King county home prices up 7% from last year

King County home prices rose 7.2 percent in July compared with one year ago, extending their streak of such gains to four straight months, according to statistics released Monday by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Seattle Times reports (with a little blurb from yours truly)…

King County home prices rose 7.2 percent in July compared with one year ago, extending their streak of such gains to four straight months, according to statistics released Monday by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

There were signs that June’s fast pace of price increases had abated, though.

The median price of single-family homes sold in July was $375,250, a 1 percent drop from June. And the year-over-year increase of $25,250, or 7.2 percent, was smaller than June’s 10.1 percent jump.

The number of closed home sales last month in King County was 26 percent higher than last year and the highest since August 2007, yet it remained practically flat from June, after five months of solid increases.

“We had a crazy spring and it seems like things have settled down,” said blogger Tim Ellis of Seattlebubble.com.

Another recurring theme is the dramatic drop in the number of homes for sale. Home listings have been sliding for a full year; in July the number of homes listed for sale was down 38 percent year-over-year.

With more would-be buyers than sellers, the buyers are starting to become frustrated, said Ellis and Seattle real-estate economist Matthew Gardner.

Gardner said the major reason for the low number of listings is that people are underwater on their mortgages — they owe more than their homes are worth — and have to stay in their homes.

He said the levels of inventory are the lowest they have been since early 2006

Looking forward, Ellis and Gardner agree that listings will likely increase as prices go up.

But Gardner said it’s tough to determine when sales of distressed housing will pick up again.

Jason Wall, general manager of Lake & Co. Real Estate, near Green Lake, said he has seen buyers more excited about the market now than they have been for several years.

“It feels like that, at least locally, the tide has turned,” Wall said. “The feeling of confidence has returned to Seattle.”

Sales could even be higher, he said, but lack of inventory is holding the market back.

Full article can be found here…