Snohomish County home prices look stable

By Michelle Dunlop Herald Writer

The number of homes for sale in Snohomish County last month was down nearly 44 percent compared to March 2011, indicating a stabilizing housing market.

The county had 2,617 homes for sale in March, compared to the 4,641 homes that were for sale in the same month a year ago. That’s according to a report by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

“The lagging inventory is actually helping prices stabilize, which we hope will have a positive impact on the real estate market as the year progresses,” George Moorhead, branch manager at Bentley Properties in Bothell and director of MLS, said in a statement.

Home sales were up more than 5 percent last month over the same period a year ago. However, pending sales rose 21 percent in March.

Diedre Haines, another Northwest MLS director, said pending sales in Snohomish County would have been “considerably greater were it not for the buyer competition due to the magnitude of multiple offer situations.”

Home prices, however, still declined in March. The median price declined 3.6 percent last month to $228,500, compared to $237,000 in March 2011.

The median price for condos in the county dropped to $115,055, down 31 percent from March 2011, when the median condo price was $166,990. The median price for single-family homes was down just 2 percent to $245,000, compared to $249,900 in March 2011.

Haines said the housing demand in Snohomish County “is at the highest levels we have experienced since 2006.” She noted there are two potential buyers for every current home on the market in Snohomish County, according to recent analysis.

Real estate brokers are optimistic that recent housing data indicate a sustainable recovery for the market. However, “it is still extremely important for sellers to price their property correctly,” Haines said. Even with high demand, homes that are priced above comparable properties are not receiving offers, she said.

The Kirkland-based Northwest Multiple Listing Service is owned by member real estate firms. Membership includes more than 22,000 real estate brokers who serve 21 counties in Washington.

Herald reporter Michelle Dunlop: 425-339-3454 or mdunlop@heraldnet.com.

Snohomish County home prices

Median March prices compared to 2011:

Snohomish-Monroe area: $323,200, up 1.0 percent

Marysville area: $194,900, up 9.6 percent

Everett-Mukilteo area: $222,600, down 3.2 percent

Edmonds area: $243,000, down 2.9 percent

Granite Falls: $210,527, down 7.8 percent

Source: Northwest Multiple Listing Service