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Leavenworth Real Estate Update: Q4 2009

How best to summarize the 2009 Leavenworth real estate market?
I often tell folks that our market is kind of “muddling” along. Home prices are stagnant or maybe even down a little, but not much in comparison to the Seattle area  or other parts of the country.
In addition to my usual quarterly graph, I’ve included a year end graph.

Year Over Year Home Prices

 And here’s a different take, just looking at the 4th quarter.

Leavenworth Home Prices

Interesting how they tell a different story isn’t it?
This is especially true for condos. The quarterly chart makes it look like prices just keep going up for condos.  In 2009 we had 8 condos sell in the fourth quarter, while in 2008 and 2007 only 1 condo sold and they were for pretty low prices as you can see.
I think  the Year over Year chart is more accurate because it is based on more data. Condo prices simply aren’t going up.

Home prices are flat and slightly off their 2007 peak.
Condo prices are down, due to oversupply.

Not in these charts:

Huge number of condo sales in the 4th Quarter. Bargain seekers taking advantage of low prices. This will continue in the 1st and 2nd Quarters of 2010.
Number of raw land parcels that sold in 2009 was abysmal. Down 50%.
Number homes sold down 36%.
Very few foreclosures or short sales
Very little spec building for single family homes

We often get asked about the effect of the First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit in the 4th Quarter. (It expired and then Congress renewed it again until Spring of 2010.) While it may be a big deal in Seattle and Wenatchee, it hasn’t had much effect in Leavenworth.  Since most buyers aren’t buying primary residences, we aren’t seeing increased demand.   First time home buyers in Leavenworth are looking for homes under $250,000 and preferably $200,000 and if that product doesn’t exist, then $8000 of tax credit won’t help. 
Predictions for 2010
The prudent thing would be to avoid making predictions at all. I certainly wouldn’t be the first real estate prognosticator to pass on the opportunity.
Some thoughts:

I would guess prices will continue to muddle along. Some neighborhoods will see price drops and others won’t.
Condo inventory will clear out.  I would guess that foreclosure or auctions will be part of this equation.
The overall number of foreclosures and short sales will remain low.
Demand and prices for premium locations (waterfront properties) will remain strong.

What do you think? What does your crystal ball show that mine is missing?
Update 1/26/10
Looks like I transposed two numbers when making my chart. Here’s the corrected version of the Year over Year chart.

Required Disclaimer
NOTE: This representation is based in whole or in part on data supplied by the North Central Washington Association of Realtors or its Multiple Listing Service. Neither the Association nor its MLS guarantees or are in any way responsible for its accuracy. Data maintained by the Association or its MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the Market.



    If you’re planning to buy a home in this area, the best place to start is with the Leavenworth Home Buyer’s Guide.

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