August 14, 2012 (Shirley Allen)

Monthly sales of new and resale homes in the Seattle area were at their highest level in five years during June, exceeding last year’s tally by over ten percent, while home prices improved year-over-year for the third consecutive month according to real estate information provider DataQuick.

A total of 4,886 new and resale homes and condos closed escrow in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro area in June. Sales were 4.6 percent higher than the 4,671 homes sold in May, and were 10.5 percent higher than the 4,423 homes sold in June of 2011.

Home sales in the region typically increase 9.8 percent between May and June but were still 21.2 percent lower than the historical average in the area for the month.

Cash buyers accounted for 23.9 percent of all purchases in June, which was up from 20.9 percent a year earlier. The median price that cash buyers paid for their purchases increased to $256,641, up 17.9 percent from June of 2011.

Absentee buyers, usually investors and vacation home buyer’s, accounted for 17.2 percent of the homes sold in June, down from 25.4 percent a year ago. The median price they paid for their purchases increased to $215,000, up 17.9 percent from June of last year.

The overall median price paid for new and resale homes and condos in June was $289,950, which was up from $281,437 in May and up from $268,000 in June of last year.

The current median price is 20.6 percent below the peak median price of $365,200 in June 2007.

Distressed sales accounted for 37.9 percent of the resale market in June with foreclosures accounting for 14.6 percent of the re-sales, down from 19.3 percent in May, while short sales accounted for 23.3 percent of the area’s re-sales, which was up from 19.3 in May.

Foreclosure activity took a turn for the worse in June with lenders foreclosing on 594 single-family homes and condos, up 13.6 percent from May but still down 45.2 percent from June of 2011.

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