Spring Numbers:  Better Than Spring Weather!

Let’s start with the latest sale & price numbers and then look at the broader picture. 

May to June:  Unit sales up (4.9% in Bellingham, 6.9% overall)
                       Average sale price up (19.6% in Bellingham, 12.9% overall)
                       Median sale price up (15% in Bellingham, 13.8% overall)

Analysis:  Higher unit sales are not necessarily typical from May to June, so these are good.  Higher average and median sale prices reflect more sales in the upper price levels…not necessarily increased prices for individual homes.

June 2012 Numbers
Bellingham Sales  86        Overall Sales  201
Bellingham Average  $366,691      Overall Average  $306,469
Bellingham Median  $297,500      Overall Median  $273,170

June 2011 to June 2012
Unit sales up (17.8% in Bellingham, 9.8% overall)
Average sale price up (0.7% in Bellingham, 2.2% overall)  
 Median sale price up (14.4% in Bellingham, 7.1% overall)

Analysis:  It’s always encouraging to see monthly sales number top the year before.  In this case, countywide, there were more sales than any June since 2009 (and also beat 2008).  The change in the median is based on number of sales in different price ranges, so this is an indicator that we may be seeing more move up or move in buyers.

Year to Date: 
Unit sales up (3.2% in Bellingham, 11% overall)
Average sale price mixed (+1% in Bellingham, -0.9% overall)
Median sale price mixed (+1.9% in Bellingham, -2% overall)

Analysis:  Bellingham is leading what could be the beginning of a recovery.  It is 42% of overall sales but seems to be growing more than other areas in the higher price ranges, based upon the median numbers.  In looking at monthly versus year to date numbers, it seems that prices as well as unit sales are strengthening as the year progresses. 

Year to Date Numbers
Bellingham Sales  389      Overall Sales  929
Bellingham Average  $322,559
Overall Average $274,725
Bellingham Median  $275,000     
Overall Median  $245,000

A major impact on the market has been the number of short sales and bank owned properties available.  Typically they are priced lower and tend to drag down other sales.  Let’s look at what has happened with these distressed properties over the past 12 months.

Click the image above to view it in full size.

What this tells me is there are fewer distressed properties coming on the Bellingham market.  See the bulge in the numbers of pending short sales relative to active and sold short sales?  That means a huge number of them aren’t closing.  Note that bank owned properties are much more likely to sell than are short sales.  Also look at the number of homes for sale in Bellingham at the end of June last year versus this year…it’s down by almost 20%.  Inventory in the price range from $250,000 to $400,000 is down by almost 40% from a year ago. So what do I see coming up?  I see homes that are nice and are priced correctly selling quickly, often with multiple offers and at higher prices than they would have generated a year ago.  I see buyers being disappointed because they want to “think about” a great house that sells to someone who could make a quick decision.  I also see sellers overpricing their homes and sitting there, wondering why, if the market is so good, their house doesn’t sell.  Yes, real estate is still all about location…but if you don’t have the condition and the price right, you’ll be in that location long after a house that has it right

www.JohnsonTeamRealEstate.com also includes a constantly updated list of newly listed properties and a list of properties being offered as short sales & foreclosures (REOs), as well as the entire listing database of the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, fully searchable to your specifications.