Tuesday, March 4, 2014

January Seattle Region Home Sales Press Release

Seattle Region January Home Sales

Seattle-area home sales dropped slightly below a year earlier in January but were still the second-highest for that month in seven years as mid- to high-end transactions, condo resales and investors purchases remained relatively strong. The median price paid for a home fell from December, as it normally does, but remained more than 14 percent higher than a year ago, a real estate information service reported.

A total of 3,072 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow during January in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro area encompassing King, Snohomish and Pierce counties. Seattle-area sales fell 30.2 percent from the prior month and fell 3.1 percent from a year earlier, according to San Diego-based DataQuick. The firm tracks real estate trends nationally via public property records.

A sharp drop in sales between December and January is normal for the season. On average, sales between those two months have fallen 25.8 percent since 1994, when DataQuick's complete Seattle-area statistics begin.

January home sales were 7.3 percent below the average for all months of January since 1994. Sales of existing (not new) single-family detached houses were 7.2 percent below the historical average for January, while condo resales were 30.0 percent above average and sales of newly built homes were 32.7 percent below the January average.

The region's mid-priced and high-end housing markets posted small declines or increases in sales in January when compared with a year earlier, while sales of lower-cost homes declined. The number of sales in January below $200,000 dropped 27.9 percent year-over-year, while the number of sales between $200,000 and $500,000 was the same a year earlier. Sales of homes priced above $500,000 rose 34.8 percent year-over-year, while sales over $700,000 increased 52.1 percent.

Buyers paid a median $303,000 for all new and resale houses and condos sold in the three-county Seattle area in January, which is the lowest the median has been since it was $302,725 last April. The January median fell 3.1 percent from the prior month and increased 14.4 percent from a year earlier. Because of seasonal factors it is normal for the median sale price to fall between December and January, with that decline averaging 4.7 percent since 1994.

January marked the 22nd consecutive month in which the Seattle region's median sale price has risen on a year-over-year basis. Over the last year the highest median was $329,000 in July 2013.

The January median paid for all homes was 17.0 percent lower than the Seattle area's peak $365,200 median in June 2007. The $305,000 median paid for resale single-family detached houses in January was 22.7 percent below that home-type category's June 2007 peak of $394,500. The $234,000 median paid for resale condos in January was 16.4 percent lower than that category's June 2008 peak of $280,000.

Sales of distressed properties - the combination of foreclosure resales and short sales - accounted for roughly 32 percent of the Seattle area's resale market in January, up from about 29 percent the prior month and down from around 39 percent a year earlier. The foreclosure resale level - the share of all homes resold that had been foreclosed on in the prior year - has edged higher over the last four months, to 18.1 percent in January. That was up from 13.9 percent in December and 14.6 percent a year earlier. However, the January level remained well below the peak foreclosure resale rate of 32.8 percent in March 2011.

Investors continue to target many of the region's distressed properties. Absentee buyers - the combination of investors and vacation-home buyers - purchased 25.4 percent of all homes sold in January. That was the highest for any month since the absentee buyer level was also 25.4 percent of all sales in January 2000, when the absentee data begin.

In the Seattle region's multi-million-dollar luxury housing market, sales over the past year have trended significantly higher, although the 14 homes that sold for $2 million or more in January was the same as a year earlier and down from 26 sales in December 2013. In all of 2013, a total of 263 homes sold for $2 million or more, up 37.7 percent from 2012. Last year's tally of $2 million-plus sales was the highest for any year since 2007, when 383 homes sold for at least $2 million. Multi-million-dollar sales are identified based on a price or loan amount found in the public record.

To view additional January Seattle highlights, visit DQNews.com.

Media calls: Andrew LePage (916) 456-7157

Source: DataQuick; DQNews.com

Copyright 2014 DataQuick. All rights reserved.

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