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Sequim Home Sales 2014 and 2015

Sequim home sales have been improving, but I thought it might be helpful to see a visual aide on Sequim home sales that compares sales in 2014 and 2015. Enlarge the image below by clicking on it with your mouse. Below the bars you’ll see the price range. 100-200 means $100,000 to $200,000.

Sequim Home Sales

Sequim Home Sales

The blue bars represent Sequim home sales in 2014 (light bar) and 2015 (dark bar). The green bars represent Port Angeles home sales in 2014 (light bar) and 2015 (dark bar). The chart is easier to see if you enlarge it. This is interesting data, because it tells us a story.

Sequim Home Sales in 2014 vs. 2015

Once again the majority of homes sold were under $400,000. As you can see, the number of homes sold in the higher price ranges are small (shown above each bar). We can also see that in 2015 as in 2014, more homes sold in every price range in Sequim than in Port Angeles, except below $200,000.

Above $200,000, there were more Sequim home sales in all but one price range ($700,000 to $800,000), but that was only a difference of two homes. Overall, there were many more Sequim home sales in 2015 than in 2014, and this is good news. That’s especially visible from $200,000 to $300,000 on the chart.

Sequim home sales are especially strong from $200,000 to $500,000. We’re coming up on a presidential election, and there are patterns for the economy and the real estate market in election years. After an election like this one, the economy is likely to show signs of strength throughout 2016. It is my opinion that 2016 will show us strong Sequim home sales.

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Real Estate Market Report June 2015

The Sequim real estate market report for June of 2015 confirms the trend of an improving market, but alone this report doesn’t tell us anything startling. Probably the most interesting data is the increase in the number of homes sold in June.

Real Estate Market Report

It’s been a very interesting real estate market this year. Sales have picked up and the inventory is way down. In June home sales were 26% higher than in May and 35% higher over June of last year. That’s a big increase, and it indicates buyers are more aggressive this year than in past years. Many listings are selling at full price, and there’s now some competition among buyers on many properties. 

Real Estate Market Predictions

The data doesn’t tell the whole story about buyers and their motivations. Many buyers are not finding their ideal home. I believe if the inventory wasn’t so limited right now, we would see even higher sales numbers. That would place us at about the same total sales numbers as we had in our peak year, 2005. I believe we have some pent-up demand that will mean continuing and maybe increased sales in the months ahead.

I created showing sales from 2005 to 2015, which you can view at Sequim Real Estate Market Trends.

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Sequim Real Estate Market Video January 2015

The Sequim real estate market continues to slowly improve. The average days on market (DOM) was down 17% in January compared to last year. The median sales price was just over $250,000. The number of homes sold decreased 9% year over year and decreased 5% month over month. Active listings were up 6% from one year earlier, and the median listing price was just under $280,000.

Sequim Real Estate Market

Buyers continue to arrive in Sequim and Port Angeles to look at homes, and they are buying, albeit slowly and steadily. We don’t have a large inventory, and this is a small rural community, but that also makes it a challenge to find the perfect home. There are not a lot of homes to choose from, and when a home is sold, there is not always another coming on the market to replace it. I recommend you plan ahead many months before you come to look at homes, and filter through the Sequim homes on an accurate MLS site, like Sequim Homes for Sale, filter and build your short list to see when you come.

Sequim Real Estate Market Videos

Sequim real estate market videos are brought to you by iRealty Virtual Brokers, dba Sequim and Port Angeles Real Estate, and by Chuck Marunde. You can watch the series of videos at Sequim Real Estate Market Videos.

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Sequim Homes Sold by Price 2013

What are the prices of Sequim homes sold? And how does that compare to Port Angeles? If you’re looking at homes in Sequim or P.A., and you are wondering what the price distribution is for homes sold, this may be of interest. This data only includes site built homes and does not include mobile homes.

Sequim Homes Sold in 2013

Sequim Homes Sold by Price

In 2013 a total of 154 Sequim homes sold from $100,000 to $200,000, and 171 Port Angeles homes sold.  In the price range of $200,000 to $300,000 those numbers are 169 and 92, respectively. Generally, you could almost say that twice as many homes sold in each $100,000 price category in Sequim as in Port Angeles starting at $200,000. From $600,000 to $700,000 three times as many homes sold in Sequim as in P.A., and from $700,000 to $800,000 three homes sold in Sequim in 2013 and none in P.A. 

Sequim Homes and P.A. Homes Sold

In the higher price ranges, only one home sold in Sequim and P.A. combined in 2013 above $800,000, and only three sold in Sequim above $700,000. Of Sequim homes and P.A. homes sold under $200,000, the vast majority are just under $200,000. In other words, don’t expect to find a livable home priced anywhere close to $100,000. A very humble home starts at around $175,000 plus. Now you know the prices of Sequim homes sold. 

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Sequim Real Estate Market Report Feb 2014

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Looking at Sequim Homes

Who is looking at Sequim homes in the winter?  Many buyers are. I’ve been out showing Sequim homes to two different buyers this week with temperatures dipping to freezing and below. As always, I had a great time taking my clients around and showing them homes. We looked at several gorgeous homes, and three had very impressive water views. Every showing is an adventure and each home has a story.

Sequim Homes

Sequim Homes for Sale

Last month from November 1st to November 30th, buyers closed on 91 properties in Clallam County. There are 20 week days in November, so this means that 4 or 5 homes closed every day in November. And this is November in the middle of a cold winter. In this small market, those are big numbers. In November of 2012 only 55 properties were sold. This November’s sales are a massive 60% increase over last year. Let no one say homes don’t sell in the winter in Sequim and Port Angeles. This is proof beyond a reasonable doubt that homes are selling all year long here.

