Home prices, sales drop in Snohomish County

Home prices in Snohomish County dropped in May more than 15 percent from a year ago, pushing the median price to $230,000, the Northwest Multiple Listing Service reported Monday.

The median, the combined figure for single-family homes and condominiums, is comparable to the county median back in December 2003.

Home sales dropped slightly last month to 820, a 3.76 percent decrease from a year ago.

But pending sales soared to 1,315, a 66.5 percent increase from last year at this time. That’s because homebuyers had rushed to buy in April 2010 to make the deadline for a tax break.

Listings also dropped significantly, by 17.79 percent in May, as homeowners who didn’t have to sell kept their homes off the market because of the lower prices.

Snohomish County prices continued to fall at least in part because of a glut of bank-owned homes and short sales on the market. Prices in Seattle have stabilized, but prices were down last month for King County as a whole.

Prices dropped in King County by 8.45 percent in comparison with a year ago, according to the listing service, creating a combined media price of $316,750 in May. That’s nearly $87,000 more than the median in Snohomish County. In Pierce County, the combined median is $194,000.

OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate, said agents are beginning to see a definite shift in the housing market in areas near Seattle and Bellevue, with an increase in competition over the homes that are priced aggressively.

He and others said those core urban markets are seeing falling inventory and increasing demands for homes as the number of short sales there continue to slow.

May home sales

Snohomish County

Listings: 4,621, down 17.79 percent

Pending sales: 1,215, up 66.46 percent

Closed sales: 820, down 3.76 percent

Median price: $230,000

Island County

Listings: 1,009, down 15.14 percent

Pending sales: 96, up 6.67 percent

Closed sales: 73, down 3.95 percent

Median price: $265,950

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