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PUGET SOUND MULTIPLE LISTING ASSOCIATION: LOCAL REALTY OFFICES REPORT 'UNSEASONABLY STRONG' SALES

 KIRKLAND, Wash., Nov. 5, /PRNewswire/ -- Home sales in the Puget Sound area surged to unseasonably high levels in October as buyers continue to take advantage of low interest rates, according to the Puget Sound Multiple Listing Association (PSMLA). Mild weather may also be contributing to what one broker predicts will be "an outstanding fourth quarter."
 According to figures released today by the Puget Sound Multiple Listing Association, 3,432 sellers accepted offers from buyers, pushing the year's pending sales to 32,935. That level outpaces 1992 year-to-date figures by 7,085 transactions, an increase of 27.4 percent.
 Last month's sales outgained September's volumes, when 3,043 sales were reported in King, Snohomish and northern Pierce counties. The monthly figure shows marked improvement over the previous two years, but PSMLA officials cautioned part of the gain may be reflection of improvements in reporting methods. Spot checks with area brokers confirm strong activity, although not at the pace indicated by area-wide totals.
 Virtually all 42 areas comprising PSMLA posted increased sales last month compared to the same period a year ago. Also noteworthy, according to PSMLA President Jack Johnson, were positive gains in the sales of newly built homes and of condominiums. Association member reported 500 sales in the new construction category, an increase of 22.5 percent over September's volume. Similar improvement is reflected in figures for condominium sales, which totaled 493 for the month, which compares to 402 in September.
 Nearly 300 more homes were listed last month than during September, another indication of an active market during a season when slowdowns are expected, according to Johnson. The 4,963 new listings for the month bring the total inventory to 13,477.
 The average asking price for current listings in the tri-city area is $228,790, an increase of 4.4 percent compared to year-ago averages. The median listing price (half have higher prices, half are listed for less) is $169,950, with considerable variation found in all three counties. North Pierce County reports a median price of $149,950; in Snohomish it's $159,900, while in King County the median listing price is $178,000.
 A? members reported 2,693 sales that were completed during October, which is about the same number of closing as a year ago (2,628), but down 20 percent from September's volume when closings totaled 3,236.
 Prices remain fairly stable, with the area-wide average (based on actual sales prices) reported to be $171,144, an increase of 2.9 percent compared to a year ago. King County, where homes that closed during the month commanded an average price of $179,718, registered the largest increase. Last month's average is about $8,000 more than a year ago, an increase of about 4.7 percent. The average in Snohomish County dipped slightly, from $151,037 in October 1992 to $150,602. Prices in northern Pierce County (the only segment included in PSMLA reports) increased 3.5 percent over the past year, with the average for October reported to be $148,639.
 House-hunters will find plentiful selections across the price spectrum, according to PSMLA reports. About one of every 10 homes (11.9 percent) is priced under $100,000. More than one-third of the current inventory (34.1 percent) is priced between $100,000 and $160,000. Almost 4,000 listings (29.3 percent) are priced between $160,000 and $250,000, with the balance of the inventory (24.7 percent) listed for more than $250,000.
 PSMLA, headquartered in Kirkland, is an independent, nonprofit organization whose member include around 500 real estate companies with around 9,500 sales associates.
 Res. & Condo King Snohomish N. Pierce Total
 Summary Co. Co. Co.
 Active listings 9,224 3,362 891 13,477
 Pending sales 2,372 915 145 3,432
 Closed sales 1,908 665 120 2,693
 Avg. price $179,718 $150,602 $146,639 $171,144
 Median $148,200 $139,950 $136,450 $145,000
 -0- 11/5/93
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: Figures for 1992's pending sales are not cited in this report, and will not be included in subsequent reports. These figures may be understated when compared to 1993 totals, in part because of differences in the date used to report pending sales. Since January, the figures have been based on the date the change in status is entered into the system. Previously, the transaction date was used, but certain events (such as if a sale closed in the same month as its status changed to pending) may have resulted in some transactions not being accumulated in that month's sales. This gap becomes more pronounced as the months accumulate, by PSMLA officials say this distortion is eliminated with the new reporting system, in effect since January/
 /CONTACT: Jack Johnson of the Puget Sound Multiple Listing Association, 206-820-9200; or, for statistical reports, Cheri Brennan of Alliance, 206-869-5839, for Puget Sound Multiple Listing Association/


CO: Puget Sound Multiple Listing Association ST: Washington IN: SU:

RB-IC -- SE0014 -- 3299 11/05/93 21:31 EST
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