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Originally published April 4, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified April 4, 2008 at 4:02 PM

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Home prices declining, inventory building around Puget Sound

Monthly real estate report shows prices of singly family home have declined in King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap counties compared to a year ago.

Seattle Times business reporter

Home sales in central Puget Sound counties are slowly inching up as the year progresses, but month-to-month prices remain essentially flat, housing statistics released today show.

On an annual basis, however, the price of single-family homes is down in all four counties, according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

King County's year-over-year house prices are were down 3.3 percent last month. In Snohomish County they were down 7.8 percent, while Pierce and Kitsap counties each registered a 5.5 percent dip compared to March a year ago.

Those drops reflect a price correction that occurred in August and September.

In King County, the price of single-family homes has fluctuated just $4,050 over the past six months, ending last month at $439,900. That makes March the first month to show an upward price tick since July. House prices were up 2.3 percent over February.

The county's median condominium price was $294,000, a 4.6 percent increase over a year earlier. Condo prices were up 6 percent in Snohomish County, settling at $253,000 last month.

March had 2,314 house and condo sales in King County, a modest increase over January and February, but a 39 percent decline compared to a year earlier. Condo sales posted a higher decline than houses.

The number of homes for sale remains high. Last month King County had 14,260 properties on the market, a 64 percent increase over the previous March and a 900-home increase over February.

In Snohomish, Pierce and Kitsap counties, sales are showing a modest upward trend so far this year. All counties, however, report at least 30 percent drops compared to the year before.

That trend is strongest in Snohomish County, where last month's 911 house and condo sales represents a 41 percent drop year over year.

The median price of Snohomish County houses was $352,725 last month. Pierce County's median was $264,000, and Kitsap County's was $275,162. Median means half the properties sold for more, half for less.

Elizabeth Rhodes: erhodes@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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