Housing market cools, but prices continue to climb

  • MIKE BENBOW / Herald Writer
  • Wednesday, July 12, 2000 9:00pm
  • Local News

By MIKE BENBOW

Herald Writer

In general terms, 6 percent doesn’t sound like much.

Sure, it’s a nice raise. But it’s a pretty small increase in your stock portfolio. And a sandwich that’s 6 percent bigger is certainly nothing to salivate over.

When it comes to buying a house in Snohomish County, however, it’s more than chump change: $10,950 to be exact.

That’s how much more you’d have to pony up to buy a house here this summer than you would have paid a year ago.

The 6 percent increase since then means that the county’s homes, including single-family houses and condominiums, sold for a record median price of $189,950 in June.

That was the word Wednesday from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, which serves real estate professionals in the central Puget Sound area.

The median, the point at which half the homes sold for less and half sold for more, was $179,000 last year.

Break out the single-family homes, and the numbers get bigger. The county’s median price in June for houses alone was $195,000, while condos sold for a median of $138,000, according to the listing service.

That isn’t much compared with King County, where the house median was $258,900 and condos sold for a median of $154,950. But it’s a lot more than Pierce County, where homes sold for a median of $155,225 and condos sold for $129,970.

While home prices continued to climb in June, sales slipped.

There were 906 houses and condos sold in the county in June, almost identical to the previous month, but down nearly 150 from last year, which was one of the best for sales on record.

Lennox Scott, president of John L. Scott Inc. and a listing service director, said the sales slip may have been due to concerns about interest rates, the government’s proposed breakup of Microsoft and the stock market’s big swings.

"We’ve moved from a frenzied market to a strong healthy market," he said, adding he expects prices to continue to rise, but at a slower rate.

While the number of sales has cooled, the homes sold are spending the same average time on the market, 47 days, as they were last year.

The most expensive homes in the county were in the Maltby area near the King County line, which has a lot of new construction. The median house/condo price there was $250,000.

The least expensive was in the area near Arlington, Darrington, Lake Stevens and Granite Falls, where the median price was $168,325.

You can call Herald Writer Mike Benbow at 425-339-3459 or send e-mail to

benbow@heraldnet.com.

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