PEOPLE on holiday were not the only ones who enjoyed Washington state's exceptionally warm July weather, according to Washington estate agents. Many sales agents joined buyers and sellers in savouring the sunshine, resulting in slower activity in most offices. Although the volume of pending sales and new listings dipped to their lowest levels since January and February respectively, brokers cited a relatively low ratio of ''failed sales'' and ''average days on market'' figures as indicators of a healthy market. Figures released by the Puget Sound Multiple Listing Association (PSMLA) showed pending sales dipped to 2,898 - the first month since January when fewer than 3,000 transactions were reported. Commenting on the month's sales, PSMLA director Dean Rebhuhn, managing broker of the Bellevue office of John L Scott Inc, said new listings were selling rapidly. ''Pricing and staging of property are the keys to quick sales,'' said Mr Rebhuhn. ''Well-priced inventory that shows well can command multiple offers in this market.'' Sellers who accepted offers on their homes during July had their properties listed an average of 62 days. A year ago, residential properties were listed, on average, for 74 days before being sold. Another positive indicator, according to PSMLA officials, was the ratio of sales that failed. Of pending sales reported for the month, only 5.3 per cent failed, a figure considered below the industry norm of around 10 per cent. For 1993, PSMLA members reported a ''failed sale'' ratio of 8.1 per cent. While activity slackened during July, prices edged slightly upward from both the previous month and averages of a year ago. Based on 2,623 sales that closed during the month, the average price was up 5.4 per cent to US$180,681, which compares to last year's average of $171,502 and the previous month's figure of $175,541. Median prices rose 4.8 per cent from a year ago, with half the homes now selling for more than $152,000 and half selling for less. Twelve months ago the median price was $145,000. New listings totalled 5,401, about the same volume as a year ago when 5,491 properties were added to the inventory. That was about 500 fewer new listings than the previous month but enough to push the total to 14,722 units, the highest level this year. Asking prices on offerings averaged $235,246, slightly more than the $231,218 a year ago. Homes in King County, where about two-thirds of PSMLA's existing inventory is located, continued to command the highest asking prices, averaging $254,474. In Snohomish County, the average asking price was $198,514 for the 3,750 properties on offer. Homes for sale in the northern part of Pierce County, the only segment included in PSMLA's area, have an average asking price of $188,893. Brokers tend to shrug off the dip in activity, with most attributing the fall to the summer break. ''Slow Julys are typical for us as agents take time off for vacations,'' said PSMLA director Gary O'Leyar, owner of The Prudential Signature Properties in Lake City. He added he was surprised by the volume of in-house sales. ''We're selling a higher than normal rate of our own listings,'' said Mr O'Leyar, citing referrals and network affiliation for the performance. Mike Gain, another PSMLA director and an owner-manager of Cayce and Gain Inc Realty in West Seattle, characterised the market as ''taking a breath''. ''We shouldn't expect to sustain the activity at the pace we've enjoyed for several months,'' he said, adding a slight rise in interest rates had little negative impact because rates were still ''fabulous''. Another PSMLA director said her office in South King County remained busy throughout July, following a slowdown during June. ''Summer is typically slower,'' said Kathy Estey, branch manager of the Auburn-Kent office of MacPherson's Better Homes and Gardens. ''If tradition holds, September should be great.''