Thursday, June 6, 2013

April Seattle Home Sale Press Release

Seattle Region April Home Sales

Seattle-area home sales rose to the highest level for an April in six years amid a surge in $200,000-plus transactions. The median sale price moved above the $300,000 threshold for the first time in 33 months, erasing roughly half of its loss during the housing bust, a real estate information service reported.

A total of 5,169 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow during April in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro area encompassing King, Snohomish and Pierce counties. April’s total sales rose 13.3 percent from the month before and increased 25.3 percent from a year earlier, according to San Diego-based DataQuick. The firm tracks real estate trends nationally via public property records.

The number of homes sold this April was the highest for that month since April 2007, when 6,183 homes sold. This April's total sales were 2.2 percent below the average number of homes sold during all months of April since 1994, when DataQuick's complete Seattle-area statistics begin. Resale single-family house sales were 2.9 percent below the historical average for April, while condo resales were 37.5 percent above average and sales of newly built homes were 28.3 percent below average.

Sales of mid- to high-priced homes continued to see big sales gains, while sales of lower-cost homes trended flat to downward. The number of homes that sold for less than $200,000 eked out a 0.1 percent year-over-year gain and sub-$150,000 sales fell 14.1 percent compared with a year earlier. April sales of homes priced above $200,000 rose 41.1 percent year-over-year, while $300,000-plus sales rose 46.7 percent. The number of homes that sold in April between $200,000 and $600,000, a typical move-up range, rose 38.0 percent from a year earlier. Sales over $700,000 rose 66.3 percent year-over-year, though transactions in that price category represented a relatively small portion (9.4 percent) of total sales.

Buyers paid a median $302,000 for all new and resale houses and condos sold in the three-county Seattle area in April. That was up 2.4 percent from the prior month and up 10.0 percent from a year earlier. Last month's median was the highest since the median was $310,000 in July 2010, which was the last time the median was over $300,000. The median has risen year-over-year for 13 consecutive months.

April's median was 17.3 percent lower than the Seattle area's peak $365,200 median in June 2007, and it was 25.8 percent higher than the post-peak trough of $238,000 in January 2012. During the housing downturn the median fell 34.4 percent between the peak and the trough, a decline of $125,000. April's median was $64,000 above the trough, meaning it has made up about half of its peak-to-trough loss.

Another key price measure, the median paid per square foot for resale single-family detached houses, rose to $170 in April, up 3.7 percent from the month before and up 12.8 percent from a year earlier. The April figure was 28.9 percent lower than the peak $239 median paid per square foot in June 2007.

In the Pacific Northwest's second-largest region, the five-county Portland metro area, a total of 3,071 homes sold in April, up 11.2 percent from the prior month and up 20.4 percent from a year earlier. The Portland region's median sale price rose to $246,000, up 2.5 percent from the prior month and up 14.4 percent from a year earlier. The Portland area's April median was the highest since it was $250,000 in January 2009, but it was still 17.0 percent below its peak $289,000 median in October 2007. The median's peak-to-trough drop was 32.5 percent, or $94,000. As of April the Portland region's median had regained just over half of that $94,000 peak-to-trough decline.

Other Seattle area April highlights:

•In April, 21 homes sold for $2 million or more in the three-county region, up 75.0 percent from 12 sales of $2 million-plus homes in April 2012. During the January-through-April period this year, 65 multi-million-dollar homes sold, up 71.1 percent from the same four-month period last year. The figures are based on public property records, where there was either a sale price or loan amount indicating a $2 million-plus sale.
•Foreclosure resales - properties foreclosed on in the prior 12 months - represented 13.7 percent of the resale market in April. That was down from 14.8 percent the prior month and down from 21.8 percent a year earlier.
•Short sales - transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property - made up an estimated 19.1 percent of the Seattle-area's April resales. That was down from an estimated 21.2 percent the month before and 20.8 percent a year earlier.
•In April, lenders foreclosed on 1,213 single-family houses and condo units in the Seattle region, up 20.8 percent from the prior month and up 131.5 percent from a year earlier. The foreclosure figures are based on the number of Trustees Deeds filed with county recorder offices. The steep year-over-year gain in foreclosures likely reflects lenders playing catch-up after a lull in foreclosure activity following the July 2011 passage of a new state foreclosure law. The law allows many borrowers in distress to request "foreclosure mediation," where a mediator helps the homeowner and lender try to negotiate an agreement to avoid foreclosure, such as with a loan modification.
•Absentee buyers - mainly investors - accounted for 22.8 percent of the Seattle area's April home sales, up from 18.2 percent a year earlier and up from a decade-long monthly average of 16.7 percent. Absentee buyers paid a median $242,350 in April, up 24.3 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 24.0 percent of April home sales, up from 21.7 percent a year earlier. Cash buyers paid a median $243,950 in April, up 16.7 percent year-over-year.
•In January, 17.4 percent of Seattle-area purchase mortgages were government-insured FHA loans, a popular, low-down-payment choice among first-time home buyers. That was the lowest for any month in nearly five years - since 17.0 percent of purchase loans were FHA in May 2008. Last month's figure was down from an FHA share of 23.6 percent a year earlier. The FHA share of the purchase loan market has ranged between 17 percent and 22 percent over the last year, well below the region's peak FHA level for the current housing cycle, which was 39.9 percent of all home loans in October 2009.

To view the Seattle chart, visit

Media calls: Andrew LePage (916) 456-7157

Source: DataQuick;

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