Here’s the latest report out of Olympia, where business reporter Rolf Boone doesn’t bother to wait for the NWMLS talking points press release before publishing his monthly real estate stories.
While South Sound home sales year to date are running 6 percent ahead of sales through all of 2005, higher inventories continue to slow the pace of sales, according to preliminary data released Wednesday by the Olympic Multiple Listing Service.
Active home listings have nearly doubled since September 2005, rising to 1,764 homes last month, compared with 991 last year, the data showed.
In September, 380 homes were sold [in Thurston County], compared with 443 last year, resulting in a preliminary 14 percent decline, the data showed.
Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Consultant Jeff Devlin said the market’s cooling effect has been necessary because home price increases were beginning to outpace incomes.
“Homes on average were appreciating no less than 10 percent in the last few years,” he said. “Well, incomes haven’t increased with it. We just do not make as much in South Sound. Something had to extinguish the fire a little bit.”
Just “a little bit,” mind you… so far anyway. Olympia has been experiencing the biggest inventory surge in the Puget Sound area. Between King, Snohomish, Pierce, Kitsap, and Thurston, I expect either Thurston or Kitsap will be the first to experience an actual drop in year-over-year prices. I wonder what Jeff Devlin will be saying then.
(Rolf Boone, The Olympian, 10.05.2006)