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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Pent-up demand boosting Western Washington home sales and prices

Prices for last month’s completed sales rose 6.4 percent area-wide from a year ago, with considerable variation across the 23 counties served by the multiple listing service. The median price system-wide for last month’s closed sales of single family homes and condominiums (combined) was $319,250.

Among counties in the central Puget Sound region, Kitsap County registered the largest year-over-year increase at 9.2 percent, and King County registered the smallest gain at 3.3 percent. The median sales prices in the four-county area ranged from a low of $245,000 in Pierce County to a high of $439,000 in King County.

July’s single family home prices (excluding condominiums) rose 4.1 percent compared to a year ago, but dipped slightly from the previous month. The area-wide price on last month’s closed sales was $327,950, up from the year-ago figure of $315,000, but down from June’s figure of $330,000. Year-over-year prices were up in 22 of the 23 counties in the report, while seven counties reported small drops from June.

The challenge with a sellers’ market is that some sellers tend to spend too much time reading the headlines, which pressures them to overprice their homes. Noting cash transactions tend to draw news coverage, they are still in the minority when compared to conventional, FHA or VA financing. At the end of the day you still need to attract a ready and willing buyer who is offering a price that an appraiser will confirm.

We also noted prices are escalating at a faster pace in Kitsap County than in King County. MLS figures indicate the median price in Kitsap County has surged 22.4 percent since January, which compares to a 12.6 percent jump in King County.

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 23,000 real estate brokers. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 23 counties in Washington state.

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