After the Pierce County housing market posted an 8 percent increase in home sales in May, the market reversed course in June and fell more than 3 percent, according to data released Thursday by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
Although sales fell, a Pierce County real estate broker said it’s not enough of a decline to cause concern because the housing market overall continues to improve.
“The market has stabilized, and the market will pick up,” said Mike Larson, president and designated broker for Allen Realtors in Lakewood. “Buyers should look at it the same way.”
Home sales fell 3.3 percent to 843 units last month from 872 units in June 2011, while median prices rose 1.39 percent to $198,000 from $195,277 in the same year-over-year period, the combined single-family residence and condominium data show.
Pending sales also rose modestly, up 3.79 percent, while the total number of homes for sale continued to plunge, down more than 31 percent to 3,789 units from 5,501 units, the combined data show.
That was a bright spot in the data – other than stabilizing median prices – because falling inventory levels can stimulate demand and cause median prices to rise as prospective buyers have less to choose from, Larson said.
“Buyers are going to have to act,” he said.
Money, too, remains cheap. The average price of a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 3.56 percent on the West Coast, according to survey data released for the week of July 5 by Freddie Mac.
Home sales in Thurston County, meanwhile, rose nearly 6 percent in June, cracking 300 units sold for the first time all year.
Home sales rose 5.86 percent to 307 units last month from 290 units in June 2011, while prices were flat in the same period, down 1.08 percent to $226,000 from $228,475, the combined single-family residence and condo data show.
Pending sales rose 5 percent to 378 units from 360 units in the same year-over-year period, while the total number of homes for sale fell almost 22 percent to 1,363 units from 1,746, the combined data show.
“It is improving and we know it’s improving,” Van Dorm Realty Managing Broker Steve Pust said about the Thurston County housing market.
He added, though, that lenders continue to scrutinize deals carefully. During the boom in housing, a home sales transaction, from beginning to end, would close in about 45 days. In this new era of scrutiny, deals close in 45 to 60 days, Pust said.
By the numbers
Pierce County single-family residence data for June 2012/2011
• Sales fell 5.53 percent to 786 units from 832 units.
• Median prices rose 1.83 percent to $202,125 from $198,500.
• Pending sales rose 3.48 percent to 1,220 units from 1,179 units.
• Total number of homes for sale fell 31.09 percent to 3,469 units from 5,034 units.
• New single-family residence listings in June fell to 1,176 from 1,413 units.
Pierce County condominium data for June 2012/2011
• Sales rose to 57 units from 40 units.
• Median prices rose 4.87 percent to $140,000 from $133,500.
• Pending sales rose 8.05 percent to 94 units from 87 units.
• Total number of condominiums for sale fell 31.48 percent to 320 units from 467 units.
• New condominium listings in June rose to 100 units from 96 email@example.com 360-754-5403 theolympian.com/bizblog @rolf_boone Source: Northwest Multiple Listing Service