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Home prices climb, inventory stays thin and Craftsman style leads way among searches

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Avoid these 10 mistakes and discover easy steps to make your home "fit to sell." These simple concepts can help you and your sales associate get the most on the sale of your home.
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Avoid these 10 mistakes and discover easy steps to make your home "fit to sell." These simple concepts can help you and your sales associate get the most on the sale of your home.

Pierce County, you were just under $350,000 for the median price of homes sold in March.

Thurston County, you eclipsed $300,000, reaching $301,000.

Northwest Multiple Listing Service released the figures Thursday in its roundup of home sales.

Pierce County saw quite an upswing in home prices in one month - in February, the median price was $325,000.

Thurston's month-over-month increase wasn't as dramatic, up from $297,000 in February.

Supply, or lack of it, remains the main factor in the two counties' sales figures, as Pierce County fell below a month's worth of inventory and Thurston County had just a little over a month's worth.

King, Kitsap and Snohomish counties also had less than a month's worth of inventory, with King County's median closed sale price at $689,950, up 15 percent from same time last year.

Prices in Pierce County are up more than 18 percent from this time last year.

The median price for closed sales of condos in Pierce County in March was at $225,000 with just over a month's worth of inventory. In Thurston, the median was $216,500 with 1.5 month's worth of inventory.

Meanwhile, as red hot as this home market is, some sellers are pushing sale prices even higher by mentioning a specific home style or luxury upgrades to their listings, according to an analysis of the past two years of homes sales nationwide by real estate data firm Zillow.

Craftsman homes, popular in the early 1900s, sold for 21 percent more than expected when the architectural style was included in the listing, according to Zillow. The keyword was listed most in the Seattle metro area, which includes King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.

The real estate website Estately told The News Tribune on Thursday that in its database, those seeking homes in Tacoma are looking for single-family homes more often than condos or townhomes. The most common search terms in order of frequency for Tacoma homes: garage, pool, waterfront and water view.

The most common maximum price for Tacoma searches is $300,000, according to Estately.

Nationwide, listings that included a "steam shower" — a spa-inspired, enclosed shower with a steam generator — earned sellers a 29 percent higher sale price than expected. That upgrade was the most popular in Chicago.

Home listings that mentioned a meditation room sold for 24 percent more than expected. Those listings were most popular in Los Angeles, Zillow says. "Professional appliance" and "pizza oven" in listings netted 29 percent and 26 percent more than expected. Both features were most popular in Los Angeles.

Other sought-after upgrades: an outdoor kitchen, pet shower or solar panels. Just adding those words to a listing can move a home's sale price above what Zillow's algorithm might otherwise expect, according to the company's analysis.

But don't get carried away pushing that price, John Deely, principal managing broker at Coldwell Banker Bain in Seattle, warned in the NWMLS summary.

“In March," he noted, "we saw more listings where sellers pushed the price envelope, causing the property to go past their offer review date with no offers in hand.

“It is not uncommon for buyers to consider a property on the market over 10 days as having something wrong with it.”

Debbie Cockrell: 253-597-8364, @Debbie_Cockrell
Kate Martin: 253-597-8542, @KateReports