Home sales in King County hit a bump

The Mirror

Double-digit increases in pending sales of homes were recorded last month in seven counties tracked by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, but King County wasn’t one of them.

In fact, King County, which accounts for nearly 40 percent of real estate activity, barely eked out a gain from year-ago. Members notched 4,100 pending sales during July –– only 49 more transactions than a year ago –– for a 1.2 percent increase, according to NMLS.

Sam Pace, a housing specialist for the Seattle-King County Association of Realtors, described the market as moving from “red hot” a few months ago to “white hot” and now to “blistering hot.”

There is no relief in sight for King County’s housing market “without more supply,” Pace said.

King County’s inventory is at about 72 percent of year-ago supplies. As of last week, there were 5,792 single family homes offered for sale by multiple-llisting brokers in King County –– 1,642 fewer than a year ago.

Among condominiums, the shrinkage is more acute. Inventory is down about 47 percent from the selection of a year ago (1,274 listings at end of July, compared to 2,399 offerings at this time a year ago).

“Buyers aren’t recklessly over-spending, and they’ve become well-educated about the market and values,” said Gary O’Leyar, broker at Prudential Signature Properties in Lake City.

O’Leyar said a few areas in King County could be described as overheated. Builders are paying premiums for in-city properties with developmental potential, such as lots that can be used for multi-family dwellings, he said.

The median –– half-above, half-below –– asking and sale prices in King County last month were $375,000 and $340,000, respectively.

Brokers reported 10,640 pending sales throughout the 15 counties tracked by NMLS, for a 12.7 percent gain over year-ago totals. Seven counties had double-digit increases, and three counties –– Skagit, Grays Harbor and Jefferson –– reported drops in the number of pending sales (offers made and accepted, but not yet closed).

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