and interest rates, homes are still more affordable than they have been in decades.”  He said buyers are on “heightened alert” because of the recent upward movement in interest rates. “We don’t expect interest rates to stay as low as they are today and prices in our area are expected to continue to rise. For anyone who is thinking of buying, now is the time,” he suggests.

Darin Stenvers, a director with Northwest MLS, called the current market “the strongest in four or five years,” with signs of stability that should continue into 2014. “If a buyer finds the home of their dreams, they should make their first offer their best offer or risk losing that home,” he stated.

Stenvers, the managing broker at a real estate brokerage in Bellingham, WA, also offered advice to sellers who have unrealistic expectations. “Sellers should still be concerned about overpricing their homes,” he emphasized. “Some markets may handle the overpricing, others will not,” he noted, adding, “While sales are brisk, many sellers are not getting the full listing price.” Price reductions and/or financing contributions may be needed to assist buyers.

The condominium market is rebounding in some areas, offering a good alternative for renters who are seeking good housing at affordable prices. Although the inventory is still below year-ago levels (down 4.8 percent), Stenvers said there is a good selection with great pricing options.  Also, he pointed out buyers can purchase with a down payment that is in line with landlord demands for upfront rent and large deposits, and have a more affordable monthly payment.  

Pending sales of condos area-wide rose about 6.3 percent during August. Closed sales jumped more than 17.4 percent, with prices surging 26.7 percent.

“We are definitely working our way nicely through this housing recovery, with all of the latest data showing strong year-over-year gains in prices and sales of both pending and closed transactions,” Gain commented. He also noted the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) reported the national median existing home price increased at an annual rate of 12.2 percent – the biggest yearly price increase since Q4 of 2005.

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 September 2013

Statistical Summary by Counties: Market Activity Summary for August 2013

Single

Family

Homes

+ Condos

LISTINGS

PENDING

SALES

CLOSED SALES

MONTHS

SUPPLY

New

Listings

 

Total

Active

 

# Pending

Sales

 

#

Closings

 

Avg.

Price

 

Median

Price

 
 
King
3,893
6,171
3,567
3,227
467,308
392,500
1.73
Snohomish
1,424
2,565
1,402
1,143
321,265
295,000
1.83
Pierce
1,598
3,769
1,486
1,250
246,808
225,000
2.54
Kitsap
493
1,559
461
383
305,872
253,750
3.38
Mason
162
849
115
101
190,301
158,900
7.38
Skagit
241
890
205
171
247,363
229,000
4.34
Grays Hrbor
151
886
101
95
133,063
110,000
8.77
Lewis
160
770
106
86
163,194
149,700
7.26
Cowlitz
144
519
123
97
164,438
156,000
4.22
Grant
96
572
80
80
170,623
162,750
7.15
Thurston
509
1355
410
361
246,638
235,000
3.30
San Juan
37
449
30
31
466,435
389,000
14.97
Island
203
904
157
160
296,384
244,500
5.76
Kittitas
85
490
80
58
241,643
186,700
6.13
Jefferson
64
510
69
55
271,681
252,000
7.39
Okanogan
61
493
46
32
259,738
192,765
10.72
Whatcom
484
1722
348
274
277,350
253,400
4.95
Clark
63
199
56
57
242410
235,800
3.55
Pacific
71
497
52
38
147,861
140,000
9.56
Ferry
8
69
5
3
155,000
125,000
13.8
Clallam
75
481
71
59
205,744
185,000
6.77
Others
150
714
95
70
244,831
204,500
7.52
MLS TOTAL

10,172

26,433

9,065

7,841

$348,736

$283,000

2.92

 

 

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

Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter September 2013

 JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
200037064778590351165490507949285432456946754126
3166
200143345056572253995631556854345544404043874155
3430
200242934735556954366131521255256215539457774966
4153
200347465290688968377148720276737135669865524904
4454
200445216284807379107888818675837464698467616228
5195
200554266833880184208610889682078784756171576188
4837
200652756032817476518411809471217692621664035292
4346
200748696239719269747311687663715580415344473896
2975
2008329141674520462445264765458045844445334628412432
2009325034074262537254985963555157645825570238293440
2010438152116821736840584239430645204350437639383474
2011427247676049573259635868565759445299538448144197
2012492160697386
7015
7295
6733
6489
6341
5871
6453
5188
4181
2013
5548
6095
7400
7462
7743
7374
7264
6916
   

Northwest Multiple 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 21 counties in Western and Central Washington.

Bob’s Bugle Real Estate Newsletter September 2013, copyright 2013. 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.

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