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Puget Sound Business Journal Article Touts The JLS “Seahawks Strategy” In NWMLS October Report.

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Struggling to find a house? Try the ‘Seahawks Strategy’

Marc Stiles – Staff Writer­ Puget Sound Business Journal

A new report shows that the acute shortage of homes for sale in the Puget Sound area continues, spurring more bidding wars.

One real estate company is offering a game plan to beat out the competition: go shopping during a Seahawks game. It worked for one John L. Scott Real Estate client.

The woman had thought she found the perfect home only to lose out in a multiple­offer situation. So she and her broker decided to look at a few homes on a Seahawk Sunday. At 10 a.m. she walked into a house she loved. By noon she made an offer, and it was accepted 24 hours later.

This is what buying a house has come to in Seattle, where prices have soared as inventory has dwindled. Last month, there were 1,763 fewer homes for sale in King County than in October 2014. During the same time, the median sales price for a house climbed more than 7 percent to $480,000. The rise for a condo was a whopping 18 percent, to $291,000, according to Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) data that came out Thursday.

It’s a similar situation in nearby counties. Year­over­year, the median sales price for houses was up more than 11 percent to $365,000 in Snohomish County; 10.5 percent to $255,250 in Pierce County; and 3.4 percent to percent to $258,500 in Kitsap County.

Median condo prices increased 14.6 percent to $269,000 in Snohomish County, 38 percent to $199,000 in Pierce and 59 percent to $212,250. A relatively low number of just 18 sales skews the Kitsap numbers.

Real estate brokers say that the hyper state of the market may make this an interesting holiday season. Traditionally, year­end festivities mean that sellers aren’t interested in selling and buyers aren’t interested in buying. But things are different heading into the holidays this year.Last month in the four counties, brokers tallied 6,977 pending sales, the highest October volume in a decade.

J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott, predicted that brokers will experience a hot housing market over the winter months.

Despite general optimism among NWMLS members, some pullback is anticipated. Windermere Real Estate President OB Jacobi last month said the market was on the cusp of a slowdown due to scarce inventory. He expects sales will slow through the end of the year, resulting in a slowdown of price appreciation.

Open houses are expected to be strong this weekend because the Seahawks aren’t playing. The next time buyers will have a chance to try the Seahawks Strategy will be Nov. 15, when Seattle plays Arizona.

Marc Stiles covers real estate for the Puget Sound Business Journal.

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