Eye on the Market

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The Puget sound real estate market is still humming right along in most areas. Recently released MLS statistics show home prices in August were lower than record-setting July. Inventory is up 7 percent in August over August 2013, but the market is still tight.

The King county median house sales price was down 6.6 percent from the previous month and only up 1.6 percent from the same month in 2013. “What we are seeing now with the market is a moderated growth in appreciation, a normalizing of sales volume, and continued health overall,” declared MLS director George Moorhead in a recent press release.

Interest rates have begun to tick up slightly, perhaps signaling the start of an upward trend. As interest rates rise, buyers will need to adjust to their new home level of affordability. This may mean fewer buyers for the current inventory of homes at every price point. Sellers currently seeing multiple offers that have driven prices higher in recent months, may see fewer offers, (and buyers, less competition) but tight inventory is still working to the advantage of the seller. Rising rates may also have another effect: motivated buyers who locked in low rates with their lender may be more aggressive in an effort to hang on to the low rate.

Overall, fall is a great time to buy and sell. According to Realtor.com, next to the spring season, autumn is the busiest season for home buying and selling in many areas. Fall buyers are eager to take advantage of year-end tax breaks they may be eligible for, move before the inclement weather sets in and be settled in time to celebrate the holidays in their new home. These factors may make for more motivated fall buyers, unlike springtime home shopper who may feel they still have time to wait for new listings to come on the market.

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