Demand trumps supply: Seattle home prices finally riseMay 4, 2012 @ 7:56 am (Updated: 10:31 am - 5/4/12 )
Tight inventory for single-family homes is creating sellers' markets in some Puget Sound areas, according to April reports from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
For the first time in more than four years (since January 2008) the year-over-year change in selling prices was positive. The price gain was a modest 1.27 percent for last month's sales of single family homes and condominiums that closed in the 21 counties served by NWMLS. For single-family homes (excluding condominiums) the price gain compared to 12 months ago was 2.9 percent. Condo prices fell 7.9 percent.
However, a rocky jobs report, coupled with a significant supply of shadow inventory, has brokers skittish about a rapid, short-term recovery. Lenders have not processed a number of foreclosures and many sellers have kept their homes off the market, fearing they still owe more than what the market will bear.
Still, sellers in Seattle, Snohomish and Kitsap counties saw higher median prices in April, while sellers in Southwest King County again saw prices fall.
Houses in Seattle sold for a median $425,000, up 10.4 percent from April 2011, while the number of transactions rose nearly 8 percent.
Frank Wilson, the branch managing broker at John L. Scott Real Estate in Poulsbo, reported that pending sales jumped 39.3 percent and median prices increased more than 14 percent.
Snohomish County, which has an even tighter inventory than King County, saw a bigger jump in prices: The median reached $255,502, up nearly 10 percent from a year ago.
In Southwest King County, the median price was $189,500, down 12 percent from a year ago.
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