On the Eastside and in North King County, house sales rose, but median prices and combined house and condo sales are down for July.

Share story

Real-estate agents increasingly are spreading the word that it’s a great time to buy, but judging from last month’s King County home-sales numbers, the message isn’t being universally received.

Despite increased house sales on the Eastside and in North King County compared with June, sales generally were down for houses and condos alike, statistics released today by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service show.

Some 2,041 house and condo sales closed last month in King County. That’s a 2 percent drop from June and a 5.5 percent drop from the previous July.

Pending sales — those signed but not yet completed — showed a 7.2 percent drop from June and a 30.7 percent drop from July 2007.

Scott Jarvis, director of the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions, was among those suggesting that the time is right to buy.

In a statement, Jarvis said excellent financing options exist for those with decent credit, including great programs for first-time homebuyers. Generally stable prices and a relatively strong economy also pointed in favor of buying, Jarvis said.

Generally, prices have changed very little compared with recent months.

King County’s median single-family house price was $445,000 last month, down from $449,700 in June but up from and May’s $440,000. The median was 7.5 percent below the previous July.

The county’s condominium prices are showing somewhat greater volatility. Last month, the median was $277,000. In June, it was $295,000; in May, $287,925. July’s median condo price was 6.4 percent from the year before.

Snohomish County recorded 594 house sales last month, compared with 621 in June and 1,000 the previous July. The median price was $248,990, or 2.4 percent less than July 2007.

Sales also were soft in Pierce and Kitsap counties, and the median price was lower than a year earlier.

The inventory of homes for sale in the four-county region continued to build, however.

Elizabeth Rhodes: erhodes@seattletimes.com