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:
Housing Market Righting Itself as Buyers, Brokers Get Creative to Compete
Housing around Western Washington is on an upward trajectory, but inadequate inventory “in the right prices and locations” makes for a “very difficult market for purchasers and brokers,” according to an executive with one multi-office real estate company.
New figures from Northwest Multiple Listing Service show inventory increased in May compared to a year ago, but brokers say competition is keen. “Multiple offers and escalation clauses occur on a regular basis for properties that are extremely well priced and in great condition,” reports Dick Beeson, principal managing broker at RE/MAX Professionals in Tacoma.
Mike Gain, a former chairman of the Northwest MLS board of directors, also commented on the bidding wars. “We are experiencing more multiple offers than I have experienced in my 35 years of practicing real estate in this marketplace,” stated Gain, the president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate.
There are definitely a lot listings that receive multiple offers, but the trend is actually cooling off compared to a year ago, with 62 percent of Seattle-area offers facing competition in March 2014 vs. 72 percent a year earlier.
[Windermere President OB] Jacobi said there’s also an increase in the number of cash buyers…
Read on for my take on this month’s local news reports.
Sanjay Bhatt: Home prices rise as fewer properties change hands
The median price of homes sold last month in King County was $442,250, almost 6 percent higher than a year ago.
But for the fifth consecutive month, sales activity is down annually: Almost 8 percent fewer homes sold in May than a year ago, even though the supply of for-sale homes grew by nearly 11 percent, according to figures published Wednesday by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
Sanjay must have had other priorities this week, as the Seattle Times article on this month’s data is unusually short and lightweight.
Aubrey Cohen: Seattle area had more houses for sale in May
Homebuyers had more options in May, although inventory remained low, according to a new report.
The continued shortage of inventory has prompted sellers to set deadlines for when they will review offers, and buyers to get pre-inspections, submit offers before the deadline and, increasingly, make all-cash offers, Windermere Real Estate President OB Jacobi said in the release. He said a balancing out of the market “probably isn’t going to happen any time soon.”
Aubrey actually quotes from yesterday’s stats preview post as well, which doesn’t leave me much to comment on without commenting on my own comments. And that would just be weird.
The number of homes on the market in Snohomish County far surpasses the number a year ago, continuing a streak seen this spring.
The higher number of homes on the market is attributed in part to new construction, George Moorhead, a member of the NWLS Board of Directors, said in a statement.
The MLS database shows 406 of 2,206 listings of single-family homes in the county are classified as new construction. That’s about twice the number from a year ago.
This is an interesting theory, and makes some sense. I haven’t really dug into what’s driving the big surge in listings in Snohomish County, but I’ll see if I can look into this soon.
Tacoma News Tribune
Kathleen Cooper: Home sales, prices and inventory all up for Pierce
Pierce County’s median sale prices, number of closed sales and number of homes for sale all went up in May, according to statistics released Wednesday.
Though there are 21 percent more homes and condos for sale in Pierce County than a year ago, brokers say competition is fierce.
Just the basic facts and a few quotes from the release in this month’s News Tribune piece.
Kathleen Cooper: Median sales price of homes, condos steady in Thurston County
Thurston County’s median sale prices of homes and condos held steady in May while the number of closed sales decreased, according to statistics released Wednesday.
More homes are on the market in Thurston County. Though inventory increased by almost 19 percent compared with a year ago, brokers say competition is fierce.
Hmm that sounds familiar.
(Sanjay Bhatt, Seattle Times, 06.04.2014)
(Aubrey Cohen, Seattle P-I, 06.04.2014)
(Jim Davis, Everett Herald, 06.05.2014)
(Kathleen Cooper, Tacoma News Tribune, 06.05.2014)
(Kathleen Cooper, The Olympian, 06.05.2014)