We’ve talked alot on RCG about whether we’re in a bust or a bubble real estate market and we in the Pacific NW have been watching the rest of the country and wondering, Why all the gloom? Bankrate.com and today’s Seattle times have some explanation that can provide perspective:
Last week, Bankrate.com unveiled its forecast for the changing real estate market in the U.S. over the next few years – ten markets where housing prices and values will continue to remain strong, ten markets where appreciation will pretty much top out and the ten markets that are most likely to experience a decline. They talked to experts, studied public and private databases, analyzed market trends and examined the analysis of many others.
The ten “bubble blowers,” where appreciation should continue to grow, are:
- Boise (ID);
- El Paso (TX);
- Albuquerque (NM);
- Seattle (WA)/Portland (OR);
- Salt Lake City (UT);
- Raleigh (NC);
- Philadelphia (PA);
- Atlanta (GA);
- Little Rock (AR); and
- Cincinnati (OH)/Birmingham (AL) (they were too close to call).
Just why this is happening in the Pacific NW is the subject of this mornings Seattle Times article by Elizabeth Rhodes. She sheds light on why Seattle is breaking the national trend toward stagnating or dropping home prices. Her article notes that the average home prices have taken a steep hike in the last year and appear to be continuing the rise.
Citing the NWMLS statistics that came out on Thursday, median closed price of King County single-family homes has shot up almost 12 percent in the past year, reaching $405,000 last month (and up from $392,950 in February).
Interestingly, sales are down, but so is inventory. In March 2004, there were 7,156 homes for sale countywide. March 2005’s inventory was 5,244 homes. This March recorded a further drop, to 5,100. This is the pinch that causing the rise in prices.
At the same time, the local economy is growing and employers are adding jobs, bringing more potential buyers to the area. So the competition for available homes is strong and prices are reacting accordingly.
We agents have been experiencing this hot market all spring as we did through most of last year, possibly feeling the market fluctuations first. We’re out there in it, pricing homes to reflect the low inventory and coaching buyers for the best positioning in a multiple offer situation. I just watched the price of an Eastside condo jump $20,000 in a two week period!