Seattle posts record for short sale numbers

The number of short sales in Seattle was record-setting in the third quarter of the fiscal year, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. However, that is a good sign for real estate in Seattle because less individuals are having to go through the foreclosure process. In King County, 16 percent of home sales in the third quarter were short sales.

Despite these being record numbers, Seattle is still showing impressive year-over-year increases in home prices, according to Forbes. Because the area was never hit too hard by the housing bubble burst, residents never experienced the extreme lows that other metro areas saw. Home prices in the Emerald City are up 15 percent for the year. With its low unemployment rates and strong economic growth, Seattle numbers are positive across the board.

According to the publication, the amount of short sales is up from 10 percent last year, and it is the highest number since April 2009. Out of those homes, only about 10 percent were bank-owned properties, which is down 22 percent in the third quarter of last year.

"In the eight years I've been negotiating short sales I have never seen banks so eager to make short sales happen," real estate expert Richard Eastern said in a report. "Lenders are drowning in bank-owned inventory and they are doing everything they can to avoid adding more distressed properties to their portfolio."

In previous years, some lenders have dragged out short sale procedures, and they often rejected offers to reduce the blow to their profits. But recently, some of the top lenders have paid incentives ranging from $23,000 to $35,000 to short sale sellers, in order to push the process along. According to a report by the Puget Sound Business Journal, 37.8 percent of homeowners throughout the local market were underwater on their mortgages.

With short sales and foreclosures combined, distressed inventory makes up for 25 percent of King County sales in the third quarter of this year. This is a decrease from last year, when distressed homes accounted for 32 percent. Trends like this, combined with the low amount of inventory has driven the median sales price up 8 percent since September of last year. According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the county's median home sale price is $335,000.