Solid Market Activity for January 2011

January shaped up to be a decent month…even compared to pending sales from a year ago when we had the advantage of the home buyer stimulus tax credit! Overall, Mercer Island and the Eastside performed much better than either Seattle or King County—potentially reflecting a trend toward growing demand in the moderate and higher price ranges.

Here is a quick summary of the highlights:

ACTIVE LISTINGS: The number or homes for sale was lower on Mercer Island (-16.9%) and the Eastside (-10.2%) but up in Seattle (+7.4%) and King County (+1.5%).

PENDING SALES: Mercer Island’s pending sales were up 25%; the Eastside was up 5%; Seattle was down 5%; and King County was about the same as a year ago.

CLOSED SALES: Seasonally low and typically reflecting homes that went under contract in November and December, once again Mercer Island and the Eastside were up; and Seattle and King County were down.

AVERAGE $/SQ FT: All areas saw a decline in the Average $/Sq Ft reflecting lower closed average and median sales prices for the month.

SOLD/ORIGINAL LIST PRICE DIFFERECE (%): All areas saw a slight decline in the Sold/Original List Price ratio (Note: Mercer Island had too few sales closed in January to make this a meaningful #)

SALES PRICES: With the exception of Mercer Island, all areas saw lower average and median sales prices. Mercer Island’s # were skewed by a small handful of transactions.

MONTHS OF INVENTORY (Based on Closed Sales): Favorable movement with lower months of inventory Mercer Island was seen on Mercer Island and the Eastside. King County was near even and Seattle was up somewhat.

ABSORPTION RATE (Based on Pended Sales): Aside from firsthand knowledge from the trenches, this is the most accurate measure of the market. It reflects the ratio of pending sales to active listings. The higher the percentage the stronger the buyer market. Seattle showed the highest rate of absorption (24.2%); followed by Mercer Island (22.7%); King County (19.8%) and the Eastside (19.5%).