Real Estate News

Home buyers take note: Balance may be coming back to area’s real estate market

When Seattle has more homes for sale, that’s good news for those also looking in Pierce County.

It also means home prices are starting to go down even more.

Northwest Multiple Listing Service released September home sales data Thursday, and they showed a 78 percent year-over-year gain in inventory in King County. While that sounds like a lot, the 23 counties surveyed overall still just have 2.56 months’ worth of inventory. Four to six months is considered a balanced market.

King County showed 2.84 months’ of home inventory. Median closed home sale price was at $668,000, up nearly 7 percent from a year ago. Condo median closed home sale price was $425,000, up 11.56 percent from a year ago, with less than a month’s worth of inventory.

The service says this is the highest inventory has been for the counties it measures since February 2015, when there was 3.56 months’ of inventory collectively on the market.

“Balance is finally returning to the market, and with it, slowing home price growth,” OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate, said in a NWMLS news release.

If you’re looking for a condo, though, good luck. While supply is up from a year ago, area-wide there’s still less than a month’s worth available.

Pierce County

Pierce County’s median closed home sale price in September was $352,750, just slightly higher than August’s $352,000 and more than 10 percent above last year’s price.

The county showed just a little over two months’ inventory, an improvement over August.

Median condo prices for closed sales were at $262,000, more than 13 percent higher than this time last year. Inventory is at less than a month’s worth.

John L. Scott Real Estate, in its market analysis sent to The News Tribune, said 63 percent of sales activity in Pierce County is in various price ranges up to $500,000.

“There is an extreme shortage of unsold listings up to $350,000,” according to the analysis. “In the $350,000 to $500,000 range, the market has moved from an extreme shortage to a shortage of unsold listings.”

Here’s the closed median home sale prices in September, followed by August’s numbers:

Gig Harbor/Key Peninsula: $499,950 ($500,000)

University Place/Fircrest: $435,000 ($396,000)

North Tacoma: $423,500 ($431,400)

Puyallup: $365,000 ($358,700)

Central Tacoma: $325,000 ($306,000)

Lakewood: $320,000 ($313,000)

South Tacoma: $263,000 ($272,000)

Thurston County

“In the South Sound, the market has shifted into neutral and is idling at the moment,” said Dick Beeson, principal managing broker at RE/MAX Professionals in Gig Harbor.

That could be because of the under two months’ worth of inventory listed for Thurston County.

Median closed home sale price was $317,150 up 7.51 percent from this time last year. Condos were at $175,500, up 17 percent from last year and with inventory at less than a month.

Most buyers in the county are looking for the perfect home at under $350,000.

John L. Scott Real Estate, in a statement via email Thursday, noted that “76 percent of sales activity is below $350,000 in Thurston County.

“We went from an extreme frenzy in spring down to a frenzy this fall, and there is a severe shortage of inventory in this price range.”

Debbie Cockrell: 253-597-8364, @Debbie_Cockrell