Brokers cite tax credit and rising consumer confidence with stabilizing housing activity around Washington State

 KIRKLAND, Wash. (May 5, 2010) – “While the tax credit has gone away, the buyers haven’t,” observed a board member of the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. Commenting on the MLS summary report for March, the member described the tax incentives, which expired April 30, with being the “lubricant the market needed,” but credits rising consumer confidence with “driving the engine now.”

Northwest MLS member brokers reported 9,438 pending sales during April, an increase of more than 36 percent from the same month a year ago. Of these mutually accepted offers, 7,368 of them were in the four county Puget Sound regions – the highest volume in this area since August 2006. Two counties, Grant and Pacific, reported a twofold increase in the number of units sold last month versus a year ago.

MLS figures show inventory is nearly equal to year-ago levels, closed sales jumped almost 51 percent, and sales prices in many areas reflect little variation during the past six months.  

Commenting on the latest report, two industry leaders referred to market stability. “The home buyer tax credit did what it was designed to do; it helped with stabilizing the housing market which in turn helped stimulate economic recovery,” and “It’s exciting to see the stability of the real estate market continue to improve,” said NWMLS director Bobbie Chipman, co-managing broker for Coldwell Banker Bain-Tacoma/Puyallup. “The tax credit seems to have accomplished its purpose,” she added, noting, “It motivated home buyers to enter the market place, creating a synergy that should propel us through the summer months.” 

Brokers were also upbeat when commenting on inventory and the pace of sales. NWMLS members added 12,664 new listings of single family homes and condominiums during April, up from 10,824 for the same period a year ago. At month’s end, with these additions, there were 39,999 active listings in the MLS database, about the same number as a year ago when inventory totaled 40,147 listings.

 With pending sales outperforming a year ago (9,438 for last month compared to 6,918 for April 2009), the months’ supply (an industry indicator of sales velocity) is shrinking. System-wide, there’s about a 4.24 month supply, meaning at the current sales rate, if no other homes were put on the market it would take just over four months to exhaust the supply. For the four-county Puget Sound market, there is a supply of about 3.5 months.

 The current ratio of listings to pending sales speaks favorably to market growth. “Whereas listings were static compared to April ’09, the number of pending sales increased more than 36 percent.”

  NWMLS figures show big gains in the number of high-end sales. Last month, members reported 93 closed sales of homes priced at $1 million or more, improving on the year-ago total of 52 such sales. Through the first four months of 2010, the number of closed sales that fetched $1 million or more increased 65 percent from a year ago (304 versus 184 transactions).

 Closed sales area-wide jumped nearly 51 percent from a year ago. Members notched 5,243 closings during April, up from the year-ago total of 3,478. Condo sales jumped nearly 74 percent last month for all counties combined.

 There are two types of homes on today’s market: Well priced homes in good condition that are selling within 30 days, and over-priced homes that will be sitting on the market a long time. As long as sellers remain realistic about the market value of their homes and the expectations of buyers, the strength of the market will grow.

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member brokers, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 24,000 brokers and agents. The organization, based in Kirkland, currently serves 21 counties in Western and Central Washington.

Time is running out on the tax credits!

Time is running out to get
 the home buyer tax credit!
 

Get the key to your new home & money back,
but you have to act NOW!

 Homebuyers who qualify and have not owned a home for 3 years, can receive up to an $8,000 tax credit.  
Existing homeowners who qualify and have lived in their current residence for five of the last eight years can now receive up to a $6,500 tax credit.

 In addition, low interest rates and a large inventory of homes to choose from could put your dream home within reach. To learn more about the tax credit, or just want information about buying or selling a home, contact any of our experienced

Coldwell Banker Agents @  360-293-4511
or
e-mail us for more info.

 There is only 3 weeks and 3 days left to find your home to benefit from the tax credit.

You must have a written contract in place by April 30, 2010.

 

Spring Forward on Sunday March 14th!!

Jingles wants to remind everyone that tomorrow is the start of Daylight Savings … so if you don’t want to be late on Sunday, set your clocks AHEAD 1 hour before you got to bed.

The 10 Best Places to Retire …

 

What are you looking for when choosing a place to retire? It is affordable housing? Extensive leisure and cultural interests? Opportunities for growth?  Sun? Sandy beaches? Clean air and environment? Tempting gourmet paradise? Fast & hassle-free access to health care?

All of the above is what you should be looking for.

If you are considering a would be place to retire, I say go for a place with a prosperous economy and include all or nearly all of the above “Goodies” in order to make your lifestyle a carefree retirement. Quite a few places that have such “goodies” here are just a few that make up the 10 best places to retire.…..

