Seattle-Area Realtors ‘desperate’ for more houses as market sizzles PSBJ

Marc Stiles

Staff Writer-Puget Sound Business Journal

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Jul 3, 2013, 4:20pm PDT UPDATED: Jul 5, 2013, 5:05am PDT

Seattle-area Realtors ‘desperate’ for more houses as market sizzles

Low- to mid-priced houses for sale in Western Washington are getting as many as seven offers, a real estate group said Wednesday.

Rising mortgage rates, tight inventory and declining unemployment are driving more buyers into what is already an “extremely competitive housing market,” said OB Jacobi of the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

The result is higher prices in most parts of the Puget Sound area. The median price of houses and condos was up more than 14 percent in Snohomish County in June compared to the same month a year earlier. In King and Pierce counties, prices were up 10 percent, though in Kitsap County the median price decreased 2 percent.

Low- to mid-priced single-family houses are generally those under the median price, which in the Puget Sound area varies from $224,900 in Pierce County to $427,500 in King County.

The number of pending sales was up nearly 11 percent from June 2012 as buyers scrambled to lock in loan rates and bid on a limited supply of homes. The multiple listing service includes Western Washington and a handful of Eastern Washington counties.

“In June, our brokers reported anywhere from two to seven offers on homes in the lower to mid-price ranges,” said Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate Co., in Seattle.

He said interest rates for 2013 reached a new high in mid-June as “a result of improved confidence in the U.S. economy. And now, with Seattle’s jobless rate below 5 percent, we expect even further pressure on housing as new workers move to the area.”

The shortage of residences available for sale persists. Across the Northwest Multiple Listing Service area, there’s only about 2.5 months of supply. Both King and Snohomish counties have less than 1.4 months of supply.

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