Residential Blog

House Prices Stay on Rise in King and Snohomish Counties

According to the latest Northwest MLS Press Release, the figures in King County show inventory is down sharply from a year ago (declining almost 28%), while pending sales (mutually accepted offers) rose almost 22%. The volume of closed sales more than 20%, topping the 6,000 mark for the first time since September 2007.

“The median price on last month’s completed transactions of single family homes and condominiums edged up slightly more than a percentage point compared to a year ago, rising from $239,999 to $242,500. For single family homes (excluding condos) prices area-wide increased 2.34 percent, while condo prices slipped more than 5 percent.” The press release stated.

Among the neighborhoods, the city of Seattle led the way in May, with the median sale price climbing more than 10 percent from the same month in 2011. Bellevue area also showed a big gains with 19.9% increase comparing May 2011. Sales volume also was up: the number of closed house sales in King County in May topped 2,000 for the first time since August 2007 and was up 24 percent from May 2011. According to the Seattle Times, the King County were even more evident than in Snohomish County with 7% median house price increase in May (Closed sales were up nearly 25% percent, plus inventory was down a whopping 61%).

Some Statistics:
Median prices, year-over-year
King County up 4.9%
Snohomish County up 7.3%
Seattle up 10.5%
Eastside up 1.2%
Source: Northwest Multiple Listing Service Press Release June 4, 2012

Related Links:
House prices stay on rise in King and Snohomish counties

Home price in Pacific Northwest are rising.

A CNN money article listed 10 cities in the United States where home prices are rising fastest. Majority of them are located in the Pacific Northwest. Three Oregon cities on the list includes Medford, Corvallis, and Eugene.

Olympic, WA. was also listed as the 6th fastest growing in the country. Located between Seattle and Portland, this state capital offers both jobs and state-of-the-art health care.

The executive director Micheal Cade said that the state government and medical facilities, like Providence St. Peter Hospital and Columbia Capital Medical Center, are among the largest employers in the area. While Lewis McChord, a nearby military base, employs thousands of civilians and supports many of the small businesses in the area. Fiserv expects home prices to take off by the fourth quarter and climb by 11.3% in 2013.

Other cities listed on Top 10 are:
Madera, California
Yuma, Arizona
Boise, Idaho
Billings, Montana
Lewiston, Idaho
Santa Fe, NM

The article also pointed out that “the tide is already starting to turn in some U.S. housing markets, with home prices in these 10 metro areas expected to climb anywhere between 10% and 21% by the end of next year, according to Fiserv.”

The “Facebook” Effect

“Facebook is taking over the world.” That’s what everybody says. Just back at the beginning of April, Facebook declared that it reaches 200 millions users. Most people wouldn’t realized this, but the power of social media seemed put a lot of confidence around Silicon Valley in recent years as well, including local real estates market. An recent article on CNN money pointed out that “the effect of the social network’s IPO is an already hyperventilating local real estate market that’s now going bonkers.” According to Broker Metrics, for the first quarter of 2012, the median price of a single-family Palo Alto home went up 11%, whereas inventory declined 57%.

Residents live in Palo Alto is holding their houses off the market and all gaga over Facebook to see how much their houses are going to be worth. According to a broker in Palo Alto Michael Dreyfus commented, “Every real estate agent in town has a long list of buyers and you can almost feel the preparation for a spring frenzy. The hordes of buyers are going to overwhelm our meager supply.”
On a national scale, US home sales are up across the country, and an increasing portion of those sales are from first-time buyer. Read our older post about the national median home price declined by just 0.4% in the three months ended March 31 compared with the same period in 2011.



10 hard-hit housing markets expect double-digit price gains

According to an article on CNNMoney, 10 hard-hit housing markets will record double-digits price increases through next year 2013. This week, the mortgage rates has reached a lowest point, and many house hunters have already started to pounce on bargains. David Stiff, the chief economist at Fiserv (a financial analytic company that did the forecast), “Some markets may have overshot to the downside, and people are jumping in to try to catch the bottom,” Stiff said.

