NWMLS: August Sales Still Predictably in the Gutter

August market stats have been published by the NWMLS on Friday. It’s rather unusual that they would release the stats so early in the month, but maybe they figured since the cat is out of the bag on their bogus methodology already anyway, they would go ahead and push the report out as early as possible. Here’s what they have to say about their numbers: "Value-Hunters" seizing opportunities to buy more affordable homes around Western and Central Washington.

Value is what’s selling in the current housing market, according to members of Northwest Multiple Listing Service. Commenting on the MLS report summarizing August activity, directors agree conditions continue to favor buyers, although one industry official cautioned a looming change in mortgage insurance premiums could erode purchasing power.

See? They’re on the buyer’s side! They just want you to get in there and get a good deal before interest rates shoot to the moon!

Read the rest of their post if you want some more delicious nuggets of nonsense fear-mongering. Read the rest of this post if you want to look at their nonsense data.

CAUTION

NWMLS monthly reports include an undisclosed and varying number of
sales from previous months in their pending and closed sales statistics.

Here’s your King County SFH summary, with the arrows to show whether the year-over-year direction of each indicator is favorable or unfavorable news for buyers and sellers (green = favorable, red = unfavorable):

August 2010 Number MOM YOY Buyers Sellers
Active Listings 10,390 -0.8% +9.5%
Closed Sales 1,313 -10.9% -18.4%
SAAS (?) 2.25 -2.3% +17.3%
Pending Sales 1,716 -4.9% -22.6%
Months of Supply 5.85 -4.1% +42.4%
Median Price* $380,000 -5.0% +1.3%

Feel free to download the updated Seattle Bubble Spreadsheet (Excel 2003 format), but keep in mind the caution above.

Here’s your closed sales yearly comparison chart:

King County SFH Closed Sales

Closed sales may have actually inched up a bit from July to August, but the screwy method of including late-reported sales in the wrong month that the NWMLS uses means we don’t get to see that.

Here’s the graph of inventory with each year overlaid on the same chart.

King County SFH Inventory

It’s not looking good for breaking 11,000 this year.

Here’s the supply/demand YOY graph. In place of the now-unreliable measure of pending sales, the “demand” in this chart is represented by closed sales, which have had a consistent definition throughout the decade.

King County Supply vs Demand % Change YOY

Still trending toward another strong buyer’s market.

Here’s the median home price YOY change graph:

King County SFH YOY Price Change

Nothing too surprising here. I expect we’ll see slightly positive YOY readings on the median price for a while as the sales mix continues to recover from the tax credit hangover.

And lastly, here is the chart comparing King County SFH prices each month for every year back to 1994.

King County SFH Prices

Oops, slipped back below the vintage 2005.

Check back tomorrow for the better-late-than-never reporting roundup.


About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.

45 comments:

  1. 1

    I think the issue with the late sales is starting to sort itself out, with the number of lates having dropped dramatically. Also, keep in mind that while July might have had a lot of them, there were a lot of July sales reported in August. Overall the July number is probably still high, but not nearly as high as was initially suggested. It will be interesting to see though whether this early reporting of the August numbers leads to another spike of late reported sales in the September reports.

    The big numbers I see are the median should be stronger with the tax credit gone, but isn’t, and I think that’s due to a rapidly declining median pending price the past few months. It’s dropped roughly $40k since May, which shows real weakness.

  2. 2
    deejayoh says:

    Is the late sales issue anything new or different from all the other months shown? I’m just wondering if there has been a change in methodology, or if it’s status quo on how they do things. If it’s the latter, I don’t see the reason for all the sudden caveating.

  3. 3
    The Tim says:

    RE: deejayoh @ 2 – As far as I know they’ve been doing it all along. I just discovered it last month, which is why I began adding the caution notices.

    When I look at a chart that has a certain number of sales indicated on a given month, I understand it to mean that there were really that many sales in that specific month. Since that’s not what the numbers from the NWMLS mean, and since there is no way to know whether they’re including 25 or 250 late-reported sales in any given month, I feel that it is appropriate to add the notices.

  4. 4
    MarkM says:

    Looks like there won’t be another tax credit (crosses fingers). Maybe now the housing market can find it’s true bottom:

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Grim-Housing-Choice-Help-nytimes-2501800868.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=4&asset=&ccode=

  5. 5

    RE: deejayoh @ 2 – It’s something they did all along, apparently so that the YTD figures would all match up. It became an issue mainly because the numbers rose, IMHO as a result of the Matrix switchover, and that switchover effect peaked apparently at the same time that sales decreased as a result of the expired tax credit. So you had a relatively large number of late reported sales (over 200?) at the same time you had a significant reduction in sales.