Sequim Homes Sold

The homes that sold last month are in all price ranges all the way up to almost one million dollars. The homes I showed yesterday are gorgeous homes ranging in price from $498,000 to $1.1 million. Two of the homes that I sold in November included a $500,000 home in Port Townsend and a $225,000 home in Brinnon, which is 25 minutes down Highway 101 from Sequim. I helped my buyers on that sale to purchase the home from a Bankruptcy Trustee. The home will require perhaps $200,000 to finish it, but then it will be worth roughly $800,000. It was a very complex buying process, because a Trustee has a different set of legal requirements when it comes to selling an asset like a home. It took about a year to get that transaction closed.

Serious qualified buyers do not stop planning their retirement move just because the temperature doesn’t cooperate with their travel plans. Actually, coming to Sequim may be a reprieve, especially if your coming from Colorado or New York or Texas where all the bad weather is creating problems. Sequim homes are selling even in these winter months. Which online MLS website is the best? I recommend Sequim4Sale.com. Come to Sequim and let me show you some Sequim homes.

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Sequim Homes – Sales Picking Up Dramatically

Sequim homes are selling at a substantially increased pace. I’ve compiled data for the first quarter of every year since 2003 to get an accurate picture of how Sequim homes sold so far in 2013 compares with past years.  Here’s a nice visual aide that makes the point better than words.

Sequim Homes Sold – Visual Aide

Sequim Homes

Sequim Homes Sold – The Interpretation

The peak of the real estate market in Sequim was 2005, and for Port Angeles it was 2007.  Sequim homes sold started a steady decline from 2005 to 2009 with a burst of activity in 2010, and then 2011 and 2012 maintained lower but level sales numbers.  As the tall blue bar shows so clearly, in the first quarter of 2013, Sequim homes sold took a huge leap to 96. That is a 100% increase over last year at this time.

Sequim Homes and The Real Estate Market

While this is generally good news for sellers, it may not be for buyers.  Some buyers are having some difficulty finding their ideal retirement home, and that is precisely because the best homes in the best areas are selling.  That segment of the inventory is shrinking.  Will this momentum in home sales continue throughout 2013?  That remains to be seen, but we certainly are off to a good start for 2013.  Sequim homes are selling in a surprisingly strong market right now. 

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Sequim Home Sales Increase

Sequim home sales have seen a substantial increase so far in 2013.  In this graph you can see that in the first three months of 2013 compared with the first three months of 2012, sales have increased by large margins.  This is good news for home sellers, but for buyers it means market prices are stabilizing and inventory is shrinking.

Sequim Home Sales

Sequim Home Sales Leap

January sales have increased by 33%, February sales increased by almost 300%, and March Sequim home sales have increased by 33%.  These are extraordinary increases in sales during the slow winter months of January through March.

Sequim Home Sales Increasing

More evidence can be seen in this article about Sequim Home Sales comparing each month’s sales in 2011 and 2012. And in this article about Sequim Homes Sales prices bottoming out.  And in this third article entitled Sequim Real Estate Selling and Inventory Shrinking.

Sequim Home Sales

All of this means that buyers are now having to make timely decisions once they find their ideal home.  Procrastination can mean someone else made that offer and bought the home you wanted.  This is no sales pitch.  The market data and the pace of selling has increased so much, some buyers are having difficulty finding their ideal retirement home.  Sequim homes sales are on the increase and that is good news if the real estate market continues to recover.

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Sequim Home Prices: Sold v. Listing Price

Sequim home prices are not easy to understand for buyers from out of state.  When you come to look at homes in Sequim, how can you know if Sequim home prices are reasonable.  The last thing a retiree wants to do is overpay for their retirement home.  

Sequim Home Prices Reasonable?

With almost 1,400 articles on this Sequim real estate blog, you’ll find dozens of articles specifically addressing prices, how buyers can determine fair market value, how buyers can be sure they’re not overpaying, and how to negotiate the best possible price.  In addition, I give buyers books written about Sequim real estate, which include chapters on Sequim home prices and fair market value.  Did I mention that all of this is absolutely free?

Sequim Home Prices and What’s Behind Door 1

Here’s another valuable piece of information for buyers about Sequim home prices.  I love cracking open the hidden door of truth for buyers, and I’m doing again here.  You’ll see public data on the selling prices of homes as a percentage of their listing price, and that percentage is often quoted in the mid-90s. For example, the first three months of this year the MLS (multiple listing service) shows real estate selling at about 94% of it’s “original listing price.”  Oh my.  Wait until I show you how flawed that statistic is.  

Sequim Home Prices

Here is a chart showing Sequim home prices for the first three months of 2013, comparing the MLS data representing the percentage that the selling price is of the “original listing price” and the real original listing price as a percentage of the selling price.  I’ll explain the difference.

Sequim Home Prices Compared

Statistics on prices must be intelligently used and interpreted. It doesn’t help you much to lump all home and land sales in all price ranges into one average statistic, especially when incorrect data is used.  What is more helpful is segregating the market, taking homes that you might buy, and then carefully filtering the data and interpreting it accurately. Here I only used homes that sold from $200,000 to $400,000. That’s likely to be your price range.   (more…)

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Sequim Home Prices Bottom in 2011

Have Sequim home prices bottomed out?  There’s good news from around the country.  One of the most widely followed measures of home price changes is the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index.  It tracks price changes monthly in 20 major U.S. cities. In December, the value of homes in the 20 cities Case-Shiller measures rose by 6.8% year-over-year.

