Dataquick: Seattle Region June Home Sales

by 07 Aug 2012

Seattle-area home sales rose above a year earlier for the 12th consecutive month in June, when increased activity above $300,000 outweighed sales declines in some of the lower price ranges. Mirroring a trend seen in other large markets, the median sale price rose year-over-year for the third consecutive month, hitting a nearly two-year high, amid the simultaneous shift toward more mid- to high-end transactions and fewer foreclosure resales, a real estate information service reported. 


A total of 4,886 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow during June in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro area encompassing King, Snohomish and Pierce counties. June’s total sales rose 4.6 percent from the month before and increased 10.5 percent from a year earlier, according to San Diego-based DataQuick. The firm tracks real estate trends nationally via public property records.


A significant rise in sales between May and June is normal, with that increase averaging 9.8 percent since 1994, when DataQuick’s complete Seattle-area statistics begin.


The number of homes sold this June was the highest for that month since June 2007, when 7,255 homes sold. However, this June’s sales total was still 21.2 percent below the average number of homes sold during the month of June since 1994. 


The Seattle-area resale market – existing single-family houses and condos combined – posted a 9.4 percent sales gain from a year earlier, while sales of newly built homes logged a 17.3 percent increase. June sales of new Seattle-area houses and condos combined were the highest for that month in two years.


The year-over-year increase in total June sales was the result of more activity above $200,000. The number of homes that sold for less than $200,000 fell 1.0 percent from a year earlier. Sales above $300,000 rose 24.3 percent, while sales from $200,000 to $600,000 rose 14.3 percent from a year ago. The number of homes sold from $600,000 to $900,000 rose 35.4 percent year-over-year. (Note: $600,000-to-$900,000 sales represented 9.0 percent of June transactions, while sub-$200,000 deals accounted for 26.7 percent of the market and $200,000-to-$600,000 sales accounted for 60.7 percent).


Buyers paid a median $289,950 for all new and resale houses and condos sold in the three-county Seattle area during June. That was up 3.0 percent from the prior month and up 8.2 percent from a year earlier. The median began rising on a year-over-year basis this April, following 20 consecutive months of year-over-year declines.


June’s median was 20.6 percent lower than the Seattle area’s peak $365,200 median in June 2007, and it was 21.8 percent higher than the post-peak trough of $238,000 in January this year.   


Another key price measure, the median paid per square foot for resale single-family detached houses, rose to $176 in June – the highest since it was $178 in September 2010. This June’s figure rose 2.9 percent from the prior month and rose 6.8 percent from a year earlier. The median paid per square foot has risen year-over-year for two consecutive months, following 20 straight months of year-over-year declines. The June figure was 26.3 percent lower than the peak $239 median paid per square foot in June 2007. 


At the county level in June, the median price paid per square foot for resale detached houses rose 4.1 percent year-over-year in King County, while it increased 1.8 percent from a year ago in Pierce County and rose 4.7 percent in Snohomish County.


Distressed property sales – foreclosure resales and "short sales" combined – represented roughly 38 percent of the Seattle area’s resale market in June, down from about 40 percent the month before and about 43 percent a year earlier. 


Foreclosure resales – properties foreclosed on in the prior 12 months – represented 14.6 percent of the resale market in June – the lowest since October 2008, when foreclosure resales were 10.4 percent of the resale market. This June’s figure was down from 19.3 percent the prior month and down from 28.8 percent a year earlier.


Short sales – transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property – made up an estimated 23.3 percent of the Seattle-area’s June resales. That was up from 20.3 percent the month before and up from an estimated 13.9 percent a year earlier.


In June, lenders foreclosed on 594 single-family houses and condo units in the region, up 13.6 percent from the month before and down 45.2 percent from a year earlier. During the first six months of this year, 3,175 homes were foreclosed on in the Seattle area, down 52.5 percent from the same period last year. The figures are based on the number of Trustees Deeds filed with county recorder offices.


Investors and first-time buyers continue to snap up many of the distressed homes on the market.


Absentee buyers – mainly investors – accounted for 17.2 percent of the Seattle area's June home sales, up from 16.9 percent the month before and down from 25.4 percent a year earlier. Absentee buyers paid a median $215,000 in June, up 2.4 percent from a year earlier. While many of these buyers are investors, they can include second-home buyers and others who indicated at the time of sale that the property tax bill would be sent to a different address.


Many investors are among the cash buyers, who accounted for 23.9 percent of June home sales, up from 20.5 percent the prior month and 20.9 percent a year earlier. Cash buyers paid a median $256,641 in June, up 20.6 percent year-over-year.


In June, 19.9 percent of Seattle-area purchase mortgages were government-insured FHA loans, a popular, low-down-payment choice among first-time home buyers. That was down from 20.2 percent of home purchase loans the prior month, down from 25.6 percent a year earlier, and the lowest since the FHA level was 19.0 percent in June 2008. The region’s FHA level peaked for the current housing cycle at 39.9 percent in October 2009.


(chart below)


Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue,   WA MSA


Number   of sales




YOY %Chng

Resale   houses





Resale   condos





New   homes





All   homes






Median   sale price




YOY %Chng

Resale   houses





Resale   condos





New   homes





All   homes






Source:   DataQuick,



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