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:
“First time buyers are returning to the market, but cautiously and with more knowledge based on market values and trends,” said George Moorhead, designated broker and owner at Bentley Properties in Bothell.
“Educated buyers today are no longer just dipping their toes in the water. They are diving right in,” reported Mike Gain, CEO and president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate. Gain, a past chairman of the Northwest MLS board, said in his 38 years in the industry he’s experienced “good years, bad years and everything in between,” but he’s never seen a market as complex as the current one. “It’s been challenging for everyone involved in a real estate transaction, whether buyer, seller or agent.”
Gain and many of his colleagues bemoan the lack of listings. “The only real problem we are experiencing today is the lack of inventory,” he said.
“Kitsap house sales are hotter than a firecracker,” observed MLS director Frank Wilson, the branch managing broker and Kitsap district manager at John L. Scott Inc. in Poulsbo. “Despite heat, vacations and holidays the market has not slowed. We continue to see good open house traffic, low market times and multiple offer situations,” he stated.
Multiple offers are common throughout the Central Puget Sound region.
“We see many multiple offers on properties,” reported Dick Beeson, principal managing broker at RE/MAX Professionals in Tacoma, who described sales activity as “phenomenal.” For first-time buyers, the competitive bidding can be daunting, which he suggested underscores the importance of relying on experienced brokers. Anxious buyers have a sense of urgency as prices rise, he noted. “They need a great real estate broker to help guide them through multiple offer situations,” added Beeson, a member of the Northwest MLS board of directors.
Rising prices are prompting some house-hunters to broaden their search beyond primary job centers.
“More and more buyers are starting to chase the market northward as prices increase in King County, especially around Seattle,” said Diedre Haines, principal managing broker-South Snohomish County at Coldwell Banker Bain in Lynwood. [sic]
Happy days are here again for used home salespeople. You can feel their excitement oozing through the press release with phrases like “hotter than a firecracker” and “diving right in.”
It’s great times for everyone… except the people out there actually trying to buy a home.
Read on for my take on this month’s local news reports.
But real-estate experts say this market is different in a number of ways. Buyers now must leap over many more hurdles to qualify for a mortgage. Hiring at technology firms has expanded the region’s economic base. And a drought in listings that surfaced in 2013 has no end in sight.
“I wouldn’t say we’re in a bubble,” said Alan Pope, a real-estate appraiser in Redmond. “I would say the balloon is growing, and I can’t tell when it’s going to stop.”
Lennox Scott, CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate, said that over the long term, homes in the region appreciate 4 percent annually. Home prices lost so much ground during the past recession that the market today is just slightly above where it should be by that measure, he said.
Home salespeople declare current frenzy market not a bubble. Film at eleven.
Deborah Horne: Median single-family home in King County reaches $500,000
waiting several years for the right moment.
Within a week, they sold it for $529,000, nearly four times what they paid for it 22 years ago.
“It’s amazing. I could not afford to come back here and buy into this house,” said Meyer, who is retiring to Bellingham.
He said they wondered if they should wait another year, but thought interest rates might climb up by then.
“We thought you know, let’s get out of here. Let’s get going while the going’s good,” Meyer said.
Smart move. Now is a pretty terrible time to buy, but it’s a great time to sell.
Travis Pittman: Average price of King County home rises to $500,000 in June
The median price for a single-family home in King County was $500,000 in June, up more than 10 percent from the same month a year ago.
Not much content in the KING 5 story, but they lose points for using average in the headline, even though they correctly cite $500,000 as the median in the text.
Puget Sound Business Journal
Typically home-buying activity falls off during the summer months, but not this year in the metro Puget Sound region, where buyers are competing to buy fewer homes while paying significantly higher prices.
Real estate brokers say first-time buyers are fueling the market as tenants grow tired of paying ever-rising apartment rents. In addition, more people are moving to the region to fill a growing number of jobs. Across the state, non-farm employment rose by 7,700 positions from April to May, according to early estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Puget Sound Business Journal is relatively light on any commentary beyond the press release as well.
Tacoma News Tribune / The Olympian
The South Sound housing market in June had just about everything an owner would ever want if they needed to sell.
But here’s the catch: Can anyone actually find a house to purchase?
That might be the question on the minds of many buyers, because even though the South Sound housing market continues to sizzle like the weather, inventory got a little tighter last month.
Homes for sale are scarce across the entire Puget Sound region.
(Sanjay Bhatt, Seattle Times, 07.07.2015)
(Deborah Horne, KIRO 7, 07.07.2015)
(Travis Pittman, KING 5, 07.07.2015)
(Marc Stiles, Puget Sound Business Journal, 07.07.2015)
(Rolf Boone, The Olympian, 07.06.2015)