    Over the long run it all balances out as to the volume numbers, but if you’re trying to make fine distinctions based on small trend changes, doing that is impossible. As to the mean and median, there would also be a slight affect there. For example, the July median might have broke $400k, since it was only $50 short of that.

  6. 6

    Someone Out There Will Always Buy Something That’s For Sale

    And there’s a desperate realtor out there just aching to find anyone who’ll ink signatures:

    Article in part:

    “…Page 1, MLS # 80002060: Mark Rasmussen, Skyline Realty: “BATH AND WALIN CLOSET CEILINGS NEED TO BE REPAIRED AND NEW PAINT THROUGHOUT (2 BIDS @ 2,000).” What’s a “WALIN” and why is this guy yelling at me with his all caps? He yelled again on Page 2, MLS 800002875, and Page 32, MLS 80003474. Yelling just tells me the agent doesn’t know how to market. Mark, how about going into auctioning real estate? Maybe yelling will come in handy to you there as it is a detriment here.

    Page 1, MLS # 80001883: Gerald Morrissey, Jr., RE/MAX: “better than new.” What does that mean?!

    Page 1, MLS # 700018684: Reena Smith, ERA: “This is home ownership at it’s Best.” Do you really think that seller hired this agent to write this sentence? This what? It’s?! How about its? Old MLS number so property on market long time.

    Page 1, MLS # 80004713: Yadira Izquierdo, Keller Williams: Written all in caps and I just do not like being yelled at which caps represents. Izquierdo didn’t even use all the space allowed to market the property. A lazy agent is what that says to me. Give up the real estate license Izquierdo.

    Page 1, MLS # 60027768: Kay Skinner, Desert Diamonds: What the hell kind of a name is Desert Diamonds Realty? That is a very old MLS number so property has been on market very long time. She wrote all in caps. I don’t read it when it’s in all caps. Why do the agents have to yell so much? Eric Rosenberg, Prudential Nevada, did it on Page 32, MLS # 80001534. Kay and Eric, you also need to give up your real estate licenses and check out auctioning.

    Page 1, MLS # 80005386: Lora Rehberger, HomeGate: Ends with “Bonus room with sunken hot.” What the hell is a “sunken hot”?! Page 16, MLS # 80001320: “It s not a condo, it s a LIFESTYLE” Where’s her punctuation? According to the Washoe County public records, it is a condo. Another case that begs the question of how this idiot got her real estate license.

    Page 2, MLS # 70022101: Maria Biel-Haines, Ferrari-Lund: “Built from the ground up . . . notice the roof is pitched.” How did this idiot get and keep her license? Aren’t all houses built from the ground up? I’ve never seen or heard of a house built from the air down. All roofs are pitched….”

    http://www.broowaha.com/articles/3545/retards-among-us-realtors

  7. 7
    The Tim says:

    RE: MarkM @ 4 – Here’s hoping! I was thinking last winter would be a good time for me to finally buy, but the tax credit screwed things all up. This winter looks to be shaping up much nicer.

    I’m seeing some serious price drops on the properties I’ve been watching. One just cut 12% over the weekend, and is down 30% from where it started in March. Nice.

  8. 8
    Lake Hills Renter says:

    Post has some editing issues. First sentence says “were been”, and the sentence before the caution banner seems to be included twice, in two different incarnations.

  9. 9

    RE: softwarengineer @ 6
    Even locally, I see a ton of listings with errors in grammar and spelling. One has to wonder how some of these folks can get through the paperwork.
    Maybe that could be my tag line: ” He’s not great at selling houses, but he sure can spell.”

  10. 10
    Blake says:

    RE: The Tim @ 7
    I moved to Seattle 5 years ago… waiting for a bottom to buy! About to pull the trigger and put in an offer on a REO fixer on south side and hoping that the owner – a Orlando, FL “bank” – realizes how bad things are!?

    Tim: Your website is wonderful and your commenters and guests are sharp!
    We live in difficult times… here’s to finding a bottom and starting the mending process.
    Thank you

  11. 11
    ARDELL says:

    RE: deejayoh @ 2

    I don’t understand this “carry over” disclosure, as “late sales” should be an UNDER-statement of volume vs an overstatement “carry over” issue.

