Improving inventory, stabilizing prices, fewer short sales, and a healthy local economy are credited with keeping the real estate market “chugging along nicely” around western Washington, according to brokers with the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. The latest figures from Northwest MLS show year-over-year gains in inventory (up 4.8 percent), pending sales (up nearly 1.9 percent), closed sales (up 5.3 percent) and median selling prices (up 4.86 percent). Brokers reported 6,624 pending sales (mutually accepted offers) of single family homes and condominiums during November, improving on the year-ago total of 6,522 for a 1.56 percent increase. Rising rates are playing a part in motivating buyers. It’s typical to see housing sales slow during this time of year because of the holidays, but even so, sales are still strong. Looking ahead, brokers tend to agree positive momentum will continue, but hurdles such as unrealistic sellers, new loan regulations, and threats to purchasing power remain. The market is poised for another solid year in 2014, but buyers are “out of breath”, said Dick Beeson, noting attention is diverted to holidays and national uncertainties. Sellers who are thinking of selling could benefit by listing now instead of waiting for the expected ramp-up of acitivity in January. “Traditionally, the number of new listings coming on the market during the holidays declines at a higher rate than buyer demand, thereby making the buyers-to-new-listings ratio advantageous for sellers. MLS director Frank Wilson believes it will be more expensive to buy a new home during 2014. “Slow but steady price appreciation, upward pressure on interest rates and increased costs of getting a loan will all work to decrease the buyer’s purchasing power.” article by NWMLS 12/4/13