Home sale prices rise again in county

Record-low mortgage interest rates and a shrinking inventory of homes for sale again drove up sales prices across most of Snohomish County in July, a trend that first became apparent in April.

The Northwest Multiple Listing Service reported that trend across most of Western Washington in the monthly report of real-estate sales data it released Monday.

In Snohomish County, a 49.9 percent drop in listings from July 2011 to July 2012 translated into an 11.6 percent jump in the median sales price for single-family homes and condominiums. The median sales price rose from $225,000 in July 2011 to $251,111 in July 2012, according to transaction data reported to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Year-over-year pending sales rose from 1,207 to 1,400 in July, or 16 percent, the NWMLS reported. Closed sales rose from 851 to 1,029, or 20.9 percent.

The southwest corner of the county posted the largest increase in median sales prices, rising 15.6 percent from $249,900 to $288,800, according to the NWMLS report. That area also posted the county’s largest drop in listings over the 12-month period, falling 55.1 percent from 899 active listings in July 2011 to 404 listings. The Snohomish-Monroe-Sultan-Gold Bar area reported a 2.3 percent decline in sales prices, falling from $220,000 to $215,000.

Lake Stevens, Granite Falls and the northeast corner of the county reported the biggest increase in closed sales, rising 34.1 percent from 88 units to 118 units, the NWMLS data showed. The Everett-Lynnwood-Mill Creek area saw closed sales increase 33 percent, rising from 230 to 306 units.

The data showed the Bothell-Maltby-Monroe area had the greatest year-over-year increase in pending sales, rising 38 percent from 158 to 218 units.

Median sales prices for single-family homes in Snohomish County continued to outpace condos year over year. NWMLS reported prices for homes rose from $239,945 to $272,275, or 13.5 percent. Median sales prices for condos slipped from $157,265 to $154,000, down 2.1 percent.

Across Western Washington, pending sales jumped more than 17 percent from a year ago, according to NWMLS figures. Nineteen of the 21 counties reported double-digit increases in the volume of mutually accepted offers.

Prices are also rising in many areas, the NWMLS reported. The combined median sales price for single-family homes and condominiums that closed last month was $254,900, up more than 7 percent from the year-ago figure of $237,975. Snohomish, Clallam and San Juan counties had double-digit gains.

Brokers completed 6,098 sales for a year-over-year increase of 17.7 percent. That total marked the second time this year that closings topped the 6,000 mark, a volume that was last attained in September 2007 when brokers tallied 6,262 closed sales, the NWMLS said.

Single-family homes that sold last month had a median selling price of $269,900, up more than 10 percent. In King County, which accounted for 40 percent of the single-family sales, prices were up 7.2 percent.

For condos, closed sales rose 26.5 percent, but prices were mostly flat.

Northwest MLS statistics show pending sales outpaced new listings in Snohomish, Clark, King and Pierce counties, resulting in inventory shortages and bidding wars in some price ranges.

“Counter to the historic yearly pattern of increasing inventory from January to late summer, this year we have seen inventory levels shrink month over month,” said Joe Spencer, area director for the Northwest region of Keller Williams. “This pattern of shrinking inventory, historically low interest rates and higher consumer confidence clearly signals that the market is on the rebound.”

Kurt Batdorf: 425-339-3102; kbatdorf@heraldnet.com.

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