"Real Estate Resale Markets Up Statewide in General, But With Mixed Results in Some Counties"

“Real estate resale markets were up 6.4 percent statewide during this past summer from July through September, according to the third quarter Housing Market Snapshot issued by the Washington Center for Real Estate Research.The center, based on the Washington State University campus has reported that while sales increased in 24 of Washington’s 39 counties, sales declined as much as 41.2 percent in Kittitas County. Sales increased in Pierce, King, Snohomish and Spokane counties, but were down in Clark and Yakima counties.Thurston, Grays Harbor, Pacific and Lewis counties reported increased sales, yet some southwest Washington areas, including Mason and Cowlitz counties, noted small decreases compared to the number of homes sold in the third quarter of 1998.Sales prices on existing single family homes on 5 acres or less were up 3.7 percent statewide to $168,700. The median sales price of homes in King County was close to $240,000 dollars. Because King County accounts for one third of all sales in Washington, the statewide median price of existing homes may be elevated by the King County activity.Only three market areas reported prices over the statewide median. King, Snohomish and San Juan County all posted median prices over the state figure. San Juan’s median price was the highest in the state at $240,000. The county reported 150 homes sold during the summer.Lowest prices for third quarter 1999 were in the south central Washington counties. Grays Harbor County reported a median home sales price of $75,000, while Pacific County posted a median price of $80,000. Lewis County median prices were at $84,000, while Stevens, Pend Oreille, and Ferry counties in northeast Washington reported median sales prices of $92,700.According to the Housing Affordability Index, existing homes were less affordable during this past summer when compared to the period from April through June. The spring quarter index was rated at about 121, while the summer quarter index slipped to 116.3. The Housing Affordability Index represents the ability of an average family to qualify for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage assuming a 20 percent down payment and an income equal to the average family income for the area. Data for the quarterly Housing Market Snapshot is collected and compiled by the Washington Center for Real Estate Research.”