Even with the uncertainty of the federal government shutdown and late summer get-the-kids-back-in-school activities, the Kitsap County residential real estate market held its own in September.
The Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) released monthly statistics for September this week and they indicate that home sales are keeping pace in the county.
“As is typical at this time of year, September’s pace slowed a bit as compared to August, as families focus on back to school and all the activities that go along with that,” said Frank Wilson, branch manager of John L. Scott in Poulsbo, and a board member of the NWMLS. “But we continue to see buyers.”
In September in Kitsap County there were 403 new listings for a total of 1,524 active listings. There were 352 pending sales and 300 closed sales as compared to 238 in September of 2012.
The average selling price was $300,149, as compared to a year ago when it was $282,866.
Wilson said the inventory in Kitsap County is “more balanced” than in some other markets like King and Snohomish counties where supply of homes on the market is low.
“In September, we were at 4.3 months of supply up from 3.4 months in August,” Wilson said. A general rule is that there should be a six month’s supply of homes on the market in any given area at any time for a perfect balance.
But he added that he has seen situations in Kitsap County where buyers are negotiating with sellers and are up against several other buyers.
“Well priced homes are drawing (multiple) offers in the first few weeks of being listed,” he said. “Homes that are priced correctly will receive showings and offers.”
Elizabeth Haney, broker for Reid Real Estate in Silverdale, said the market did slow some in September.
“That’s pretty typical,” Haney said. “But we have a balance market here with a bit more inventory than some places and overall it is a good market.”
Because of the fairly strong inventory, good, well-priced homes are selling, she said.
“We’ve worked through a lot of the short sales and foreclosures that were out there,” she said.
“There are still some out there and that won’t go away for awhile But they’re not impacting sales as much now as they have been.”
Year to date in Kitsap County, 2,549 homes have sold, as compared to last year’s 1,993.
Haney said she’s seeing average selling prices in Central Kitsap being more in the $200,000 to $250,000 price range. And buyers are coming from various segments of the population.
“We have lots of first-time buyers who are getting in the market while interest rates are still low,” she said. “But we also have move-up buyers and we have those who are down-sizing, and are looking for a home all on one level.”
One of the hot spots, she said, is Poulsbo.
“That area is always in demand,” she said. “And the Kingston area, too. There’s just a shortage of listings there right now.”
As for the federal government shutdown, buyers aren’t letting that affect their desires to get into new homes, she said.
“In the short term, it hasn’t been an issue,” she said. “Interest rates are still in the threes and fours (percents). Overall, it does make people hesitant, though, the longer it goes on.”
Wilson said the government shutdown is a concern in Kitsap County because of its heavy military population.
“It may affect our market,” he said. “USDA loans will not be funded during the shutdown and veterans who need certificates of eligibility may need more time to get them from the VA.”
Kitsap Realtors Association Executive Director Mike Eliason said he wasn’t surprised that there was some slowing of lookers and buyers in September as compared to previous months.
“It’s seasonal,” he said. “It happens every year. What’s important to remember is that we had a stellar summer and overall closed sales in September were up 26 percent over the same time last year.”