Market stablizing; not yet in full recovery
Certainly we’ve all read the headlines regarding the national real estate market. We’ve also all heard the old saw that “all real estate is local.” The purpose of this column is to help Mukilteans understand what those headlines mean for us here in Mukilteo. This column will analyze the local data to illustrate what is really happening in our market.
I would also like to encourage you to write in with any questions you have regarding the local real estate market, the value of your home, or any other real estate matters. I will answer them here once a month when space allows.
March real estate data
According to Northwest
Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) data, in March 2010 there were 20 residential
and condominium sales that closed within Mukilteo city limits. This is an increase of 66 percent over
March of 2009.
This represents stabilization but not a recovery to levels seen in recent years. Sales volume is still down 28 percent over the same period in 2008 and is down 61percent compared to March 2007, near the peak for our local market.
What about prices? The median sale price for a home sold in Mukilteo in March 2010 was down 15 percent compared to 2009, and down 21 percent from 2008. Oddly, however, the median sale price was actually HIGHER than it was in March 2007. No, this doesn’t mean your home is now worth more than it was at market peak! It does, however, mean that there was more activity in the high end than there had been in March of that year.
A better way to determine what is going on with prices of specific homes is to look at the change in average dollars per square foot. This comparison adjusts for differences in size and other factors. The average dollar per square foot cost of a home sold in Mukilteo in March 2010 was $181. This is down 11 percent from 2009 and down 27 percent from 2007.
Now for the good news! The first bit is in March pending sales. March was a busy month for making offers, and we currently have more than 50 homes in Mukilteo in pending status with offers.
The reason for this surge clearly seems to be the deadline for the Homebuyers Tax Credit. All homebuyers who wish to be eligible for this credit must have an offer in place by April 30 and must close on that sale by June 30. It does appear that we should see a very active spring with lots of sold signs going up, at least until the deadline runs out.
The other bright spot is that we are seeing more balanced sales activity across all price ranges. Since January 2009, homes priced higher than $1 million have made up a mere 1.3 percent of sales in Mukilteo, and homes priced higher than $500,000 have comprised just 29 percent of sales. Last month, we saw homes in these price ranges comprising 50 percent of overall sales. Looking ahead, pending sales are showing a similar distribution.
Lastly, it is important to remember that real estate is a long term investment. In spite of market fluctuations and global financial crises, there has been a significant pay-off over the last 10 years for Mukilteo homeowners. Since March 2000, home prices in Mukilteo have increased at an average of almost 7 percent per year.
This illustrates that in spite of all the bad news we’ve been hearing, Mukilteo real estate is still one of the safest and most secure investments a family can make over the long term.
Sandy Kaduce has been a Mukilteo real estate agent since 2005 and is an associate broker with Gallery Homes Real Estate in Old Town. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.