The South Sound housing market remained hot in April as closed sales of single-family residences jumped by more than 20 percent in Pierce and Thurston counties, according to housing data released Tuesday by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
Single-family residence sales soared in Pierce County last month, up 40 percent to 1,228 units from 881 units in the same period a year ago, while Thurston County also showed a double-digit gain of 24 percent to 332 units from 268 units in April 2014.
The median price in both counties also rose sharply from a year ago, up 13.6 percent in Pierce County to $249,950 and up 7.3 percent in Thurston County to $234,000.
But can all potential buyers or sellers actually find a single-family residence or move-up property to buy?
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That’s increasingly becoming the challenge for both markets as the number of single-family residences for sale fell 16 percent in Pierce County from the period a year ago, and fell 4 percent in Thurston County.
And that means the inventory of single-family residences on the market continues to drift lower, the data show.
In April, Pierce County had 2.14 months of inventory on the market, down from 2.59 months of inventory in March, while Thurston County continued to hover around 3.27 months in April and March.
So where will inventory levels be in the middle of summer when the housing market typically kicks into gear?
“I don’t see it getting any better,” said Mark Kitabayashi, a Windermere agent who works in both counties.
Yes, prices are going up and houses are selling, but even the seller is having trouble finding that next property, he said.
“I can sell it, but where am I going to go?” Kitabayashi said about the seller’s dilemma.
Six months of inventory is considered healthy, he said.
At least Pierce and Thurston counties aren’t going through the King County experience.
The lack of inventory there — 1.28 months in April — continues to drive prices higher, the data show. The median price rose nearly 12 percent to $480,000 in April.