Home prices up, inventory down in Pierce and Thurston counties

Home prices are up; the inventory of available properties is down; and now is the time to buy, if you’re looking to buy.

That was the message Wednesday as the Northwest Multiple Listing Service released the latest data concerning home and condominium sales activity and prices.

“The numbers are as good as we could hope for,” said Dick Beeson, a member of the service’s board of directors and the principal managing broker at Tacoma’s Re/Max Professionals.

His advice for people considering buying a home?

“You’re going to have to make decisions more quickly,” Beeson said. “You’re going to have to step up to the plate and do your homework. You won’t have the luxury of picking and choosing that you had last year.”

Among the data:

Beeson said he saw only one bit of caution in Wednesday’s report.

“The only number that troubles me is the inventory being low,” he said.

“The current inventory of homes available for sale has never been lower in my 22 years as a real estate broker,” said Multiple Listing Service director George Moorhead, designated broker and owner of Bentley Properties of King County.

Throughout the 23-county statewide listing service network, the number of active listings of single family homes and condos fell from 19,195 a year ago to 17,082 at the end of January, a decrease of 11 percent, the agency reported in a release Wednesday.

Throughout the network, King County recorded the highest median price among homes and condos at $390,000, which was 6.89 percent ahead of last year. Grays Harbor County showed the lowest median price among counties in Western Washington at $79,000, down 21.39 percent.

Snohomish County recorded the largest increase in prices in the Puget Sound area, up 17.10 percent to $315,000. In the state, Clallam County recorded biggest jump in price, up 41.88 percent to $227,000.

Northwest Multiple Listing Service director Frank Wilson, branch managing broker with John L. Scott in Poulsbo, stated, “It’s almost the perfect storm — low interest rates, low inventory, pent-up demand and a pipeline of sidelines buyers who could not buy because of a past short sale or foreclosure.”