Business

Home sales in Kitsap County down from a year ago

Kitsap County had more inventory of homes on the market and homes were listing at a slightly higher price in May as compared to May of last year.

But homes are selling at a slightly lower rate this May as compared to last May.

And there were fewer pending sales this May as compared to last May.

According to statistics released last week by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NMLS), there were 595 active residential and condominium listings in May in Kitsap County. For the same time last year, listings numbered 575.

The average listing price this May was $378,760, as compared to $375,258 in May of 2013. This May’s median listing price was $279,000, compared to $274,994 last year.

In terms of purchases in May, there were 321 closed sales this May, compared to 345, last May. The average sale price this year was down from $286,869 last May to $270,934 this May. Median sale prices on closed sales were down by $10,000, with the May 2013 price being $240,000 and this May at $230,000.

There were 538 residential and condominium sales pending in May of this year, compared to 567 last May. But the average price on pending sales was $308,368, up from $276,406 in May of 2013. Median sales prices on pending sales were $250,000 this May as compared to $239,000 in May of 2013.

While there were fewer closed sales in May of this year as compared to last, and the average and median sale prices were lower, real estate experts remain positive about the market.

“Using a countywide statistic in this market is much like judging a book by its cover — you shouldn’t,” said Frank Wilson, branch managing broker at John L. Scott, Inc. in Poulsbo, and a board member on the NMLS. “Each part of Kitsap is its own chapter with a story to tell.”

Overall, Kitsap’s inventory is holding at about a four-month supply, Wilson said. Traffic at open houses is up, and more listings are drawing multiple offers and offers with escalation clauses, he added.

Denise Payne, with Sterling Property Group in Silverdale, said she continues to see a hot market in Kitsap County.

“If a house is priced right, we’re getting multiple offers,” said Payne. “We’re selling everything from the $200,000 range to the $400,000 range and beyond. Overall, we’ve had a 13 percent increase in sales over last year.”

The NMLS said prices in Kitsap overall are down about 4 percent, but of 19 areas in Kitsap County that the Northwest MLS tracks, 10 had year-over-year price gains, and nine areas had declines. The sharpest price increase occurred in East Central Kitsap where values jumped 20 percent from 12 months ago.

“Locally, the summer selling season can be the busiest time of the year,” said Mike Gain, also a NMLS board member. “This year, with the lack of inventory, it is probably the best market sellers will ever experience.”

Still, distressed properties are still bringing down the real estate statistics, experts say.

In several counties served by Northwest MLS distressed properties make up about 20 percent of the activity, according to an NMLS analysis. Figures show one of every five homes that sold in Kitsap, Pierce, Thurston and Cowlitz counties was distressed (foreclosures and short sales), while in King County such properties accounted for only around 10 percent of the sales.

Dick Beeson, a board member at Northwest MLS, expects distressed properties will continue to be an integral part of the market. As median prices continue to rise around Puget Sound, he believes the inventory of short sales will be reduced.

Overall, in the areas that the NMLS covers,  inventory increased in May compared to a year ago, but brokers say competition is keen.

“Multiple offers and escalation clauses occur on a regular basis for properties that are extremely well priced and in great condition,” said  Beeson, principal managing broker at RE/MAX Professionals in Tacoma.

Housing around Western Washington is on an upward trajectory, but inadequate inventory “in the right prices and locations” makes for a “very difficult market for purchasers and brokers,” according to Mike Gain, a former chairman of the Northwest MLS board of directors.

Northwest Multiple Listing Service membership includes more than 21,000 real estate brokers. The organization currently serves 21 counties  in Washington state.

 

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