Fiserv also commented that on a national scale, home prices will start rebounding late this year and gain an average of 4% a year over the next five years.

This Wednesday’s report by the National Association of Realtors pointed out that the national median home price declined by just 0.4% in the three months ended March 31 compared with the same period in 2011. Their report also showed that nearly 50% of the 146 metro-area markets showed a price increase in the first quarter of 2011.

Mortgage Rate Updates

Source: Cobalt Mortgage Weekly Updates:
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the rate on the 30-year loan dipped slightly to 3.84 percent, down from last weeks rate of 3.86 percent. The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage also fell slightly to 3.08 percent, down from 3.11 the previous week.

Application Activity
• There was a 0.68% decrease in mortgage applications week over week, from the period 4/20 – 4/25 versus 4/13 – 4/18.
• Purchase applications saw a decrease of 1.56%.
• Refinance applications saw no change week-over-week.
• Our 4-week refinance average is currently at 38-applications.

It’s safe to sell your home again
(Money Magazine) — Given everything they knew about the lackluster housing market, Meghann and Cort Battles didn’t expect much when they listed their four-bedroom home in Centennial, a Denver suburb, for sale in January. So they were taken aback by the onslaught of interest.

Meghann, at home on maternity leave with their two sons, juggled 32 showings in the first month. “It’s so exhausting trying to find somewhere to go for an hour two or three times a day,” she says. The Battles even installed a special front-door handle to text them when buyers enter and exit so that they can return as soon as possible. “It’s just crazy,” she says.

Wait, isn’t the real estate market still supposed to stink after five straight years of falling prices?
Turns out that while analysts debate when the market will hit bottom, for a surprising number of cities the turnaround has already begun. In December, prices rose in 109 of the 384 metro areas tracked by the data firm CoreLogic. Scrub out foreclosures, and that figure climbs to 169.

If you think that recovery means a return to the boom’s double-digit price increases, forget about it. “The market won’t suddenly snap back,” warns CoreLogic economist Sam Khater, who has studied past housing busts.

And for harder-hit areas such as central Florida and the Rustbelt, improving may simply mean things are less bad than they were two years ago. No matter where you live, though — or where you want to live next — the strategies you employ to sell your home must change to reflect the realities of what’s now a healing market.

To see how that change might play out, MONEY visited Denver, ranked by CoreLogic as the most improved of the nation’s 100 largest markets.

Prices in the Mile High City and its suburbs, which didn’t experience the extreme booms or busts of Phoenix or Las Vegas, rose in December. Foreclosures are ebbing. And homes are selling about 19% faster than they were a year ago.
Our tour of this recovering market reveals that the rebound is likely to creep rather than surge ahead. Yet if you know how to price and market your home properly — which this story will lay out — you can finally list your home with confidence that it can sell reasonably quickly and close to your asking price.

Many economists predict that 2012 will be the last year overall housing prices decline, as the final wave of foreclosures from the slump hits the market. After that, prices should inch up: 2% in 2013, 3% in 2014, according to a consensus of analysts tallied by Moody’s

Why? Against a backdrop of low mortgage rates, employment has improved slightly, and home prices have fallen long and hard enough that buyers are beginning to realize that they won’t necessarily lose their shirts by purchasing real estate. To see if your neighborhood is on the verge of a rebound, you have to look for the signs.

For instance, is local employment on the upswing?

That’s a critical factor for a region to get itself on the path to recovery. The improving jobs picture has led to shrinking housing stock across the country, as enough investors and bargain hunters have come on the scene to unclog the glut of foreclosures that’s been blocking a recovery.

Bidding Wars Are Back !

According to an article from The Wall Street Journals, home buyers are facing the fact that bidding wars are back. The article pointed out that nationwide many buyers are increasingly competing for the same house. This surging sales are a reflection of supply shortage on the current market.

Andy Aley is a 31-year-old attorney who is looking to buy his first home in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood. “It’s a little surprising because we thought bidding wars were done with,” he said. Now he offered up to $23,000 above the $357,000 listing price and agreed to waive inspections and other closing conditions.

