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Monday, January 6, 2014

“Stage is set for another good year” in real estate with year-end gains in inventory, sales, prices

KIRKLAND, Wash. (Jan. 6, 2014) – Brokers with Northwest Multiple Listing Service ended 2013 with the best year-over-year improvement in inventory (up 8.4 percent) and a similar gain in closed sales to buoy confidence heading into the new year. December’s pending sales slipped slightly (down about 1.7 percent) compared to the same month a year ago.

“Positive job growth and the continuation of favorable low interest rates are setting the stage for another good year in real estate,” said J. Lennox Scott.

Friday’s narrow approval of Boeing’s contract proposal for Machinists union members bodes well for members of Northwest Multiple Listing Service and the real estate industry.

Reacting to the vote, MLS board member John Deely said, “The robust and diverse economy of the Pacific Northwest is solidified by Boeing’s continued presence in the Seattle area.” Deely, the principal managing broker at Coldwell Banker Bain in Seattle, said the vote helps secure the region’s position as “the aerospace epicenter of the world with top-notch manufacturing jobs that support the industry.”

Boeing workers and others hoping to buy a home have a bigger selection of homes to consider than house-hunters who were looking twelve months ago – especially in Snohomish County, where the number of active listings is up 43.6 percent.

Northwest MLS members added 4,333 new listings during December, improving on the same period a year ago by 476 listings for a gain of 12.3 percent.   At month end, there were 19,214 active listings in the MLS database, improving on the year-ago supply by 1,496 listings for a gain of 8.4 percent. In Snohomish County, which had the largest jump in supply (43.6 percent), the selection of condos nearly doubled from a year ago, increasing from 172 to 342 listings.

We sold this Lacey Washington home in less than 15 days in the month of December, a normally quiet market for real estate but robust this year.
Pending sales activity during December was mixed around the 21 counties in the MLS service area, with 11 counties showing increases in mutually accepted offers and the other 10 having fewer pending sales than the same month a year ago.  An imbalance between supply and demand could be crimping sales in some areas. As we head into 2014, we will be starting the year with a shortage or low inventory.

Brokers notched 5,710 closed sales last month, improving on the previous year by 443 transactions for a gain of 8.4 percent. During 2013, Northwest MLS members tallied 75,517 closed sales system-wide. That total outgains the previous year’s volume of 64,624 closings for an increase of nearly 16.9 percent.

 “The luxury market will continue to see an increase in sales activity and home values in 2014,” Deely proclaimed. “This market will be driven by pent up demand and by the owners of trophy properties who are confident that values have returned to acceptable levels,” he added.

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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