NWMLS October 2013 Press Release: “Home sales ‘pause’ with government shutdown…”


The Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) press release debuted yesterday to shed some light on the October real estate statistics. While October did see the first decline in year-over-year pending numbers since April of 2011, the number of homes that went under contract in our local real estate market increased from September to October. Inventory levels have improved along with the volume of closed sales. Sold prices also were up. These statistics indicate that the recovery of the real estate market in our area is moving forward. Below is an excerpt of the press release. To read it in its entirety, please click here

Home sales “paused” during October but prices continued to rise, according to the latest statistics from Northwest Multiple Listing Service. Commenting on year-to-date totals for 2013 compared to 2012, one industry expert remarked, “I would say the real estate market is recovering nicely.”

Pending sales during October dipped 2.7 percent when compared to the same month a year ago, but rose nearly 3.2 percent from September’s volume. October’s decline was the first negative change in year-over-year comparisons since April 2011. (That drop-off was attributed in part to a frenzy during April 2010 when buyers were scrambling to take advantage of a federal tax credit that was expiring.)

Brokers point to the federal shutdown during the first two weeks of October, below-normal inventory, and shaken consumer confidence as factors in the slowdown.

MLS figures summarizing last month’s activity across the 21 counties in its service area show year-over-year improvement in inventory (up 5.5 percent), double-digit increases in the volume of closed sales (up 12.5 percent), and moderate increases in selling prices (up 7.7 percent).

Consumer confidence “deteriorated considerably” in October as a result of the shutdown and debt ceiling squabbles, according to The Conference Board. A recent Gallup poll found some improvement in Americans’ economic confidence, but reported it is still well below mid-September, before the shutdown.

Northwest MLS brokers reported 8,086 pending sales during October, down from the year-ago total of 8,312 sales, but outgaining the number of mutually accepted offers in September by 247 transactions for a 3.2 percent increase. Eleven counties had fewer pending sales last month versus a year ago.

Prices on sales that closed last month rose 7.7 percent ($19,375) from a year ago. Area-wide, the median price for single family homes and condominiums (combined) was $271,000.

Homes that sold in San Juan County last month fetched the highest median price at $384,000, up 17.2 percent from a year ago. King County prices were slightly lower at $380,000, about 11 percent more than the median price of a year ago.

For single family homes only (excluding condos), King County prices topped the list. The median price for last month’s completed sales was $426,000, or 15.1 percent higher than the year-ago selling price of $370,000. System-wide, the median price for single family homes (only) was $283,000, about 8.4 percent higher than twelve months ago when it was $261,050.

Three counties – King, Pierce and Snohomish – have less than three months of supply, well below the 4-to-6 month level that is generally considered to be an indicator of a balanced market.

At least one segment of the new construction market shows signs of rebounding: condominiums…. opening of sales for a new 41-story condominium community and the restart of two other major residential developments as positive indicators. The projects include a high-rise residential development near the Space Needle and the restart of a hotel-condo building in the Denny Triangle area of downtown Seattle.

MLS brokers added more than 1,000 new listings to condo inventory last month, a jump of 24.3 percent from a year ago. Total inventory is 9.1 percent higher than at this time last year. Closed sales during October jumped 15.3 percent, with prices rising about 5.3 percent.

Condos that closed during October had a median price of $200,000. In King County, which accounted for about two-thirds of those sales, the median price was $234,000.

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 21,000 real estate brokers. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 21 counties in Washington state.


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