It seems like everyone loves to hear about how bad the real estate market is doing.Â And, for a lot of people out there, they believe that the Case-Shiller reports are the 'Bible' for real estate trends.Â But, no one really points out that the market areas they use far exceed the city in which they quote.Â In a recent article about homes prices, they state that Seattle home prices are going down.Â Unfortunately, they don't tell you is that they really aren't talking aboutÂ just SeattleÂ in their data.Â In fact, their data includes Pierce, King and Snohomish counties!Â Each of these counties have very different markets; and the cities within these counties also differ widely.
In the Case ShillerÂ Report, it states thatÂ "Seattle" home prices have gone down 1.9% from January to February.Â In actuality, when we look at just Seattle single family home sales, prices have actually gone up by 2% during this time.Â And, in looking at February to March, prices went up again by 2.7%. (see chart below)Â Am I saying that the market is has completely recovered?Â Definitely not!Â Â And, in fact, prices are down by 7.2% in Q1 2011 compared to the same period in 2010.Â No doubt the first quarter of 2010 was primarily fueled by the tax credit, which expiredÂ in April.Â However, the market in Seattle in 2011 is not as bad asÂ Case-Shiller makes it out to be.Â
Now, let's look at the Everett / Mukilteo market during the same time period.Â Prices went up by 15% January to February, 2011.Â However, from FebruaryÂ to March, prices have gone down 6.9% and Q1 of 2011 compared to Q1 of 2010, prices have gone down 14.6%, double what they did in Seattle.Â (see chart below) Â Interestingly, the tax credit didn't drive prices as high as they did in Seattle (as a percentage).Â
Bottomline:Â real estate is city and neighborhood specific.Â To lump a whole region together and call it "Seattle" is not only misleading, but inaccurate.Â I'm all about honesty in reporting.Â But, as I mentioned earlier, real estate is local.Â A trend in one area is not necessarily the same in another area.Â And, there are neighborhoods within Seattle that are doing really well.Â For example, MLS area 390 (Capitol Hill, Madison Park, Washington Park, Madrona, Central Area):Â Sales prices have gone up steadily since January, and went up 22.9% between February and March of this year.Â In addition, prices have gone up 20.9% March, 2011 compared to March, 2010.Â A far cry from the downward trend of over 7% Case Shiller reports!