Sequim Home Prices Compared to Nationwide

In Lost Angeles, there was a 10.2% rise in home prices last year. In 2012 housing prices rose 10.6% in Miami, 12.2% in Minneapolis, 12.9% in Las Vegas, 13.6% in Detroit, 14.4% in San Francisco, and 23% in Phoenix.  But what about Sequim home prices?  What about the Sequim and Port Angeles area?

Sequim Home Prices

Sequim Home Prices Bottom

I compiled the sales records going back to 2006, and this graph shows the average sales price of all Sequim homes sold from $150,000 to $500,000.  Actually, I included all Clallam County, which of course is primarily Sequim and Port Angeles.  Clearly the data shows us that the average price of Sequim home prices bottomed out in 2011.  The trend is unmistakable.  From 2006 prices decline every year through 2011, and then there is a leap from $236,000 to $248,000 in 2012, and again another increase in 2013 thus far.

Sequim Home Prices on the Rise

I’m cautious about proclaiming a market recovery, and I’m not doing that here.  What I would suggest is that the sales data indicate we are in the second year of increasing prices.  That’s pretty solid data demonstrating that Sequim home prices are on the increase.

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How do Sequim homes sold compare to Port Angeles homes sold during the calendar year 2012?  I’ve organized the data by price ranges to make more sense out of the data.  As a buyer, you may want to compare Sequim homes and Port Angeles homes, and this chart is one way to see what has been happening.

Sequim Homes vs. Port Angeles Homes

Sequim Homes

Sequim Homes v. Port Angeles Homes Interpretation

Here’s what this information reveals on the supply and demand of Sequim homes and P.A. Homes in 2012.  Port Angeles sold 57% of the homes under $200,000 compared to Sequim’s 43%. But apparently, Sequim wins in all higher price ranges.  Port Angeles sold 35% of homes from $200,000 to $300,000, while Sequim homes sold accounted for 65%.  From $300,000 to $400,000 Sequim won 76% to 24%, and from $500,000 to $600,000 it was Sequim 88% and Port Angeles 12%, and finally at $600,000 and above Sequim homes sold represented 75% of sales and Port Angeles homes sold represented only 25%.

Sequim Homes Sold in Larger Numbers

I think it is fair to draw two conclusions from this data.  [Source of data:  Olympic Listing Service].  First, for all homes sold below $200,000, Port Angeles sells slightly more homes than Sequim, but in all higher price ranges, Sequim homes sold are accounting for about 75% of sales and Port Angeles only 25%. Clearly, retirees are drilling down on Sequim homes much more than Port Angeles homes.

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Sequim Homes Sold 2011 to 2012

Sequim homes sold have increased in 2012 compared to 2011. I’ve compiled data showing Sequim homes sold in each month of both years. 

Sequim Homes Sold

Sequim Homes Sold on the Increase

Total Sequim homes sold in 2012 have increased by 18% over 2011.  That’s good news.  That’s a big jump in sales.  I don’t think we can jump to conclusions, in other words, I don’t think we should conclude that the real estate market is in recovery now.  But it still is a good sign, and should be an encouragement to homeowners wishing to sell their homes in Sequim and Port Angeles.

Sequim Homes Sold

You can see on this chart that sales in April, May, and June were substantially up in 2012 compared to 2011, but the last quarter of the year had improvements in each month, too.  I’m also pleased to report that this brokerage is selling more than our share of homes each month, even during the winter months.  That has a lot to do with our massive Internet marketing approach that reaches out to buyers all over the country.  

Sequim Homes Sold

If you are a homeowner planning to sell your home, email us your questions (or call anytime), and we will be glad to help in any way we can with no obligation.  Hopefully, this report on Sequim homes sold has been encouraging to you.

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Sequim Home Sales Get Ready for 2013

Sequim home sales picked up in the last quarter of the year by a significant margin over the same time last year.  This was good news for many home sellers, but not for all.  Many still are impatiently waiting for their homes to sell.  But I have a prediction for 2013 that should encourage sellers.

Sequim Home Sales for 2013

Sequim Home SalesOf course real estate sales do pause during the Christmas and New Year holidays, but in my humble opinion, based on the trend in this final quarter of 2012, and based on the activity I am seeing now with appointments already in January, we are going to see more sales in the first quarter of 2013.   [By the way, this photo was not taken in Sequim.  We have no snow on the ground yet.]

Sequim Home Sales on Steady Increase

This doesn’t mean sales will pick up so much that anyone who wants to sell their home will.  That would nearly describe Sequim home sales in the early 2000’s up through 2005.  We are a long way from a strong real estate recovery.  

Last month’s housing inventory around western Washington fell to its lowest level since February 2006, according to statistics from Northwest Multiple Listing Service. The MLS report covering 21 counties also shows year-over-year prices on closed sales area-wide increased by double-digits for the first time since March 2007. Source:  NWREporter December 2012

I’ve been writing for two years about how the inventory of the best homes in Sequim and Port Angeles are selling and not being replaced.  Our inventory is shrinking too.  At the same time we have an increasing number of retirees who are making their move.  With a shrinking inventory we still have increased Sequim home sales.

Sequim Home Sales 2013 to Far Exceed 2012

I believe that this trend will continue, so that sales throughout 2013 will far outpace 2012.  This certainly doesn’t mean sellers can simply do what they did in 2005 to sell their homes.  The world has changed dramatically since 2005, and old ways of marketing no longer work.  In addition, buyers’ behavior is different, not to mention that they search for their homes with completely new tools.  Newspapers are dead when it comes to selling real estate, and the Internet reigns supreme, and buyers know how to use it.  It’s a different world, and sellers need to adjust their marketing plans accordingly.  Sequim home sales are picking up but sellers will have to adapt to the changing times. 

