Redmond's ABODA wins “Superior Quality Achievement Award” from Graebel

Aboda Corporate Housing wins Grabel Award 2014Redmond-based ABODA, has recently won the “Superior Quality Achievement Award (Relocation)” from Graebel Relocation at its recent 14th Annual Relocation Alliance Conference in Aurora, Colorado.

Each year, Graebel recognizes leading companies that have provided extraordinary service, value and excellence in performance to its relocation clients.

Lee Curtis, President, ABODA Corporate Housing
Lee Curtis, President, ABODA Corporate Housing

Lee Curtis, President of ABODA Corporate Housing, who accepted the award at the Graebel presentation ceremony, noted customer satisfaction surveys completed by corporate employees who were relocating led to the selection of ABODA.

“When an award is based on how Graebel clients feel about ABODA and all the services we provide, it is especially heartening,” said Curtis. “This honor is a great tribute to all the employee owners of ABODA who take personal pride in setting the bar for superior customer service as they have for over 25 years.”

The worldwide Graebel conference drew 150 top relocation executives, including 90 Graebel Alliance Partners from 39 countries. The Graebel Relocation Alliance awards ceremony was held at the Denver Art Museum in downtown Denver, Colorado.

About the Graebel Relocation Alliance 


At the dawn of the 21st Century a by-invitation member consortium of twenty global moving and storage (removals) firms was brought together under the mantle, The Graebel Alliance, with the objective for the moving industry’s respected company ownership and executives to collaborate and to share best-in-class service practices and programs. Renamed the Graebel Relocation Alliance the membership has expanded to include leading global relocation and mobility service firms in 2005. In its fourteenth year, the Graebel Relocation Alliance member companies total two hundred and are found on six continents.

Redmond’s ABODA wins “Superior Quality Achievement Award” from Graebel

Aboda Corporate Housing wins Grabel Award 2014Redmond-based ABODA, has recently won the “Superior Quality Achievement Award (Relocation)” from Graebel Relocation at its recent 14th Annual Relocation Alliance Conference in Aurora, Colorado.

Each year, Graebel recognizes leading companies that have provided extraordinary service, value and excellence in performance to its relocation clients.

Lee Curtis, President, ABODA Corporate Housing
Lee Curtis, President, ABODA Corporate Housing

Lee Curtis, President of ABODA Corporate Housing, who accepted the award at the Graebel presentation ceremony, noted customer satisfaction surveys completed by corporate employees who were relocating led to the selection of ABODA.

“When an award is based on how Graebel clients feel about ABODA and all the services we provide, it is especially heartening,” said Curtis. “This honor is a great tribute to all the employee owners of ABODA who take personal pride in setting the bar for superior customer service as they have for over 25 years.”

The worldwide Graebel conference drew 150 top relocation executives, including 90 Graebel Alliance Partners from 39 countries. The Graebel Relocation Alliance awards ceremony was held at the Denver Art Museum in downtown Denver, Colorado.

About the Graebel Relocation Alliance 


At the dawn of the 21st Century a by-invitation member consortium of twenty global moving and storage (removals) firms was brought together under the mantle, The Graebel Alliance, with the objective for the moving industry’s respected company ownership and executives to collaborate and to share best-in-class service practices and programs. Renamed the Graebel Relocation Alliance the membership has expanded to include leading global relocation and mobility service firms in 2005. In its fourteenth year, the Graebel Relocation Alliance member companies total two hundred and are found on six continents.

Top housing experts and legislators tackle challenge of shrinking supply of buildable lands and housing affordability at Master Builders Association’s 2014 Housing Summit

Housing affordability and the impact of the Puget Sound region’s dwindling supply of buildable land was the focus of the  Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties’(MBA) 2014 Housing Summit, held yesterday in Bellevue.

Attracting 400 attendees, the Summit’s program, “Accommodating Housing Needs with Less Land,” included presentations by top national and regional housing experts and a panel discussion with state legislators and homebuilders.

“There is an explicit link between the availability of buildable lands and housing affordability,” said MBA Executive Director Shannon Affholter. “The Summit served as a starting point in a frank discussion about what’s working, and what’s not, in meeting the Growth Management Act housing targets and the region’s growing needs.”

