Real Estate News

Pierce, Thurston counties see higher home sale prices in June

Western Washington’s real estate market continued its steady improvement in June, data released Thursday show.

Median sale prices for single family homes and condos rose year-over-year between 5 percent and 7 percent in King, Pierce and Thurston counties. Pierce’s median sales price in June was almost $230,000. Thurston’s hit $236,000. At the median sale price, half the homes sold for more than that amount, and half sold for less.

More homes are on the market, too, according to data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, with Pierce and Thurston approaching four months’ worth of inventory. A market is considered to be balanced – not weighted in favor of buyers or sellers – if there are 4- to 6-months’ supply of homes for sale.

The Northwest Multiple Listing Service represents 21 counties in Western and Central Washington.

Brokers across Western Washington continue to report increasing activity, both from buyers and sellers, though they acknowledge the pace changes neighborhood by neighborhood. As usual, Seattle is a hotbed of activity.

“Brokers in the Seattle market are keeping busy as multiple offers and cash buyers dominate new, well-prices listings in most markets,” said John Deely of Coldwell Banker Bain, in a news release. Deely says the market for homes priced $1 million and above is experiencing pending sales volume at levels not seen since 2007.

For most of the other markets, price points and competition are somewhat lower. Big institutional investors are still major players, said Diedre Haines, a broker and NWMLS director.

As The News Tribune reported last fall, those investors can pay all cash and close sales quicker than regular people. The biggest investors in Pierce County residential real estate are Invitation Homes, a subsidiary of the Blackstone Group; and American Homes 4 Rent. As of the end of September, those two plus one other private investor were responsible for almost one in 10 purchases of single family homes in Pierce County.

American Homes 4 Rent has slowed its activity, but not Invitation Homes. Since Oct. 1 of last year, various limited liability companies affiliated with Invitation Homes have bought almost 300 more properties in Pierce County, government sales data show. That makes Blackstone the owner of about 950 homes in Pierce County alone. By comparison, American Homes 4 Rent has added fewer than a dozen properties to the 185 it purchased last year.

Kathleen Cooper: 253-597-8546