As regular readers know, I keep track of the national media spin on real estate matters because our Bainbridge Island home sales often reflects the tone we all pick up from the feel of the wider market. So let’s not beat around the bush: again in August, the residential real estate picture continued its rise. It has been sensible to remain cautiously optimistic about the direction of things for a good long while, but at this juncture, it’s finally beginning to look like a trend has taken shape.
“For the fifth consecutive month,” the Wall Street Journal reported in its news pages, “sales of previously owned homes notched another rise.” Bainbridge Island homeowners who have gone through literally years of sinking prices and moribund home sales must be worried as they read this –worried that someone will snap them out of this pleasant daydream. But it’s real: despite most of the other national economic news that remains considerably less encouraging, the real estate picture is heartening.
The National Association of REALTORS®, agrees. They report that single family homes, condominiums and townhomes increased sales. Single family home sales rose 9.9% over last year, with condo sales jumping a full 14%.
A low inventory of homes for sale is believed to be at least partially responsible for strong new homes sales numbers. The nation’s biggest builder of luxury homes, Toll Brothers, reported a sales leap of 57% from last year. Meantime, the price picture showed the kind of growth you would expect: median prices were up over 9% from a year ago.
Supporting trends were also interesting. Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales) were down markedly, reflecting a tightening supply. This is probably an indication that the glut of such properties has finally worked its way through the market; certainly an encouraging sign for homeowners who have been waiting to list until the home sales market strengthens. The WSJ news story would likely provide some encouragement: they feature one would-be buyer who bid on a home, but lost it to a higher bidder. He and his wife had been viewing homes all summer before finally making their offer. “Maybe I stepped in a month too late,” he’s quoted as saying.
For Bainbridge Island and Kitsap County homeowners who have been biding their time, that kind of quote will surely be music to their ears. If you have been watching and waiting for your own entry into the Bainbridge market, I hope you will give me a call to investigate the latest comparables in your own neighborhood.