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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Slowdown Marches Northward Through Olympia

As I've been following the other bubble blogs over the past year or so, it has seemed like the housing slowdown is slowly moving from the south to north and east to west, with our state being at the trailing end of market realities. In the recent months, I've seen articles first about slowing in San Diego, then LA, then Sacramento, then Portland/Vancouver, and now... Olympia.

The South Sound real estate market is beginning to evolve from a seller's market to more of a buyer's market as inventory levels rise and home prices decline, according to Olympic Multiple Listing Service data released Wednesday.

Active home listings in March stood at 1,047, well above the 568 active listings for last March, the data showed.

As a result, the median price of a home dropped slightly from $248,475 in January to $244,575 in March.

"We are seeing some stabilization in pricing based on the inventory in the marketplace," said Olympic MLS Manager Jerry Wilkins.

Still, the March median price of $244,575 was up 22 percent over the same period last year, according to the data.
Of course, "was up 22 percent over the same period last year" sounds a lot better than "is stalled at the same level it was five months ago in October." It will be interesting to see how they spin it if this keeps up for another half a year and the "same period last year" was the same or higher.

(Rolf Boone, The Olympian, 04.06.2006)


Anonymous said...

I'm finding it interesting how many different words like 'softening', 'cooling', 'off trend', 'seasonal hiccup', 'returning to normal','slight adjustement'...are being thrown around to mask the market downslide into what might very well be an economic abyss our country hasn't seen in over a generation....

Mikhail said...

Are there any places to see trend data in listings and sales for the Puget Sound? It would be interesting to see how things have been progressing elsewhere.

Eric said...

According to the The News Tribune inventory was up 77% from last year in Thurston County, Pierce County 23%. Interestingly King county's inventory was down 5% so Seattle residents may need to wait a little longer.

Mikhail said...

What about housing starts? Any info on trends for construction in the Puget Sound? A lot of my acquaintances seem to have the impression that very little construction is occuring in the Puget Sound (due to zoning laws, etc) which will keep a permanent lid on supply.

Anonymous said...


Just check in on some RE sites. If you'd been checking off and on for the past few months, you'd notice that, suddenly, a lot of new construction is coming on the market.

In Bellingham, HALF of the homes on the MLS were onstructed in '05 and '06, with more to come.

There are areas of Seattle where new construction is getting dumped on the market in the past month.

Just choose a section of the city and watch the list.

Anonymous said...


New construction is EVERYWHERE in Seattle. Driving around Ballard/Phinney, old single-lot craftsman are getting bulldozed and 6 to 9 unit townhouse complexes are getting dumped right on top of them... its rampant and there's no sign of slowing

zed said...

This isn't too surprising. Olympia is dominated by state workers whose salaries are rather modest and who receive no bonuses, stock, or any of that other stuff. In my opinion, prices in the area have exceeded the area's wage base and appear to be moving back towards reality..