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Sequim home prices may be on a slow path to normal, but dramatically increased Sequim home sales are a pretty good indication that this local real estate market may have bottomed out.  Having said that, no one can say for sure that we won’t have another dip in the market, but take a look at this chart showing Sequim home sales in various price ranges and take a look again at how sales have increased over last year my earlier article Sequim Real Estate Market Report.  By the way, I write very conservatively, and this is the first time in over 1,000 articles that I have suggested the Sequim real estate market may have bottomed out.

Sequim Home Sales Increase:  A Market Bottom?

Sequim Home Sales:  A Market Bottom?

Sequim Home Prices

Seventy three percent of Sequim home sales in the first nine months of 2012 were from $150,000 to $350,000.  Sequim homes sold above $350,000 only account for 16% of the market.  Homes sold above $500,000 make up less than 4% of all homes sold.  If you’re interested in exactly what kinds of homes retirees are buying, you might enjoy The Sequim Bell Curve in Real Estate.

Sequim Home Sales for Retirees

First time home buyers, working couples, and investors are buying mostly in one price category, $150,000 to $200,000.  From $200,000 to $350,000 the vast majority of buyers are retirees.  I like the way a graph can display complex data and make sense.  “A graph is worth a thousand words,” as Arthur Brisbane wrote in 1911, or words to that effect.  (Actually the newspaper editor was the first to come up with the phrase, “Use a picture.  It’s worth a thousand words.”).  Sequim home sales by price sold when analyzed with the other two graphs in the above articles is revealing information and may be the best evidence we may be at a market bottom.

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Sequim Real Estate Market Report

This Sequim Real Estate Market Report reveals a very interesting view of home sales in Clallam County in the fall season.  I was motivated to look at these stats, because I learned today about a couple who had their home on the market for a year and didn’t sell it, and they just decided to pull it off the market for the winter months starting in September.  I thought about that and asked, “Who is telling these good folks that homes don’t sell in the winter months?”  I periodically hear sellers say that homes don’t sell in the winter months.  That simply is not true.  Homes are selling every week during every winter month.  I’ve been very busy showing homes in July, August, and September, more than during the same period in the past several years.  Home sales are up substantially from the past two years, and here is the proof.  I will demonstrate that with this graph and an explanation.  Click on this graphic to enlarge it.

Sequim Real Estate Market Report

Sequim Real Estate Market Report

Sequim Real Estate Market Report Interpretation

The data shows in this Sequim real estate market report that sales in July of 2012 have increased by a huge 29% over July of last year, and sales in August of 2012 have increased a gigantic 66% over last August.  In September of 2011, 11 homes sold, and already through September 21st of 2012 we have 13 homes sold.  I’m projecting that another 7 homes will close before the end of September, which will mean almost a 100% increase in sales this September over September of last year.  I think it is fair to project November and December will have substantially more sales than the same months last year.

Sequim Real Estate Market Report Implications

The implications of this Sequim real estate market report is twofold.  First, buyers will recognize that homes that they may want to buy as their dream retirement home are selling at a much higher pace than in past years.  We have a very small inventory of ideal retirement homes, and once sold, they are gone.  Retirees seem to drill down to the same two to three dozen homes.  At the current sales rate, how long will it take for two dozen ideal homes to be sold?  Not long at all, and while new listings will come into the market, they are clearly not replacing all the good homes fast enough.  As I have written many times, “The best homes in the best areas listed at the best prices are selling just as though it is a normal real estate market.”

Second, home sellers ought to re-examine their strategy to take their homes off the market during the winter months.  The data indicates that one home is being sold every working day of the month and probably will during October, November, and December.  Why would a seller remove their home from a market when a home is sold every day of the work week?  [The other reason people take their homes off the market is they are tired of having to keep it in perfect showroom condition.  Guess what?  Buyers don’t care about showroom condition.  They are looking at the location, the property, the floor plan, and the kitchen.  Buyers never walk away from making an offer if there is dirty laundry or unwashed dishes in the sink.  Buyers do not care if the house is spotless.  I know because I’ve been asking them for 20 years.]

For an analysis of your home and where it stands in this market, call Chuck Marunde at 360-775-5424.  If you would like to know more about this Sequim real estate market report, email or call Chuck.

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Sequim Home Sales in 2012

Sequim home sales in the first half of 2012 reveal a lot about the Sequim real estate market.  I’ve compiled data from the Olympic Listing Service for the first six months of 2012 showing Sequim home sales and Port Angeles, too.

Sequim Home Sales 1st Six Months

Sequim Home Sales

Sequim Home Sales Interpretation

It’s no surprise that the majority of Sequim home sales are from $100,000 to $400,000, but what may be surprising is that so few homes are selling above $400,000.  As I’ve shown on the graphic above, 97.5% of all Sequim home sales are under the price of $500,000, and in the first six months of 2012 not one home has sold above $700,000.  That’s disconcerting for homeowners trying to sell in that price range.  I will add that I recently sold a home for $725,000 in June but it is not represented on this chart because it actually closes in the first week of August.

Sequim Home Sales of Luxury Homes

It’s clear from this data that Sequim home sales of luxury homes or homes in the higher price ranges are very slow this calendar year.  There are many factors that contribute to slow sales of higher priced homes.  Buyers from California, Colorado, and other states are up against tough markets, and selling their homes first has been exceedingly difficult, although sales have picked up in selected areas of the country.  In the San Francisco Bay area buyers are competing against each other for some homes and forcing prices upward, even above the listing prices.

Even in Sequim I’ve written about how competition has heated up for the ideal retiree home, a three bedroom, two bath home in a nice area and priced from $250,000 to $350,000.  Still this leaves the upper priced homes sitting on the market without qualified buyers who are ready, willing, and able to close.