 

A presentation by Todd Britsch, regional director for Metrostudy, Inc., a leading provider of research and analysis to the housing industry, underscored the immediate challenge to the buildable land supply: based on projected population growth, King County has 3.87 years of supply remaining of assumed total inventory, and only 3.29 years of supply in Snohomish County.

“We’re seeing lot prices absolutely skyrocket, and the numbers are staggering. It’s a long-term issue and we have to address it sooner rather than later,” he said. “And if we don’t, the Puget Sound region is going to become the next San Francisco Bay Area, where only the ‘elite of the elite’ can afford to own a home.”

Nancy Bainbridge Rogers, land use attorney at Cairncross & Hempelmann, noted that GMA-mandated Buildable Lands Reports generated periodically by counties don’t provide a full and accurate picture of future trends.

“The reports compare housing targets to the actual growth. The reports must determine whether sufficient land exists to accommodate population projections.  Unfortunately, the reports are not required to include a feasibility component or an assessment of affordability.”

A lively panel discussion focusing on legislative solutions included Senator Joe Fain (R) 47th District, from Auburn; Senator Marko Liias (D) 21st District, from Mukilteo; Representative Jay Rodne (R), 5th District, from Snoqualmie; and Representative Larry Springer (D), 45th District, from Kirkland. Other participants included homebuilders Mark Kaushagen of the Pulte Group and Lynn Eshleman from Pacific Ridge Homes.

Individual panel members cited specific action items that could advance the goals of housing availability and affordability, including:

  • couple housing demand with affordability in future planning
  • passage of a transportation package and infrastructure financing bill
  • comprehensive review of the Urban Growth Boundary and its possible expansion
  • require cities in King and Snohomish counties to do a planned action on remaining undeveloped lands to assess infill housing opportunities
  • eliminate redundancies in the review and permitting process, and establish a meaningful time limit in which permits can be outstanding.

Also attending the Summit were Kevin Kelly, chairman of the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) and Dr. David Crowe, the NAHB’s chief economist and senior vice-president, who presented a national perspective on land supply issues.

.About the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties:

The Master Builders Association is a trade association made up of approximately 2,700 member companies involved in the residential construction industry.  It is the nation’s oldest and largest local home building association affiliated with the National Association of Home Builders.

Windermere Property Management to Open in Kirkland

Windermere Property Management KirklandSeattle based Windermere Property Management/JMW has announced its expansion to the Eastside. Windermere Property Management Kirkland is slated to open in October inside the Rose Hill Plaza Building at 12801 NE 85th Street.

 

The new office will initially be staffed by five agents from the firm’s Seattle location who offer extensive Eastside expertise. Christie Rice, Jay LaBrie, Jennie Ugaitafa, Mandy Lane and Christian Dema are long-term Eastside property managers as well as residents.

 

“The decision to expand our footprint was in recognition of where much of our management portfolio has grown,” comments J. Michael Wilson, Owner/Broker. Wilson believes the Kirkland location will not only accommodate continued growth for the eight-year-old brokerage, but make life easier for existing agents and clients. “At this point it seems only logical to provide a service base on both sides of Lake Washington,” notes Wilson.

 

Windermere Property Management Kirkland can be reached at Tel. 425-213-1300 or www.windermere-pm.com.

 

About Windermere Real Estate

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 7,000 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Mexico. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 26 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

Top housing experts and legislators tackle challenge of shrinking supply of buildable lands and housing affordability at Master Builders Association’s 2014 Housing Summit

Housing affordability and the impact of the Puget Sound region’s dwindling supply of buildable land was the focus of the  Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties’(MBA) 2014 Housing Summit, held yesterday in Bellevue.

Attracting 400 attendees, the Summit’s program, “Accommodating Housing Needs with Less Land,” included presentations by top national and regional housing experts and a panel discussion with state legislators and homebuilders.

“There is an explicit link between the availability of buildable lands and housing affordability,” said MBA Executive Director Shannon Affholter. “The Summit served as a starting point in a frank discussion about what’s working, and what’s not, in meeting the Growth Management Act housing targets and the region’s growing needs.”

