There was an interesting article in the Seattle Times today: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/realestate/2009607020_homesales06.html
The article concentrates on homes sales (be sure to read about Condos below). In short, what the article says is when you divide the local area in 5 parts (Seattle, Eastside, North King County, Southwest King County, and Southeast King County) and compare the number of house (not condos) sales from July 2009 versus July 2008 you see an increase of the number of transaction in 4 of the 5 areas (North King County was only area with less transactions: 66 versus 67 transaction in the previous year). But prices are down between 12% and 14.3%. The article goes back and forth with theories of whether this means the market is at the bottom. For example, the argument for prices may go up is the theory that demand is raising thus prices will too. The other side says with the $8,000 tax credit for new buyers set to end on November 30th and with foreclosures that are presumed to not have peaked in our area that the prices will continue to stay low.
What many will miss in the article, is you have to be sure to click on the arrows and see graph 2 of 3. It takes the same 5 areas (Seattle, Eastside, North King County, Southwest King County, and Southeast King County) as it did for the homes and shows the number of transactions and the median sales price and compares July 2009 versus July 2008. Unlike homes, condos sales transactions are only up in one area: Eastside which is up 8.7%. The other areas are either even (North King County) or down between 14.5% to 37.5%. In addition to the number of transactions being down in most areas, the prices are down in all areas (between 10% and 26.1%). While I think these numbers can be skewed a little bit because the number of transactions there are in certain areas (ex. North King had 13 condo sales in both July 2009 and July 2008) which makes total price comparison a little tricky - a better comparison would have been price per square foot - it still shows prices overall are down for condos as it is for homes.
While these numbers, article, and blog may seem daunting, it still may be the perfect time to buy a condominium. The tax credit for first time home buyers is set to sunset on November 30th, armed with the the market data and real estate expertise one of our agents may be able to find you the perfect condominium for your budget.