Sep 29

August hot for Puget Sound home sales

August closed the busiest summer for home sales in King County in five years, according to statistics from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Buyers closed on 2,156 houses last month — the largest number so far this year, and the fourth straight month with more than 2,000 home sales. May and August sales numbers slipped through an old benchmark: there hasn’t been a 2,000-sale month since August 2007.

Compared with a year ago, summer sales volume was up 21 percent.

Home prices rose as well — from a median in the $345,000-$350,000 range in June, July and August 2011 to $375,000-$380,000 this summer.

Why are more houses selling and prices rising? Three big ones:

  1. Jobs are bringing new residents to the Puget Sound.
  2. Fewer bank-repossessed houses on the market, down 17% from August 2011. It hasn’t been this low in more than three years. (Redfin)
  3. And, mortgage rates have not been so low in 60 years. The interest rate on a 30-year loan had declined to 3.49 percent in August, the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s.
  4. Low inventory: there haven’t been so few homes for sale since the year 2000. Existing inventory theoretically could be gone in just 2 1/2 months.

Will this turn-around continue? 

“I think things are going to continue this way for a while,” said real-estate blogger Tim Ellis of Seattlebubblecom. “But I really think it just hinges on the economy.”

Seattle-area home prices are rising in part because the region is adding jobs, he said, but an unexpected development could throw both trends into reverse.

“I’d say the market is in a tentatively stable state,” Ellis said.

More information and graphs at Seattle Times



1 comment

  1. Joshua Kerrigan

    This is a great post, I think you should turn it into a 2 or 3 part series.

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