Busier in summer, slower in fall and winter. That’s the typical rise and fall of the South Sound residential real estate market.
But that was not the case in November, as sales of single-family residences and median prices shot higher by healthy double-digit margins, according to Northwest Multiple Listing Service data released Monday. Sales rose by nearly 70 percent in Thurston County and 33 percent in Pierce County, data show.
While sales have been pushed by a good economy, prices continue to shoot higher because of the lack of inventory.
“The regional economy is in full stride and this will continue to create increased demand for housing across the board,” Windermere Real Estate President OB Jacobi said in a statement.
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Although sales of single-family residences were brisk in Pierce and Thurston counties, inventory fell sharply last month. It fell 16.8 percent in Pierce County from the year ago period, and was down 12 percent in Thurston County from the same period, the data show.
That means months of inventory — an estimate of how long the supply of single-family residences would be exhausted at the current pace of sales — fell below two months in both counties in November.
The state of the market has been good for sellers and less so for buyers. Dick Beeson, principal managing broker of Re/Max Professionals in Tacoma, identified some of the challenges. Among them: multiple offers or sellers refusing to make repairs on their property.
That may not be the case in South Sound, but it probably applies to King County, where the single-family residential market continues to defy expectations. Months of inventory stood at a month in November and yet more than 2,200 residences were sold last month, which was 30 percent more than November 2015. Median price rose 10 percent to $550,000 in November.
A closer look at the Sound Sound data for November:
Pierce County: Sales rose 33.1 percent to 1,218 units from 915 units in November 2015. Median price climbed 15 percent to $287,725 from $249,900 over the same period, while pending sales rose 20 percent to 1,440 units from 1,201 units.
Thurston County: Sales rose 67 percent to 441 units from 264 units in November 2015. Median price jumped 10.5 percent to $265,000 from $239,900 over the same period, while pending sales rose 9 percent to 406 units from 372 units.
South Sound condo data for November 2016/2015
▪ Sales rose to 80 units from 48 units.
▪ Median price rose 8 percent to $180,000 from $166,725.
▪ Pending sales fell 2.5 percent to 78 units from 80 units.
▪ Total number of listings fell 27.7 percent to 128 units from 177 units.
▪ New listings in November rose to 65 units from 64 units.
▪ Sales rose to 13 units from 10 units.
▪ Median price rose 25 percent to $166,000 from $132,125.
▪ Pending sales rose to 15 units from nine units.
▪ Total number of listings fell to 17 units from 21 units.
▪ New listings in November rose to nine units from six units.
Source: Northwest Multiple Listing Service