November Reporting Roundup: Don’t Wait, Buy Now Edition

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:


Commenting on recent activity along with expectations of a holiday season slowdown, some brokers noted there are multiple—and sometimes, unrealized—advantages to buying and selling homes as the year winds down. “Waiting will not provide much benefit,” suggested Mike Gain, CEO and president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate in Seattle.

MLS director Frank Wilson agreed. He believes it will be more expensive to buy a home during 2014. “Slow but steady price appreciation, upward pressure on interest rates and increased costs of getting a loan will all work to decrease the buyer’s purchasing power,” said Wilson, the branch managing broker and Kitsap District manager for John L. Scott in Poulsbo.

“Waiting will not provide much benefit.” “It will be more expensive to buy a home [next year].” Gee, where have we heard those claims before? Oh right. Only from basically every real estate agent, all the time. The photo above is one I took of a real estate broker’s street sign in 2006.

Read on for my take on this month’s local news reports.

Seattle Times

Coral Garnick: King County home-price gains lose some sizzle

The Northwest Multiple Listing Service said Wednesday the median price of a single-family home in King County rose 7.5 percent compared with a year ago. It was the 20th consecutive month of a higher year-over-year median price, but the first time in more than a year that the increase was less than 10 percent.

The drop-off may mean the housing market is moving away from the dreaded boom-and-bust cycles that can lead to a market crash, brokers and economists in the region said.

Oddly, the article doesn’t quote any economists, just the incredibly trustworthy home salesmen Dick Beeson and J. Lennox Scott.

Seattle P-I

Aubrey Cohen: Home sales down, but inventory remains tight

November brought a solid sign that the recent home sales surge is at least leveling off, with King County’s first year-to-year sales drop in two and a half years. But inventory remains tight.

“It’s pretty much a stable market,” said Glenn Crellin, associate director of the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington.

Hmm, I’m not sure I’d go so far as to call the current market “stable,” but it’s definitely less insane than it was earlier this year.

Everett Herald

The Everett Herald has just stopped reporting on the NWMLS stats in their real estate section, it seems. I’ve reached out to offer them contract writing services. While the Herald apparently doesn’t have a budget for freelancers, the Herald Business Journal does, and my first piece there will be appearing there soon.

Tacoma News-Tribune

Rolf Boone: Home sales, prices move up in Pierce County

The Pierce County housing market still exhibited growth during one of the slower months of the year, with home sales and median prices rising modestly in the year-over-year November period, according to Northwest Multiple Listing Service data released Wednesday.

Not a lot of meat to the online version of the News-Tribune article this month.

The Olympian

Rolf Boone: Home sales in county jump 33 percent over November 2012

Thurston County home sales shot up more than 30 percent in November, a stronger-than-usual showing during a month when sales are typically slow, according to Northwest Multiple Listing Service data released Wednesday.

Van Dorm Realty managing broker Jerry Wilkins explained the rise in sales this way: Consumer confidence continues to improve, and buyers have been in act-now mode because they are anxious about another rise in mortgage interest rates.

Now that is interesting. Sales fell year-over-year for the first time in quite a while in King County, but were up over 30 percent in Thurston? I’ll be looking into that later this month for sure.

(Coral Garnick, Seattle Times, 12.05.2013)
(Aubrey Cohen, Seattle P-I, 12.05.2013)
(Rolf Boone, Tacoma News Tribune, 12.05.2013)
(Rolf Boone, The Olympian, 12.05.2013)

0.00 avg. rating (0% score) - 0 votes

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. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.


  1. 1
    Ron says:

    “The drop-off may mean the housing market is moving away from the dreaded boom-and-bust cycles that can lead to a market crash, brokers and economists in the region said.”

    Wow, that’s great news. I’ve been patiently waiting for the trend to become both stable and reliable. Up, up, and away…now everyone can sit back over the holiday’s and reminisce about how great things are.

    Rest assured that Seattle is guaranteed to be the 2nd hottest market in the country next year.

  2. 2
    mike says:

    RE: Ron @ 1 – Oh yeah, this will be great. with a stable, reliable trend we can go back to those pre-equity loans where you borrow against the expected value of your house several years hence. I’m in.

  3. 3
    mmmarvel says:

    I dunno, the economy still seems to have too many stuttering ups and downs. We might sail through but … Just glad I bought when I bought (the end of 2011) and where I bought (Houston).

  4. 4
    goblue72 says:

    I realize gloom & doom is more fun than slow & steady – but slow & steady is what we are in – and have been for several years – see the Big Scary Graph from Calculated Risk –

    This is what a recovery from a financial crisis looks like. It pretty much follows the pattern of post-WW II financial crises in developed and developing countries. Namely a 10-20 year recovery period. If anything, the United States is ahead of the curve due looking to recovery in a 10 year time frame and not a 20 year one – due to its Keynsian response to the crisis – thanks to a combination of aggressive monetary policy from Big Ben and aggressive fiscal policy in the 1st 2 years of the Obama administration (before House Republicans shut off fiscal stimulus in a misguided effort to take back the White House.)

    The most recent GDP figures are indicating more steady growth. And the latest employment numbers are better – both the U-3 and the U-6. In addition, labor force participation rate is climbing. All this points to potential for incomes to rise over the next few years – with the potential fly in the ointment being whether the ACA does wind up bending the cost curve on healthcare costs, which have had a tendency over the last 10 years to erase income gains.

    If we are getting into a healthier, more stable real estate market, it should mean real estate prices should track income gains and the general improvement in the economy. So, prices in core markets continue to rise – just not as fast as the past year which was more a function of correcting for a bottom side over-correction.

  5. 5
    Blurtman says:

    RE: goblue72 @ 4 – I call that bold talk for a one eyed fat man.

    Please back up your claim that the LFPR is “climbing.”

  6. 6

    By goblue72 @ 4:

    If we are getting into a healthier, more stable real estate market, it should mean real estate prices should track income gains and the general improvement in the economy. So, prices in core markets continue to rise – . . ..

    You’re assuming an increase in incomes and an improvement in the economy.

    And I think you’re also putting the cart before the horse. Your first quoted sentence should really read: “If we are getting into a general improvement in the economy and income gains, it should mean a healthier, more stable real estate market.” I know there’s a theory that real estate leads the economy out of a recession, but I think it’s really just that real estate recovers earlier than some other areas.

Leave a Reply

Use your email address to sign up with Gravatar for a custom avatar.
Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Please read the rules before posting a comment.