    When an agent posts an August 31 closing on September 8th (which they will due to the holiday weekend) they will still show it as having closed on August 31. So when I run the stats it will pick up as August and not September. When we enter the input system on September 8th it will still ask us what day it actually closed, and reflect THAT date and not the date it was posted.

    Given an agent cannot post a closing until after it closes, I would never trust any month end data until at least 5 business days after the last day of the month. There are always some posted even later than that….but not many.

  12. 12
    The Tim says:

    RE: Lake Hills Renter @ 9 – Thanks. Fixed the 1st sentence. Not sure what you’re talking about with respect to the paragraph before the caution banner. I added a link and some formatting to hopefully make it read better.

  13. 13
    Jonness says:

    By softwarengineer @ 6:

    And there’s a desperate realtor out there just aching to find anyone who’ll ink signatures:

    I went to an open house recently. The house has been sitting empty for a year-and-a-half and is listed for 76% of its taxed assessed value (started out with the classic chase-the-market-down strategy and is now hitting the desperation stage). As low as the price seems, the buyers picked it up in 2004 for $100K less than it’s listed for (it will cost them 10% to sell, and they still expect to make a profit). The agent literally pleaded with me to make “any offer” on the house, which of course meant to offer their break-even price.

    Actually, I might make an offer on the house, but I’m going to wait a while in order to get a better deal in the future (the definition of deflation). In a year, the owners will be underwater, and in another year the bank will repossess the house. I’m mentally preparing my offer right now to formally submit in December of 2012 for $100K below what the buyer paid in 2004. While I realize, I could most certainly get it cheaper, I’m really not out to time the exact bottom of the market or rip anyone off. I just want to get a fair deal on a place I call home.

    There are a lot of people out there with a capital “S” on their foreheads that stands for “Sucker.” I’m doing my best to not end up with the brand. Only time will tell. :)

  14. 14
    ARDELL says:

    RE: The Tim @ 7

    The traditional “End of the Season of HOPE” is October 15th.

    Usually that is the first day of bargain hunting in a traditional seasonal cycle. Between October 15th and November 15th, those that don’t want to give up their hope for higher than market value prices, will leave the market and come back “next year” sometime after Jan 1. Usually they take it off for at least 90 days to ERASE the cumulative days on market, and start the DOM counter back to zero.

    Those that stay on market, tend to move to realistic pricing vs. leaving the market, or at least be more open to fair market offers even if they don’t change their asking price.

  15. 15
    Jerdobi says:

    I live in an apartment near downtown Seattle that last a few years back contained quite a few renters that were remodelling or awaiting a housing purchase. Now, interesting fact is I’ve met a few renters that were older retired couples that have sold their homes (i.e. chasing the price down) and are using the money now to travel the world versus watch their equity (i.e. life savings) erode.

  16. 16

    RE: Jerdobi @ 16 – There are a lot of properties on the market that seemingly are owned by older people. This happens to be the time in their life when they planned on moving. It’s unfortunate that they didn’t plan the move three years ago. A lot of them still have equity, but not as much.

  17. 17
    Jonness says:

    By Ira Sacharoff @ 10:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 6
    Even locally, I see a ton of listings with errors in grammar and spelling. One has to wonder how some of these folks can get through the paperwork.
    Maybe that could be my tag line: ” He’s not great at selling houses, but he sure can spell.”

    Ira, I think your tag line should read, “He’s sure not great at spieling, but he sure is great at spelling!”

    Unfortunately, I think most RE agents are good at at least one of the dictionary definitions of spieling. We should take a vote on which definition most closely fits the typical agent’s skill set:

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=spiel

  18. 18
    Lurker says:

    perhaps it is in The Tim’s Redfin hiring contract to buy a house over the course of the next 6 months? ;)

    Personally, I’m trying to hold back until things appear to be more stable. I dont care so much about timing the actual bottom but instead would rather buy when I have a better idea of where my money is going to go. I think next spring/summer might look better after a winter of lower comps, who knows?

    The thing I don’t look forward to is the next round of panic buying when interest rates actually start to go back up. Like the tax credit, I fear it’ll kill the housing correction for a while.

  19. 19
    Sunshine says:

    So, how slow does business have to get before real estate agents change their message to sellers and say “You should lower your price and sell before the market drops even further”?

    From the agent’s perspective, it seems like smaller commissions are better than none at all…

  20. 20
    Lurker says:

    I had an interesting conversation with an agent the other day. He also worked with bank owned properties and was telling me about how many bank owned homes in Seattle were out there that weren’t on the market. (shadow inventory). I know we aren’t as bad as other places so I was kind of surprised to hear this.

