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Home Listings

Low unemployment, less inventory, low interest rates and rising rents… all factors for a strong housing market in 2013

Prices and the number of multiple offers may be rising in part because of shrinking inventory.

In Snohomish County, (for the month of December) year-over-year inventory was down more than 53 percent, while in King County the selection was about half of a year ago levels: 3,801 listings versus 7,472. (according to the NWMLS).

At the end of December, there were only 17,718 properties for sale, which compares to 26,639 active listings for the same time a year ago (down 33.5 percent).  “Months” of supply declined to 3.3 months, down from about 5 months of supply for the same period a year ago.

With that said, we could be heading into an exciting year in the real estate market.  With the  imbalance between inventory and buyers and record low interest rates we could be looking at a shortage of homes in some areas and in some price ranges.  The return of first-time buyers who find it is becoming cheaper to own than rent and the imminent multi-billion dollar settlement involving foreclosure mishandlings by 14 banks also bode well for a recovery in 2013.

The numbers reported for December are already showing favorable. MLS members reported 5,424 pending sales of single family homes and condominiums last month for a modest year-over-year increase of 1.5 percent. That volume of mutually accepted offers fell from November’s total of 6,522, but far exceeded the number of new listings, 3,857, that members added to the MLS system during December. It also marked an unprecedented fourth straight month when pending sales outnumbered new listings.

MLS members tallied 5,267 closed sales during December, out-gaining the same month a year ago by 526 transactions for an increase of about 11.1 percent.  The 2012 total of 64,624 closed sales was 14.8 percent higher than the volume reported for 2011.

The median price area-wide was $255,000, up 13.3 percent from twelve months ago when the price was $225,000.  Prices rose by double digits in ten of the 21 counties in the Northwest MLS service area.  Homes and condos that sold in King County commanded the highest prices at $342,000, reflecting a gain of more than 17.5 percent.

If you are thinking about buying or selling this year lets talk about how 2013’s market will effect you.

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 21,000 real estate brokers. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 21 counties in Washington state
 Posted on Bellevue Business Journal