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Sales at Washington Foreclosure Auctions Fell in Fourth Quarter

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By : John Cutts    99 or more times read
Sales of existing houses, including those offered at foreclosure auctions, declined in Washington State during the October-December 2010 quarter when compared with the same 2009 quarter. Housing market analysts stated that the decline might be due to 2009 figures being inflated by the federal government's tax credit.

Existing residential properties that were sold during the fourth quarter, including Seattle foreclosures for sale, declined by 21.5% when compared with the 2009 fourth quarter. However, when compared with the 2010 third quarter, fourth quarter sales figures actually increased by 17.7%. Meanwhile, full year existing housing unit sales for 2010 came to 84,890, representing an increase of 0.1% over year-ago levels.

Last year also marked the third year in a row that the number of people who buy foreclosures in Washington and other existing dwellings totaled near 85,000. However, sales of existing residences in 2010 were off by around 45% from the peak period of 2005. Median selling price for last year posted a decline compared with 2009 levels. The median rate was $246,300 in 2010, down by 1.6% from the 2009 median price level and down 20.4% compared with the 2007 period when the highest median price was recorded.

For the 17 metropolitan counties of the state, the number of existing dwellings sold during October-December 2010, including those offered at foreclosure auctions, posted increases except in Cowlitz County, where sales figures remained the same as the 2009 fourth quarter. The lowest increase was posted in Spokane County, which recorded a jump of 3.6% in sales, while the highest was at Pierce County, where sales of existing houses increased by 23.6% during the quarter.

In terms of fourth quarter median prices, foreclosure home properties and existing residences sold in San Juan County recorded the highest rate at $495,000. The lowest median selling price for the fourth quarter was posted in Lincoln County at $85,000. Eleven metropolitan counties in the state posted lower median selling prices for the quarter, while six posted price increases over the same period.

Analysts stated that the increase in prices recorded in some counties might be due to more buyers purchasing higher-end and pricier homes rather than cheaper dwellings at foreclosure auctions. At the start of 2011, houses in Washington State remain affordable and mortgage rates remain low.
John Cutts has been educated in the finer points of the foreclosure market over 5 years.

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