December 11, 2017

September King County Real Estate sales increased in Washington State

King County home prices slide again, but more people are buying

While single-family-home prices in King County continued to drop in September, the number of pending sales was higher than a year earlier.

Seattle Times business reporter

While prices continued their yearlong decline, the number of pending home sales in King County increased in September for the first time since the real-estate slump began last year, the Northwest Multiple Listing Service said Monday.

Brokers said it could be a sign the market has hit bottom and is starting to turn around. Or not.

“It’ll be more important to see how things go in October and November and December, now that we have the [Wall Street] bailout in place,” said Eirik Olsen, owner-broker of the ReMax Real Estate Center in Redmond.

In September, sellers accepted buyers’ offers on 1,767 houses, up nearly 15 percent from September 2007, the listing service said. It was the first year-over-year increase since February 2007.

The number of pending condo sales, in contrast, slid more than 20 percent.

For sales that closed last month, the median price of a single-family home slid 7.8 percent from the same month the previous year.

That actually was an improvement over August, when the median price plunged more than 11 percent.

But September’s median house price — $415,000 — still was the lowest since March 2006.

The median condo price in September dropped 9.3 percent from a year earlier, to $272,000.

In the Redmond-Carnation area, the number of pending single-family-home sales was up 58 percent last month.

Olsen said the increased sales activity is reflected in his office’s bottom line. Revenue last month was up 33 percent, and sales were up 30 percent over the previous September, he said.

“But September of 2007 was when things started going south,” he added. “Everything sort of stopped then.”

Lower prices and lower interest rates helped push some prospective buyers off the sidelines last month, Olsen said. They included first-time buyers and investors interested in foreclosures and short sales.

The MLS said pending single-family-home sales in the Des Moines-Redondo area in South King County increased a whopping 89 percent last month over the previous year.

Tony Hettler, owner-broker of John L. Scott’s Des Moines office, said the trend actually began several months ago.

“We have the luxury of having affordable housing prices here,” Hettler said. “The people, especially first-time buyers, who were sitting on the sidelines waiting for prices to come down are now benefiting from that.”

Des Moines prices rise

The median sales price in Des Moines and Redondo actually was 6 percent higher last month than in September 2007, according to the listing service. But at $323,000, it remains among the lowest in the county.

Pending single-family-home sales in Seattle’s Queen Anne and Magnolia neighborhoods jumped 53 percent last month.

Melanie Smith, a John L. Scott associate broker who lives and works in Magnolia, said the area probably benefited from recent hiring at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is building its new headquarters near Seattle Center.

“There are people that are still moving here,” Smith said.

Sellers also are dropping their prices, she said. Queen Anne and Magnolia experienced one of the steepest year-over-year declines in the county last month, MLS figures show.

“Our prices are $40,000 or $50,000 or $100,000 lower than they were a year ago,” Smith said.

“I have a neighbor who dropped his price $150,000 over 80 days.”

Overall, single-family-home prices slid 6.3 percent year-over-year last month in Seattle, 9.8 percent on the Eastside, 10.1 percent in Southeast King County, 8.4 percent in Southwest King County, and 6.5 percent in Shoreline, Lake Forest Park and Kenmore.

The median condo price actually edged up 0.3 percent on the Eastside but dropped 6 percent in Seattle.

In Snohomish County, the median condo price increased 2.5 percent to $246,000, but the single-family home price slid 9.8 percent, to $332,000.

Eric Pryne: 206-464-2231 or epryne@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company




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