Home sales in western Washington dropped 6.1 percent in June compared to a year ago, as prices maintained double-digit growth, according to the latest report from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Brokers reported 9,413 closed home sales last month, down from 10,027 reported in June 2005. Last month’s decline is the fourth consecutive month of slower sales, according to NWMLS statistics.

Brokers added 14,541 new listings to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service database during June, boosting inventory more than 25 percent from a year ago to 29,856 properties. This figure includes the addition of Okanogan and Whatcom counties, which became part of the MLS system in August 2005.

“We are starting to get into a rhythm, a beat of even-handedness between inventory and the number of prospective buyers in the market,” said MLS director Dick Beeson, broker at Windermere Real Estate/Commencement Associates in Tacoma. “The inventory continues to be higher than last year, but we’ve leveled out somewhat and it’s not increasing like it was the past few months,” he added.

For last month’s closed sales of single-family homes and condominiums, including those in Okanogan and Whatcom counties, the median sales price was $315,000, up 15.4 percent compared to year-ago prices. With the exception of Kittitas County, all areas reported double-digit price hikes. For single-family homes only, the median sales price area-wide was $330,500, up about 16 percent from a year ago.

In King County (Seattle), the median price for the 3,000 sales of single-family homes that closed last month was $434,950, up approximately 16 percent from a year ago.

Rising interest rates may have some impact on escalating prices, according to Beeson. Beeson expects single-digit, rather than double-digit, hikes in the coming months, perhaps “3-to-5 percent in the higher-end prices and 5-to-7 percent for homes priced in the lower and mid-ranges.”

Kirkland, Wash.-based Northwest Multiple Listing Service covers most of western Washington and encompasses more than 2,000 companies with approximately 26,000 sales associates.


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