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Last published at August 5, 2009 at 12:16 PM

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King County home sales climb to two-year high in July

Homebuyers in King County closed on 1,727 houses last month, the largest number of sales since August 2007, the month the real-estate downturn began.

Seattle Times business reporter

Home sales in King County surged to their highest level in nearly two years in July, according to statistics released today by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Buyers closed on 1,727 houses last month, the service said — the largest number of sales since August 2007, the month the real-estate downturn began.

The number of closed sales in July was 10.6 percent higher than the same month last year, the service said — the second monthly year-over-year increase in a row.

Pending single-family home sales — offers that were accepted by sellers in July, but haven't yet closed — also were up 19.5 percent from July 2008, continuing a trend that began in April.

Brokers hailed the sales statistics as evidence of recovery.

"The rise of pending sales over the past few months is the best indication we have of what's to come and I am encouraged by what we're seeing," Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate, said in a prepared statement.

Other brokers credited the $8,000 federal tax credit for first-time buyers for much of the increased activity.

There was no evidence of a turnaround in prices, however: The median price of a house that sold in July in King County was $384,000, down from $395,000 in June and $445,000 in July 2008 — a 13.7 percent decline year-over-year.

The median King County condo price was $250,000, down 9.8 percent year-over-year. Pending condo sales were up 9.8 percent, but closed sales declined 9.4 percent.

Single-family home sales in Snohomish County in July were up even more than in King County. Closed sales increased 18.4 percent from the same month last year, pending sales 32.9 percent, the listing service said.

The median price declined 14.3 percent, from $350,000 to $299,990.

Eric Pryne: 206-464-2231 or epryne@seattletimes.com

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