    Thankfully, true to his job, he didn’t let me down when I mentioned that I thought prices would keep going down. :)

  21. 21
    Poco Ritard says:

    RE: The Tim @ 7 – “This winter looks to be shaping up much nicer.” I’ve been thinking the same, that this winter is the time I’ll start looking – but now I’m wavering. Starting to be convinced of a long term (several years) deflation scenario (a.k.a. “depression”). In which case a mortgage at any price is deadly. I or my wife could lose the job, the prices might continue to grind down for more years but worst of all, we’ll be illiquid (and stuck). I’m too old to risk my savings. Equities are a joke (if you’re not a HFT trader), bonds little better. Cash or equivalent is going to be it for the intermediate term. Maybe I’m reading too much “economic disaster porn.” It’s not that the benefits of ownership are shrinking, I’m just becoming more concerned about the risks.

    Seriously, I don’t believe that Q4 2010 is the bottom for the economy. There is a metric pantload of deleveraging still to go – globally. Unemployment is generational at this point.

    Listen to me. Next I’ll be stocking up on canned food and ammunition. Arrgh. But there it is.

  22. 22
    Lake Hills Renter says:

    RE: The Tim @ 13 – Sorry, I misread the sentences before the caution banner. It’s more clear now.

  23. 23
    corncob says:

    Man, I know it probably drives ad traffic from their frantic post/reply/post, but this continuing flamewar of macroeconomic issue/pundit/theories is getting really old. Can’t you guys just agree to disagree and focus back on local Seattle housing instead? No amount of typing is going to change pfft or scotsman or anyone else to the other side, at this point it is like arguing about abortion.

  24. 24
    Lake Hills Renter says:

    By corncob @ 47:

    this continuing flamewar of macroeconomic issue/pundit/theories is getting really old.

    Amen!

  25. 25
    AWhiteHorse says:

    “…still predictably in the Gutter”. Good. Watching Seattle-area housing prices exceed the greediest imaginings possible was sickening. IMO, the several “doomsday” posts above are wonderful; they’re sharing truth with everyone. The “promoter” types don’t want us to find these facts. Thank-heavens this site exists!

    Seattle is only another earthquake away from *real* trouble. (I remember Seattle’s 6.5 quake; I was right here.) Housing prices would be the least of our problems. Our region’s loss of bridges, etc, will be even more difficult with another 500,000 residents intending to live here. I just hope our collective brains and talent, will solve our National-debt/recession mess before that day.

    Maybe the profiteers need to experience a Las Vegas style bust, to realize their “silver spoon” has melted in the Seattle rain.

    Earthquake futures, anyone?
    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/states/washington/history.php

  26. 26
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Lake Hills Renter @ 49RE: corncob @ 47

    What?! Didn’t you guys learn how to skip over posts? It’s easy- either pull the tab to the right down, use your down arrows, or best yet- the scroll button on your mouse. You’ll be pleased with the results- time saved, less frustration, and a sense of control over your lives. Go for it!

    P.S. At this point, in my opinion, Seattle housing prices are all about macro economics. The nominal adjustment from regional differences are already factored in. the spotlight now is on national politics, macro events, and the new world economy. If you don’t want to talk about and try to understand those issues, there isn’t much else to look at. We have traveled well beyond “location, location, location” in terms or trying to understand what the next decade holds for housing .

  27. 27
    Lake Hills Renter says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 52 – I’m sure The Tim will be pleased to know that the only point to his blog is you and pfft blathering about the same topic day after day. I suppose it would be asking too much for you two to keep it to the open threads instead of spreading to every single post.

  28. 28
    BillE says:

    By corncob @ 47:

    Man, I know it probably drives ad traffic from their frantic post/reply/post, but this continuing flamewar of macroeconomic issue/pundit/theories is getting really old.

    Yes. What he said.

  29. 29
    Scotsman says:

    RE: Lake Hills Renter @ 56

    Let’s see- you have 4 posts in this thread, and up until this one I had 4 posts. So our contribution is numerically equal. Three of your posts were essentially complaints about either content or content formatting. One was an apology for your prior complaint. None of them really contributed anything to the discussion at hand, whether economics, statistical analysis and reporting, or the politics/propriety of the NWMLS.

    I have four posts- two brief responses to Jonness about economics, a short question for Pfft, and a response to your prior complaint about my posts that attempted to improve your experience on this blog. Now I have another response to you. Statistically, you are creating more of a problem than Pfft while offering even less of value to the discussion. Think about that for a while and get back to me. Of better yet, offer something positive to all the readers beyond your annoyance at having your private reading experience be less than custom tailored to your preferences. In short, you’re all take, no give.

  30. 30
    Scotsman says:

    RE: BillE @ 57RE: Lake Hills Renter @ 56RE: Lake Hills Renter @ 49RE: corncob @ 47

    Oohh- I have a better idea! Since you all seem to feel my presence and macro economic discussions somehow preclude/exclude the diverse contributions and content that you all want to see- and I assume make- here’s a deal. I’ll take five days off to “leave a little oxygen in the room” so to speak, and you guys (or gals) can fill the gap. I do post a lot- not as much as Kary and others, but perhaps more than my share. So you’ll have quite a bit of filling in to do. Let’s say seven posts a day, each, minimum. Oh, and on topic, since that’s what you seem to prefer, but from a diverse range of perspectives, documented if “factual,” and a decent amount of original analysis. I’m off to CA to take the daughter to school so it will be easier for me to stay away from the keyboard where I work. If you guys meet the objectives above I’ll continue to stay away and you’ll be heroes. If not, then the whole community will have you to blame for my despised return. Better get busy!

  31. 31
    The Tim says:

    PLEASE NOTE:

    I agree with the commenters that have pointed out how out of control the back and forth about the global and national economy has gotten. The purpose of this site is primarily to discuss Seattle-area real estate.

    Comments that discuss the global or national economy and do not directly relate to Seattle-area real estate will from now on be allowed only on the Global Economic Open Thread.

    The Comment Policy has been updated to reflect this change, and posts placed in the wrong place from here forward will be moved.

  32. 32
    The Tim says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 30 – Note that I am fine with the discussion, and I hope it continues. I just don’t like it to clutter up every single comment thread on the site. It makes things much more difficult for those attempting to discuss real estate specifically.

    Please also note that I have linked the Global Economic Open Thread from the front page right under the more general open thread box, with a comment count included so people who want to partake in the discussion can keep up and avoid missing any content.

  33. 33
    One Eyed Man says:

    A lot of people seem to be kind of thin skinned and defensive if not outright combative today. At the risk of inciting more ill will and potentially being accused of chauvanism, what a bunch of whining pussies. To paraphrase Sallybuttons, buck up. It shouldn’t be that hard for any of us to take a little criticism or endure comments critical of our conclusions and analysis. We’re hopefully all trying to both learn and contribute to each others welfare here. Some debate is a great thing, but I don’t think any of us needs to strive viciously for intellectual victory and domination like a dog instinctively seeking to be the mating alpha.

    (Just so you know, I’m currently wearing my Pluto PJ’s and no matter what you say, in my own mind I will always emerge victorious as the hump hungry canine that I am. That’s probably natural. But trying to be at least semi “civilized” probably means compromising, to some degree, our urge to win in favor of preserving our community relationships for the intellectual betterment of all of us.)

    Everybody has some good points here. The macro economic debate infects many of the threads and often lacks anymore likelihood of intellectual resolution than the Hatfields and the McCoys. By the same token, many if not all all of the more specific real estate issues are significantly impacted by the macro economic issues so that the macro debate, although pervasive and irritating to many, is at least tangentially related and important to many of the threads.

    I get a lot out of Scotsmans posts, and I miss it when he’s gone. I don’t want him to take his ball and go home. But lighten up a little Scotsman. You don’t need to be confrontational about Lake Hills Renter’s complaint. The issue of location of the forum is irrelevant to the intellectual debate (except maybe for convenience) and isn’t deserving of the emotional commitment you make to put forth the strongest case in the substantive debate.

    Sorry if I come off sounding like everybodies mommy here. We can now return to our regularly scheduled program.

    Re Jonness at #54, good comment (as are many of your others). I disagree only to the following extent. I think in the long run, for reasons I won’t set forth here, the Fed and Treasury will eventually error in favor of inflationary (or perhaps stagflationary) policies primarily to avoid the historical stigma of being the guys at the helm who steered the ship into the second gread deflationary depression. I also think that market timing is difficult at best even if I’m right about where things will eventually go. So even though I think that the near term is a deflationary environment, my spouse and I are only about 1/3 in cash. Our financial assets are diversified with the exception that we don’t hold any long or medium term bonds. And we don’t have any debt, which would arguably be a mistake if the economy somehow entered hyperinflation in the near future and we didn’t invested in cheap money when we could.

