The ebb and flow of real estate typically results in a slower period of home sales once summer ends, but that was not the case in Pierce County last month as sales and median prices both showed improvement, according to new Northwest Multiple Listing Service data.
Pierce County home sales rose nearly 11 percent in November from the same period last year and median prices rose 5.5 percent, the combined single-family residence and condo data show.
Allen Realtors of Lakewood President Mike Larson said the numbers support how he’s feeling about the market — that things are improving.
“It’s the time of year when we typically kind of slow down, but that’s not the case,” he said, adding that one theme of the current market is lower inventory levels.
Lower inventory levels, or the total number of homes for sale in Pierce County, plunged in November, down 32.2 percent to 3,239 units from 4,777 units in November 2011, the combined data show.
New listings in November also fell to 877 units from 977 units in the same period.
Lower inventory levels are thought to stimulate sales because prospective buyers can’t be quite as choosy. Larson hasn’t seen any signs of bidding wars, unlike in King and Snohomish counties, he said, but it’s also no longer a time when prospective buyers can make low-ball offers.
The market is starting to shift to more of a seller’s market, he said.
Although median prices rose last month, Pierce County still has one of the lowest median price points in the region, lower than median prices in King, Snohomish, Kitsap and Thurston counties. All had median price points of $220,000 or higher in November. The median price for in Pierce County was $195,000.
The median price of a home in King County was $353,250 in November, the combined data show.
Still, Larson remains upbeat.
“We had another solid month and it’s encouraging,” he said. “Real estate is starting to get fun again.”Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 firstname.lastname@example.org theolympian.com/bizblog @rolf_boone