Realtors are hopeful that real estate will rise
January 30, 2012 · Updated 5:00 PM
BY COLLEEN SMITH ARMSTRONG
It’s a slow climb, but steady wins the race.
The Northwest Multiple Listing Service tallied 56,290 closed sales of single family homes and condominiums during 2011, improving on 2010’s volume by 4,290 transactions for a 7.4 percent increase.
Last year’s completed sales included 48,952 single family homes (up 7 percent from 2010) and 7,338 condominiums (an increase of more than 10 percent from 2009). Together, these sales were valued at more than $16.7 billion, about $900 million less than the previous year (a decline of 5.1 percent).
Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 20,000 real estate brokers and serves 21 counties in Washington state.
In San Juan County, the numbers are slightly lower than the year before, but realtors are still hopeful that things are on an upswing.
“The fourth quarter of 2011 has been very active in both showings and sales,” wrote Steve Buck, financial manager for Coldwell Banker San Juans, in a column in The Journal of the San Juan Islands and The Islands’ Sounder. “Many of the sales that are taking place will actually close in the first quarter of 2012 so we should be starting off the New Year comparatively well. We are also seeing increases in people making plans to come up and look at property next spring and summer.”
The total number of local sales for 2011 were 280. In 2010, that number was 335. Broken out by island for 2011, it is: San Juan: 133; Orcas: 90; Lopez: 38; other islands: 19. For 2010, it was San Juan: 151; Orcas: 110; Lopez: 42; and other islands: 32.
For properties with the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, both median prices and inventory dropped compared to 2010. Prices fell 10.3 percent system wide, while the number of new listings added to inventory was down more than 13 percent. Brokers added 101,430 listings to the database during 2011, which was 15,269 fewer than the total number for 2010.
Last year’s median price for closed sales of single family homes and condos was $235,000. In 2010 the median selling price was $262,000. For the 21 counties included in the MLS report, the median price ranged from $120,000 in Grays Harbor County to $387,500 in San Juan County.
In King County, which accounted for 40 percent of last year’s sales, the median selling price was $311,748, down about 10.7 percent from the previous year’s figure of $349,000.
“The window of opportunity that is open now is likely a once-in-a-lifetime event when considering prices, selection and interest rates,” wrote Buck. “For our market, it doesn’t take much of an increase in demand over supply to substantially affect it.”Affordable housing
Home trusts and land trusts in the San Juan Islands have received National awards for innovative and sustainable projects.
Who to call
Homes for Islanders: Visit www.homesforislanders.org.
Lopez Community Land Trust: 468-3723. Visit www.lopezclt.org.
OPAL Community Land Trust: 376-3191. Visit www.opalclt.org.
San Juan Community Home Trust: 378-5541. Visit www.hometrust.org.
The Community Land Trust of Waldron Island: Contact Peter Alexander, Community Land Trust of Waldron Island, 472-1103; e-mail email@example.com.