 

A presentation by Todd Britsch, regional director for Metrostudy, Inc., a leading provider of research and analysis to the housing industry, underscored the immediate challenge to the buildable land supply: based on projected population growth, King County has 3.87 years of supply remaining of assumed total inventory, and only 3.29 years of supply in Snohomish County.

“We’re seeing lot prices absolutely skyrocket, and the numbers are staggering. It’s a long-term issue and we have to address it sooner rather than later,” he said. “And if we don’t, the Puget Sound region is going to become the next San Francisco Bay Area, where only the ‘elite of the elite’ can afford to own a home.”

Nancy Bainbridge Rogers, land use attorney at Cairncross & Hempelmann, noted that GMA-mandated Buildable Lands Reports generated periodically by counties don’t provide a full and accurate picture of future trends.

“The reports compare housing targets to the actual growth. The reports must determine whether sufficient land exists to accommodate population projections.  Unfortunately, the reports are not required to include a feasibility component or an assessment of affordability.”

A lively panel discussion focusing on legislative solutions included Senator Joe Fain (R) 47th District, from Auburn; Senator Marko Liias (D) 21st District, from Mukilteo; Representative Jay Rodne (R), 5th District, from Snoqualmie; and Representative Larry Springer (D), 45th District, from Kirkland. Other participants included homebuilders Mark Kaushagen of the Pulte Group and Lynn Eshleman from Pacific Ridge Homes.

Individual panel members cited specific action items that could advance the goals of housing availability and affordability, including:

  • couple housing demand with affordability in future planning
  • passage of a transportation package and infrastructure financing bill
  • comprehensive review of the Urban Growth Boundary and its possible expansion
  • require cities in King and Snohomish counties to do a planned action on remaining undeveloped lands to assess infill housing opportunities
  • eliminate redundancies in the review and permitting process, and establish a meaningful time limit in which permits can be outstanding.

Also attending the Summit were Kevin Kelly, chairman of the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) and Dr. David Crowe, the NAHB’s chief economist and senior vice-president, who presented a national perspective on land supply issues.

.About the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties:

The Master Builders Association is a trade association made up of approximately 2,700 member companies involved in the residential construction industry.  It is the nation’s oldest and largest local home building association affiliated with the National Association of Home Builders.

Windermere Property Management to Open in Kirkland

Windermere Property Management KirklandSeattle based Windermere Property Management/JMW has announced its expansion to the Eastside. Windermere Property Management Kirkland is slated to open in October inside the Rose Hill Plaza Building at 12801 NE 85th Street.

 

The new office will initially be staffed by five agents from the firm’s Seattle location who offer extensive Eastside expertise. Christie Rice, Jay LaBrie, Jennie Ugaitafa, Mandy Lane and Christian Dema are long-term Eastside property managers as well as residents.

 

“The decision to expand our footprint was in recognition of where much of our management portfolio has grown,” comments J. Michael Wilson, Owner/Broker. Wilson believes the Kirkland location will not only accommodate continued growth for the eight-year-old brokerage, but make life easier for existing agents and clients. “At this point it seems only logical to provide a service base on both sides of Lake Washington,” notes Wilson.

 

Windermere Property Management Kirkland can be reached at Tel. 425-213-1300 or www.windermere-pm.com.

 

About Windermere Real Estate

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 7,000 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Mexico. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 26 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit www.windermere.com.

2014 Housing Summit focuses on the Puget Sound area’s diminishing buildable land supply and threat to region’s housing affordability

MBA Housing Summit 2014A major threat to housing affordability in the Puget Sound area—the dwindling supply of buildable land—is the focus of the Master Builder Association 2014 Housing Summit next Tuesday, September 23 from 7:30 am to 11:30 am at Meydenbauer Convention Center, 11100 NE 6th St. in Bellevue

The free event, “Accommodating Housing Needs with Less Land,” is presented by the  Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties (MBA) and will include presentations by top housing experts and a panel discussion with state legislators and homebuilders.

Space is limited and reservations can be made online at MasterBuildersInfo.com or by calling (425) 451-7920. The summit is supported by presenting sponsor Puget Sound Energy along with Cobalt Mortgage, Bill Korum’s Puyallup Nissan, Regence and the MBA Health Trust.

