Spike in real estate sales; twice as many in September

More than twice as many homes were sold in the month of September this year compared to the last, and the number of pending sales doubled in the San Juan Islands as well.

According to the Multiple Listing Service, transactions closed on a total of 29 homes or condominiums in September 2012, compared to 14 during that same 30-day stretch the year before. September’s pending sales numbered 35 in 2012, versus 14 the previous year.

After the major slump that began in 2008, coinciding with the Great Recession, sales were bound to pick up at some point in time, Steve Buck of Coldwell Banker San Juan Island said. He’s seen it before.

“It happens in cycles – this is my fourth” Buck said of living with the market ups and downs. “We’ve been on an upward trend for awhile and this year has made a big jump.”

Statistics underscore that jump. A year-to-date comparison by the MLS shows 158 homes or condos have sold so far this year, as opposed to 94 through the end of September 2011. Though sales are up, Buck said two other indicators factor heavily into the market and its health overall: dollar volume and price. He said gains have been made year over year in the overall dollar-volume generated by the market, but that price factored heavily into the surge in sales.

“For anyone who’s been on the fence, there’s not much left,” Buck said of the of the low end of the market, $300,000 or less. “The inventory is rapidly going away in that area.”

Conversely, Buck said that there’s more supply than demand at the higher end of the market, $600,000 or more, and on the waterfront in particular. Still, with real estate markets showing signs of greater strength in those areas where prospective buyers have historically come from, Seattle and California, for example, he believes there soon might be a resurgence of interest in local property of higher value as well.


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