Real Estate Market Update, Northwest Multiple Listing Service


Home sales outpace number of new listings for first time in five years

KIRKLAND, Wash. (Dec. 5, 2011) – Northwest Multiple Listing Service members reported 6,103 pending sales during November, marking the seventh straight month of double-digit year-over-year increases.

Last month’s total number of mutually accepted offers was 22.4 percent higher than the same month a year ago. It also marked the first month since December 2006 that the number of pending sales surpassed the number of new listings (6,043), prompting discussions of possible inventory shortages.

“As we head toward the end of the year, it’s certainly good to see a healthy number of buyers relative to the available inventory for sale,” said Mike Grady, president and chief operating officer of Coldwell Banker Bain. “In fact,” he noted, “there are some desirable neighborhoods in urban core areas where the case could be made there are too few homes currently for sale.”

At month end, there were 30,650 residential listings in the MLS inventory across 21 counties, down nearly 17 percent from a year ago.  For the listing service map areas covering Seattle, the database shows a year-over-year drop of about 32 percent.

“Entering the New Year, the Seattle metro area will start off with a shortage of inventory in both the more affordable and mid-priced ranges,” suggested J. Lennox Scott, CEO and chairman of John L. Scott Real Estate. He noted a high percentage of sellers are receiving offers within the first month or two of listing their homes.

Despite the smaller selection, the listings in the MLS database covering all counties span a wide price range: 400 homes are priced at $50,000 or less and 65 residences are listed at $5 million-plus.

For homes and condominiums that sold last month, the median selling price was $225,000, down 10 percent from the year-ago median price of $250,000.  Single family home prices were off 8 percent from a year ago ($234,612 versus $255,000), while condo prices slipped more than 17 percent ($169,000 versus $204,500).

Brokers point to distressed properties, which tend to be deeply discounted, as a primary cause of lower prices.
 
Bank-owned homes continue to put downward pressure on pricing, reported Northwest MLS director Matt Deasy, general manager of Windermere Real Estate/East, Inc.

For the four-county Puget Sound region, a check of the Northwest MLS database shows more than one-fourth (26.8 percent) of the single-family homes that sold last month were classified as distressed, up from the year-ago figure of 21.9 percent. 


SFH only
Nov. 2011
Nov. 2010

Total
Bank owned
% bank owned/REO
Total
Bank owned
% bank owned/REO
King
1538
327
21.26%
1092
163
14.93%
Snoh
680
201
29.56%
499
138
27.66%
Pierce
710
268
37.75%
591
172
29.10%
Kitsap
191
41
21.47%
178
43
24.16%
4-co ttl
3119
837
26.84%
2360
516
21.86%
(*REO is a class of property owned by a lender - typically a bank, government agency, or government loan insurer - after an unsuccessful sale at a foreclosure auction. – Wikipedia)

For the MLS market overall (21 counties), the number of closed sales jumped 36.2 percent, rising from 3,583 completed transactions during November 2010 to last month’s total of 4,879. 

“Home prices continue to get dragged down by foreclosures and short sales, which is disappointing given how strong home sales are,” said OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate. “We probably won’t see drastic changes in prices until the banks work through the distressed inventory,” he noted, adding, “but we expect the pace of this process to pick up over the next several months, so hopefully by this time next year we’ll be singing a different tune.”

Kitsap County was one of the few areas to register a price gain. The median sales price edged up slightly more than 1 percent, from $230,000 to $232,500. “One month does not make a trend,” acknowledged MLS director Frank Wilson, while noting the change in direction to a positive number is encouraging.

Wilson, the branch managing broker at John L. Scott’s Poulsbo office, expects Kitsap County will benefit from last week’s surprise announcement of a contract extension between Boeing and the Machinists Union, since Kitsap often feels an echo effect of what happens on “the other side.” If ratified, he said the contract “will definitely help our area (particularly the northern part) in the long run as buyers will continue to see a significant price difference between Seattle-side real estate and what they can buy in Kitsap.”  (According to Northwest MLS data, the median asking price on current listings of single family homes in Kitsap County is $289,000, while in King County it is $370,000, about 28 percent more.)

