Home prices in Kitsap County drop slightly


The number of homes selling in Kitsap County continues to outpace this time last year, but the selling price has dropped slightly from a year ago.

That's the analysis of monthly homes sales data recently released by the Northwest Multiple Listing Services in Kirkland. It's membership includes 21,000 real estate brokers in 21 counties in Washington.

The multiple listing service data showed that 384 residential and condominium sales were completed in Kitsap County in June 2013. That's 85 more than were sold in June 2012. Year to date the numbers of closed sales are 1,640, compared to 1,283 a year ago.

But the average sales price this year was $293,076, as compared to $304,085 one year ago. That's about a 2 percent drop from last year.

The median closing sales price for single family homes and condominiums combined was $244,500, down from $250,000 in June 2012.

Median price is that at which half the homes sold above that price and the other half sold below that price.

Mike Eliason, executive director for the Kitsap Association of Realtors, said that statistic is a bit misleading.

He said in all price ranges median sales prices were very similar, except in the million dollar homes.

"Last year in June twice as many million dollar homes were sold than this year," he said. "That's what's affecting the median price data."

Kitsap median price was down by about 1 percent and compared to the overall region where the median price was up about 8 percent, he said.

Inventory of homes for sale in Kitsap County continues to be stable, with 526 new listings in June for a total of 1,479 residential properties on the market. That was just 4 percent less than a year ago. There were also 463 pending sales at the end of June.

"In Kitsap, we're better than they are in other places," Eliason said. "There's only about a two an a half month's supply of homes in King County, where we have about a four month supply. The goal is to have about a six month supply. So we're not as bad as the I-5 corridor."

There were 28 percent more closed sales happening in Kitsap County last month as compared to a year ago. Throughout the NWMLS area that closed sales averaged a 17 percent gain.

For neighborhoods within Kitsap County, prices on closed sales dropped between two to 12 percent, except in Silverdale where it remained the same at $299,975, Seabeck where it increased 16 percent to $349,000, and Bainbridge Island where it increased 19 percent to an average sales price of $696,500.

While inventory in Kitsap remains strong, NWMLS director Frank Wilson said that with interest rates rising slightly, buying power is diminishing.

"Higher interest rates gouge into buying power," Wilson said. "That decreases a buyer's ability to purchase a home."

In the past 30 days interest rates have risen about .74 percent, he said. That equates to $30,000 less for a buyer looking to purchase a home at $350,000.

"This will jump their monthly payment by $247," he said. "For an economy that is not yet firing on all cylinders, that is real money to the average family."

Wilson, who is the managing broker for John L. Scott in Poulsbo, said he sees buyers who are in contracts to purchase who did not lock in their loans who cannot now qualify to make the purchase they planned to.

"The importance of locking in a loan rate has not been an issue in the past few years but today a loan lock may save a buyer's ability to buy the home they want," he said.

Interest rates on a 30-year fixed mortgage is currently at 4.4 percent.

Eliason said he anticipates the higher interest rates will affect home sales in coming months, more so than the June figures.

Kitsap real estate agent Jamie Jensen, of John  L. Scott, said the housing market in Silverdale and north of there are great right now.

"From June 1  to July 8, 2012 for all neighborhoods of Poulsbo, and Silverdale, including Chico - there were 70 closed sales in 2012," she said. "For that exact same area June 1 to July 8, this year there were 93 closed sales. That is a nice improvement."

She said these areas are seeing quality, well priced homes, in good neighbors go very quickly, including some with multiple offers.

"It's frustrating for buyers who aren't on it every single day as good homes pass them by," she said. "And with interest rates going up, the amount people can afford is going down. There is a delicate balance in this market."


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