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:
Western Washington housing market stability continues with modest gains in sales, prices
“Stability” seemed to characterize the direction of Western Washington’s housing market during August, according to new figures from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
“What we are seeing now with the market is a moderated growth in appreciation, a normalizing of sales volume, and continued health overall,” declared MLS director George Moorhead, the owner and designated broker at Bentley Properties in Bothell. “It is not a call for alarm,” Moorhead emphasized, describing it as “just a balancing and adjusting of a healthy market.”
“The current trend for strong pending activities and solid closed transaction numbers should keep the confidence level steady,” remarked Darin Stenvers, chairman of the board of directors at Northwest MLS. “Buoyed by low mortgage rates, buyers should remain optimistic about their new home purchases late into 2014,” he added.
Stenvers, the branch manager at John L. Scott in Bellingham, expects the balance of 2014 will remain at a slow and steady pace of appreciation, which should help distressed sellers. “Sellers should reevaluate the market as they may be surprised at the current values,” he suggests.
Like I said yesterday, this month’s release just seems really somber compared to the usual tone of these things.
Read on for my take on this month’s local news reports.
Coral Garnick: King County home prices in August up from year ago
J. Lennox Scott, CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate, said even though prices dropped around King County this month, the market is still hot. “We’re just talking about a few degrees lower of hotness,” he said.
That Lennox Scott. Always good for a laugh. I’m definitely going to save that quote for later. Comedy gold right there.
Aubrey Cohen: Seattle house prices down from July’s record
Higher prices and lack of inventory are contributing to a decline in sales, with closed sales down 12 percent in Seattle and 6.9 percent countywide. Pending sales, which don’t all close, but can be the best indicator of recent activity, fell 3.5 percent in the city and 2.2 percent across King County.
Some of the dropoff in sales may be due to people getting frustrated with not being able to find a home to buy, or getting outbid by other buyers, and deciding to sit on the sidelines, said Stephen O’Connor, director of the Runstad Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington. “People are kind of exhausted.”
Yeah, that’s the ticket. People are just tired! They just need a good nap and the market will perk right back up.
Tacoma News Tribune
Home sales fell nearly 7 percent in August, while median prices inched up about 1 percent. The challenge? King County has only a two month’s supply of homes for sale, the combined data show.
And that’s increasingly the challenge in Pierce and Thurston counties. Although the number of homes for sale rose nearly 12 percent in Pierce County and 5 percent in Thurston County, that still equates to less than a four month’s supply of homes on the market at the current pace of sales.
But Mike Larson, president and designated broker of Allen Realtors in Lakewood, wasn’t too concerned about the lower inventory level in Pierce County because at one time a two-and-a-half month to three-and-a-half month’s supply of homes was once considered the norm.
“It’s slow and steady and trending in the right direction,” he said about the market. “Balanced and moderate is a lot better than the ups and downs we saw for years.”
This month we get a more in-depth article than we usually find on the web from the News Tribune or the Olympian.
Rolf Boone: July was good, August a little better for South Sound home sales
Same story in the News Tribune and Olympian again.