As I explain to clients, one of the most important things they can do right now in this real estate market is make sure their home is effectively marketed by a professional who has experience to do the job.  No professional can guarantee a buyer will come along in any time period, but the first task is to get your home marketed to as many qualified buyers as possible.  I don’t believe in luck, but I do believe in preparation, hard work, and perseverance in marketing.  Of course, one needs creativity in this technology age, and one needs to tap into a powerful Internet system.  But having done all that, I am reminded of a title to a book I read many years ago.  The book title is All You Can Do Is All You Can Do, and the subtitle is And That’s Enough.  If you’ve hired a great Realtor and your home is getting great exposure, leave the rest to destiny, at least as far as Sequim home sales are concerned.

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Sequim Home Values

What have Sequim home values done before and during this recession?  What is the trend for home prices in Sequim and where do we stand today?  I had a client call from California to ask me my opinion of the value of her home.  She paid $300,000 for it in 2007, and yet today it is worth much less, almost precisely the tax value that the Clallam County Tax Assessor gave it this year, which is $186,000. [Read the full story at Did I Pay Too Much For My Home?] The County assessed values are not always right on.  Sometimes they are high, and sometimes they are low.  In this case I think they got it right.  And I’ve been surprised at how many times the County Assessor has got it right.

Sequim Home Values and County Tax Assessments

Sequim Home Values

I sold a home recently in the Sunland Golf Course area.  Charting the Tax Assessor’s values from 1998 through 2011 creates a chart that shows the pattern of Sequim home values over these years.  I charted many homes in the same way, and I was fascinated to see precisely the same pattern each time.  While the prices are different from home to home, the Sequim home values tend to show the same percentage increases and decreases in value in the same years. 

Sequim Home Values Based on Sales

It should be no surprise that charting Sequim home values from the Clallam County Tax Assessor’s data would show a realistic trend on prices, because the Assessor software is using actual sales of homes within a radius of the subject property.  While their software does not make the fine distinctions an appraiser can make by differentiating home features and views and construction quality, their software manages to show a trend that I find to be consistent with reality. [Read How To Use The Tax Assessment Website]

Sequim Home Values and Trends

The trend has been increasing Sequim home values from 1998 to 2003 with a pause, and then a continuing increase in values through 2006, a leveling off through 2008, and then declining Sequim home values through 2011.  I would add this commentary about the Tax Assessments.  They are lagging indicators.  In other words, you could move all these bars up one year earlier and you would have what would probably be a more accurate timeline of Sequim home values.  [Read Assessed Tax Value vs. Sales Price]

If you look at the value the Assessor’s software assigns to your home, you might be surprised at how accurate it is in light of the true fair market value of your home in this market.  As I said earlier, sometimes the Assessor’s values are off, and sometimes way off, but more often than not, they are turning out to be fairly accurate lately.  Fortunately, Sequim home values appear to be leveling off for now.

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Are Home Sales Increasing?

Are homes sales increasing around the state of Washington and in the Sequim area?  The questions have come up periodically.  Is the real estate recession over?  Has the recovery started?  The news has taken us on a roller coaster of bad news and then good news and then bad news again.  It seems reports come out one week with the talking heads proclaiming we are in recovery, only to have a new report out the following week with another expert telling us that we won’t see a recovery for a long time.

Homes Sales Increasing in Some Counties

Home Sales Increasing

Homes Sales Increasing or Not

Enlarge this graphic by clicking on it, and you’ll get a clearer picture of how homes sales this first quarter of 2012 compare with the first quarter of 2011 on a percentage basis.  Clallam County has zero growth, but at least no decline.  Other counties around the state vary dramatically.  For example, Okanogan County homes sales increased by 64%, Whitman County by 48%, Mason County by 37%, and Jefferson County by 25%.  Lewis County homes sales decreased by over 7%.  On the other hand, most other counties saw modest gains, and as you look at this chart, the pattern clearly shows home sales increasing.  Will that pattern be sustained?  That remains to be seen.

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Sequim Real Estate Sales

Sequim real estate sales in the first quarter of 2012 are an indication of whether the Sequim real estate market is recovering or still on hold.  The national real estate market is showing some signs of recovery according to the National Association or Realtors Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun.  Since many of our buyers are retirees who must sell their homes in other states, this is relevant.  Here is a chart showing Sequim real estate sales in the first three months of the year from 2005 (our peak year) to 2012.

Sequim Real Estate Sales Graph

Sequim Real Estate

Sequim Real Estate v. National Sales

As shown in this graph, the last three years have been pretty even, 81 homes sold in Sequim in 2010, 76 homes in 2011, and this year 72 homes.

Here is the positive news from the NAR Economist.

Existing-home sales were down in March but continue to outpace year-ago levels, while inventory tightened and home prices are showing further signs of stabilizing, according to the National Association of Realtors.  Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, declined 2.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.48 million in March from an upwardly revised 4.60 million in February, but are 5.2 percent above the 4.26 million-unit pace in March 2011.

Lawrence Yun said the recovery is in the process of settling into a higher level of home sales.  “The recovery is happening though not at a breakout pace, but we have seen nine consecutive months of year-over-year sales increases,” he said.  “Existing-home sales are moving up and down in a fairly narrow range that is well above the level of activity during the first half of last year.  With job growth, low interest rates, bargain home prices and an improving economy, the pent-up demand is coming to market and we expect housing to be notably better this year.”

Also on a national level, total housing inventory at the end of March declined 1.3 percent to 2.37 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 6.3-month supply2 at the current sales pace, the same as in February.  Listed inventory is 21.8 percent below a year ago and well below the record of 4.04 million in July 2007.

