May Statistics

By George Thurtle

The numbers from Trendgraphix are in for May and overall the market has seen increses in both prices and volumes.¬† West Bellevue saw its average home sale price rise 37% from March to May from¬†$885,000 to $1,212,000.¬† East¬†Bellevue saw its average price rise from $477,000 to $535,000. Traditionally East Bellevue¬†is less prone to the large swings because of the larger volumes and overall¬†more affordable price average.¬† The other¬†significant news was the reduction of inventories. East Bellevue is now approaching less than 6 months of inventory; this is considered a traditionally stable market. However one key statistic appears stuck and that is the average price per sq.¬†ft. In East Bellevue this number has¬†hovered around $220 per sq. ft. since March and about $300 per sq. ft.¬†for West Bellevue.¬†¬†It appeasrs that what has driven the averges up is a higher proportion of more expensive homes, particularly those over $1,000,000.¬† This is due to “Jumbo” financing coming back into the market. As an example now BofA is offering loan amounts to $1,000,000 with 20% down.¬† What the static per sq. ft. number tells me is that buyers have drawn a line in the sand for what they are willing to pay.¬† In markets that are appreciating the averages move with the per sq. ft. prices.¬† In the graphs for May you will see that per sq. ft. averages moved down with the overall home price averages. In¬†King County and the lower price ranges you are seeing mild upticks to the per sq. ft. averages but they are still lagging compared to the price averages.¬† Buyers are reluctant and only will buy if they see opportunity. If rates keep heading up it could crimp volumes.

The good news is that the market has reached a point that is “quantifiable”, sellers know pretty much where they have to be to sell and buyers are given an indication where other buyers are looking to enter the market.¬† Before it was astab in the dark. If you are a seller I would be careful on my pricing and avoid “irrational exuburence”.¬† If you check the weekly Altos Stats you see that listing inventory is swelling as sellers see homes move. This trend plus rising rates will probably keep buyers in their “opportunity” mode.¬† If you are a buyer being overly aggrsive on your offers will probably be counterproductive and you will see the better inventory get picked off while the less desirable inventory will probably keep drifitng downward.

This blog will look to keep you informed and the weekly Altos Stats are a great tool which gives pretty good indiciations of short term trends to base your decisions on.

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