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Seattle Home Auctions Slowed, City Stays Financially Strong



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By : John Cutts    99 or more times read
Seattle home auctions slowed in February as the strong local economy contained any further difficulty in the housing sector.

In King County, where Seattle is the administrative seat, foreclosure activity slowed sharply by 33 percent compared to February 2009 and by 26 percent compared to the previous month.

Only 342 houses were repossessed by lenders in King County, and this figure already included foreclosed homes in Seattle. The number marked a drop of 11 percent from the previous month, although it marked a 57-percent rise from February last year.

Statewide, the foreclosure situation also improved. Filings dropped sharply by 24 percent compared to January and by 13 percent from filings in February 2009. Washington State was in the bottom of foreclosure charts, 33rd among the 50 states.

The slowdown in foreclosures in Seattle was even sharper in a report by a group of Seattle real estate professionals. They said that the number of pre foreclosures in Seattle and housing units listed for the public Seattle home auctions fell by 22 percent in February.

They said that the average monthly foreclosure filings of about 1,100 in 2009 has gone down to about 800, which is a very small number compared to the 560,000 households in Seattle. They reiterated that contrary to reports that there are a lot of homes in the city which can be purchased for 50 to 70 percent of their appraised prices, the supply of homes has dwindled and that the prices of foreclosures range from $300,000 to $500,000.

Among the factors for the strength of home prices in Seattle is the scarcity of land, lack of urban sprawl and demand for housing both from international and local professionals.

A report from Fitch Ratings affirms the contentions of Seattle realtors. In the first week of March, Fitch assigned an AA+ ratings to two Seattle general obligation bonds and affirmed the AAA and AA+ ratings of two other Seattle GO bonds.

According to Fitch, its rating outlook for the city of Seattle is stable because of its strong financial management throughout the downturn and its strong performance as a regional economic center.

Fitch also credited the positive roles of Microsoft and Boeing and related industries and efforts for diversification. Furthermore, the city of Seattle has a low level of debt, as it implemented capital financing policies that did not rely on municipal debts.

With these positive factors, Seattle home auctions are expected to slow down in the coming months.


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