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Local realtors unconcerned with sales price statistics

"Local real estate agents remain optimistic despite a downward trend in the price of homes in Central Kitsap.Northwest Multiple Listing Service, a statistics service for Washington realtors, released statistics this week that compared the average and median price of homes in Kitsap County from May 1999 to May 2000. House prices have gone up in almost every part of the county except Chico, Silverdale and East Central Kitsap. Marlene Beam, a buyer's agent at Realty Station and a member of the Kitsap Housing Coalition, said there has been a flood of houses in the region, causing the supply of houses to sneak ahead of demand.The area grew so fast, especially Ridgetop, Beam said. The houses were bought at a higher price and haven't really appreciated at the rate they hoped.Larry Johnson, director of the Kitsap Association of Realtors, said that some homes that were part of the Louisiana Pacific siding controversy suffered when they were put on the market. Many of the houses built in the area in recent years were built with allegedly defective Louisiana Pacific siding. The company currently is embroiled in a class-action lawsuit with home owner associations and contractors. When people find out homes have LP siding, prices go down.Real estate agents and experts, however, say there is no reason to be alarmed. According to Frank Leech, a managing broker at the John L. Scott Real Estate office in Silverdale, statistics don't show all the factors that impact the real estate market. Why don't we look at the big picture? When we look at all the other things, we can see it's only a momentary thing, Leech said.Leech said buyers in Kitsap County are more conservative and that recent stock market woes might have scared away some buyers relying on money from investments to purchase homes. He also said a drop in the availability of high-priced waterfront properties, after a surge last year, drove the average down. It's not a buyer's market over here. It's not like Seattle, Leech said.He said houses in the $180,000-$400,00 range remain stable, however, and that Kitsap remains a good place to buy or sell a home.The market is still looking very strong, Leech said.Beam said the real estate market goes through cycles that can't always be explained. She also said that every property appreciates with time.Look at those numbers again in about six months to a year and you'll see the prices go back up, Beam said."

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