Pending home sales in county fall

By Jim Davis The Herald Business Journal

Pending sales for homes and condominiums in Snohomish County dropped in February from the same month a year ago, according to numbers released Wednesday by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Pending sales fell to 1,180 last month, down from 1,236 in February 2013 — a 4.53 percent drop. Twelve of the 21 counties in the Northwest Multiple Listing Service area reported drops in sales.

The problem is a lack of available homes, said Mike Gain, CEO and president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate, in a statement.

“If we just had enough homes to sell we would easily be outpacing last year’s pending numbers,” Gain said. “Locally, we are literally starving for inventory.”

While there is a shortage of homes for sales, many potential home buyers stayed home glued to their televisions during the weekends in January and early February, said J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate.

“The Seahawks’ run to the Super Bowl affected sales,” Scott said in the same statement.

The biggest drop came in the sale of single-family residential houses. The number of pending sales was down to 928 from 1,034 for the same month last year, according to the listing service. That’s a 10.25 percent drop.

The number of pending sales for condos actually increased year over year. The listing service reported 252 pending sales for condos compared with 202 the year before — or a 24.75 percent increase.

The number of closed sales fell only slightly to 668 from 673 the year before, a drop of less than a percent. The sales prices for houses and condos increased by 13.04 percent year over year. The median price in the county was $294,000 for the month, up from $260,000 in February 2013.

With higher prices, more people will be willing to sell their homes this year, said John Deely, the Northwest MLS director and a principal managing broker at Coldwell Banker Bain in Seattle.

“People who didn’t have enough equity in their house, or didn’t have enough confidence in the economy, didn’t move the past few years,” Deely said. “We’re going to see these people start to come to the market this spring. This is going to be a phenomenal year — not just an average year — a phenomenal year.”