Business

September housing statistics around Washington indicate recovery is continuing

The following is a press release from Cheri Brennan from Alliance Communications.

Pending sales, closed sales and prices all increased in August compared to a year ago, according to the latest figures from Northwest Multiple Listing Service. Those key indicators, coupled with the persistent shortage of inventory, prompted one industry leader to declare the market has flipped.

Brokers reported 8,338 pending sales of single family homes and condominiums last month for a year-over-year increase of 9.3 percent. Fourteen of the 21 counties in the Northwest MLS service area reported double-digit gains in the number of mutually accepted offers.

Last month’s pending transactions nearly equaled the July total of 8,416 sales and marked the fifth consecutive month of at least 8,000 pending sales.

Closed sales, reflecting several months of strong pending sales, reached the highest volume so far in 2012. Brokers tallied 6,612 closings last month, continuing a streak of four months of 6,000-plus completed transactions.

In housing markets, slow and steady recoveries are good,” said MLS director Frank Wilson, the branch managing broker at John L. Scott’s Poulsbo office. “A market that runs too high or too fast leads to a quick decline in short order,” he commented, adding he expects good momentum to continue into the fall.

The median price on last month’s closed sales rose more than 5.9 percent, to an area-wide figure of $250,000. That’s up from the year-ago median sales price of $236,000 for single family homes and condos combined, but tapered off from the July figure of $254,900. Clark County claimed the largest year-over-year gain at 18.3 percent, followed by Cowlitz (18 percent), Mason (nearly 16 percent), and Kittitas (13.7 percent) counties.

For single family homes only (excluding condos), prices jumped nearly 6.7 percent, from $247,000 to $263,500. Buyers of single family homes in King County paid $378,000 for last month’s sales, an increase of 8 percent from the year-ago median selling price of $350,000.

The biggest story this year is that the market has flipped,” proclaimed J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate. He attributes the shift to a seller’s market in most areas and prices to a combination of factors, including historically low interest rates, lower adjusted prices, the shortage of inventory, an elevated number of investors, and the return of local home buyers.

Northwest MLS directors OB Jacobi and Joe Spencer are similarly encouraged by the latest numbers, mentioning steady momentum, rising consumer confidence, low inventory, a pickup of activity in new construction, and improving prospects for homeowners who are underwater.

Northwest MLS members were hard-pressed to replenish inventory last month. They added 8,379 new listings to inventory -- 749 fewer new listings than a year ago, and about the same as the number of pending sales (8,338). Last month’s additions brought the month-end total to 25,506 listings, down more than 28 percent from the year-ago inventory of 36,907 homes and condos.

Inventory levels are incredibly low, but our hope is that many homeowners who were underwater can now afford to sell because of the continued appreciation of home prices,” remarked OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate Company. He also noted a pick-up of activity in the new construction housing market, which he expects will add much needed inventory throughout Puget Sound.

Wilson said he expects activity in Kitsap to pick up there once school resumes and after a typical “pause” around Labor Day. Noting increases in pending sales, closed sales and prices, he said “the only number that is down is the steady decrease in inventory. Lower inventory combined with low interest rates are what is going to carry this momentum forward into the fall,” he remarked.

Another MLS director, Joe Spencer, said the low inventory and heightened buyer activity are resulting in an imbalance of supply and demand, but he believes that “bodes well as we move into the fall season, which typically ushers in an increase in buyer activity.”

Buyers and sellers are “clearly more confident,” reported Spencer, the area director for Keller Williams. These consumers “are looking to take advantage of the market rebound in what appears to be a continued slow and sustainable recovery.”

The condo market showed mixed results. Both pending and closed sales increased, but inventory is at about half the levels of a year ago, and prices are essentially flat.

Brokers reported 1,130 pending sales of condos for a 7.5 percent gain from a year ago and a slight uptick from the total for July (1,188).

MLS members reported 889 closed sales of condominiums area-wide for a 16.1 percent year-over-year gain. The median sales price on those sales was $174,000, which is $1,000 less than a year ago (down 0.57 percent).

 

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 21,000 real estate brokers. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 21 counties in Washington state.

 

Single Fam. Homes + Condos

LISTINGS

PENDING SALES

CLOSED SALES

New Listings

Total Active

# Pending Sales

# Closings

Avg. Price

Median Price

King

3,195

6,432

3,298

2,730

$414,308

$340,000

Snohomish

1,185

2,322

1,324

1,057

$274,460

$246,000

Pierce

1,225

3,792

1,334

983

$223,534

$199,950

Kitsap

416

1,573

385

304

$295,875

$246,250

Mason

142

843

96

58

$189,262

$163,500

Skagit

177

946

204

127

$243,742

$210,000

Grays Harbor

144

912

101

53

$130,698

$123,500

Lewis

105

732

86

55

$136,574

$137,500

Cowlitz

114

540

124

90

$167,828

$159,950

Grant

114

605

76

76

$161,488

$155,500

Thurston

399

1,314

391

306

$225,338

$218,000

San Juan

41

453

43

26

$385,029

$325,000

Island

169

942

143

125

$322,621

$250,000

Kittitas

93

527

72

74

$280,027

$195,500

Jefferson

77

565

63

39

$290,381

$242,000

Okanogan

63

458

32

36

$223,484

$155,750

Whatcom

414

1,643

326

262

$270,179

$237,250

Clark

50

225

50

57

$265,341

$210,000

Pacific

41

443

35

35

$109,531

$95,000

Ferry

8

78

5

1

$199,500

$199,500

Clallam

77

471

52

43

$183,332

$163,000

Others

130

690

98

75

$204,201

$190,000

MLS TOTAL

8,379

26,506

8,338

6,612

$315,656

$250,000

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

Read the latest Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Aug 20 edition online now. Browse the archives.