North Kitsap housing market showing positive signs

POULSBO — September median home prices in Kitsap County were the fifth-highest in Western Washington, according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, which tracks real estate data in 21 counties.

The median closed-sale price was $240,250, up 4.46 percent over the same month in 2011. There were 379 new listings in September, up from 355 the previous year; and 1,552 total listings, down from 1,792. There were 346 pending sales, up from 320; and 238 closed sales, up from 207.

The real estate market has shown steady improvement over the year, climbing from a median sale price of $177,900 in January to the $220,000s in spring to the mid-$240,000s in summer. The number of closed sales has climbed from a low of 131 in January, while the number of homes on the market has remained steady, in the 1,500s, as new listings keep pace with an improving market.

Frank Wilson, a member of the Northwest MLS board of directors and managing broker of John L. Scott Real Estate in Poulsbo, told the MLS that some sellers with “well-priced, well-prepared homes” are receiving multiple offers. Those sellers seem willing to wait for the right offers; buyers who make unrealistic offers and requests are “back on the street looking at their second choice home,” he said.

Brenda Prowse, at the time of Prowse & Company in Poulsbo, said homes in Kingston — which she called the “largest of the remaining housing markets in North Kitsap” — sold for a median price of about $230,000 at the end of August, 77 percent higher than the previous year and 4 percent higher than the previous month.

“Month-to-month fluctuations in the low-volume Kingston market make these raw numbers difficult to interpret,” Prowse said. “The more stable three-month average — $221,291 — of closed-sale price is 11 percent lower than a year ago. The three-month average of closed sales was 92 percent higher than a year ago, while the number of pending sales was 180 percent higher than a year ago.”

The number of active listings in Kingston — 63 — is 23 percent lower than a year ago. The inventory turnover — total homes on the market divided by number sold last month — is 4.8 months, much faster than the 14-month turnover reported last month and the 27-month turnover of a year ago.

“Kingston is still a buyer’s market,” Prowse said.

Ditto in Poulsbo. The three-month average closed-sale price was $298,689, about 3 percent lower than the previous year, Prowse reported. But the number of closed sales in Poulsbo rose 40 percent from a year ago and pending sales were up 70 percent. The number of Poulsbo listings (89) was 29 percent lower than a year ago. Turnover was 3.7 months, faster than the 4.5-month turnover rate of the previous month and 8.3 months the previous year.

Regionwide, the real estate market is showing signs of recovering, according to the MLS.

Through three quarters of 2012, closed sales are up 14.6 percent from a year ago. Regionwide, prices on September’s closed sales rose 9.2 percent from the previous year. The area-wide median price on single-family homes and condominiums was $255,500.

Wilson gives this advice to sellers and buyers in today’s real estate market.

“We used to say the seller who priced and staged their home the best would get buyers. Today we’re saying buyers who are most realistic with their offers and pre-approved with a lender, and who are the most aggressive might get the house they want,” he said.

“This is what a normal market looks like — buyers and sellers negotiating fairly with each other and each feeling they may have left a little on the table,” Wilson remarked.

A buyer’s path for success includes pre-approval with a lender, sufficient funds to pay their own closing costs, and patience.


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