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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Another Take On October

It seems that the nature of October's numbers depends on who you ask. The Puget Sound Business Journal sees a slight weakening in the bubble's armor:

With the first three quarters of the year resulting in some of the hottest residential real estate trends ever, the housing market in Western Washington saw a slight shift toward buyers in October. But officials with the Northwest Multiple Listing Service said activity is still robust, prices are still increasing and sellers remain in control.

The number of houses on the market at the end of October was at its highest level all year, and the number of sales pending increased 6.85 percent, the first time the growth rate has fallen short of double digits in 2005.

Prices for closed sales in October still rose 20 percent or more in most of the listing service's coverage areas compared with a year ago, listing service officials said in a news release.

Brokers added 10,853 listings to inventory during October across Northwest's original 15-county market, compared to the year-ago total of 9,375 new listings. New listings in Okanogan and Whatcom counties, added to the listing service's territory in August, brought the 17-county figure up to 11,405, officials said.

The new listings meant buyers had a choice of 22,925 properties in 15 counties, about 3 percent less than a year ago. In the four-county Puget Sound region, inventory still lagged year-ago volumes in King County (down 16.3 percent) and Snohomish County (down 7.4 percent), while Pierce and Kitsap counties registered gains, according to the release.
So, more listings were added than a year ago, but total inventory was still down, and prices are still 20% higher than a year ago. Perhaps I'm missing something, but this doesn't quite smell like the slowdown I've been waiting for. Though the higher number of added listings is certainly a number to watch, I'm not predicting anything just yet.

(Puget Sound Business Journal, 11.07.2005)

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