The Housing Summit will explore how best to forge a path forward and meet Growth Management Act housing targets as the Puget Sound area faces a diminishing buildable land supply.

Presentations will include a national perspective by David Crowe, Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Local participants include Todd Britsch, President of New Home Trends and Nancy Bainbridge Rogers, land use attorney at Cairncross & Hempelmann.

A panel discussion focusing on legislative solutions will include Senator Joe Fain (R) 47th District, from Auburn; Senator Marko Liias (D) 21rst District, from Mukilteo; Representative Jay Rodne (R), 5th District, from Snoqualmie, and Representative Larry Springer (D), 45th District, from Kirkland. Other panel members will include homebuilders Mark Kaushagen of the Pulte Group and Lynn Eshleman from Pacific Ridge Homes, as well as Todd Britsch and Nancy Bainbridge Rogers.

“The Summit will start a constructive conversation about this pressing issue, with a focus on working collaboratively on solutions to meet the region’s growing housing needs while avoiding escalating home prices to unsustainable levels,” said MBA Executive Director Shannon Affholter.

About the presenters:

David Crowe is responsible for NAHB’s forecast of housing and economic trends, survey research and analysis of the home building industry, and consumer preferences, as well as microeconomic analysis of government policies that affect housing. He also develops and implements innovative models of the local economic impact and fiscal cost of new home construction.

Todd Britsch has worked with countless industry professionals to better understand the housing market. Todd is a frequent speaker on the trends of new construction housing for many home building associations and financial institutions.

Nancy Bainbridge Rogers, a land use attorney at Cairncross & Hempelmann, has significant experience both drafting and applying the local comprehensive plan policies and development regulations required under the Growth Management Act.  She has worked on projects that included expansion of the urban growth area, as well as many in-fill subdivisions and commercial projects.

About the Master Builders Association of King & Snohomish Counties:

The Master Builders Association is a trade association made up of approximately 3,000 member companies involved in the residential construction industry.  It is the nation’s oldest and largest local home building association affiliated with the National Association of Home Builders.

2014 Housing Summit focuses on the Puget Sound area’s diminishing buildable land supply and threat to region’s housing affordability

MBA Housing Summit 2014A major threat to housing affordability in the Puget Sound area—the dwindling supply of buildable land—is the focus of the Master Builder Association 2014 Housing Summit next Tuesday, September 23 from 7:30 am to 11:30 am at Meydenbauer Convention Center, 11100 NE 6th St. in Bellevue

The free event, “Accommodating Housing Needs with Less Land,” is presented by the  Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties (MBA) and will include presentations by top housing experts and a panel discussion with state legislators and homebuilders.

Space is limited and reservations can be made online at MasterBuildersInfo.com or by calling (425) 451-7920. The summit is supported by presenting sponsor Puget Sound Energy along with Cobalt Mortgage, Bill Korum’s Puyallup Nissan, Regence and the MBA Health Trust.

The Housing Summit will explore how best to forge a path forward and meet Growth Management Act housing targets as the Puget Sound area faces a diminishing buildable land supply.

Presentations will include a national perspective by David Crowe, Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Local participants include Todd Britsch, President of New Home Trends and Nancy Bainbridge Rogers, land use attorney at Cairncross & Hempelmann.

A panel discussion focusing on legislative solutions will include Senator Joe Fain (R) 47th District, from Auburn; Senator Marko Liias (D) 21rst District, from Mukilteo; Representative Jay Rodne (R), 5th District, from Snoqualmie, and Representative Larry Springer (D), 45th District, from Kirkland. Other panel members will include homebuilders Mark Kaushagen of the Pulte Group and Lynn Eshleman from Pacific Ridge Homes, as well as Todd Britsch and Nancy Bainbridge Rogers.

“The Summit will start a constructive conversation about this pressing issue, with a focus on working collaboratively on solutions to meet the region’s growing housing needs while avoiding escalating home prices to unsustainable levels,” said MBA Executive Director Shannon Affholter.

About the presenters:

David Crowe is responsible for NAHB’s forecast of housing and economic trends, survey research and analysis of the home building industry, and consumer preferences, as well as microeconomic analysis of government policies that affect housing. He also develops and implements innovative models of the local economic impact and fiscal cost of new home construction.

