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KIRO Radio's Tom Kelly digs deep into the Puget Sound real estate market

Real Estate

Not all local neighborhoods reach red-hot sale status

While multiple offers and bidding wars have become common in some Puget Sound neighborhoods, not all housing in Western Washington is red hot. (AP Photo)

While multiple offers and bidding wars have become common in some Puget Sound neighborhoods, not all housing in Western Washington is red hot, according to May figures released by Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

"We are experiencing more multiple offers than I have experienced in my 35 years of practicing real estate in this marketplace," said Mike Gain, a longtime West Seattle broker and president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate. "This is a very difficult market for purchasers, our agents and brokers. If we had inventory to handle the demand our pending and sold numbers would be greatly increased. We desperately need good quality inventory."

Fewer sales closed last month in the NWMLS network compared to a year ago (down 2.2 percent), but prices increased. The median home price for a closed sale in King County in May was $442,500, up from $417,500 in 2013. Snohomish prices jumped to a median closed price of $325,000 from $300,500 while Pierce County was up to $235,000 from $215,000. Kitsap County, was down, however, dropping to $230,500 from last year's median price in May of $245,000.

"Using a countywide statistic in this market is much like judging a book by its cover - you shouldn't," said Frank Wilson, branch managing broker at John L. Scott, Inc. in Poulsbo. "Each part of Kitsap is its own chapter with a story to tell."

Overall, Kitsap's inventory is holding at about a four-month supply, "just on the sellers' side of neutral," Wilson said.

George Moorhead, the managing broker at Bentley Properties in Bothell, characterized the market as "sluggish" in areas.

"Some areas are still doing extremely well and still seeing multiple offers, but not on the whole," Moorhead said. "The market is righting itself slowly and becoming healthy and sustainable."

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