September market activity report

NWREporter Tue, Oct 18, 2011
Serving 20,000 REALTORS® and MLS Members in Washington

Northwest MLS brokers say September activity reflects “healthy activity, positive trends”

NWMLS, KIRKLAND, WA, October 5, 2011. With inventory at its lowest level since May, members of Northwest Multiple Listing Service report “stiff competition for move-in ready homes” in some neighborhoods. Other key indicators in the latest statistical report from Northwest Multiple Listing Service show upticks in sales and some leveling off on prices.

Pending sales for the Northwest MLS service area, which encompasses 21 counties, are up more than 20 percent from a year ago. Following typical August-to-September patterns, the volume of pending sales (mutually accepted offers) tapered off last month (down 9.6 percent) compared to the previous month.

Brokers reported 4,988 closed sales during September, beating the year-ago volume by 991 transactions for a gain of almost 25 percent. The number of completed transactions in the four-county Puget Sound region (King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap) jumped 32 percent from twelve months ago.

Northwest MLS members added 7,923 new listings to the database last month, the fewest since February. At month end, with those additions, there were 35,254 active listings in the MLS service area, almost 6,900 fewer than a year ago (a decline of 16.4 percent).

“This market is proving to be challenging, but not for the reasons you might think,” said OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate Co. He pointed out interest rates are low, affordability is high, and confidence in the housing market is improving. “These are all good things, but the result is an influx of motivated buyers in a market where inventory levels have not yet caught up to the demand.” Jacobi, a member of the Northwest MLS board of directors, said one consequence is “stiff competition for move-in ready homes that are priced right, especially in neighborhoods close to Seattle.”

“In Central Puget Sound, 90 percent of sales activity is taking place in the more affordable and mid-price ranges, where the inventory level of homes for sale is low to healthy,” said J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate. “Historical low interest rates combined with lower adjusted prices are attracting home buyers and investors at a healthy sales activity level,” he observed. READ MORE HERE

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