“We were expecting a seasonal increase in home listings, but a lack of inventory has suddenly become an issue in several markets with not enough homes for sale in relation to buyer interest,” Yun said.  “Home sales could be held back because of supply factors and not by demand – we’re already seeing this in the Western states and in South Florida.”

The national median existing-home price3 for all housing types was $163,800 in March, up 2.5 percent from March 2011.  Distressed homes4 – foreclosures and short sales sold at deep discounts – accounted for 29 percent of March sales (18 percent were foreclosures and 11 percent were short sales), compared with 34 percent in February and 40 percent in March 2011.

Foreclosures typically sold for an average 19 percent below market price in March across the U.S., while short sales were discounted 16 percent.

Sequim Real Estate Sales On Pace

Sequim real estate sales do not track national sales precisely, and I’ve written that the Sequim real estate market is shielded to some extent from the national market, but we’re clearly still impacted.

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How Many Sequim Homes Are Under Contract Now?

How many Sequim homes are under contract now?  That reminds me of a couple of other popular sayings, like, “Are we there yet?” and “Can you hear me now?”  Are Sequim homes selling and how many are selling?  Buyers appreciate the buyer’s market, but sellers are losing sleep over whether the housing market is beginning it’s recovery.  Sellers cannot help but get a little impatient with their listing agents, because for too many sellers nothing seems to be happening.

Sequim Homes Under Contract

Sequim Homes

Sequim Homes Pending Interpretation

The homes represented in this chart are pending sales, also known as homes under contract, or in our MLS “Active-Under-Contract.”  There are 14 Sequim homes pending in the price range of $100,000 to $200,000, and there are 21 in Port Angeles.  This is the only price category in which P.A. beats Sequim.  More lower priced homes are selling in P.A. than in Sequim.

But above $200,000, clearly buyers prefer Sequim homes.  In fact, right now over 3.6 times as many homes have sold in Sequim compared to P.A. above $200,000.  And above $400,000 the four pending transactions are all Sequim.

Sequim Homes Preferred

Retirees prefer Sequim.  That is clear, and I’ve been writing about that trend for several years.  Retirees want Sequim homes.

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Chuck E. Marunde, J.D.

Sequim Buyer's Agent (Atty Ret.)
Founder and Broker of
Sequim & Port Angeles Real Estate dba iRealty Virtual Brokers
125 Olympic Ranch Ln, Sequim, WA
(360) 775-5424
ChuckMarunde@gmail.com

From Los Angeles

It's rare, but once in awhile life provides the perfect collaborator for an important endeavor such as buying your new home. For me that person was Chuck Marunde. His two decade background as a Real Estate Attorney, his prolific career as an author of articles and books on Real Estate and his forthright and moral character made choosing Chuck a no-brainer. Chuck is dedicated, thorough, incredible at the negotiating table, knowledgeable about all local laws & regs but, most importantly, Chuck loves what he does. And what he does is find his client the perfect property. Chuck isn't about making the sale, he's about making the sale that is OPTIMUM for his CLIENT and this makes Chuck a rare bird indeed. I love my new home in Sequim and I am indebted to Chuck for making it happen. Kevin E.

From Seattle

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Chuck over the past three years in selling my parent's estate. It was a tough time to sell during the housing recession, but Chuck always kept things on the positive side. With his real estate law background, he offers sound, practical advice. He helps you along with the process using discussions and reason, rather than opinions and speculations. If Chuck doesn’t know the answers, he will get them for you. In several instances, Chuck took the initiative to meet with county officials to get up-to-date facts about zoning and regulations. I was always impressed with his company’s tech savvy communi-cations and internet presence: weekly email updates, blogs, videos, links, Linked-in networking, etc. He is truly pioneering the future of buying & selling real estate. Brian M.

From Florida

We do our homework for the task at hand and we look for and expect to enlist partners that do the same. It was our good fortune to select Chuck Marunde of Sequim and Port Angeles Real Estate to represent us as a buyer's broker in our search for a home in the Sequim/Port Angeles area. Chuck's site is all encompassing and super fast compared to many others, he knows the market at every conceivable level and his guidance through the process of selecting and purchasing a home is priceless - above and beyond that of anyone with whom we have ever worked. Add to all this his 20 year background in real estate law and you have discovered a superb asset in the adventure of purchasing a home. Greg and Marilyn

From Gilroy California

As an out of state buyer unfamiliar with the area, it was important to me not only to have a real estate agent who knew the area well, but also one who knew the value of the properties. I chose Chuck because he is also a real estate lawyer and it is reassuring to have that extra degree working for you. I selected the houses I was interested in on line before taking a two day trip to Sequim to look at them in person. I sent my list to Chuck, who gave me feedback, then organized our tour so we could see 16 properties in a short time. He was very accommodating, driving me all over Sequim, and rescheduling appointments when we fell behind on our time. On day two, I found my home and we drafted an offer on it that evening. By the time I arrived back home on the plane the next evening, my offer had been accepted. Chuck was honest about what it would take to get me into my new home, while having my back the entire transaction. Since I was unable to relocate immediately after closing, he and his assistant Ade, have been taking care of many additional responsibilities for me. He was a pleasure to work with. Chris D.

