Hot Real Estate Market viewed in Washington

Thursday, February 16 2006 @ 01:15 pm UTC

Contributed by: jron

The Washington Center for Real Estate Research at Washington State University says, Despite rising prices, higher mortgage rates, declining affordability and fears that a "housing bubble" may be about to burst, the number of homes sold in Washington continued to rise in the final quarter of last year.

In the final quarter there has been 2.9 percent rate of growth for them, that is because cold weather and high cost of energy slowed at that time.

Glenn Crellin, Director of the center in Pullman said "Despite the bad press, the number of home sales during the October through December period was higher than during the last quarter of 2004, but the small year-to-year increase suggests that some slowing of the market is under way,"

The number of existing homes sold increased by 8.1 percent to a record 183,320, For the whole year of 2005.

Reports said that the median sale price soared to $275,700 during the fourth quarter, 19 percent higher than the previous year. For all of 2005, the statewide median price was $260,900, 16 percent higher than 2004. The median is the point where half the homes sold for more and half for less, Statewide.

There have been reports that in 29 counties there are double-digit increases. San Juan County was the highest median price, at $462,500. After San Juan King, Jefferson and Snohomish posted over $300,000 with $390,000, $331,000 and $315,000, respectively.

In a report for the Housing Affordability Index, which measures the ability of a middle-income family (two or more people related by blood, marriage or adoption) to afford the purchase of a median-price home using a 30-year mortgage at prevailing interest rates, they said that it continues to somewhat be more worse.

the all-buyer index of 96 slipped below 100 for the first time since the center began preparing the statistic in 1994., meaning that a typical Washington family has only 96 percent of the income required for the purchase of a median-price home, that is all on the 4th Quarter.

An expert said that "Buyers in King, Island, Jefferson, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish and Whatcom counties faced an index of below 100" and added "On the other end, Adams, Asotin, Benton, Garfield and Grant counties had index values above 150, suggesting the typical family would have little trouble qualifying for a median-priced home."

By: Dijon Wainwright