Home/Mortgages/Monthly Homes Sales Decline in Seattle but Higher than Last Year.

November 7, 2011 (Shirley Allen)

Monthly home sales in the Seattle area declined as expected from August to September but were above last years levels for the third consecutive month according to real estate information provider DataQuick.

A total of 3,747 new and resale homes and condos closed escrow in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro area in September. Sales were 11.8 percent lower than August, but were 26.2 percent higher than in September of 2010.

Home sales in the region typically fall 10.6 percent between August and September. Sales were 27.4 percent below average for a September and the fourth lowest on record for that month surpassed only by 2010, 2008, and 1996.

Like most areas of the country, new home sales remained at depressed levels, posting the second lowest amount of sales on record for a September. The lack of new home sales dragged the total sales amount down considerably as existing home sales were 30.7 percent higher than a year ago and were the highest in four years.

Cash buyers accounted for 19.9 percent of all purchases in September, which was down from 22.2 percent in August and down from 20.6 percent a year earlier.

The price that cash buyers are paying continues to decline as the median price paid by a cash buyer in September was $208,809, which is down 4.7 percent from August, and 15.9 percent lower than September of 2010.

Absentee buyers, usually investors and vacation home buyer’s, accounted for 16.7 percent of all homes sold in September. The prices they paid were also less than previous months with the median price paid in September being $196,500, down 1.8 percent from August and down 14.6 percent from September of last year.

The overall median price paid for new and resale homes and condos in September was $259,000, which was down 1.7 percent from August and down 9.1 percent from September of last year. It was the 14th consecutive month that year-over-year home prices declined.

The current median price is 29.1 percent below the peak median price of $365,200 in June 2006.

Distressed sales accounted for 47.1 percent of the resale market in September as foreclosures accounted for 29.1 percent of the distressed sales, up from 28.6 percent in August, and short sales accounted for 18.0 percent of the distressed sales, up from 16.1 percent in August.

Foreclosures dipped in September with lenders foreclosing on 1,033 single-family homes and condos, down 19.7 percent in August and down 24.5 percent from September of 2010. Foreclosures are up 24.4 percent during the first nine months of 2011 compared to the same period in 2010.

Tags: DataQuick, existing home sales, Seattle, distressed properties, resale homes, condos, cash buyers, investors, median price