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Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. Message Board

  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u Nov 9, 2007 12:29 PM Flag

    Washington Housing Activity Showing Signs of Revival

    Washington Housing Activity Showing Signs of Revival

    RISMEDIA, Nov. 9, 2007-Pending sales perked up around Western Washington in October, reversing four months of month-to-month declines, according to new figures from Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS). The report also shows some slowing in both listing activity and price appreciation.

    Brokers reported 6,127 pending sales (offers made and accepted, but not yet closed) across the 19 counties served by Northwest MLS. That total includes 379 more transactions than September (a 6.6% gain), but still lagged activity of a year ago. Compared to the same month a year ago, October�s pending sales were down about 28%.

    MLS members added 11,785 new listings to inventory - the fewest number since February when they added 11,333 new listings. With those additions, there were 47,381 active listings of single family homes and condominiums in the MLS system, about 31% more than a year ago.

    The current selection includes 40,252 single family homes with an area-wide median asking price of $375,000 and 7,129 condominiums, listed at a median price of $289,900.

    Prices for sales that were completed during October were essentially unchanged from a year ago, but closer examination shows wide variation among the 19 counties. Seven counties had slight drops (most less than 2%) and five counties had double-digit price gains compared to 12 months ago. For the four-county Puget Sound region, prices for last month�s closed sales of single family homes and condominiums combined rose about 1.3% from a year ago, increasing to $344,250 from $339,950.

    NWMLS director Joe Spencer, president of John L. Scott, Inc. described current conditions as the �Buy Zone� and �the perfect buyer�s market.� Looking at the housing market graphically over the past 25 years, it�s evident there are periods when conditions make it the perfect time to buy a home, he explained.

    �The numbers show the housing market typically has a six to seven year boom, followed by a two year decline. This decline represents an ideal opportunity to buy because homes can be purchased at a premium value - and that�s exactly what we�re experiencing in the Puget Sound region,� Spencer stated. Combine this with low interest rates and a healthy supply of homes to choose from and you have yourself the perfect buyer�s market,� he added.

    Mike Welty of Liberty Financial Group in Bellevue said he is seeing the return of the jumbo product, better pricing and greater flexibility. (In general, jumbo loans are for $417,000 or more.) Rates are still very good, he noted, even as the industry has returned to more prudent underwriting and scrutiny. �Equity, income and good credit are still necessary to get the most favorable terms for a mortgage,� Welty added.

    Acknowledging some industry associates are complaining about the lack of available mortgage products, he said �We have greater flexibility and a broader range of mortgage products� than he has seen in his first 20 years in the business. �A qualified buyer can get a great deal today,� he emphasized.

    Despite slower activity, brokers remain optimistic, citing steady population growth, job creation and a demand for median-priced homes near job centers that outstrips supplies as factors that are contributing to the area�s relatively strong and stable real estate market.

    �The market is stabilizing in South Sound and buyer confidence is shoring up,� said NWMLS director Dick Beeson, broker/owner of Windermere Real Estate/Commencement Associates in Tacoma. He reports brisk traffic at open houses as more buyers are realizing the bottom of the market may be here and not likely to continue much longer.

    NWMLS figures show

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