Frank Hawkins of Hawkins-Poe Real Estate, Fircrest, WA, along with the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) provide insight on current market trends.
Brokers with Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) are reporting a return to some creative financing methods as motivated home buyers and sellers grapple with higher mortgage rates. Despite that and the seasonal slowdown in activity, 6,435 hopeful homebuyers succeeded in having sellers accept their offers to purchase during October. The latest Northwest MLS shows 6,435 pending sales last month, and about the same volume (6,464) of closed sales. Both figures were down from the year-ago totals, with pending sales dropping about 39% and closings declining around 35%. Regarding those statistics, Frank Hawkins, President of Hawkins-Poe, commented, “October, November and December are the Seasonal Off Market in the Puget Sound so it is typical to see the market slow headed into the holidays.” Historically, those last three months of the year produce less than 20% of our annual transactions.
Hawkins also noted, “I see a window for buyers headed into the holidays. I suspect interest rates are peeking and I believe they will trend lower. Lenders are becoming more creative by reintroducing loan types which were not needed for the past three years AND buyers are benefiting from more choices in inventory and less competition. These conditions may provide a window for buyers to have greater selection, lower interest rates and be approaching eager sellers who are more negotiable and lenders with better programs. I haven’t seen the 3-2-1 Buydown Loan Program since late 2011. Now it is being offered and accepted regularly. Buyers should be checking this out with their lender and Real Estate Broker, right now,” Hawkins continued.
Median sales prices still rose year-over-year in most of the 26 counties on the report. Area-wide, the median price on last month’s completed sales of single-family homes and condominiums was $595,000. That was an increase of about 3.5% from twelve months ago, but a decline of approximately 9% from May when prices peaked at $660,000.
A comparison of counties shows price drops in nine of them. Seven counties had double-digit gains, but improved inventory and interest rates were the storyline for many of the brokers who commented on the NWMLS statistics.
“Interest rates can and will change. When they drop, refinancing will be an option to secure better long-term financing at the then lower interest rates. For buyers with foresight and market savvy, here is their opportunity to make a very good move in the housing market. For sellers, this is their time to be laser focused on Market Pricing and making their home the SHINIEST PENNY,” Hawkins concluded.
Data provided by North West Multiple Listing Service