May Market Statistics for Anacortes

W aiting to buy? Don’t. While we are not performing at the same level as the rest of the area, we are on our way. The North West Multiple Listing Service reports shrinking inventory, double digit increases in pending sales, solid open house activity, and signs of stabilizing prices (eight of the 19 counties reported show price gains since January), all of this points to an improving market, which means one that moves from a Buyers market, to a balanced market. Buyers will lose their upper hand soon, and Sellers will be back in a position to negotiate more. Skagit County is not one of the counties reporting gains since January, but history tells me we always lag a bit behind Snohomish, King and even Whatcom counties. So if they’ve hit bottom and are on their way up, might we be at the actual bottom here? I don’t know, but we are showing signs that we might be.

Residential single family home Inventory in Anacortes continues to climb and is at its highest level in the last five years, we are up 19.7% from a year ago. The good news is  Pendings are also up to the tune of 30% over a year ago, this represents the highest number of Pendings since August of 2008. Number of Solds is down a bit, and this can be attributed in part to the number of Short Sale properties that typically have much longer closing timeframes. Of the 38 single family homes pending right now, 6 are short sales. The average price per square foot had dropped continuously over the past year, due in part to the higher percentage of starter homes selling. Days On Market, which is the average number of days it takes to get a contract on a home was at 149 days in May. Another good sign is that the average price for sale is dropping while the average price sold is rising, narrowing this gap is important as we line up Sellers expectations with Buyers price tolerance.  Months of Inventory based on pending sales is dropping from a high of 27.6 down to 12.2 in May.

Condo Inventory is also high, but down a bit from last summer and even down from early ’09. Pendings are up, and average price per square foot remains relatively high at $262 per square foot. Percentage of Sales Price to List Price is in the low 80’s signaling a need for Sellers to get more realistic in pricing and Days On Market is 200 +. Months of Inventory is 17.4 based on Pending Sales and 43.5 based on Closed Sales.

Land Inventory is extremely high, and isn’t moving. We have 183 months, or 15 YEARS of inventory. This number drops to 91.5 months based on Pending Sales because we put 2 pieces under contract in May, but in general Inventory is high, Pendings are low; Sellers really need to price aggressively if they need to sell their land.

So while Anacortes and Skagit County are not doing as well as most of Washington, this is just our typical lag behind the other markets and I expect us to be in the same boat within a few months. This signals to me, that the time to buy is now as prices will start to stabilize and actually appreciate, and inventory will drop removing choices and bargaining power.