From Corona California

The best decision I made, once I settled on Sequim as the ideal place to spend the rest of my days, was to hook up with Chuck Marunde as my broker/go-to guy. He happily took on the entire complicated merry-go-round associated with a long distance move that involved selling in Southern California (with a different agent) and buying in Sequim – all in the span of just over a month. The unexpectedly quick sale of my previous home was already a week into a 30 day escrow when I got to Sequim for my house hunt. We had two days to find my slice of heaven. And day one was less than stellar, each home having at least one major issue. The killer was the dream home that turned out to be an unmitigated disaster once we got inside. I was crushed. Chuck had his work cut out for him that night. And he worked his magic. On day two there was one beautiful possibility, but not quite right. Suffice to say, in the early afternoon we pulled into a driveway and the first words out of my mouth were “That’s my house.” 29 days later I took possession of my new home. Every sale has its issues, but throwing in the complications of a short escrow on top of 1200 miles of separation from all documentation, etc. gives new meaning to “challenging”. Thanks to his encyclopedic knowledge coupled with a great sense of humor, Chuck was able to keep me on an even keel when things got dicey. He knows when to step in and when to let it evolve. I cannot imagine making this move without him. Rebecca B.
Sequim Real Estate

From Bakersfield California

"During the months of February and March 2012, Chuck showed my wife and I over two dozen homes from Port Angeles to Port Townsend. We found Chuck to be very helpful, friendly and courteous. With Chuck there is no pressure; It is all about finding the best home for the buyer. As a Buyer's Agent, Chuck will give you his honest opinion of a property, including a fair market price. In one instance Chuck wrote up an offer for us which was accepted. Chuck was very helpful arranging for home and well inspections which involved multiple trips to the property. Unfortunately, escrow failed to close when, during the home inspection process, it was determined that a septic system repair was needed which the seller was unwilling/unable to make. We will continue to work with Chuck as there is no better Buyer's Agent on the North Olympic" Bert and Sally

From Los Alamos New Mexico

"Over a year ago, during a visit to the Olympic Game Farm, we developed what we eventually called the “Sequim Syndrome.” We live in New Mexico and decided Sequim was where we wanted to live in retirement. On our second visit to Sequim, we met with Chuck and asked him to help us. Chuck's web site provides such amazing search capabilities. Chuck's site also contains a 1000 blog postings and a real estate video series detailing buying real estate in Sequim. We bought Chuck's book about Sequim real estate and set out to follow his advice carrying on an ongoing email and phone conversation with Chuck. Doing our due diligence “Marunde style” and using his MLS search site, we came up with about 50 homes that met our needs. We narrowed the list down to 15 properties that best met our needs. We came back to Sequim a third time with our list in hand, and Chuck spent two days with us showing us all the homes on our list. Not only did Chuck help us find that dream home, he spent time to educate us about the quality of construction, fair market values of various properties, home layouts, and the joys of Sequim living. We had a great time as we traveled from house to house. By mid afternoon of the second day, my wife said we had found “the house.” Chuck helped us draft our offer and sent our offer to the seller's agent. It turned out there was a second offer made on the property at the same time. Chuck's help to make a clean offer paid off. At breakfast two days later, we got a call from Chuck saying our offer had been accepted by the sellers. We are now back home in New Mexico. Chuck attends every inspection on our behalf, updating us at every turn by email and phone. Our dream home is becoming a reality because of Chuck and because we were smart enough to follow his advice. We absolutely would NOT have been able to do this without Chuck Marunde's expertise and enthusiasm. We recommend Chuck to everyone planning a move to Sequim, Port Angeles, or anywhere on the Olympic Peninsula. Chuck is a gold mine of information and expertise for home buyers everywhere, not just on the Olympic" Larry and Shirley
Sequim Real Estate Bookstore

From Sun Lakes Arizona

"We are ex-Washington residents who currently live in Arizona. We had been searching the Puget Sound area four years for a waterfront property to build a retirement home when we first contacted Chuck Marunde through his website. We had made multiple trips to various areas but most of the Realtors we contacted simply sent us an email, provided no follow up and did next to nothing to help us locate a property. On our first trip to Port Angeles, after connecting with Chuck, we purchased our dream property. We now own a high bank waterfront lot overlooking the Straight of Jaun de Fuca, and are excited to become part of the Peninsula community." Paul and Linda

From California

"Andy Romano is a successful motion picture character actor with over 40 years in 'the Biz.' Mr. Romano has a home in beautiful Santa Barbara, California, but he chooses to live most of the time in Sequim, Washington on the Olympic Peninsula in the great Pacific Northwest. Why? In his own words, 'Because it's even more beautiful and surrounded by more beauty in this incredibly peaceful and quiet place. With respect to real estate agents or brokers, well my friend Chuck Marunde, owner of Sequim and Port Angeles Real Estate, is hands down the best there" Andy R.

From Sequim

I’ve known Chuck Marunde for several years. My wife and I bought and sold one house through his services, and now have another listed through him for sale. Whether Chuck was representing us as the buyer or seller, I am confident he always had our best interests at heart. He helped us set or negotiate a reasonable price, and made sure there was a clear and open line of communication. He responded rapidly to email and phone calls and always knew the best person to contact for the various services involved in a transaction. I have worked with quite a few real estate agents and Chuck is right at the top of my list of good ones. Actually, Chuck is first and foremost just a good person, and he carries his personal honesty and integrity over into his profession. He has the greatest depth of experience in real estate of any agent or broker I have known. His years of practicing real estate law prior to becoming a broker are evident in the meticulous care he takes with the process and documentation. I am impressed by the way Chuck has integrated internet services into his real estate business. He probably knows more about this process than any other realtor in the country. In this tight market it is important to use every possible means to spread the word about available properties…to reach the few people who might be interested in a particular property. Steve L.

