Northwest MLS Brokers Report Gains in 2010

Posted by Matthew Lahti on Monday, January 24th, 2011 at 9:42pm

Northwest MLS brokers report gains in number and dollar volume of home sales for 2010 compared to 2009

KIRKLAND, Wash. (Jan. 21, 2011) – Members of Northwest Multiple Listing Service tallied 52,408 closed sales of single family homes and condominiums during 2010, edging out 2009 by 303 transactions for a .058 percent gain.

Last year’s transactions included 45,746 single value homes (up about 1.2 percent from 2009’s total) and 6,662 condominiums (a drop of 3.2 percent from 2009). Together, these sales were valued at more than $17.6 billion, about $600 million more than the previous year.

Despite the increase in volume, median price for all sales across the 21 counties in the Northwest MLS service area declined. Last year’s median price for closed sales of single family homes and condominiums combined was $262,000, down about 4.7 percent from the previous year when the area- wide median price was $275,000.

Prices vary widely across the counties served by Northwest MLS, ranging from a median price of $127,000 for homes that sold in Pacific County to $409,750 for closed sales in San Juan County. In King County, which accounted for nearly 40 percent of last year’s sales, the median selling price was $349,000, down just$1,000 compared to 2009).

In its annual statistical summary report for members, the multiple listing service showed brokers added 116,699 new listings of single family homes and condominiums to inventory during 2010. The number of active listings offered for sale each month averaged 39,488.

The comprehensive report provides a snapshot of both listing and sales activity, comparing months and areas.

One section compares last year’s selling price of a 3-bedroom home. For an existing home (built in 2008 or earlier), the median price was $242,000. Homes in San Juan County fetched the highest median price at $402,000, while homes that sold in Grays Harbor County were found to be the least costly ($143,400).

Condominiums also reflected a wide array of prices. For the 6,662 condominiums that sold last year the median price was just under $222,000. Prices ranged from $7,000 for a 1-bedroom condo at Copalis Beach in Grays Harbor County to nearly $7.2 million for a 2-bedroom condo in the Four Seasons Private Residences, a downtown Seattle high rise.

A total of 433 condominiums sold for a half-million dollars or more. That’s up from 2009 when brokers reported 392 high end sales. Of last year’s $500,000-plus closed sales, nearly 86 percent were located in King County. Approximately 62 percent of all condos that sold last year were in King County.

The Northwest MLS report also shows improvement on the number of high end sales of single family homes when comparing last year with 2009. During 2010, members reported 987 sales that commanded $1 million or more, an increase of about 23 percent from the previous year when there were 802 such sales. (In addition, 83 condominiums sold for $1 million or more.)

Among other highlights in the NORTHWEST MLS statistical summary:

Single family homes accounted for about 87 percent of the volume, both measured by number of units and dollars. Of the million dollar-plus sales of single family, the highest number (147) was located in the MLS map area encompassing the western part of Bellevue, including the waterfront communities collectively known as the Gold Coast (Beaux Arts Village, Clyde Hill, Hunts Point, Medina and Yarrow Point).

A comparison of median prices of home sales within school districts in the MLS market areas shows the most expensive homes are situated in the Mercer Island School District ($834,500), followed by Bellevue ($570,000) and Bainbridge Island ($542,000). The least expensive homes, based on a comparison of school districts, were in the Lake Washington District ($3,000 for an “as is” manufactured home), the North Mason School District (for an “as is” manufactured home) and in the Aberdeen District (for an “as is” single family home).

The median sales price of $375,000 for a single family home that sold last year in King County is up almost $100,000 since 2002, a gain of nearly 35 percent. MLS members reported 73,349 pending sales (mutually accepted offers) during 2010. That marked a decline of about 2.6 percent from 2009 when members logged 75,336 pending sales, but an increase from 2008. The 2010 total outgained 2008 by 8,477 transactions for a gain of about 13 percent.

The highest volume of pending sales took place during the first quarter of 2010, which accounted for more than 28 percent of the year’s activity. In 2009, the third quarter had the highest volume, with nearly 30 percent of the year’s total. The pace of sales as measured by “months supply” (an estimate of how long it would take for all inventory of active listings to sell at the current pace assuming no new inventory is added) showed a system-wide total of 6.42 months, up slightly from 2009 when it was 6.25 months. In King County there was a 5.26 months supply, about the same as 2009’s figure of 5.22. (Economists consider a supply of 3-to-6 months to be a balanced market, meaning the market favors neither buyers nor sellers.)

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member brokers, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 22,000 brokers and agents. The organization, based in Kirkland, currently serves 21 counties in Western and Central Washington, which together encompass approximately 80 percent of the state’s population.

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