In a news release published today by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, pending sales reported by members showed an overall increase of 11.4% from a year ago and up 21.3% from March. Though these statistics are averages of the 19 counties that make up the NWMLS market area, there are areas where the surge in real estate activity isn’t so promising. Also tempering this rare positive news is that activity for the moderate and upper priced homes still continue to be slow. While the Seattle area real estate market is far from being turned around, the report is encouraging for condos, the more affordable lower priced single family homes and for the First Time Home Buyer.
In King County specifically, the report shows that the inventory is shrinking, that home prices seem to be stabilizing, and that real estate sales is showing a surge of activity.
Reasons for the real estate surge can be attributed to lower home prices along with the continued availability of remarkably low interest rates. The $8,000 First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit and other programs are also playing a part.
Pending Single Family Sales in King County rose 25% from March to April. North King County pending sales rose a whopping 52% (includes Shoreline, Kenmore). The increase in pending sales on the Eastside was 35%. Prices are still down compared to a year ago, however the median price for a single family home in King County for April is the same as it was in March at $350,000.
Pending Condo sales in King County, where nearly 60% of the condo sales occur, were still down compared to a year ago but jumped 42% from March.
What the stats show is that the demand is increasing. With the inventory (the supply) decreasing, Economics 101 rule of supply and demand is starting to have an affect on the stablization of home prices.
The real estate market is still highly advantageous to a home buyer. It is still a buyer’s market. Real Estate is ‘On Sale’. Good prices can be found at every price level. For the first time home buyer and those in the market for single family homes under $400,000 or condos or townhouses, the prices – the interest rates – the tax credit … the timing is right.
Steve Swanson is a Redmond Real Estate Agent servicing Redmond and the Eastside, and teaches First Time Home Buyer Classes in Redmond Bellevue Bothell Kirkland and Sammamish.