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Everyday Business | Home sales cool in first quarter of 2014

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March home sales
First quarter home sales in 2014 for the Wenatchee area.

You guessed it. Last year’s double-digit growth in the housing market wasn’t gonna last forever.

First quarter sales for 2014 are down about 8 percent (in units) and 3 percent (in dollars) when compared against the strong recovery last year in January, February and March. That’s when real estate agents were walking around with huge grins as sales grew 18 to 25 percent over 2012.

Still, sales this year don’t even come close to the Dark Ages downturn of, say, March 2010, when only 98 homes had sold year-to-date. Through March this year, 145 homes had sold in the Wenatchee market (Wenatchee, East Wenatchee, Malaga, Orondo and Rock Island) with a value of around $35.5 million.  

Meanwhile, construction of new homes has surged. In the first quarter of 2014, building permits for single-family homes is up 103 percent to hit 59.

Here are a few more interesting numbers for the Wenatchee market from the March Real Estate Snapshot provided by our buddies at Pacific Appraisal Associates, a local appraisal and consulting firm:

• Sales always look brighter under a spring sky as homebuyers really begin to shop around. Sales in March alone (not year-to-date) hit 62 units sold, up 3 percent from March of last year.

• Listings in the first quarter were down about 6 percent to 264 when compared to the same months in 2013. Homes actually on the market in March dropped 20 percent from last year to 257.

• Those shrinking listings have helped push up prices: the average home price rose 6 percent to $244,552, while the median price rose 7 percent $218,900.

• Sales of manufactured homes have cooled, too. Units sold in the first quarter were down 14 percent — from 21 units last year to 18 this year — with the dollar volume down 24 percent to $1.83 million.

• And in case you’re interested in renting, condo vacancies are up 67 percent from last year to hit 5 percent (which is about normal), while apartment vacancies continued to shrink — from 3 percent last year to 2 percent at the end of March.