Category Archives: How’s The Market?

Case-Shiller: Home Prices Accelerate in January

According to the Case-Shiller report released today, the Seattle market has been calm and relaxed, with values remaining stable over the past seven months, as the index drifts between 141 and 142 (41%-42% higher than in the year 2000).

January was crazy.

Sales reached a six-year high, which isn’t very high, because January is usually the month with the second-fewest sales behind December.

The market is in a frenzy, and the data doesn’t really seem to show just how insane things have gotten in the local market.

The Northwest Multiple Listing Association has felt the need to remind members (agents) how to behave in a fiery-hot market with many buyers chasing absurdly few listings. Agents have been reminded to be cooperative when showings overlap; to not “hog” the property and allow other agents to show, as well. Agents have also be warned about pre-marketing listings, as the NWMLS has had a strict and universally adhered-to policy of submitting new listings within 24 hours of receipt and exposing them to the entire marketplace.

But if you look at the data, you’ll see calm and tranquility. We see that we’re back to 12-hour work days, which we don’t mind at all!

Check it out here.


Could the Seattle market get any hotter?

Eleven offers here, seven offers there, 14 pre-inspections at one listing, dozens of buyers sharing inspection reports . . . the market is in a frenzy, and there’s no sign of a letup.

“We had fifteen offers and four cash buyers,” one agent told us; “three pre-inspections,” said another, both talking about perfectly fine houses that seemed reasonably priced until the offers started pouring in.

A hot market and rising prices are good for sellers, but there are some hurdles to getting the sale closed. “We took the cash offer even though it wasn’t the highest bid,” another agent said, “because we were worried about the appraisal – nothing sold in the past six months supports this price.”

The buyers don’t seem to care. As of this writing, 147 Seattle houses went Pending this month. Pending is the status where inspection contingencies have been satisfied. 96 had market times of ten days or less, fifty had market times of five days or less. Typically, a listing will stay active for three to seven days to give buyers a chance to see it, a typical inspection period is a week. To go “Pending” in ten days indicates either quick offer acceptance or pre-inspections, inspections made without the certainty of being under contract.

Buyers were digging deep into the shallow inventory too, by putting twenty-one houses under contract that had been on the market for three months or more.

The condo market isn’t quite as hot, but it’s catching up, as 22 of the 53 pendings this month had market times of seven days or less; 13 listings that had been on the market for over two months have gone under contract.

Where does this leave buyers? “You can’t really play around on a new listing,” said a veteran agent. “You just have to assume that the list price is ten percent too low.”

Note: We compiled the data from the NWMLS, which is in no way responsible for the way we use the data!

Case-Shiller: Seattle Home Values up 8.2% in 2012

The December data is in, and Seattle home values are up 8.2% from December 2011, the largest one-year gain since 2006.

Nationwide, home values were up 6.8%.

The recovery in home prices reflects a general rebound in the construction sector.

Locally, the Seattle market is very hot, with low inventory and a pool of buyers arming themselves with pre-inspections to fight bidding wars, as multiple-offer situations have become commonplace again.

Seattle Home Values Continue To Rise!

The latest Standard & Poors/Case-Shiller Index report shows that home values were up by 0.5% in November and up 7.45% in the previous twelve months. Nationwide, home values are up 5.52% from the previous year.

“Housing is clearly recovering,” we quote the accompanying press release. “Prices are rising as are both new and existing home sales. Existing home sales in November were 5.0 million, highest since November 2009. New Home sales at 398,000 were the highest
since June 2010. These figures confirm that housing is contributing to economic growth.”

You can read the entire press release here.

The median price of in-city Seattle resale houses was $400,000 for the 4th-quarter of 2012, up from $349,500 in 2011. (Data ours).

October Home Prices Stabilize

The Standard & Poors / Case-Shiller Home Price Indices show that October home values were pretty much the same as September, as the nationwide index went from 146.17 to 146.08.

In Seattle, the index went from 142.09 in September to 141.82 in October.

So far in 2012, Seattle home values are up 8.3%, which is the biggest annual gain since 2006.

Inventory levels are at astounding lows in the Seattle market, and while there are good buys to be had, many prospective sellers are simply “staying put.”

Why do the U.S. Presidential Candidates Ignore Housing?

Because values have been going up all year.

The latest Case-Schiller Index report shows that home values nationwide continue to recover, going up 0.88% in August and 6.79% for the year – a faster recovery than the economy as a whole.

Seattle is up 8.17% for the year, and the August numbers were basically even with July, 141.69 compared with 141.78.

Is housing “out of the woods,” safely on its way to rebounding to 2006-2007 price levels?

Those are two different questions.

US Housing values are likely to remain stabilized and perhaps continue to recover, as government policy is to stimulate the economy through holding interest rates down. The current 30-year fixed rate is around 3.5%, which means that a $100,000 loan would have a monthly payment of $449.

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For our readers outside the USA, mortgage interest is deductible as an expense from our income taxes, on a maximum of $1,000,000 in mortgage debt. One set of schemes to solve the government’s massive budget deficits involves raising revenue without … Continue reading