Anacortes, Washington

A paradise for lovers of water. Anacortes is the crown jewel of the San Juan Archipelago of Islands. A leap, and a short ferry ride away from Victoria, British Columbia. It offers plenty of water travel and leisure activities such as sailing, kayaking and motor boats. You can beach comb and other things, like hike the many trails, playing golf, camping, bird watching and the beach. The downtown area offers specialty shops, antique shops and art galleries, bed and breakfasts and gourmet restaurants.

Sarasota, Florida

A famous Gulf Coast city. And ‘the home of some of architecture more beautiful than you can imagine. It is also famous for its more than 30 kilometers of beautiful beaches and a climate that is ideal for boating, water skiing, tennis and golf. Nature lovers will be spoiled by the beautiful atmosphere of pure white sand, exotic animals and plants. Culture-loving people would be the opera, ballet and theater are here in love. It’s not a big city, but also has an urban feel safe, thanks to the fun of first class.

Ames, Iowa

Offers a real American Midwest life. It is also home to acts of great music and touring theater companies name. It attracts visitors with affordable housing, and the low crime area. Life is calm and quiet here, as you might like.

San Diego, California

If you treasure sunny weather and clear air of the sea, San Diego is the place with beautiful weather and white sandy beaches and fresh air. Want) an active lifestyle (filled with the seas and beaches? Beautiful beaches and the famous Balboa Park are just some of the places you can go to games and entertainment. Reigns this city as one of the most competitive in electronics, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. You need a little spending on housing too, though. San Diego is not cheap.

Lawrence, Kansas

Lush surroundings and attractions, including shows at the Lied Center, an active community arts center and theater, are a vibrant downtown and the market for a long-time farmer, this city is a sign of temptation. Enough places to go and participate in the work for you, if you have time for a brisk pace.

Hot Springs, Arkansas

As a spa, but what you also consider the low cost of living. And it’s a good deal in terms of housing costs – for example, on average, a single family house (1,600 to 2,100 square feet) $ 135,000 to $ 225,000.

Charleston, South Carolina

The South is one of the best places to retire. Charleston in the south, is a beautiful City, where you can enjoy many activities in a thriving economy. It ‘been called a historic city, romantic and beautiful. But one catch – you insert with the summer heat.

Hanover, New Hamsphire

A colonial enclave famous for its cross-country can better see the man. The city is also known for the life of Ivy League.

Walla Walla, Washington

If you want a quiet life, where people know each other, then this is the place for you. Allow competitionSearch for peace and tranquility with its offer of libraries and art galleries. The local universities offer numerous activities such as conferences and courses for retirees. And if you’re used to big city prices, so you get Nice cheap bargain here by surprise.

Charlottesville, Virginia

This city is blessed with the rugged and picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains serve as a fine mix of colonial and 18th century ideals. It would also look at a relaxed lifestyle retirement: Playing golf in a quiet environment, or participation in water cooling, browsing through bookstores and antique shops …..

Or do you have in other places in mind? The most important thing – it is a place of love and to enjoy life there.

Dreaming of a new home? Buy a Home & Help the Economic Recovery!

Do your part to help the economy recover and buy that dream home today! Home sales produce vital economic activity that includes not only the transaction but also other related actions such as preparing and marketing the home for sale as well as purchases by the new buyers to equip and furnish the home.

Home and property sales generate jobs. The housing market accounts for 24% of the state’s employment.

KEY POINTS

  • A first time home sale generates more than $15,00 in state and local revenue needed for vital services, from schools and roads, to health care and clean water.

  • Every 1,000 first time home sales produce $112.4 million in economic activity in our state.

  • Every 1,000 first time home sales produce 700 jobs – almost one job per home sale*

*Impact Report: Economic on Fiscal Impact of First-time Home Buyers, Feb 2009

Last Call for Baseball Gear Swap!

Clean out your garages or closets, in need of gently used Baseball gear.
Jessica Notaro of Coldwell Banker is hosting a first annual baseball equipment swap.

WHEN:  Saturday,  February 27, 2010   10am-1pm

WHERE:  Anacortes Pizza Factory

 You may drop off your donated gear prior to Friday February 26th at either of the locations below.

  1. Mt. Erie Elementary School front office

  2. Coldwell Banker Island Living( 3110 Commercial Suite 101)

 Bring the kids and shop the swap!

Staying Warm in Your Old House

An Energy Conservation Workshop
Saturday, Feb 27, 10:30 am
Anacortes Public Library Meeting Room

An Energy Conservation Workshop, sponsored by the Anacortes Historic Preservation Board, the Anacortes Museum, and the Anacortes Public Library, will help homeowners improve the efficiency of their old homes, while preserving key architectural features. Topics covered will include:

Windows. If your house was built before 1940, the window frames (and probably the entire house) were made of the highest quality old-growth timber, nearly impossible to buy today. If maintained, those windows can last almost indefinitely. Rather than replace vintage windows, simply add a storm window. You’ll get the same insulating benefit for far less cost and with fewer wasted resources.

