Washington state’s housing market softened in the fourth quarter of 2013 compared to the quarter before, but remained stronger than a year ago, according to the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington.
Sales of existing homes declined 8.6 percent in the September-December quarter of 2013, but still were 9.2 percent higher than the same time in 2012.
The seasonally adjusted sales rate was 91,340 homes, meaning that if the quarter’s pace continued unchanged for a year, that number of homes would be sold.
“Washington’s housing market is finding its balance,” said Glenn Crellin, associate director of the Runstad center. “Sales throughout 2013 totaled 93,730 units, well above any of the last five years, but still well below the pre-recession frenzy.”
An inadequate supply of listings available for sale continues to be a problem and contributes to increases in home prices, Crellin said.
The statewide median home sales price during the fourth quarter was 6 percent above a year ago at $256,300. Price increases were especially strong in the metropolitan Seattle area.
Median prices were lower than a year earlier in 16 counties, but most declines were less than 2 percent. Median prices ranged from $70,000 in Lincoln County to $421,000 in King County.