Despite tumbling inventories, there still was enough inventory and buyer interest in South Sound to once again drive up sales and median prices in February, according to new data released Monday by Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
Sales of single-family residences in Pierce County jumped by nearly 13 percent last month from February a year ago, while median price climbed 12 percent over the same period. Median price didn’t rise as sharply in Thurston County last month, but it still rose more than 7 percent. Sales were higher by 17.7 percent, the data show.
If you’re a buyer in this market, get ready to pay even more for a single-family residence because inventories fell sharply last month in both counties. That means there is increasingly little to choose from, and sellers remain in the driver seat.
The number of active listings in Pierce County last month plunged 24 percent and in Thurston County nearly 25 percent from the year-ago period, the data show. The result is that months of inventory — an estimate of how long the supply of single-family residences would be exhausted at the current pace of sales — remains below two months in Pierce and Thurston counties.
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A healthy balance between buyers and sellers is thought to be in the four- to six-month range.
What has happened to the King County housing market has yet to materialize in South Sound, but the pattern is similar: Buyer demand, combined with little to choose from, has kept prices high. But there’s even less to choose from in King County, so the monthly change in sales hasn’t been that impressive. But King County’s high-flying economy still means there are plenty of people who will spend to get what they want. Despite sales rising only 1.6 percent last month, median price rose 8.7 percent to $560,000.
“All of this is pushing up home prices faster than anywhere else in the country and will continue to do so if we don’t see more homes come on the market this spring,” said Windermere Real Estate President OB Jacobi in a statement.
A closer look at the South Sound data for February 2017/2016:
▪ Pierce County: Sales rose 12.9 percent to 919 units from 814 units. Median price rose 12 percent to $280,000 from $250,000, while pending sales slipped 5 percent to 1,508 units from 1,587 units.
▪ Thurston County: Sales rose 17.7 percent to 299 units from 254 units. Median price rose 7.65 percent to $267,500 from $248,500. Pending sales fell 8 percent to 466 units from 507 units.
Pierce County condo data for February 2017/2016:
▪ Sales rose to 66 units from 52 units.
▪ Median price rose 1 percent to $209,000 from $207,000.
▪ Pending sales fell 10 percent to 108 units from 120 units.
▪ Number of total listings fell 22.6 percent to 89 units from 115 units.
▪ New listings in February fell to 78 units from 86 units.
Thurston County condo data for February 2017/2016:
▪ Sales fell to seven units from nine units.
▪ Median price rose to $149,000 from $120,000.
▪ Pending sales rose to 16 units from 14 units.
▪ Number of total listings rose to 24 units from 17 units.
▪ New listings in February fell to six units from 10 units.
Source: Northwest Multiple Listing Service