  34. 34
    Fran Tarkenton says:

    RE: The Tim @ 31 – I would visit more often, and you would get more ad impressions from me, if you implemented an ignore user feature. As it stands, the open threads are functionally useless, so I hardly bother.

  35. 35

    RE: The Tim @ 31 – Deleted. The new links were exactly what I was asking for!

  36. 36
    Jonness says:

    RE: One Eyed Man @ 33
    Actually one eye, I don’t disagree with anything you said. But I won’t go into it due to the censorship issues.

    I need to repeat my original question to The Tim. Why do you believe there is a strong chance house prices could bottom out this winter? Your emphasis on Seattle-only analysis has intrigued me even more than I was already intrigued.

  37. 37
    ray pepper says:

    RE: Sunshine @ 19

    I believe sellers ARE getting the message from Agents and Media. Prices are dropping and will continue to. What I find amazing is the amount of Estate sales I have been to recently. Maybe just a coincidence but whats with all these dead sellers??

    Stress of our current economic climate causing MI’s and strokes? I think its just a coincidence but I will keep watching on my home tours.

  38. 38

    RE: ray pepper @ 37 – I think it was just yesterday I noted how a lot of houses on the market were of older people where apparently their life plans were to move somewhere else at this point in their life. Death is somewhat similar.

    Anyway, my point was that perhaps this was good in that this inventory might get first time buyers to go back to what were traditionally first time buyer homes, and not the ugly two story 2.5 bath cubes built the past several years.

  39. 39
    David Losh says:

    RE: ray pepper @ 37

    A lot of people who held properties are dumping, including relatives in line for the inheritance. In many cases there is the hold out family member who is waiting to maximize the return on a property owned free, and clear, now, not so much. Most inherited property will just be sold as quickly as possible. The sooner it is sold the more it will be worth.

  40. 40

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 38

    Hi Kary

    But we’re all living longer? ;-)

  41. 41
    The Tim says:

    By Jonness @ 36:

    I need to repeat my original question to The Tim. Why do you believe there is a strong chance house prices could bottom out this winter? Your emphasis on Seattle-only analysis has intrigued me even more than I was already intrigued.

    Sorry, I must have missed your question. I don’t recall saying that I thought home prices would bottom this winter. I’ve said that I might be buying, but that’s not the same as saying I think we’ll be hitting bottom.

    Well, I did call December 2010 back in February of last year, but that was before the tax credit basically put the local correction on hold for a year and a half.

  42. 42
    Jonness says:

    Sorry Tim. I misinterpreted your intentions. Are you thinking the market might get affordable enough this winter where you don’t mind losing some value for a while? Kind of a trade off between life-style improvement and dollar losses?

    Interestingly, I am starting to see 2004 prices (you mentioned in above link) in some cases, but mostly as REO’s or short sales (From what I’m seeing, REO’s are almost always priced better than short sales and are way less of a hassle). For instance, here’s one in Tacoma I looked at recently. No weird smells in the house, and the house has great bones. The edge of the cliff is a little scary though. The buyer paid $620K for it in 2005, and it was previously sold in 2002 for $300K. The bank listed it at $350K, and it moved pretty fast. The view from the home is fantastic, and for a Tacoma home, it’s well located.

    So I do think if a person really shops around this winter they can get a little insurance on future declines and score a gem. But so far, as far as I can see, most homes are still seriously overpriced. IMO, we are currently on the verge of seeing solid 2004 prices in many areas, and based on what I know today, I expect homes to decline at least to 2003 levels.

    Here’s the property:

    http://www.redfin.com/WA/Tacoma/1724-N-Fir-St-98406/home/2922841

  43. 43
    The Tim says:

    RE: Jonness @ 42 – That’s exactly what I’m doing. I’m looking almost exclusively at bank-owned homes, and I’m only interested in places that are a serious value. I’m seeing even older than 2003 prices on some of the homes I’ve been looking at.

    Check out this one in Everett that sold a couple weeks ago for just barely more than what it went for in 2001. I checked that one out in person, and I was really surprised with the nice condition the house was in for the price. Or check this place, that sold for 60% off its 2006 price. Yowch.

  44. 44
  45. 45
    Ron Howard says:

    There are some predictions saying that are housing values are heading up over the next 3 years so hopefully this is just a wait and see what happens over the next few years.

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