The housing market in western and central Washington continued to cool in November, as a massive supply of inventory and buyer caution slowed sales for the ninth straight month, according to the latest figures from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

According to statistics, there were 7,073 total sales of single-family homes and condos last month, down 11.4 percent from a year earlier when 7,987 sales were recorded.

NWMLS director Dick Beeson said the changing market is causing anxiety among some of the newer real estate agents, some of whom have never experienced a slower cycle. “Their perception is ‘the sky is falling’ because their listings don’t sell in two weeks or they haven’t received multiple offers. The reality is we have entered a more normal, balanced real estate market.”

As a result, fewer property owners placed their homes on the market in November, with NWMLS members adding just 8,453 listings to the inventory, down from the 11,910 listings added to the MLS in October, NWMLS reported. Despite the decline, the number of active listings totaled 33,817 at the end of November, still 43 percent higher than the 23,597 listings a year ago.

The median price for single-family homes and condos continued to climb in November, rising to $319,300 from $315,000 in October, and up 11.4 percent from the year-ago price of $286,600.

In King County (Seattle), the median price jumped 13.6 percent between November 2005 and November 2006, climbing from $350,000 to $397,500. The median condo price for the area jumped 24 percent from a year ago to $272,950.

Kirkland, Wash.-based Northwest Multiple Listing Service encompasses nearly 2,100 companies with more than 27,000 sales associates. Together, they serve 19 counties, mostly in western Washington, plus Grant, Kittitas and Okanogan counties in the central part of the state.

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