Todd Britsch has worked with countless industry professionals to better understand the housing market. Todd is a frequent speaker on the trends of new construction housing for many home building associations and financial institutions.

Nancy Bainbridge Rogers, a land use attorney at Cairncross & Hempelmann, has significant experience both drafting and applying the local comprehensive plan policies and development regulations required under the Growth Management Act.  She has worked on projects that included expansion of the urban growth area, as well as many in-fill subdivisions and commercial projects.

About the Master Builders Association of King & Snohomish Counties:

The Master Builders Association is a trade association made up of approximately 3,000 member companies involved in the residential construction industry.  It is the nation’s oldest and largest local home building association affiliated with the National Association of Home Builders.

Western Washington housing market stability continues with modest gains in sales, prices

“Stability” seemed to characterize the direction of Western Washington’s housing market during August, according to new figures from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Both the volume of sales and prices rose slightly from a year ago, although both indicators slipped somewhat from July. MLS members also reported a modest year-over-year increase in inventory, but the number of new listings added to the selection during August was the smallest since April.

“What we are seeing now with the market is a moderated growth in appreciation, a normalizing of sales volume, and continued health overall,” declared MLS director George Moorhead, the owner and designated broker at Bentley Properties in Bothell. “It is not a call for alarm,” Moorhead emphasized, describing it as “just a balancing and adjusting of a healthy market.”

MLS members reported 9,342 pending sales across the 21 counties served by the Kirkland-based organization. That marks a 3.1 percent gain over the year-ago total of 9,065 mutually accepted offers. Eleven counties reported increases in pending sales during August compared to the same month a year ago.

Commenting on inventory, MLS board member Dick Beeson said the pace of activity in the South Sound has slowed, “and that means buyers have to keep a keen eye out for good bargains in areas they have been scouting.” Beeson, a principal managing broker at RE/MAX Professionals in Tacoma who oversees offices in four counties, said sellers are more in the driver’s seat than they were earlier in the year. “It’s not a mad-rush sellers’ market,” he reported, but added, “buyers are realizing they must act in a timely manner to compete.”

At month-end buyers could choose from 27,060 active listings – about 2.4 percent more than the inventory of a year ago when there were 26,433 properties in the MLS system. The total at the end of August included 10,054 new listings that were added during the month, down slightly from the year-ago figure of 10,172. Last month’s total number of new listings was the smallest total since April.

System-wide, there is just under 3.5 months of supply, but that average varies widely among the counties served by Northwest MLS. King County, with only about two months of supply, has the tightest inventory. Four-to-six months of supply is considered a balanced market between buyers and sellers.

Through eight months, MLS figures show the number of closed sales is outpacing the same period a year ago by a slim margin (115 units). MLS members reported 7,775 closed sales during August, slightly below the year-ago total of 7,841 (down 0.84 percent) and the previous month’s total of 7,878 completed transactions.

Year-over-year prices for single family homes and condominiums that sold last month rose about 1.6 percent compared to a year ago, increasing from $283,000 to $287,500. Despite the system-wide increase, five counties reported declines in median prices for sales that closed in August compared to 12 months ago (Grant, Jefferson, Kitsap, Okanogan, and Pacific). Seven counties had double-digit increases.

In King County, the median selling price was $398,000 for a 1.4 percent gain from the year-ago figure of $392,500. According to MLS statistics, the sales price in August matched the figure for May, but slipped from the figures for June ($410,000) and July ($425,000).

Single family homes (excluding condos) had a median selling price of $299,950 area-wide, up 2 percent from a year ago when it was $294,000.

In King County, the median sales price for single family homes that sold during August was $437,000; a year ago it was $430,000.

“The current trend for strong pending activities and solid closed transaction numbers should keep the confidence level steady,” remarked Darin Stenvers, chairman of the board of directors at Northwest MLS. “Buoyed by low mortgage rates, buyers should remain optimistic about their new home purchases late into 2014,” he added.

Stenvers, the branch manager at John L. Scott in Bellingham, expects the balance of 2014 will remain at a slow and steady pace of appreciation, which should help distressed sellers. “Sellers should reevaluate the market as they may be surprised at the current values,” he suggests.

