17 of the top 20 US metro areas saw increases in housing prices between May and June, but Seattle was not one of them, according to the latest Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices report. Phoenix and Las Vegas were the other metro markets where housing prices dropped from May to June.
Nationally these markets saw an average increase in housing prices of 4.2% over the previous year; while Seattle housing prices dropped 1.8% over the same period.
The National Association of Realtors reported that sales of existing homes dropped 27.4% in July from the previous July; and new homes sales dropped 54.6% in Western states from the previous year, according to a joint report by the US Census Bureau and the US Housing and Urban Development Department.
In King County, the median price of single family homes sold in August was $380,000, an increase of 1.3 percent from the year-ago figure of $375,000. Inventory on the NW Multiple Listing Service has gone up 6.4% since last year, creating a strong buyers market for "value-hunters."
Economists believe the housing sales to be artificially low due to the tax credit program pushing some sales earlier in the year. And concern remains regarding the long-term prospects for the housing market. An expected increase in FHA mortgage rates in October may further delay the housing recovery.
Yet Marcus and Millichap expects to see recovery in the local apartment market, due to anticipated growth in jobs and employment in the Puget Sound. 31,000 jobs are to be added in the Puget Sound region this year. New apartment development in the North Seattle/Northgate area however, is expected to increase vacancy rates there.