Wednesday, May 16, 2012
March Seattle Home Sale Press Release
A total of 3,909 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow during March in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro area encompassing King, Snohomish and Pierce counties. March's total sales rose 33.2 percent from the month before and increased 6.7 percent from a year earlier, according to San Diego-based DataQuick. The firm tracks real estate trends nationally via public property records.
A spike in sales between February and March is normal, with that increase averaging 37.6 percent since 1994, when DataQuick's complete Seattle-area statistics begin.
The number of homes sold this March was the highest for that month since 3,944 homes sold in March 2010. This March's sales were 24.0 percent below the average number of homes sold during the month of March since 1994.
The Seattle-area resale market - existing single-family houses and condos combined - posted a 3.9 percent sales gain from a year earlier, while sales of newly built homes logged a 24.8 percent increase. March sales of newly built Seattle-area homes were the highest for any month since June 2010.
The year-over-year gain in overall March home sales was driven mainly by robust sales of lower-cost homes. The number that sold for less than $150,000 shot up 42.7 percent compared with a year earlier, while sub-$200,000 transactions increased 21.8 percent. Sales between $200,000 and $600,000 dipped 1.2 percent in March compared with a year earlier, while sales in the $600,000 to $900,000 range increased 8.4 percent year-over-year. (Note: $600,000-to-$900,000 sales represented 6.7 percent of March transactions, while sub-$200,000 deals accounted for 34.3 percent of the market and $200,000-to-$600,000 sales accounted for 55.8 percent).
Buyers paid a median $257,877 for all new and resale houses and condos sold in the three-county Seattle region during March. That was up 3.5 percent from the prior month and down 3.1 percent from a year earlier. The median has fallen on a year-over-year basis for 20 consecutive months, but March's 3.1 percent year-over-year decline was the smallest for any month since November 2010, when the median fell 2.6 percent.
March's median was 29.4 percent lower than the Seattle area's peak $365,200 median in June 2007, and it was 8.4 percent higher than the post-peak trough of $238,000 in January this year.
Another key price measure, the median paid per square foot for resale single-family detached houses, rose to $153 in March - the highest since it was $154 last October. This March's figure rose 3.4 percent from the prior month and fell 6.7 percent from a year earlier. The median paid per square foot has fallen year-over-year for 19 consecutive months and in March it was 36.0 percent lower than the peak $239 median paid per square foot in June 2007.
At the county level in March, the median price paid per square foot for resale detached houses fell 1.9 percent year-over-year in King County, while it dropped 8.3 percent from a year ago in Pierce County and fell 9.6 percent in Snohomish County.
Distressed property sales â€“ foreclosure resales and "short sales" combined - represented roughly 46 percent of the Seattle area's resale market in March, down from about 49 percent the month before and 48 percent a year earlier.
Foreclosure resales - properties foreclosed on in the prior 12 months - represented 26.8 percent of the resale market in March - the lowest since December 2010. Last month's figure was down from 30.6 percent the prior month and down from a record high of 32.8 percent a year earlier.
Short sales - transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property - made up an estimated 18.7 percent of the Seattle-area's March resales. That was the same as the month before and up from an estimated 15.3 percent a year earlier.
In March, lenders foreclosed on 422 single-family houses and condo units in the region, down 17.4 percent from the month before and down 65.5 percent from a year earlier. During the first three months of this year, 1,534 homes were foreclosed on in the Seattle area, down 54.3 percent from the same period last year. The figures are based on the number of Trustees Deeds filed with county recorder offices.
Investors and first-time buyers continue to pursue many of the distressed homes on the market.
Absentee buyers - mainly investors - accounted for 20.6 percent of the Seattle area's March home sales, down from 21.1 percent the month before and up from 17.9 percent a year earlier. Absentee buyers paid a median $165,000 in March, down 0.6 percent from the month before and down 17.5 percent from a year earlier. While many of these buyers are investors, they can include second-home buyers and others who indicated at the time of sale that the property tax bill would be sent to a different address.
Many investors are among the cash buyers, who accounted for 22.3 percent of March sales, down from 22.7 percent the prior month and up from 21.2 percent a year earlier. Cash buyers paid a median $172,500 in March, up 3.9 percent month-to-month and down 17.9 percent year-over-year.
In March, 24.3 percent of Seattle-area purchase mortgages were government-insured FHA loans, a popular, low-down-payment choice among first-time home buyers. That was down from 26.4 percent of home purchase loans the prior month and down from 30.2 percent a year earlier. The region's FHA level peaked for the current cycle at 39.9 percent in October 2009.
View the home sale chart at DQNews.com.
Posted by DQNews and Custom Reports at 12:02 PM