The recovering market is also boosting activity for home improvement contractors and subcontractors, Stenvers noted. “Sellers are able to afford to improve their homes prior to marketing them, or buyers are undertaking reasonable remodels shortly after closing,” he reported.

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 21,000 real estate brokers. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 21 counties in Washington state.

Western Washington housing market stability continues with modest gains in sales, prices

“Stability” seemed to characterize the direction of Western Washington’s housing market during August, according to new figures from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Both the volume of sales and prices rose slightly from a year ago, although both indicators slipped somewhat from July. MLS members also reported a modest year-over-year increase in inventory, but the number of new listings added to the selection during August was the smallest since April.

“What we are seeing now with the market is a moderated growth in appreciation, a normalizing of sales volume, and continued health overall,” declared MLS director George Moorhead, the owner and designated broker at Bentley Properties in Bothell. “It is not a call for alarm,” Moorhead emphasized, describing it as “just a balancing and adjusting of a healthy market.”

MLS members reported 9,342 pending sales across the 21 counties served by the Kirkland-based organization. That marks a 3.1 percent gain over the year-ago total of 9,065 mutually accepted offers. Eleven counties reported increases in pending sales during August compared to the same month a year ago.

Commenting on inventory, MLS board member Dick Beeson said the pace of activity in the South Sound has slowed, “and that means buyers have to keep a keen eye out for good bargains in areas they have been scouting.” Beeson, a principal managing broker at RE/MAX Professionals in Tacoma who oversees offices in four counties, said sellers are more in the driver’s seat than they were earlier in the year. “It’s not a mad-rush sellers’ market,” he reported, but added, “buyers are realizing they must act in a timely manner to compete.”

At month-end buyers could choose from 27,060 active listings – about 2.4 percent more than the inventory of a year ago when there were 26,433 properties in the MLS system. The total at the end of August included 10,054 new listings that were added during the month, down slightly from the year-ago figure of 10,172. Last month’s total number of new listings was the smallest total since April.

System-wide, there is just under 3.5 months of supply, but that average varies widely among the counties served by Northwest MLS. King County, with only about two months of supply, has the tightest inventory. Four-to-six months of supply is considered a balanced market between buyers and sellers.

Through eight months, MLS figures show the number of closed sales is outpacing the same period a year ago by a slim margin (115 units). MLS members reported 7,775 closed sales during August, slightly below the year-ago total of 7,841 (down 0.84 percent) and the previous month’s total of 7,878 completed transactions.

Year-over-year prices for single family homes and condominiums that sold last month rose about 1.6 percent compared to a year ago, increasing from $283,000 to $287,500. Despite the system-wide increase, five counties reported declines in median prices for sales that closed in August compared to 12 months ago (Grant, Jefferson, Kitsap, Okanogan, and Pacific). Seven counties had double-digit increases.

In King County, the median selling price was $398,000 for a 1.4 percent gain from the year-ago figure of $392,500. According to MLS statistics, the sales price in August matched the figure for May, but slipped from the figures for June ($410,000) and July ($425,000).

Single family homes (excluding condos) had a median selling price of $299,950 area-wide, up 2 percent from a year ago when it was $294,000.

In King County, the median sales price for single family homes that sold during August was $437,000; a year ago it was $430,000.

“The current trend for strong pending activities and solid closed transaction numbers should keep the confidence level steady,” remarked Darin Stenvers, chairman of the board of directors at Northwest MLS. “Buoyed by low mortgage rates, buyers should remain optimistic about their new home purchases late into 2014,” he added.

Stenvers, the branch manager at John L. Scott in Bellingham, expects the balance of 2014 will remain at a slow and steady pace of appreciation, which should help distressed sellers. “Sellers should reevaluate the market as they may be surprised at the current values,” he suggests.

The recovering market is also boosting activity for home improvement contractors and subcontractors, Stenvers noted. “Sellers are able to afford to improve their homes prior to marketing them, or buyers are undertaking reasonable remodels shortly after closing,” he reported.

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 21,000 real estate brokers. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 21 counties in Washington state.