According to pretty much all the local news outlets, the story of the real estate market in July is basically "things are slowing, but." We've covered the major papers, but I wouldn't want to leave out the King County Journal or the Everett Herald, who both got a piece of the "keep the market afloat" pie. From the Journal:
Home sales activity in King County is slowing compared to last year's blistering pace. But don't bother waiting for prices to plunge, similar to what happened to tech stocks when the late '90s dot-com bubble burst.Different, different, different... Seattle is different! Wait, what's the basis for the assertion that we haven't had many investors? Is there any reference to solid statistics to back up that claim? Let's see... no. I can only assume that we're basically taking Crellin's word on that one.
While the number of homes and condos sold in King County last month is down 12 percent from a year ago, "that doesn't mean we're in a bust market by any stretch of the imagination," said Glenn Crellin, executive director of the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at Washington State University.
Crellin and other local housing market observers believe home prices in King County will keep climbing, albeit slower than the past couple of years.
Crellin said 2006 is shaping up to be another strong year for home sales in King County, even though it's off the record pace of 2005 and 2004, which may have created unrealistic expectations for some.
Despite concerns of housing bubbles in some parts of the country, including California, Arizona, Florida, Las Vegas and Washington, D.C., Crellin said King County will not likely see an overall reduction in home prices, although prices of some individual properties may fall.
The Puget Sound region differs from other parts of the country where there is greater cause for concern about housing bubbles because property sales to investors — which can boost prices beyond normal appreciation levels — has not been as great here, Crellin said.
And if you think that anti-bubble chant was shrill, just wait until you feast your eyes on the gem from the Herald:
Home sales in Snohomish and Island counties dropped in July, while the number of homes on the market increased.Phew! Oh man, we are lucky. No other place in the entire country is desirable, has a strong economy, and amenities! Let's hear it for the super special Puget Sound and the death of common sense! Woo!
The law of supply and demand and even common sense would tell you that means the area's soaring home prices finally have started to fall.
But common sense is wrong.
Median home prices in Snohomish and Island counties rose 18 percent and 19.5 percent, respectively, during the past year. And they'll likely continue to go up for a while.
In addition, analysts said, there's little chance here of the sort of bursting housing bubble that has pushed down home values dramatically in other parts of the country.
[Windermere broker Vern] Holden said he expects homes to continue to appreciate in this area.
"I don't believe we'll see a bubble," he said. "We have a limited amount of product on limited land in a desirable area with a strong economy. We are a port community, we sit on a north-south corridor. We have manufacturing, we have technology and all sorts of amenities for people. We're lucky. We're doggone lucky."
(Clayton Park, King County Journal, 08.08.2006)
(Mike Benbow, Everett Herald, 08.08.2006)