Rising prices and sinking sales made for a mixed housing market in Pierce County last month as several thousand homes vied for buyers’ attention.
The median price for stand-alone houses and condominiums increased, compared to the same month a year ago, by a respectable 6.9 percent to $281,000, according to figures released Wednesday by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. King County’s median price came in at $411,868.
Pierce County’s pending sales, however, declined 21 percent – the largest year-over-year drop so far in 2007 and the biggest in the Puget Sound area.
At the same time, the number of homes listed for sale skyrocketed – up 57 percent to 8,039 over the previous May.
Gail Jensen, a Crescent Realty agent in Spanaway who primarily works with sellers, said she’s counseling them to price smart.
“I haven’t seen a stagnant market like this in 18 years,” Jensen said.
Dick Beeson, a Multiple Listing Service director, said Wednesday that the supply of homes countywide remains at six months – any more and the market would be considered one that favors buyers. North Tacoma sits at the better end of that measure, with about 4.5 months of supply, while Gig Harbor has entered buyer’s market territory with a supply of homes that would take eight months to sell, said Beeson, a Windermere broker.
“It seems like the listings are not hard to get. What’s hard to get are well-priced properties. Sellers being realistic is one of the main problems,” he said.
Dawn Cutts said she thought her 1925 Mediterranean home on Stadium Way in Tacoma was priced at market value but reduced it this week by $45,000 to $850,000. The three-bedroom house, she said, has been renovated to reflect its period and style, including lime-washed walls, chandeliers and a trio of outdoor patios.
On the market for about 45 days, the 3,600-square-foot house is taking longer to sell than she anticipated.
“We didn’t get comments that it was overpriced, but we’re just anxious to sell it,” Cutts said.
Van Collins’ North Tacoma house, built in 1863, was listed in October after years of renovations. It measures 4,600 square feet with four bedrooms and two bathrooms.
Though he said feedback from potential buyers has been good, he’s looking at replacing some wallpaper and repainting inside. The price has been reduced to $699,950, but he wouldn’t say how much of a reduction that was.
“We’re trying to be aggressive. We’re looking at the house as objectively as we can,” Collins, 46, said.
More details on various South Sound areas:
• Browns Point and the area including Graham, Eatonville and Ashford were big price-appreciation winners. Browns Point median home prices increased 21 percent to $405,500 compared to May 2006; Graham-area prices jumped 24 percent to $279,000. The median means half sold for more and half for less.
• May prices dipped slightly in the area that includes Gig Harbor, Purdy and Fox Island, from $384,000 to $380,000.
• Median prices also fell in University Place, down to $310,000 from $319,975, compared to the same month a year ago.
• One of the only areas that saw more houses sold last month than in May 2006 was Fife, where the local median price also beat the county’s at $309,950.
Devona Wells: 253-597-8652