Real Estate News

South Sound housing market steady in October

The South Sound housing market had a decent-to-good October as home sales and median prices bumped higher, according to Northwest Multiple Listing Service data released Wednesday.

But the bigger news for the housing market might be which direction mortgage interest rates head now that the Federal Reserve ended its bond-buying program last week, also known as “quantitative easing,” which injected more than $4 trillion into the economy to keep it afloat during the recession.

So far, average national mortgage rates for a 30-year mortgage remain low, although they have climbed to 3.98 percent from 3.92 percent in the past two weeks, according to Freddie Mac data.

Mark Kitabayashi of Windermere Real Estate Puyallup thinks that mortgage rates will trickle up slowly, although not more than 1 percentage point for a while, he said.

What effect this might have on the housing market is still to be seen because it is coming off a “great spring and summer,” Kitabayashi said.

Meanwhile, the Pierce County housing market continues to chug along.

Home sales rose slightly more than 11 percent in October, to 1,127 units from 1,014 units — the sixth consecutive month that 1,000 or more homes have sold in the county — and the median price climbed 4.6 percent to $228,000 from $217,898, the combined single-family residence and condo data show.

The number of homes for sale rose 4.3 percent in October, but that’s not keeping up with demand as the number of months of inventory fell to 3.31 months last month from 3.67 months in September, the combined data show.

Thurston County, as it sometimes does, presented a mixed picture in October.

Home sales were unchanged in the year-over-year period at 302 units, but sellers rejoice: The median price shot nearly 12 percent higher to $227,500 from $203,495, the combined data show.

That’s too high, Kitabayashi said, more comfortable with median price appreciation in the 3 percent to 4 percent range.

The number of homes for sale fell 4 percent, and with no change in home sales, number of months of inventory rose to 4.05 in October from 3.76 months in September.

Pending sales rose 3 percent in Pierce County to 1,363 units from 1,324 units, while in Thurston County they rose 17 percent to 433 units from 370 units, the combined data show.