Real Estate Stats and Trends October 10, 2011

September Real Estate recap for NW King County


This month, I would like to narrow down and analyze and recap the housing market for September in NW King County- namely the cities of Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, and Shoreline. The charts below show the market trend for residential properties in these cities in the sub-$1million price range.


Low inventory has been a problem in many Seattle neighborhoods and it is becoming a factor north of Seattle as well. Active homes for sale decreased 5.3% from August and that is down over 30% from last year! Pending sales (homes under contract but not yet closed) are up 8.8% from August and up 32% from last year! Interestingly, closed sales are up 12% from last year but down 23% from August. I interpret all this to mean that activity is strong, but there are some factors slowing up the actual closing process, such as getting lender approvals on short sales and bank owned properties…


In fact, I did a quick search of homes in this area that are currently pending or have recently closed in the past 60 days. Out of the current 120 homes pending sale, 60 (or 50%) are bank owned properties (20) or short sales (40). Of the approximately 99 homes that have closed sales in the last 60 days, 75 are non-distressed sales! Only 24 sales were bank owned (19) or short sales (5). So, if you potentially want to get that “deal of a lifetime” on a distressed property, just know that you will need some serious patience and be willing to wait and go through the agony of getting lender approval. On the other hand, if your timing isn’t as flexible, or if you are willing to pay a little bit more to avoid an ulcer, you may want to have your Realtor only search for non-distressed sales (that may also be great deals) so that your chances of closing on time are significantly higher.


With that side note out of the way, let’s get back to the stats… Average sales prices in NW King County are actually up slighty from August and from last year to $353,000, but holding pretty flat on a dollar per square foot measure at $160/sqft. Keep in mind that this sample size is not very big when looking at a smaller area like this so the price data does bounce around quite a bit. If you look at all of King and Snohomish counties combined, you’ll see that the average sales price is $380,000 and $170/sqft. Essentially, prices have been pretty flat for all of 2011.


Days on market also bounces around quite a bit but September’s average was 74 days. That number has been hovering in the low 90’s when looking at all of King and Snohomish counties. The Sales Price as a Percentage of the Original Listing Price climbed back up slightly to 94%. And finally, the Months of Inventory based on Pending Sales decreased to 3.1 months. That is the lowest inventory this area has seen since it got there briefly when the tax credit hit in early 2010. Before that, it was 2007 when the market was still finishing its upswing.


In conclusion, Seattle neighborhoods have had the lowest inventory most of this year and now it seems that the north end is catching up to that trend. Combine a competitive market with the affordability of well located cities like Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, and Shoreline, and you have the making of a busy market through the end of the year. Oh, and did I mention the record low mortgage rates…