Residential market still good for area buyers

Interest rates are still low and there’s still inventory in every price range in the Central Kitsap residential real estate market, but prices are inching their way up.

That’s what local brokers say and recent data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service shows.

Residential real estate data for June was released last week by the NWMLS and showed a total of 409 residential properties sold in June in Kitsap County. There were an additional 493 pending sales. During June, there were 599 new listings for a total of 1,462 active listings.

The median sales price for homes and condominiums in June was $250,000, as compared to a year ago, when it was $244,500.

“Prices are inching up,” said Cathy Doney, branch manager for Reid Real Estate in Silverdale. “We’ve hit that spot that prices are at about the 2003 to 2004 level, the highest they’ve been since the recent recession.”

Reid said it’s a good time for buyers because there is inventory and interest rates are still low.

“They’re in the threes (percent),” she said. “Buyers can get a lot more house than normal, when interest rates are in the six and sevens (percent).

Because the market is on its way back, there’s more activity, she added.

“The number of sales and the home values are creeping back up slow and steady,” she said. “People who’ve been wanting to buy or sell know that this is a great time to do it.”

While Kitsap County hasn’t seen bidding wars, such as is happening in Seattle, sellers are getting multiple offers, Doney said.

“If a house is priced well, there can be multiple offers,” she said.

She said there are homes in all price ranges and that a majority of the current buyers are “move-up” buyers.

“They’re looking to move to get more square footage or better amenities,” she said. “Maybe they want a better school district or more bedrooms.”

Current buyers also include more investors who are looking to get back into the market because it’s view to be more stable.

“They are buying, fixing up and hoping to keep a hold of the houses as the prices rise,” she said. “As compared to the flippers -- those who buy, fix and sell immediately -- they’ve pretty much gotten the low priced homes since the market fell in 2008.”

First time buyers aren’t a large segment of the market right now, either, she said.

Overall, Doney anticipates the market to remain busy throughout the end of August, when those who want to buy will have purchased and moved, so that they can get their children into new schools in September.

“Spring is usually the hottest time,” she said. “The slow times are at Christmas, tax time and the start of the school year.”

While prices are going up, she said there are still bargains.

“The bargains are just a little harder to find right now,” she said. “We’ve hit that point where prices on properties, such as waterfront homes, are more realistic now. Overall, as employment goes up, more people have more confidence that the housing market is going back up.”

For residential homes in Kitsap County, the average selling price in June was $386,883, compared to a year ago when it was $381,799.

For the 21 counties in Washington that are represented in the NWMLS, the median selling price in June was $299,335. Brokers added 735 more new listings this June than a year ago, an increase of 6.8 percent.

Inventory of active listings throughout the area was up 7.5 percent from a year ago. Pending sales were up 4.5 percent from last June and closed sales rose 3.3 percent.

In all, prices rose 6.9 percent from the same period last year, reaching the highest level since August 2008.














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