Pending home sales down slightly in March

Pending residential sales dropped slightly in Island County last month, to 204, compared to 206 in March 2015, according to Northwest Multiple Listing Service numbers released Monday, April 4. That’s a drop of 1 percent — far lower than the 4.5-percent average drop among the 23 Washington counties MLS surveys.

Closed residential sales numbered 121, up 11 percent over last March’s 109. The median closing price was up considerably year over year: $305,000 versus $245,000, a 24-percent jump.

Those higher prices may have been caused by the shortage of residential listings: 342 versus 474, a drop of  28 percent.

Area-wide, MLS figures show only 1.8 months’ supply, well below the “balanced” range of four to six months, the organization said.

Island and Kitsap counties’ large military population faces additional hurdles, said Frank Wilson, the branch managing broker at John L. Scott’s Poulsbo office, in prepared remarks. Active-duty military, retirees and veterans, often like to use their VA benefits, but in multiple-offer situations VA is a third choice behind cash and conventional loans.

“We’re asking these buyers if there’s any way they can qualify for a conventional loan as one means to make their offer more attractive to sellers,” Wilson said.