Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Silver Lining in Pacific Clouds

A new report from the Associated Press shows some positive trends in the Northwest real estate market, a positive departure from the doomsday panic that has been sweeping the country. (For more information on real estate trends, visit our Seattle real estate news site)

The recent slump of buyers and real estate values in California prompted the AP to dig into recent trends in the industry in the Western US. In San Francisco and San Diego (as well as Sun Belt cities including Phoenix and Las Vegas) prices have seemed to hit an affordability ceiling, where middle-class buyers simply cannot afford to buy new homes. Toss in the overzealous development programs in these areas and you find thousands of homes with big price tags, but no shoppers.

However, the bright note in the West is the Pacific Northwest market. While the number of houses sold in the third quarter of 2006 dropped by 16%, the median appreciation of home prices increased nearly 12% since the previous year. Some hot spots such as King County saw appreciation values as high as 14%.

So what makes the Northwest so different? For one, the dot-com busts that ravaged the area in 2000 seems to have a silver lining after all. As other areas of the country were wrapped up the housing bubble of recent years, Northwestern cities tended to allow only conservative appreciation, making the ensuing bust a mere love tap rather than knockout punch.

Add to that the fact that more people are moving into the area than out of it. The US Census Bureau calls this phenomenon Net Domestic Migration and Washington State is consistently located in the top ten nationwide. California, however, is stuck in a spiral of population loss – with many Californians moving north.

So amidst the swarm of souring news we find a plus for both homeowners and investors in the Pacific Northwest. The market is waiting, get a jump at it with the best and brightest real estate website and idx tools.



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