From The Netherlands

"We contacted Chuck about six months ago to help find a retirement property in Sequim. We had visited Sequim several weeks before and decided that this was the place for us to retire. We liked the friendly people and the natural beauty of the area. We had been looking for some time in other parts of the country - California, Oregon, North Carolina, and Vermont. In most of these other areas, we found real estate agents that were knowledgeable but did not follow up with us to continue narrowing down real estate possibilities. Once we were out of earshot, communications would stop. That is one of the reasons we were interested in working with Chuck. Besides having great knowledge of both the local real estate market and of law, his testimonials on the internet indicated a willingness to actively communicate with his clients. Chuck demonstrated this immediately. Even before we met, he responded very quickly and helpfully to any email question. After arriving for a second visit to Sequim in September, we finally met Chuck face to face. He was friendly, encouraging, and readily shared good practical information. We worked with him on a number of candidate properties - including an offer on a property while visiting that week. Although we could not come to terms with the owners on the final property price, we look forward to continuing to work closely with Chuck. He is an invaluable resource to help us identify and purchase the retirement property that's right for us." Paul and Virginia

From Fremont California

We can't say enough about working with Chuck Marunde. Luck would have it that we discovered his web site, spoke with him on the phone and had an instant feeling that we had found our realtor. And we were right. With Chucks help and expertise, our longtime dream to retire to the Pacific Northwest came to fruition with Chuck assisting us in finding the perfect home for us. Buying a home is always a big decision and these days can be complex with unexpected delays etc. In fact, our whole experience from offer day to closing, was very smooth. Chuck took all the time we needed to explain processes and made us feel at ease, even though we lived 800 miles away, tying up loose ends and getting ready for the big move to our new home in Sequim. We were impressed with Chuck's ability to listen to our needs and understand our concerns in buying from a distance. Chuck kept us informed all along the way, during the process and was so good at getting right back to us if we had another question. All went so well and Chuck really went above and beyond for us, taking time out from his busy schedule to assist us with some details regarding our beautiful property, even after the closing, because we were not yet arrived there. Without hesitation, our son and his wife will be contacting Chuck this summer, as they plan to follow us to paradise in this lovely town. Thanks again Chuck, for everything! Mary and Jerry

From Fontana California

My husband and I went to Sequim intending to interview several realtors to find one to help us locate and buy a home in Sequim. We knew we wanted someone we could trust and who would have our best interests in mind. Since we would be handling the transaction from S. California this was very important to us. We met Chuck and looked no further. We felt a connection right away and spent some time looking at homes together so Chuck could get a feel for what we wanted. Well, we left Sequim having made an offer on a home which the owner accepted. Chuck has helped us through the purchase process. We are positive it would not have gone so smoothly without his help. We give him 4 thumbs up. Wally & Cathy

From Tacoma

Chuck Marunde’s level of expertise in real estate investment is amazing. His knowledge, experience and legal training have given me a dramatic advantage in real estate investing. He works hard to stay on the cutting edge of real estate marketing, sound advice and value-added service for his clients. Kirk Wald, Financial Planner

From Wendell Idaho

My wife and I moved to Sequim six weeks ago, and prior to our move here I contacted Chuck Marunde and enlisted his help as our buyer's agent. Once we got here, it took us about two weeks looking at houses, and Chuck did a superb job of showing us places and letting us make our own decisions and guide us through the purchase of our home. We now completed our transaction and are very happy. We would recommend Chuck to anybody. Don & Marilyn

From Sequim

"Buying property either commercial or residential can sometimes be a tricky proposition. That’s why I would recommend Chuck to help you with purchasing or selling property. His background as a real-estate lawyer and his no nonsense to the point advice will help you make the right decisions. Experience and Integrity, what you need when you can’t afford to make a mistake. Dail Hurdlow, CEO, Hurdlow Enterprises

From Seattle

I am an experienced real estate buyer, but I am not from the Sequim area. I am somewhat flexible, realistic, but also particular. So the question was, “how do you choose the RIGHT real estate agent?”

I made my appointment with Chuck on a Sunday morning in March, 2013. He showed me 5 houses. Every house he showed me was within my parameters! I was amazed: a real estate who listened, did his research, and didn't waste my time showing me houses I would never buy! I made an offer a few days later. That was the easy part…

Buying a house is always a stressful time in life. Advice to Buyers: choose an agent who is competent, communicates well, and has exceptional follow-up and follow-through! You will spend a lot of time with your agent during the process. Choose someone likable. Go with your gut. I got to know Chuck during the process, and he's a great guy!

You need an agent who is competent to handle and help you negotiate the issues that come up during disclosure, home inspection, appraisal, etc. Chuck's competence is superb! I got truly professional, sound, straightforward advice.

Chuck's communication skills are exceptional: phone, email, fax. He has a wonderful ability to stay "on-point" with what is actually important and doesn't lead you astray on issues that aren't so important.

Chuck's turn-around time on questions, issue resolution, etc. was virtually always within 24 hours. He follows-up, follows-through. He does what he says he will do timely. This relieves a lot of Buyer stress!

Having a difficult time finding the right agent? Simplify your life! Choose Chuck Marunde. I did. [Name withheld by request]

Intro by Chuck Marunde

From Sequim to California

"In our Sequim real estate broker Chuck Marunde we found a Realtor who knew not only how to list a property, but most importantly, he knew how to sell a property. Chuck is very skilled in current technology and uses that skill to advertise your property nationally. We were very pleased with Chuck, his honesty and integrity." Jerry Levitan and Donna "Teva" Tetiva

Who is Chuck Marunde?

Chuck Marunde is the #1 Sequim Buyer's Agent, having sold more homes (by volume) to buyers than any other agent or any "team" of agents for the past seven years. He is the author of thousands of articles for buyers on this real estate blog, and he is the author of several real estate books for buyers and one for sellers. He is the creator of many free tools that buyers use and love every day. He is recognized as a national expert on real estate transactions, marketing, and negotiating. Please schedule your appointment to view homes with Chuck well in advance of arriving in Sequim.
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