By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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SEQUIM –– Though 535 homes sold in Clallam County's major housing markets during the first six months of 2014, a closer look at real estate data shows opposing directions for Sequim and Port Angeles.
The Sequim market saw a 6 percent increase in the number of first-half homes sold, known as unit sales, while Port Angeles dropped 9.3 percent.
Michael McAleer with the Sequim Association of Realtors said the number of homes sold during the second quarter of 2014 in his market, from the Jefferson County line to McDonnell Creek, were higher than pre-recession levels.
“That is the second highest number of home sales in a second quarter ever in Sequim, behind only the second quarter of 2005,” McAleer said.
According to the Olympic Multiple Listing Service, 331 homes sold during the first six months of 2014 in the Sequim market, up from the 312 sold in the first half of 2013.
Port Angeles home sales, from McDonald Creek to Joyce, fell from 223 in the first half of 2013 to 204 in this year's first half.
“The economy — to use a technical real estate term — still sucks,” said Dick Pilling, spokesman for the Port Angeles Association of Realtors.
Average price paid for a home in Sequim rose, from $221,000 in 2013 to $248,627 this year.
Port Angeles home sales fell from 223 in the first half of 2013 to 204 in this year's first half.
However, average prices in Port Angeles rose from $172,143 in 2013 to $194,786 so far this year.
Both markets combined for $122,031,949 worth of home sales in this year's first six months, up 13.7 percent from the $107,339,962 in sales from the first half of 2013.
“More things are moving. Obviously, when you're having a comeback, the fastest movers are going to be the lower-priced houses,” Pilling said.
“And we have been in a slow comeback.”
Further boosting prices was a reduction of the number of bank-owned properties and short sales on the market, according to McAleer.
“The percentage of the market that fell into the 'distressed sale' category fell to 10 percent, which may be the most encouraging news of the quarter,” McAleer said.
The number is a drop from the 16 percent of distressed sales in the year's first quarter and less than one-fourth the 41 percent of distressed sales on the market in the first quarter of 2011.
Sales were up in Forks as well, where the 17 homes sold through the first half of 2014 was up from the 14 sold in the first half of 2013.
Average price for a Forks home sale fell, however, from $175,913 in 2013 to $137,164 in 2014.
The number of homes on the market in Forks is up, with 49 houses listed compared to the 38 listed at the end of June 2013.
In Jefferson County, the first half of 2014 brought with it a 9.4 percent increase in the number of homes sold, from 212 in 2013 to 232 sold this year, according to data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
Those homes sold for an average price of $280,181, up from the $275,734 average price from the same point last year.
Typically the engine of the Jefferson County real estate market, Port Townsend sales were close to 2013 levels, with 98 homes sold compared to 93 last year.
Much of this year's increase came in southeast Jefferson County, as the 44 sales in Port Ludlow were up from 37 a year ago, and the 17 homes sold in Port Hadlock topped the 12 from last year.
The average price paid for a Port Hadlock home nearly doubled from last year, selling for an average of $216,488 this year compared to a $118,449 average from last year's first half.
Ludlow sale prices were also up significantly, jumping from an average of $270,906 through June 2013 to $306,994 through June of this year.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.