November 30, 2012 (Shirley Allen)

Monthly sales of new and resale homes in the Seattle area fell by double-digits in September but still exceeded the previous year’s tally for the twelfth consecutive month according to real estate information provider DataQuick.

A total of 3,988 new and resale homes and condos closed escrow in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro area in September. Sales were 19.2 percent lower than the 4,934 homes sold in August, but were 6.1 percent higher than the 3,758 homes sold in September of 2011. Sales were still at their highest level for the month in five years despite the sizeable drop in purchases.

Sales for the month were expected to be lower because September only had 19 business days compared to a normal month that typically has 21 or 22 business days. However, on a daily basis, homes sales were still 6.7 percent lower than the previous month.

Home sales in the region typically decline 11.1 percent between August and September and were 21.8 percent lower than the historical average in the area for the month.

Cash buyers accounted for 22.7 percent of all purchases in September, which was up from 19.9 percent a year earlier. The median price that cash buyers paid for their purchases increased to $247,531, up 18.5 percent from September of 2011.

Absentee buyers, usually investors and vacation home buyer’s, accounted for 15.9 percent of the homes sold in September, down from 16.7 percent a year ago. The median price they paid for their purchases increased to $219,500, up 12.6 percent from September of last year.

The overall median price paid for new and resale homes and condos in September was $294,480, which was up from $290,000 in August and up from $259,560 in September of last year.

The current median price is 19.4 percent below the peak median price of $365,200 in September 2007.

Distressed sales accounted for 34.2 percent of the resale market in September with foreclosures accounting for 10.8 percent of the re-sales, down from 29.1 percent a year ago, while short sales accounted for 23.4 percent of the area’s re-sales, which was up from 17.0 in September of last year.

Tags: Seattle real estate, existing home sales, distressed properties, resale homes, condos, median price