Real Estate News

For local real estate, sales are booming amid tight inventory

Staff report

Real estate broker Francine Viola was showing a Riviera-series home with direct view to a nearby golf course last year. The seller’s market has only intensified since then.
Real estate broker Francine Viola was showing a Riviera-series home with direct view to a nearby golf course last year. The seller’s market has only intensified since then. Staff file, 2015

It’s fall, and we’re still in a strong seller’s market for real estate. Even the upcoming presidential election hasn’t affected the area’s housing market.

Northwest Multiple Listing Service released October sales figures Friday. Here’s a look at Pierce and Thurston counties:

Pierce County: Total active residential and condo listings declined about 13 percent compared with October 2015, while pending sales for the combined group were up a little more than 13 percent year over year.

Pending residential sales were up nearly 15 percent compared with October 2015. Closed sales for residential listings were up 11.63 percent from October 2015, with a median price of $279,950, up 9.68 percent from a year ago. The county had 1.93 months of inventory for homes. In the condo market, the median closed price in October was $194,250.

Thurston County: Total active residential and condo listings declined nearly 12 percent, while total pending sales were up 8.81 percent year over year.

Pending residential sales were up 10.55 percent from October 2015. Closed sales for residential listings were up 7.29 percent from last year, with a median price of $268,000, up 7.63 percent from a year ago. The county had 2.10 months of inventory for homes. In the condo market, the median closed price in October was $127,000.

“While the stock market remains somewhat skittish regarding the upcoming presidential election, this feeling clearly has not transferred to the housing market,” said OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate, in a news release accompanying the report. “Unfortunately for buyers who were hoping to have more homes to choose from this fall, listings in October fell to levels we haven’t seen since the 1990s — and at this point, we probably won’t see any sizable increase in inventory until the spring at the earliest,” he noted.

According to Northwest MLS director Dick Beeson, the principal managing broker at RE/MAX Professionals in Tacoma, in Friday’s news release: “Homes priced under $400,000 are looked at hard by buyers on ‘day one’ and often draw multiple offers.”

Among King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties, NWMLS noted Friday that “only Kitsap had an uptick in new listings compared with a year ago, but that county’s robust pending sales (up 20.7 percent) helped deplete its total inventory versus 12 months ago (down about 7 percent).”

King County’s results continue to be the outlier in the state. The Seattle Times reported Friday that nearly 12 percent of all single-family homes sold in the county this year went for more than $1 million. Less than 5 percent of homes in King County go for less than $250,000.

King County’s rental market also can be daunting. This week, apartment rental website Zumper said in its November report that Seattle is now the ninth most expensive city in its U.S. rent index, outpacing Miami. Zumper’s list had one-bedroom apartments in Seattle going for $1,820. San Francisco was at the top of the list, with its one-bedroom rentals at $3,380.

The Seattle Times contributed to this report.

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