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Seattle Times business reporter Elizabeth Rhodes posts the answers to your real estate questions as they pop up during the week. Join this ongoing discussion, which also features reader reaction to real-estate articles appearing throughout The Times.

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March 13, 2008 2:33 PM

Out-of-state seller wonders about Cle Elum market

Posted by Elizabeth Rhodes

Q: Generally speaking, what is the state of the real estate market in Central Washington, particularly the Roslyn/Cle Elum area? My husband and I own a home there on the Yakima River. We have a renter in there now, but are considering putting the house on the market. We live in Hawaii, however, and are too far removed to have a good sense of how that market is fairing, considering the national headlines on real estate? Also, what, if any, impact do you think the Suncadia development will have on real estate prices in that area? In the short term? In the long term?

A: Traditionally the strongest months for sales are coming up -- March through roughly July or August.
Going into that I can tell you how February has been statistically for all of Kittitas County, but I can't give you a breakdown for the Roslyn/Cle Elum area because I don't have those numbers.

Last month there were 489 single-family houses for sale county-wide and just 42 sales. That's about the same number of sales as February of 2007, but significantly more properties available.This means there's a lot of competition for buyers. When that happens prices soften.

It also means several things for you. To land a sale your house must be in excellent condition because buyers have so much choice they'll bypass any house that isn't. It will also have to be very competitively priced. And if a buyer is interested you'll probably be asked to drop your price even lower because today's buyers are negotiating hard to get good deals.

The Suncadia development will definitely drive up the county's median prices because houses there are expensive. It's a resort targeting affluent buyers, after all. However at this point most of the single-family houses are being custom-built for people who bought lots there. So there aren't a lot of new Suncadia houses flooding the market.

To gauge how Suncadia might affect your chances of selling, you should talk to a real estate pro in the area. Describe your property and ask what the competition is like for homes like yours in locations like yours. You can easily find real estate companies on the Web and identify their agents.
I'm sure there will be one or more willing to e-mail with you.

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