Seattle and Portland were among the top 10 metro areas in the nation with the most pronounced drop in home sales last month compared with July 2007, according to The Associated Press-Re/Max Monthly Housing Report, which analyzed all home sales recorded by all local agents.
Stephanie Kuhn — who moved in March from the Seattle area to Orlando, Fla., because of a family emergency — has yet to find a buyer for her Mountlake Terrace condo.
The two-bedroom, 1,100-square-foot condo has been on the market since March but is drawing little interest.
“I can’t buy another house until I sell my house up there,” said Kuhn, 47.
Seattle and Portland, Ore., were among the top 10 metro areas in the nation with the most pronounced drop in home sales last month compared with July 2007, according to The Associated Press-Re/Max Monthly Housing Report, which analyzed all home sales recorded by all local agents.
Most Read Business Stories
- FAA safety engineer goes public to slam the agency's oversight of Boeing's 737 MAX
- MacKenzie Scott marries Seattle teacher after Bezos divorce
- Google puts lid on cookie jar and ends an internet era | Commentary
- 55,000 in Washington state may have to pay back thousands in jobless benefits
- Microsoft’s $10 billion Pentagon deal at risk amid Amazon fight
The AP-Re/Max home-sales report was one of two released Monday. The second was from the National Association of Realtors.
Sales of existing homes in the West edged higher overall in July, as many buyers took advantage of falling prices in foreclosure-ravaged areas in California, Nevada and elsewhere, both reports show.
About 1.1 million pre-owned houses and condominiums were sold last month in the 13-state region, up almost 1 percent from the same month last year, the Realtors group reported. But the median home price plunged more than 22 percent to $273,200, it said.
Nationally, existing-home sales were down 13.2 percent from the previous July but rose 3.1 percent from June, the group said. The U.S. median home price slipped 7.1 percent to $212,400, compared with July 2007.
The Western region, where sales of foreclosed homes are translating into sharp price declines, was clearly a large drag on the overall market.
“We’ve basically been going through this standoff between buyers and sellers,” said Michael Tenore, district director the Seattle area for ZipRealty “We’re just seeing more and more increases in inventory and sales coming down.”
Tenore said buyers are looking for big discounts, but many sellers remain reluctant to lower prices — although that’s changing.
The median home price in Seattle fell to $340,000 last month, a drop of 6.9 percent from a year ago, according to the AP-Re/Max report.
Five Western metropolitan areas — Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Phoenix and Las Vegas — were among the top 10 markets with the steepest median home-price declines in the nation past month, the AP-Re/Max report shows. The median home price, meanwhile, tumbled 25 percent to $220,000 compared with July 2007, the report shows.
Lower prices translated to a booming market in the Las Vegas metro area, where foreclosures have flooded the market since last year. It was the hottest market in the country last month, the AP-Re/Max report shows. Sales almost doubled versus a year ago and rose 16 percent from June.
“Our market has probably reached its bottom,” said Rosa Herwick, a broker and owner of Century 21 JR Realty in Henderson, Nev.
Herwick said bank-owned homes and short sales — when the bank agrees to take less than is owed on the mortgage — accounted for much of what sold last month in Las Vegas.
Large price decreases in California also are helping some buyers there overcome their affordability hurdles.
Ysidro Simental bought a three-bedroom, two-bath house in Corona, Calif., about 50 miles east of Los Angeles. Two years ago, the house would have been beyond his reach financially.
The home previously sold in 2006 for $510,000 and ended up in foreclosure. Simental, 56, bought the house at an auction for $347,000 and moved in two weeks ago.
“We couldn’t have bought it for that [higher] price,” said Simental, a warehouse clerk.
In the Los Angeles metro area, sales surged by nearly 31 percent last month compared with July 2007. The median home price fell to $335,000, a drop of nearly 35 percent from the year earlier, the AP-Re/Max report shows. Elsewhere in California, San Diego saw sales jump 8.3 percent, while San Francisco’s sales rose 3.1 percent.
Steve Roberson, a broker with a Century 21 My Real Estate in Downey, about 13 miles southeast of Los Angeles, estimated that 70 percent of the sales his office handled involved short sales or bank-owned properties.
Elsewhere in the West, sales remained on a downward track, reflecting the broader, national housing slump. Sales also fell in Denver; Honolulu; Salt Lake City; Albuquerque, N.M.; Billings, Mont.; Boise, Idaho; and Anchorage, Alaska.
Kuhn, meanwhile, stuck with mortgage payments and now rent for her apartment in Florida, has lowered her asking price from $239,000 to $224,900. She’s offered to throw in $1,200 to help the buyer pay the homeowners-association fees.
Kuhn is considering renting out the condo or walking away.
“I can’t keep paying out on a mortgage for an empty house,” Kuhn said. “Nobody is even looking at it.”
Associated Press business reporter Alan Zibel in Washington contributed to this article.