2013 was comeback year for local real estate

rboone@theolympian.comJanuary 23, 2014 

It was a comeback year for the Pierce County housing market in 2013 as growth in both home sales and median prices rose well into double-digit territory, leaving the modest statistical accomplishments of 2012 in the dust. That’s according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, which released its annual recap of the Puget Sound housing market Wednesday.

For Pierce County, it was good news.

Home sales rose 22.41 percent to 11,737 units last year from 9,588 units in 2012, the combined single-family residence and condo data show. And home price appreciation was nearly as strong as median prices rose 11.68 percent to $212,200 in 2013 from $190,000 in 2012, the combined data show.

Northwest MLS director Dick Beeson said the housing market “clearly reset” last year as low inventory levels and low mortgage interest rates pushed prices and sales higher.

The county had its moments in spring and summer, too, as the market heated up and prices jumped 15 percent in some places in the county. “We couldn’t be happier to see those numbers,” Beeson said.

But as prices rose and interest rates finally bumped up a bit, affordability got a little tougher for some people, he added.

Meanwhile, the median price disparity between King County and Pierce County remains stark.

King County median prices finished last year at $372,000, nearly 14 percent higher from the previous year, the combined data show.

Home sales also rose 15 percent to 31,354 units last year from 27,255 units in 2012, according to the combined data.

Other Pierce County housing data from 2013:

 • Of the 10,929 single-family residences (excluding condos) that sold last year, 52.1 percent were three-bedroom homes, 30.7 percent were four-bedroom homes, 10.9 percent had two or fewer bedrooms and 6.1 percent had five or more bedrooms.

 • If you bought a single-family residence in 2004, it has appreciated 9 percent in value through 2013. But if you bought a single-family residence at the peak of the market in 2007 — the median price for the year was $281,400 — you likely are still underwater on your house. The median price of a single-family residence fell to a low of $194,000 in 2011.

 • Pierce County had 28 single-family residences that sold for $1 million or more last year. It also had 21 condos that sold for $500,000 or more.

That compares with King County, which recorded more than 1,400 single-family residences that sold for $1 million or more, and more than 600 condos that sold for $500,000 or more.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 rboone@theolympian.com

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