According to the article, this bidding wars caused by tight inventory suggested that the housing demand is starting to pick up after a six-year-long slump.

The National Association of Realtors’ latest Pending Home Sales Index also showed that pending sales of existing homes rose to their highest level in nearly 2 years in March. The index showed that “pending sales were up 10.8 percent from the same time a year ago on a non-seasonally adjusted basis.” Right now it is at the highest level 111.3 since April 2010. Lawrence Yun, an NAR chief economist, pointed out that “first quarter sales closings were the highest first quarter sales in five years. The latest contract signing activity suggests the second quarter will be equally good.”

NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. “A sale is listed as ‘pending’ when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.”
It seemed that the housing market has finally turned the corner, especially in the West. Pending sales rose 8.7 percent month to month, to 108.  Rising sales are melting down inventory and created a more positive-looking and healthy house market.

Links:  March Pending Home Sales Rise, Market Recovering




Big Win for Seattle

It’s already end of April and sunshine finally comes to Seattle. Increasing amount of daylight, lush green hills surrounded by snowcapped mountains and sparking blue waters. We LOVE greater Seattle, Summer Seattle, just everything about it. And there are millions of other Americans agree with us. According to a new survey from Public Policy Polling, Seattle is the most popular city in the U.S. with a whopping 57 percent of respondents viewing the city favorably and only 14 percent viewing it unfavorably.  Also ranks the Seattle sixth on its list of the most walkable places in the United States for the big numbers of grocery stores and coffee shops.
People, it’s time to buy houses in Seattle!

Links:  Seattle ranked sixth most walkable city in U.S.
Move over New York, Americans love Seattle most

Mortgage Dropped to A New Record

The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage dropped to 3.88 percent this week, reaching to all-time low. That’s just above the rate of 3.87 percent reached in February, the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s. Besides the 30-year fixed mortgage, 15-years dropped to 3.11 percent from 3.21 percent last week.

According to an article from Associated Press, “mortgage rates are lower because they tend to track the yield on the 10-year Treasury note. Last week’s disappointing report on March job growth led more investors to sell stocks and buy Treasurys, which are considered safer investments. As demand for Treasurys increases, the yield falls.”
At the mean time, home prices continue to fall. Reduced prices, record-low mortgage rates, higher rents and an improving job market seemed to be attract more and more potential buyers. Open houses are drawing crowds, and a wave of foreclosures is leading investors to get bargain-priced homes also.

Links:  Seattle Times: Rate on 30-year mortgage falls to 3.88 percent

Home prices is close to bottom

An article on MSNBC reported that home prices may rise in 2013, and the decline in home prices may come to an end for the very first time in seven years.
The median forecast of 24 economists polled by Reuters was for the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index to end the year unchanged. House prices have so far fallen about 32 percent from their peak at the end of 2005, and an estimated 11 million Americans now owe more on their homes than they are worth. Mortgage rates are already near record lows and house affordability is the best in history.
Experts said that this should help to lift home sales and this gradual healing is encouraging.

It Is Time Now….

A recent MSN real estate article reported that more and more Americans believe that now it is a good time to buy a home. According to the latest Fannie Mae Housing Survey,  the expectation that home prices, rents and mortgage rate are all likely to rise this year, and these convergence of factors is leading a positive sign in real estate industry. The survey also pointed out that “more Americans now expect both home rental and home purchase prices to increase over the next year. 33% expect home prices to increase, up 5 percentage points since last month.” These trends may encourage Americans with an increased sense of urgency to buy a home as 73% of Americans now believe it is a good time to buy a home, up from 70% in February.

As for greater Seattle area, the Northwest Multiple Listing Service reported that house prices rose for the second month in a row in March. “Close to the job centers, 45 percent of new listings are selling within a single month,” J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate, said in a listing service news release.

Related Links:
More Americans think it’s time to buy a home
Seattle house prices up again