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 Stay Strong but Prices Approaching "Affordability Ceiling" for Some Buyers
Commenting on September’s activity, industry veteran Gary O’Leyar said he expects the Greater Puget Sound real estate market will maintain a “healthy glow” in 2015 so long as there is no radical increase in interest rates. “I foresee a general leveling off in overall market activity as prices approach the affordability ceiling for many buyers,” remarked O’Leyar, the designated broker/owner of Prudential Signature Properties in Seattle.
OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate, noted luxury home sales in the Greater Seattle area have been very strong, with agents reporting stiff competition in certain segments of the market, especially for homes over $2 million. “I attribute this to Seattle’s economic boom, which is attracting an increasing number of high-paying, executive level professionals and international interest,” he remarked.
Despite keen interest in high-end homes, overpriced homes will not draw offers, cautioned Northwest MLS director Diedre Haines. “It is extremely important for sellers to know if their house is overpriced, it may not garner offers and will eventually sell for below market,” she declared, adding, “This is an absolute that has always been the case, in all market conditions, and all locations!”
Haines, who is regional managing broker for Snohomish County at Coldwell Banker Bain, described some of the newer inventory as not saleable or overpriced. “Today’s buyers are more savvy and educated regarding market values, so correct pricing has become the key factor in selling a home.”
If it is indeed true that “today’s buyers are more savvy and educated,” I hope that this site has contributed at least a little to that education.
Read on for my take on this month’s local news reports.
Sanjay Bhatt: King County home prices resume their climb
September, however, was hot for King County home sales, and Seattle’s sizzled — the median price rose 12 percent from a year earlier to $517,000, the highest appreciation among the five major King County submarkets.
“It has all the classic signs of getting very, very frothy,” said Stephen O’Connor, director of the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington. “At some particular point in time, the market’s going to take a break.”
The real estate reporting in the Seattle Times is so much better than it was during the housing bubble. Back then the only people quoted in an article like this would have been real estate salespeople crowing about how amazing the market is and how there’s never been a better time to buy, etc. Today, the very first quote of the article is from an academic who is skeptical of the frothy market.
A+ for the Seattle Times.
Aubrey Cohen: Seattle-area home prices up again
“It’s looking pretty frothy out there,” said Stephen O’Connor, director of the Runstad Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington. “Double-digit increases, it’s not the norm.”
“At the risk of sounding incredibly obvious, it is supply and demand,” O’Connor said.
Real estate reporting in the P-I was never as bad as the Times during the bubble, but it has improved over the years as well. The difference is that it’s been the same reporter the whole time, Aubrey Cohen holding down the fort, while the Times has is on their third different real estate reporter.
I do take issue with this bit though (which is just a quote from the NWMLS press release):
Chinese buyers are making “very significant purchases of prime properties,” particularly east of Seattle, according to [designated broker/owner of Prudential Signature Properties in Seattle Gary] O’Leyar. Beeson agreed, saying high prices in Vancouver and San Francisco are pushing these buyers here.
Again, where’s the data? Agents keep making these claims without providing any data or even really quantifying their statements. What is “very significant purchases”? Is it a small number of expensive, high-profile homes, or a large number of homes? Show me the data on this alleged Chinese boom.
Herald Business Journal Staff: Snohomish County home sales jump 15.5 percent
Pending sales for Snohomish County homes jumped 15.48 percent in September compared with the same month of the previous year, according to statistics released Monday from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
The number of homes with pending sales rose to 1,328 last month from 1,150 in 2013. Every area of the county saw an increase in the number sales.
One novelty of the market is the number of international buyers, especially from China, who are picking up prime homes in the Puget Sound area particularly east of Seattle.
“The influx of buyers from China is very real,” O’Leyar said.
A big increase in pending sales is interesting, but pending sales are not closed sales, and many in fact do not close (we’ll post the latest numbers on that next week). It’s a bit misleading to headline the article with a pending sales stat. And again with quoting the Chinese buyers bit from the press release without pressing anyone for data. Tsk.
Tacoma News Tribune
The South Sound housing market wrapped up summer on a positive note in September as the number of home sales and median prices continued on an upward trend in Pierce and Thurston counties.
But this time the Thurston County housing market stood out in September, while the housing gains in Pierce County have taken on a steady quality, according to data released late Monday by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
Not much more here this week than a mild rehash of the press release.
Rolf Boone: South Sound housing market wraps up summer on positive note
It’s literally the exact same article that was in the News Tribune.
(Sanjay Bhatt, Seattle Times, 10.06.2014)
(Aubrey Cohen, Seattle P-I, 10.06.2014)
(Herald Business Journal Staff, Everett Herald, 10.06.2014)
(Rolf Boone, Tacoma News Tribune, 10.06.2014)
(Rolf Boone, The Olympian, 10.06.2014)