One word describes August home sales around the Puget Sound area: down. Last month's sales numbers were released today by the Northwest...

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One word describes August home sales around the Puget Sound area: down.

Last month’s sales numbers were released today by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, the Kirkland-based group that tracks home sales.

Sales of single-family homes fell 33.6 percent in King County last month compared with the previous August. Sales were down in the other three central Puget Sound counties, too: 41 percent in Snohomish County, 33.4 percent in Pierce, and 22.7 percent in Kitsap.

Condo sales in all four counties also fell from August 2007.

The most accurate comparison of home-sales numbers is done by looking at sales in the same month each year. This is because seasonal changes in the real-estate market can distort the picture when comparing one month to the previous one.

Some in the real-estate industry said they expected the local picture to improve in August because the market downturn began in August 2007. Until last month, they said, numbers were comparing a bad year to a good one. But August numbers don’t show an improvement — in some cases, the drops are more dramatic than those of previous months.

Most median prices, too, dropped again last month.

In King County, the median price (meaning half sold for more, half for less) of single-family homes slid 11.2 percent to $423,950. In Snohomish County, the median house price fell 9.4 percent to $339,950, and in Pierce, it dropped 11.6 percent to $257,775. Kitsap, down 6.5 percent to $280,000, showed the smallest decrease in the four counties.

The median condo price in King County slipped 6 percent to $268,000. In Pierce County, the price dropped 16.2 percent, and in Kitsap, where condo sales were down nearly 85 percent, the median price fell 42.3 percent to $196,250.