It’s time once again for the monthly reporting roundup, where you can read my wry commentary about the news instead of subjecting yourself to boring rehashes of the NWMLS press release (or in addition to, if that’s what floats your boat).
To kick things off, here’s an excerpt from the NWMLS press release:
Home sales, prices still rising in Western Washington despite lean inventory and increasing mortgage rates
Rising interest rates, rising prices and rising consumer confidence are creating a “positive cyclone of home sales activity,” according to members of the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. A robust job market around the Greater Seattle area is also spurring sales.
“We experienced a mini power surge of sales activity that was touched off by a sudden raise of interest rates during the month of May,” observed J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate. Scott attributes part of the surging activity to buyers who rushed forward to purchase a home before rates climb higher. He also reported more sellers are listing their homes “due to the realization that the next home they purchase will be at a higher interest rate.” As these sellers become buyers, they’re contributing to the “positive cyclone of sales activity,” Scott stated.
Without even reading the attribution, I already knew that quote was from Lennox. Classic.
Interestingly, there are a few bits in this month’s release that aren’t quite so optimistic:
Despite improving inventory overall…
…some sellers are testing the waters with aggressive pricing, but they are experiencing longer market times.
…the seller’s market will continue for at least the next few months.
…some economists expect weaker U.S. economic growth for theremaining months of 2013 and moderating home price increases…
If you read between the lines, it sounds like they’re actually bracing for a slowdown in the second half of the year.
Read on for my take on this month’s local news reports.
Sanjay Bhatt, Seattle Times: King County median home price up 15 percent over year ago
The silver lining: Last month’s number of listings in King County was the highest level so far this year.
Experts said rising prices drew more sellers into the market in July than expected, including banks with repossessed properties and owners once underwater on their mortgages, a welcome sign for a tight market.
“We’re looking at a stabilizing marketplace,” said Glenn Crellin, associate director of research at the University of Washington’s Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies.
Once again I find myself in agreement with Mr. Crellin.
Aubrey Cohen, Seattle P-I: More homes hit market, but supply still tight
The number of listings is the most significant news in the July report, according to Glenn Crellin, associate director of the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington.
“While the total listings are down (from July 2012), they’re not down as sharply as they have been,” he said. “That’s a sign to me that we’re starting to get inventory a little bit in better balance.”
Another great quote from Glenn C. He’s on fire this month!
Kurt Batdorf, Everett Herald: Prices rise in ‘cyclone’ of local homes sales
Members of the Northwest Multiple Listing Service said the threat of rising interest rates, quickly rising prices and growing consumer confidence are creating a “positive cyclone of home sales activity.”
The greater Seattle area’s robust job market is also spurring sales just north of the King County line.
As late as the Herald’s story was posted this morning, the content disappointingly relies somewhat heavily on the NWMLS press release.
Rolf Boone, Tacoma News Tribune: Pierce housing market riding summer hot streak
After a sizzling June for the Pierce County housing market, the heat was turned up even higher in July as sales and median prices not only blew the roof off the house but burned right through it, according to new Northwest Multiple Listing Service data released Tuesday.
Prices have benefited from fewer homes on the market, giving sellers the upper hand in recent months after buyers had been in the catbird seat for years. But inventory is on the rise as new listings begin to outpace the number of last year’s listings.
The result is that inventory was down only 8 percent last month to 3,495 units from 3,786 units in July 2012. Previous monthly inventory levels had been down 20 percent or 30 percent from the year-ago period.
“A more balanced market is certainly healthier,” [Allen Realtors president Mike]Larson said about the higher inventory levels.
I like how in that last quote the real estate agent almost sounds disappointed.
Rolf Boone, The Olympian: Thurston home sales rise 20 percent in July, prices inch up
The Thurston County housing market had another strong month as sales rose 20 percent in the year-over-year July period, according to Northwest Multiple Listing Service data.
Apparently to get the full story in the Olympian this month you have to buy a paper copy. Oh well.
(Sanjay Bhatt, Seattle Times, 08.06.2013)
(Aubrey Cohen, Seattle P-I, 08.06.2013)
(Kurt Batdorf, Everett Herald, 08.07.2013)
(Rolf Boone, Tacoma News Tribune, 08.07.2013)
(Rolf Boone, The Olympian, 08.06.2013)