March 2011 knocks some fence sitters off their perch

The good news…

More Seattle area single-family homes closed this March than in any month since last June when federal tax credits sparked a peak in home sales.

The uh-oh news…

A steeper, 11 percent year-over-year drop in pending sales — offers that were accepted by sellers in March, but haven’t yet closed — may be a negative forecast for the real estate market as the year progresses.

Fewer pending sales equals fewer closed sales.

Fence sitters through sitting?

Rising mortgage-interest rates probably contributed to  last month’s strong home sales. Buyers waiting to buy until prices hit bottom may be doing their math and realizing that higher interest rates would wipe out any potential savings from lower prices.

Buyers may be realizing that the time has come to climb off the fence.

Homes prices affordability equal 1998

Lower prices and interest rates that remain relatively low are drawing buyers, said  Tim Ellis, editor of the Seattlebubble.com real-estate blog. On his blog, he concludes that housing hasn’t been this affordable since 1998. According to the Ellis calculations, our affordable home price is 7.9% lower than the median home price.

Read more at The Seattle Times

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