The “fantastic, recent news coming out of Boeing is going to secure thousands of jobs in the area,” said J. Lennox Scott.  With that news, combined with momentum from other major area employers, “we are seeing solid, renewed demand for local housing,” he remarked.  Job growth, historic low interest rates and an elevated number of residential investors taking advantage of favorable market conditions are contributing to “a healthy level of sales activity, one of the best in the nation.”

One of the sub-markets with vigorous activity is North Seattle, reported Mike Grady. The number of homes currently in escrow nearly matches the number still available for sale, a condition not seen since the boom years of 2005 and 2006, according to his analysis. He is also encouraged by the small ratio of distressed properties. Grady said fewer than 6 percent of North Seattle properties waiting to close escrow are ‘short sale’ transactions, which he said is “a positive trend our brokers will be keeping a close eye on in the weeks and months ahead.”

Northwest MLS director Wilson cautioned some of the statistics for November and December should be viewed “with a grain a salt.”  Buyers and sellers tend to think more about family time and the holidays, and sellers may choose to postpone listing their home until the New Year, or take them off the market during the holiday season, he explained.

Although some sellers, buyers and brokers “check out” during the holidays, Wilson said there is an interesting dynamic that takes place.  Houses that are on the market are being looked at by more motivated buyers, buyers who are very focused, he noted. “This is an interesting dynamic that happens every year,” he added.

Wilson’s observation is bolstered by findings from a Realtor.com survey, which found the vast majority of respondents, 79 percent, said more serious buyers were one of the biggest benefits of listing during the holidays. Less competition was an advantage cited by 61 percent of the survey respondents. The majority of respondents, 74 percent, said pricing a home to sell is even more important during the holidays, while an even higher number, 80 percent, said online listing photos were particularly crucial since buyers visit fewer open houses and sellers are less inclined to schedule them during the busy holiday season.

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 22,000 real estate brokers. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 21 counties in Washington state.
###
Sources quoted (Deasy, Jacobi, and Wilson are members of the Northwest MLS Board of Directors)
Matt Deasy, general manager of Windermere Real Estate/East, Inc. .......................... (425) 643-5500
Mike Grady, president and COO, Coldwell Banker Bain........................................... (425) 456-9570
OB Jacobi, president, Windermere Real Estate........................... (c/o Shelley Rossi) (425) 269-7132
J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate (c/o David Warren, (425) 394-0947
Frank Wilson, branch managing broker, John L. Scott, Poulsbo................................ (360) 731-1801
_________

See next page for statistical summary by counties 

Statistical Summary by Counties: Market Activity Summary – Nov. 2011
Single Fam. Homes + Condos
LISTINGS
PENDING SALES
CLOSED SALES
New Listings
Total Active
# Pending Sales
# Closings
Avg. Price
Median Price
King
2,236
8,790
2,486
1,944
$360,515
$290,000
Snohomish
947
3,817
1,041
806
$254,126
$229,950
Pierce
977
4,777
1,048
758
$198,562
$184,848
Kitsap
304
1,595
239
203
$277,251
$232,500
Mason
94
729
49
45
$181,448
$147,500
Skagit
130
958
112
96
$270,768
$192,500
Grays Harbor
83
771
68
57
$144,545
$115,000
Lewis
78
696
61
48
$157,580
$144,950
Cowlitz
93
506
81
62
$154,155
$131,495
Grant
67
514
59
46
$147,861
$135,220
Thurston
279
1,513
274
223
$226,563
$215,000
San Juan
17
421
14
11
$481,636
$366,000
Island
110
853
87
80
$281,137
$239,500
Kittitas
36
469
37
44
$240,545
$196,175
Jefferson
32
520
39
27
$248,544
$225,000
Okanogan
36
379
21
15
$197,456
$220,000
Whatcom
214
1,494
214
176
$234,439
$208,000
Clark
43
208
42
93
$224,098
$197,000
Pacific
39
385
24
20
$128,022
$118,250
Ferry
3
60
5
3
$171,333
$165,000
Clallam
56
421
28
35
$220,809
$185,000
Others
169
774
74
87
$191,788
$175,000
MLS TOTAL
6,043
30,650
6,103
4,879
$280,168
$225,000

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
4,767
6049
5732
5963
5868
5657
5944
5299
5384
4814


2 comments:

richmondhillhomes said...

Good news for property seller's as buyer's becoming active for searching good properties and willing to buy it.

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arrielle_p said...

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