The real estate market for the Puget Sound area still favors the seller, but home sales are slowing even as prices begin to even out for home buyers. Experts disagree on what this means for the area. Still, the housing demand is strong as buyers consider making their move before interest rates increase.
This year continues to be positive for sellers in the King County and Snohomish County, but there does seem to be a shift in the mindset of some sellers who are seriously considering the benefits of renovating their existing home over purchasing a new one. The low real estate inventory and the decrease in listings are having a definite impact on these decisions.
According to a report on northwestmls.com, the four-county Puget Sound region is maintaining its strength in spite of setbacks. Brokers reported 10,463 pending sales for the month of September, this is an increase of 9.3 percent from this time last year.
House Prices Beginning to Stabilize
During September, MLS members added approximately 10,047 new listings to the inventory. The end of September showed a total of 18,136 active listings, an 8 percent decrease from September of 2015. Still, King County was one of two counties to report a gain this month compared to September of last year.
The median price for a condominium rose 17.3 percent compared to September of last year, coming in at $305,000. This time last year, a buyer could have snagged one for around $260,000. Prices may be showing signs of stabilizing for single-family homes. The median price in King County for September was $538,000. This is a drop from the $550,000 seen last month.
Where are the Appraisers?
Frustrations are rising, along with concerns, over the delay in closings that is caused by a shortage of appraisers. This shortage is making it more difficult for closings to progress in a timely manner. While some may be willing to pay an extra fee for rush services, there are many who refuse to pay for the service.
The additional in fees and the increase in the time it takes to complete the appraisal phase of the process are causing a striking change in the favorable closing timetables brokers have come to enjoy over the last decade. Experts believe that the shortage in professional appraisers is due to the increased qualifications required to secure a license.
There are currently around 2,500 certified appraisers working in the state of California. This is a significant decrease from the 5,000 that were working prior to the new regulations.
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