If you read the news about Seattle real estate, it could make you crazy! It’s hard to determine what’s true and what is hype. There’s some tough news that dominates and then there is some news that is actually good. You know how it is, bad news always travels faster than good news, no matter what the topic. Our real estate news is a mixed bag, but it’s good to know it’s not all bad news. So let’s deal with the “bad” news first, since that seems to be most people’s hot button. And, by the way, if you read beyond the headlines, it may not be as bad as it seems.
True, our prices are down. That’s the elephant in the room. The “king” of the bad news. There is no getting around it. But if you look at the pricing issue more closely, it’s not as dire as it seems. Take out the distressed sales and prices for individual home sellers are down, but not as much.
• Bank-owned houses accounted for 20 percent of all King County sales in November, up from 14 percent a year earlier. Those houses sold for a median price of $177,000, down 18 percent from $216,000 in November 2010.
• The median price of short-sales houses dropped 17 percent, from $305,000 to $260,000.
• But other, “nondistressed” sales saw a much smaller price decline — 2.5 percent, from $399,000 to $389,000.*
Prices are down, but depending on the area, not as badly as one would think. The eastside is one of the areas where it is not as bad because people are still moving here for jobs and buying homes. If you look at the chart above, over 400 homes have sold on Seattle’s eastside each month this year. This November saw higher sales than last November.
The good news for Seattle-eastside real estate:
- 24% fewer homes were on the market in December this year than in 2010.
- The time it takes to sell a home went from 129 days last December to 111 days this December.
- Sales prices on average were just 8% below the seller’s original asking price this year, while last year they averaged 10% below the asking price.
- Eighteen percent of the homes for sale this December received offers and sold, while only 14% received offers in 2010
- There’s no getting around that, but with less homes on the market, it spurs the competition among buyers for the best homes.
- Pricing is becoming more affordable for a new set of buyers who are coming to the market for the first time.
Amazingly, the actual number of homes sold did not change all that much. Last year 495 homes sold. This year 464 sold. The difference? There was much more competition last year because there were 597 more homes on the market!
So remember, look at all the facts, not just the headlines when talking about real estate. Review the data that applies to your specific neighborhood to make a decision about the market.
What’s happening in your neighborhood? Is there any good news mixed in with all the negativity about the real estate market?
*The numbers are a result of the real estate sales activity that happened that particular month only. In order to see a trend, it is important to look at a number of months together. One month is only indicative of that particular month’s sales.