Business

South Sound housing market heats up again in September

Real Estate broker Francine Viola chats with prospective homebuyers Larry and Marcy Rosenlund at her Coldwell Banker open house Sunday in the Campus Highlands subdivision in Hawks Prairie. The Roselunds have their eye on another home, which is slated to be built soon.
Real Estate broker Francine Viola chats with prospective homebuyers Larry and Marcy Rosenlund at her Coldwell Banker open house Sunday in the Campus Highlands subdivision in Hawks Prairie. The Roselunds have their eye on another home, which is slated to be built soon. Staff photographer

After a cooler August, the South Sound housing market heated up in September as single-family residence sales once again jumped by a double-digit margin, according to Northwest Multiple Listing Service data released Monday.

And median prices weren’t too far behind, rising 10.3 percent in Pierce County and 7.5 percent in Thurston County from September 2014, the data show.

The continued lack of inventory drove the housing market again in September, as months of inventory in both counties remained below three months at 2.4 months in Pierce County and 2.7 months in Thurston County. Months of inventory is the amount of time it would take to exhaust the supply of homes for sale at the current pace of sales.

Given the limited supply of homes on the market, buyers need to be decisive, write competitive offers and be prequalified by a lender to purchase, said Francine Viola, a longtime broker with Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty in Olympia, who was showing an open house in the Campus Highlands area of Lacey on Sunday.

But that’s not to say that sellers can sit back and wait for the offers to roll in, she said. They still need to price their residence correctly and be prepared to negotiate.

“This is not Seattle,” she said about the Thurston County housing market, where some buy with cash but many still finance their purchase.

Months of inventory in King County stood at 1.44 months in September.

Among those who stopped at Viola’s open house on Sunday were prospective buyers Larry and Marcy Rosenlund. The current residents of Jubilee, a senior community in Lacey, have spent about six months looking for their next house, they said. In that time, median prices have increased, Marcy Rosenlund said.

A closer look at the September data:

▪ Pierce County: Single-family residence sales rose 19 percent to 1,227 units from 1,030 units in September 2014. The median price rose 10.3 percent to $252,500 from $229,000 in the same period a year ago.

▪ Thurston County: Single-family residence sales rose 14.8 percent to 395 units from 344 units in September 2014. The median price rose 7.5 percent to $253,900 from $236,250 in the same period a year ago.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403

rboone@theolympian.com

@rolf_boone

By the numbers

Pierce County condo data for September 2015/2014

Sales: Fell 14 percent to 57 units from 66 units.

Median price: Rose 9 percent to $158,000 from $145,000.

Pending sales: Rose 18.8 percent to 95 units from 80 units.

Number of condos for sale: Fell 25 percent to 191 units from 255 units.

New condo listings in September: Fell to 76 units from 88 units.

Thurston County condo data for September 2015/2014

Sales: Fell to nine units from 10 units.

Median price: Rose 55 percent to $170,000 from $109,652.

Pending sales: Fell to 12 units from 15 units.

Number of condos for sale: Fell 28 units from 51 units.

New condo listings in September: Fell to four units from 11 units.

Source: Northwest MLS

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