Washington State Home Sales Soar Past Previous Highs

sold-sign2015 may have been an interesting year for many reasons, but in the world of Washington real estate, it sure felt like the good old days.

Not since the way-back-when of 2007 had so many homes and condominiums sold in the Evergreen State. According to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, 2015 saw a whopping 88,331 homes changed hands last year, about 14% more sales than in the previous year. Those who have done the math say that works out to about 75,975 single family homes and 12,356 condominiums, valued at approximately $34 billion, about 23% more than the dollar volume sold the year before. Those impressive figures make 2015 one of the best years for Washington State real estate in recent memory.

The last time this state saw real estate figures like that was in 2007, before the bubble burst and sent the country into what is not-so-affectionately known as The Great Recession. Even in 2007, the figures only added up to about 82,197 sales valued at $32.3 billion, according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Furthermore, despite a ‘lower inventory’, so to speak, prices and number of sales continue to grow. In King County, the median home price was $480,000 and more than 26,600 homes sold. Compare that to a median price of $440,000 and 26,600 homes sold, in 2014 and you’ll notice a jump of close to 10%. Snohomish and Pierce counties can top those figures with growth figures for both median home price and number of homes sold over last year at nearly 16.80% ($355,000, up from $326,360 with 11,303 homes sold) and 17.39% ($249,950, up from 230,000 with more than 13,200 homes sold) respectively.

Overall, region-wide, the growth was about 8.8% from 2014, with a median price for single family homes and condominiums at about $310,000, up from $285,000 last year.

Numbers like this are a positive and encouraging sign for the state of the real estate market and the country’s economy as a whole. Let’s just hope nothing comes along and tries to ‘burst our bubble’ this time.

73 Year Old Magnolia Man Kept Filipina Woman a Slave, Paying Her $400 a Month

house73 year old Romulo ‘Ome’ Almeda kept an illegal immigrant woman secluded in his Magnolia home for four years. He paid her a measly $400 a month for acting as the nanny, landscaper, maid and cook. She was shuffled between his properties in Magnolia and in California, not given a choice as to when she would go or whether she wanted to. She was not allowed to go anywhere including attend church for fear that someone would see her and report her as an illegal immigrant.

The woman left the Philippines where she earned $6 an hour as a manicurist to find better opportunities in the U.S. Out of the $400 she was receiving each month for working 12 to 16 hours a day, she would send all but $50 to $100 to her family in the Philippines. After years of seclusion she was eventually able to tell her family of her situation. Her sister then contacted another Filipino family in Seattle who then got in touch with a local pastor who was able to help remove the woman from the house in April 2009.

Almeda was arrested and believed at the time that he did nothing wrong and that he was simply helping the woman by offering her extra money and a place to stay. He later admitted wrong-doing and realized that what he did was unlawful. He paid the woman $90,500 for what he shorted her in wages. He was charged and reached a plea agreement with prosecutors. He has not been jailed and has been scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday.