Lake Stevens Journal - Your hometown newspaper since 1960


By Steve Strong
John L. Scott Broker 

Real Estate Report


April 9, 2013

Values continue to climb in Lake Stevens. Sales increase, while inventory shrinks, causing a spike in values perhaps never seen before. The medium value increased by another $7,500 for March over the previous month’s spike in February for a median value of $257,500, according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS).

Inventory shrunk again from February’s 112 active listings available for sale to a mere 95 at the beginning of April in Lake Stevens. We could see values increase to what they once were or near to 2007 by year’s end.

Twenty-seven of the 66 residential solds for the month of March were new construction, followed by 13 short sales, and 6 bank owned properties.

Non-distressed home owners make up the rest. Currently out of the 95 active listings, 30 are new construction, 10 are short sales, and 6 are bank owned properties.

Short sales have proven difficult to close in the past. Rising prices have added to this complicated process. Months after the contract is entered into between the buyer and the seller, a Brokers Price Opinion or BPO is done by the lienholder prior to giving written consent to the purchase price and the sale. Now the evaluation of value comes back higher than the contract price. The time between an offer being accepted and closing is lengthy and when it is time to finally close the lienholder wants more money to compensate for this increase in value.

Either the buyer can increase the purchase price or walk. Many times the buyer is already stretched to their financial limit and has to walk, now having to settle for much less of a home than they could have gotten if they had not been involved with a short sale.

There are a lot of skeptics that believe this increase in values is not real and is going to reverse. Some believe it is going to level off. But after looking at the statistics over the past couple of years and watching the trends, everything points to a rapid recovery with values in Lake Stevens to what they once were. Now is a great time to buy and sell.

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