Air Leaks. Eliminating air filtration is an easy, inexpensive, do-it-yourself project. The most frequent culprits are gaps around pipes, ducts, and electrical chases that pass through the floor into an unheated space, through the ceiling into the attic, and through exterior walls. Seal these gaps with caulk or aerosol foam insulation and caulk all the baseboards. And don’t forget to use insulating kits around electrical receptacles and switches located on outside walls.

Insulation. Most heat loss is through under-insulated attics and floors. Adding adequate insulation improves R values more than switching to the most energy efficient window. The homeowner who adds both attic and floor insulation (R38 and R30 respectively, which is required by the
Washington State Energy Code for new construction) can expect to cut their heating bill by two thirds—an excellent return on investment.

Background: Historic preservation plays a critical role in achieving community-wide sustainability. Preservation is the ultimate in resource conservation—it saves energy and reduces waste.

Consider the following:
Large amounts of energy are required to produce, transport, and erect the materials used in new construction. Conversely, significant energy and resource savings are realized when an old building is preserved. By reusing the old structure, the original energy and resource investment is
maximized; demolition and reconstruction costs are avoided, and nothing is added to the nation’s enormous waste stream.

Pre-1940 buildings were often built for the long term. They used local materials—brick, plaster, concrete, wood—thus minimizing transportation costs. And they were designed to take advantage of natural lighting, cross-ventilation, and solar/thermal properties.

Newer structures often use materials that require more resources to produce and transport. These include such energy hogs as plastic, steel, vinyl, and aluminum. New construction often relies heavily on mechanical systems rather than natural forces for climate control and lighting.
Historic preservation is another tool communities can use as part of an overall strategy to encourage energy conservation, sustainability, and smart growth. It is a sound approach to community development and revitalization while preserving important aspects of our built heritage.

The workshop will feature two speakers who are preservation specialists with the King County Historic Preservation Program.

J. Todd Scott is a nationally recognized preservation architect. He currently works with the King County Historic Preservation Program while maintaining a small consulting business providing technical assistance and training to preservation groups Todd has been involved in numerous historic rehabilitations and has been a speaker at regional and national conferences on sustainability and advocacy in preservation. He has a Master of Architecture degree in Historic Preservation and Urban Design, is a licensed architect, and a member of the American Institute of Architects.

Julie Koler brings over 28 years of experience to managing and conducting a wide range of historic preservation programs at the local, state and federal levels. Most recently she has worked at the local level developing and implementing preservation ordinances. She currently manages the King CountyHistoric Preservation Program while also providing preservation planning assistance to communities throughout the state. She specializes in development of incentives and integrating preservation into land use planning to help communities encourage best preservation practices. Julie has a Masters Degree in Public History.

Open House: Sunday, February 20th 12:00 – 2:00

4306 Marine Heights Way, Anacortes, WA. 98221
Sale Price $574,900        MLS # 29006581

Come home to luxury in this stunning new custom home in Marine Heights. Come see the exceptional craftsmanship, gorgeous stone and tile work, and beautiful hardwood. Spacious open floor plan with a dream kitchen that is more than you hope for! Slab granite, hardwood, beautiful cabinet, upgraded lighting, and lots of custom features. Entertaining for large gatherings is easy on the spacious deck with sweeping views.

Directions: North on Commercial Avenue, Left on 12th which becomes Oak Avenue, Left on Anaco Beach Road to Marine Heights. Turn Left at the entrance and follow Marine Heights Way to the property on the Left. You are there.

 

 

Open House: Sunday, February 7th 12:00 – 2:00

1220 – 31st Street, Anacortes, WA. 98221Sale Price: $369,000          MLS # 29092900

Character and location are yours in this delightful Dutch Colonial in the heart of Anacortes near Storvik Park. Large fenced corner lot w/views of Mt Baker from the top floor master bedroom. Spacious main level living with updated kitchen, laminate floors & newer carpet in the LR. 9-foot ceilings w/ crown molding. Claw foot tub in one of the bathrooms on the second floor. Abundant storage & room for bedrooms, hobbies & more. This house really has the space to make your dreams come true.     

Directions: Commercial Avenue to 32nd; west on 32nd to M; north on M Ave one block to the corner of M and 31st. See you are there.

Pending Home Sales Stabilize, Remain above Year-Ago Levels

February 3, 2010—Pending home sales have leveled from a market swing driven by response to the home buyer tax credit, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in December 2009, increased 1.0% to 96.6 from 95.6 in November, and remains 10.9% above December 2008 when it was 87.1. In November, the monthly index had fallen by 16.4% from surging activity in preceding months. [Read more…]