Stable Market, Modest Gains

Posted: September 16th, 2014 by Brad

“Stability” seemed to characterize the direction of Western Washington’s housing market during August, according to new figures from Northwest Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

Both the volume of sales and prices rose slightly from a year ago, although both indicators slipped somewhat from July. MLS members also reported a modest year-over-year increase in inventory, but the number of new listings added to the selection during August was the smallest since April.

“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. “It is not a call for alarm,” Moorhead emphasized, describing it as “just a balancing and adjusting of a healthy market.”

Commenting on inventory, MLS board member Dick Beeson said the pace of activity in the South Sound has slowed, “It’s not a mad-rush sellers’ market. Buyers are realizing they have to keep a keen eye out for good bargains in areas they have been scouting, and must act in a timely manner to compete.”

System-wide, there is just under 3.5 months of supply, but that average varies widely among the counties served by Northwest MLS. King County, with only about two months of supply, has the tightest inventory. Four-to-six months of supply is considered a balanced market between buyers and sellers.

In King County, the median selling price was $398,000 for a 1.4 percent gain from the year-ago figure of $392,500. According to MLS statistics, the sales price in August matched the figure for May, but slipped from the figures for June ($410,000) and July ($425,000). In King County, the median sales price for single family homes that sold during August was $437,000; a year ago it was $430,000.

“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 said he 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.

The recovering market is also boosting activity for home improvement contractors and subcontractors, Stenvers noted. “Sellers are able to afford to improve their homes prior to marketing them, or buyers are undertaking reasonable remodels shortly after closing,” he reported.

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 21,000 real estate brokers. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 21 counties in Washington State.

Curious about current market conditions in your neighborhood or what you’re home is worth? Give us a call 866.766.7325.

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