Monday, July 27, 2009

New-home sales up 11% in June

Puget Sound Business Journal (Seattle)

New-home sales in the United States increased dramatically in June from May, offering some evidence that the housing market is recovering.

Sales of single-family homes increased 11 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 384,000, compared to a revised May rate of 346,000, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. The jump marks the third consecutive increase in as many months and eclipses predictions by economists recently surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires, who expected June sales to climb 2.3 percent to 350,000.

The last time sales rose so dramatically was in December 2000.

Last week, the National Association of Realtors reported that home resales posted a monthly increase of 3.6 percent in June.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tips for a Sustainable Lifestyle - Windermere Green Living

Host a Green Barbeque Summer is here and that means the start of what-should-we-barbeque-tonight season. Whether you cook with gas, wood, charcoal or an outdoor solar cooker, you can host a green barbeque this summer with these quick ideas.

Try a natural charcoal

If you are using a charcoal grill, there are natural charcoal options available to lessen your carbon footprint while keeping the flavor. All-natural charcoal burns cleaner than traditional briquettes and doesn’t contain any chemicals. Try Cowboy Charcoal or Wicked Good Charcoal the latter made of carbonized lump wood made from timber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Use reusable plates, cups and utensils

If you’re worried about breaking your last complete set of dishes, more stores are selling inexpensive, sturdy outdoor serveware with bright summer patterns to match the season. Here are a few ideas to check out from Crate and Barrel and Target or buy used dishes from your neighbor’s garage sale or the local Goodwill. If you have just too many guests, try using compostable items that biodegrade much faster and are made from renewable resources such as corn or potato starch.

Become a locavore

Looking for the freshest fruits, veggies, cheese and meat for your next barbeque? Buy local, sustainably grown foods. Eating locally reduces the harmful impact of transporting foods across oceans and continents while supporting local economies. The food itself is fresher, tastier and has better nutritional value. Local Harvest is a great resource to find local sustainable farms and farmers’ markets in your area.

Have a Green story to share?We’d love to hear about your ideas for green living. Share a note or picture with one of your green endeavors and you could be featured in the next Green Living newsletter. Email

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Home sales climb in June in King County; median price drops from year ago to $395,000

By Eric Pryne, Seattle Times business reporter

Single-family home sales in King County in June surged to their highest level in nearly two years, according to statistics released today by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

A total of 1,655 houses closed last month, up 4 percent from the same month in 2008. It was the first year-over-year increase in closed sales since the local housing market peaked in July 2007, and the largest number of closings in the county since October 2007.

"The positive movement in our real estate market year-over-year is really very encouraging," Ron Sparks, managing vice president of brokerage Coldwell Banker Bain, said in a prepared statement.

He and other real-estate agents attributed the increase in part to the new $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers. One broker said they account for about 40 percent of the market now.
Condo sales in King County continued to lag, with closings last month 18 percent below the June 2008 number.

The median price of a single-family house sold in the county in June was $395,000, down 12 percent year-over-year. Real-estate professionals noted the median price is up slightly since January — but it increased between January and June of last year as well.

The median condo price was $249,000, down 16 percent from last June.

Pending sales of King County single-family homes — offers that have been accepted by sellers, but haven't yet closed — were up nearly 25 percent year-over-year, the third consecutive monthly increase.

But, until June, closed sales had continued to trail last year's numbers, prompting some to wonder if the pending-sales increase was illusory. Agents attributed much of the disparity between and closed sales to "short sales" — offers sellers accept for less than they owe on the property — that are notoriously slow to close, and often don't close at all.

In Snohomish County, pending sales of single-family homes in June were up 37 percent year-over-year, and closed sales were nearly even. The median selling price was $307,000, down nearly 12 percent from June 2008.