High percentage of distressed home sales negatively affect home prices in the South Sound

Staff writerMay 6, 2014 

A high percentage of foreclosed and short sales home transactions last month in Pierce and Thurston counties caused median prices to take a dip in both locales, new figures from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service show.

Those statistics show the median home sales price in Pierce County last month was $215,000 in April compared with $217,000 a year earlier. That's a 0.92 percent decline.

In Thurston County median home sales prices fell to $214,500 in April compared with $225,000 in April of 2013.

Dick Beeson, managing broker at RE/MAX Professional in Tacoma, said his analysis of April's home sales figures in the South Sound showed that non-distressed homes were often receiving multiple offers. Considering only homes sold outside the bank-owned and short sales categories, the median sales prices were $240,000, $25,000 above the median for all homes sold in Pierce County in April.

Both Pierce and Thurston counties showed a less-than-optimal supply of homes, said the listing service.  While Pierce County saw a 19.8 percent increase in its inventory of homes and condos on the market last month and while Thurston recorded a nearly 12 percent, both counties have less than a six-month inventory of homes for sale.

The listing service considers a six-month supply to be a good balance between supply and demand that gives neither the buyer nor the seller dominance.

For the state as a whole, the April numbers were more positive than the South Sound's.

Median sale prices rose by 1.87 percent April 2014 over April 2013 statewide, and listings were  up by 7.89 percent.

In King County, median sales prices for homes and condominiums increased by nearly 10 percent in April to $386,000. In Snohomish County, median prices jumped by 7.64 percent to $296,000.  

Lewis County saw median prices rise by nearly 25 percent to $157,000. Grays Harbor County saw an even larger percentage increase, 34.28 percent, to $123,500.

Mason County home and condo sale prices increased by 8.01 percent in April to $147,950.

High end homes were selling exceptionally well, especially in King County, where sales of those high-priced abodes grew by 25 percent in the first four months of the year.  Positive stock market performance often drives high end sales, said John Deely, principal managing broker for Coldwell Banker Bain Seattle.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 1,029 points since its 2014 low close on Feb. 3. 

 


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