By Jeanne Lang Jones, Puget Sound Business Journal
The inventory of homes for sale remained tight in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties last month, with prices up most sharply in King County.
The Northwest Multiple Listing Service showed a 41.8 percent drop in total listings of single family houses and condominiums in King County in June, a 48 percent decline in total listings in Snohomish County and a 31 percent drop in Pierce County compared to June a year ago.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Builders appear to be getting more bullish on residential real estate: In May, they applied for permits to build new homes at the highest rate since September 2008, according to a government report issued Tuesday.
The increase in permits to an annual rate of 780,000 in the Census Bureau report mirrors a recent survey of builder confidence, which rose in June to its highest level since 2007, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
WASHINGTON, May 17 - Nationwide housing affordability hit a new record high for a second consecutive quarter in the first three months of this year, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI), released today. Yet tight lending conditions continue to pose a major obstacle to many prospective home buyers.
The latest HOI data reveal that 77.5 percent of all new and existing homes that were sold in this year's first quarter were affordable to families earning the national median income of $65,000. This beats the previous record set in the final quarter of 2011, when 75.9 percent of homes sold were affordable to median-income earners.
More homebuyers chased slim pickings in King County last month, sending house prices to their highest level since December 2010.
The median price of single-family homes sold last month was $360,000, up 9 percent from March and nearly 3 percent from April 2011, according to statistics released Thursday by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. It was the second month-over-month gain in median price.
By Kim Sharpe Jones, VP of Marketing, Matrix Real Estate
Several new apartment communities were announced this week, particularly in the Seattle neighborhoods of Capitol Hill and West Seattle. Concerns are erupting about the loss of favorite retailers, desired preservation of historic building facades and even future lack of sunlight on the sidewalk beneath a seven-story structure replacing one-story retail.
It's interesting to see the various developers strike a balance between preservation of existing structures and new construction. Some seem concerned with appeasing grumbling neighbors while others hide behind LLCs.
Reduced prices, record-low mortgage rates, higher rents and an improving job market appear to be emboldening many would-be buyers. Open houses are drawing crowds. A wave of foreclosures is leading investors to grab bargain-priced homes.
The recession certainly didn't bypass downtown Seattle. The city's urban core lost a whopping 12 percent of jobs between 2000 and 2010 (the rest of the country only saw a 4 percent decline), thanks in part to Washington Mutual's collapse. Between 2008 and 2011, 20,000 jobs disappeared.
But the area is in the midst of a true renaissance. As Jon Talton wrote earlier this week in the Seattle Times, downtown Seattle has not only recovered from its slump, it's thriving. Amazon's newheadquarters could bring as many as 12,000 high-paid jobs to the area. The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is opening a new campus. Even Boeing is leasing office space downtown.