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:
Real estate brokers say showings, offers "still going strong" despite "seasonally adjusted" inventory
Buyer interest remains high and many good values exist for those whose holiday wish list includes a new home, according to brokers with Northwest Multiple Listing Service. A new report from the MLS summarizing November activity shows year-over-year gains in pending sales, closed sales and median prices.
“The holiday season is in full swing and the most special gift this year is that interest rates have dropped down to touch the upper 3 percent range. Interest rates at this low level are considered unbelievable,” said J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate.
Unbelievable indeed. Let’s see what NWMLS press releases earlier this year were saying about interest rates, and where those rates were at the time…
March, rates at 4.28%
For sellers on the fence, [MLS director George Moorhead of Bentley Properties in Bothell] recommends “stepping forward,” saying “interest rates will rise this year.”
April, rates at 4.41%
“There are many reasons potential sellers should consider selling now,” said Mike Gain, CEO and president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate in Seattle. …interest rates are still very low but will likely rise, he noted.
July, rates at 4.12%
Stenvers, the office managing broker at John L. Scott in Bellingham, said buyers would be “well advised” to monitor interest rates, since they have a tendency to move up as summer winds down.
As of last week average interest rates on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage are at 3.97%. Here’s some free advice to the NWMLS PR team: Maybe don’t let your brokers make predictions about where interest rates will go.
Read on for my take on this month’s local news reports.
Over the past 12 months, the median price of single-family homes in King County has risen 6.3 percent. The steepest increase has been in North King County, where the median price is $390,000, up 13 percent. Southwest King County’s median price of $255,000 was down 2 percent over the year, the only submarket to post an annual price decline.
This month’s article in the Times is fairly brief and matter-of-fact. Nothing much to comment on.
Aubrey Cohen: Still few homes for sale, many buyers in Seattle area
Prospective Seattle-area homebuyers hoping for more selection won’t find any hope in the latest market data.
King County had just 1.96 months worth of homes on the market at the current sales pace in November, the Northwest Multiple Listing Service reported Thursday. That’s down from 2.15 months of inventory a year earlier and 2.01 months this October, and well below the four to six months considered balanced between buyers and sellers.
Similar story in the P-I. Short and to the point.
Tacoma News Tribune / The Olympian
John Gillie: Home prices moving upward in the Puget Sound area
November saw double digit increases in home and condo median sale prices in both Pierce and Kitsap counties and healthy single-digit increases in King and Thurston counties, new figures from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service show.
In the South Sound, said Dick Beeson, principal managing broker at RE/MAX Professionals in Tacoma, broker interest is brisk because of concern that interest rates could jump.
“Broker interest remains high partially because many buyers feel interest rates could rise next year, and they realize now is a good time to take advantage of rates under 4 percent,” he said.
Yeah, those darn interest rates. Gonna rise any day now. Better jump in quick.
Puget Sound Business Journal
People are still hot to buy houses and condos in the Seattle metro area, where pending sales last month reached a nearly eight-year high for November. But for now buyers have fewer options because the number of residences on the market is dropping.
Pretty much everyone barely did more than drop in a few stats and quote the press release this month. Overall not a very exciting or interesting set of articles.
(Sanjay Bhatt, Seattle Times, 12.04.2014)
(Aubrey Cohen, Seattle P-I, 12.04.2014)
(John Gillie, Tacoma News Tribune, 12.04.2014)
(John Gillie, The Olympian, 12.04.2014)
(Marc Stiles, Puget Sound Business Journal, 12.04.2014)