May 28

April 2011 Home Sales Report: multiple offers increasing


Sellers seeing something that had all but vanished in recent times: multiple offers

Directors of Northwest Multiple Listing Service are noting more bidding wars in certain neighborhoods and price ranges, even though the latest figures show fewer sales and lower prices than a year ago. Shrinking inventory is spurring activity, with some brokers reporting a “shortage of good listings.”

Northwest MLS members reported 7,154 pending sales during April, a 24 percent drop from a year ago when buyers were scrambling to take advantage of a federal tax credit that expired April 30, 2010.

Multiple offers increasing

Northwest MLS directors in King County, along with representatives from Whatcom and Kitsap counties commented on the uptick in multiple offers.

  • Because of the lack of inventory in many areas we have seen a large increase in multiple offers on homes that are properly priced.” (Darin Stenvers, John L. Scott, Inc., Bellingham)
  • “There is a severe shortage of good listings in the close-in Seattle neighborhoods that is causing many multiple offers and the first signs of price increases on homes under $500,000 and also on desirable higher priced homes.” (Mike Skahen, Lake & Company, Seattle)
  • Brokers and sellers in Kitsap County are beginning to see multiple offer situationsespecially for homes priced $200,000 to $350,000 (Frank Wilson, John L. Scott Real Estate, Poulsbo)

April new listings down 20%

The new report from Northwest Multiple Listing Service shows members in the 21 counties it serves added 10,083 new listings during April, down 20 percent from the same month a year ago. Through the first four months of 2011, nearly 11,000 fewer new listings have been added to inventory when compared to the cumulative total for the same period a year ago (34,855 versus 45,590), a drop of 23.5 percent.

Total ‘For Sale’ inventory down 13%

Total inventory is down nearly 13 percent from a year ago. At April’s month end, the multiple listing service inventory had 34,862 active listings. A year ago, brokers represented 39,999 active listings of single family homes and condominiums (combined).

Closed Sales and median prices down throughout area

  • Brokers reported 4,581 closed sales during the month… a drop of about 12.6 percent from a year-ago.
  • The median price on the 4,581 completed sales for April was $237,000, a decline of 9.2 percent from the year-ago median price of $261,000.
  • In King County, prices are down about 4.6 percent, from $340,000 to $324,500.

What’s selling?

Distressed properties accounted for about 35 percent of home sales in King County in April, up from 21 percent a year ago with bank owned properties accounting for much of the growth as banks start to work their way through their inventory.

Prices nearly 50% lower with ‘distressed properties

The median price of bank-owned homes that sold in King County in April was 49 percent lower than the median price of non-distressed homes. Short sales prices were 23 percent lower.

Amazon hiring helping home sales

Although buyers generally remain cautious, they are ready to pounce on attractive, well priced homes. Reports from current open houses indicate that traffic is generally heavy. Some say the hiring at Amazon and, at least the growing perception that the Seattle economy is improving, are the catalysts sparking improvement in the housing market.

Market showing more normalcy

After three years of decline, some brokers indicate that the market is showing some ‘signs of normalcy.’  The good news is that the reduction in new inventory is creating more of a balance between supply and demand putting buyers and sellers on more of an equal footing when negotiating a sale.

From NWMLS, Kirkland, WA, May 5, 2011.


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