2018 real estate recap as 2019 kicks off with the bar moving higher for luxury homes

Fewer homes sold in 2018, but collectively, more money was made on the region’s real estate.

That’s according to Northwest Multiple Listing Service’s summary of 2018, released Friday.

The report showed “92,555 closed sales during 2018, fewer than the previous year, but the dollar volumes surpassed 2017 by nearly $688 million for a small gain of 1.4 percent,” according to the service, covering 23 counties in the state.

Total inventories averaged 1.77 months, up from 1.48 months’ supply in 2017.

Pierce’s median closed home sale price for 2018 was $345,000, up 12.38 percent from 2017. King County’s was $680,000, up 8.45 percent from the previous year. Thurston’s was $313,500, up 10.39 percent.

Kitsap’s median for 2018 was $345,000, up 11.29 percent from the previous year. Mason County was $242,750, up 14.78 percent from 2017.

High-end home sales in the NWMLS network outpaced those in 2017 by 6.5 percent, with more than 6,000 selling for more than $1 million, up from 5,727 in 2017.

The service says that of those, 61 residences commanded $5 million or more in 2018, with the highest-priced one at $26.75 million in Medina.

There were 87 active listings as of Jan. 1 for properties valued at $1 million or more in Pierce County, with 14 new listings added in December, and 14 pending sales in that category, according to a market analysis from John L. Scott real estate.

For comparison, December 2018 showed just over 33 percent of new listings in that price range pending in first 30 days; in December 2017 it was at 14.3 percent.

“For the luxury market, there is a healthy inventory of homes for sale, paired with healthy sales activity up to $2 million (in home price), then selective buyer activity above that,” the report said.

Looking ahead for Pierce County, luxury home sales are definitely in play for this year, with a recent one kicking off sales in 2019 in Gig Harbor for $3.5 million.

The home, at 8424 Goodman Dr., is on the east side of the bay.

The four-bedroom, three-and-a-half bathroom home has 5,200 square feet of living space and more than 90 feet of waterfront with a deep-water dock. The home also has indoor and outdoor living rooms, five outdoor patio heaters, a technology package that plays audio and video through the home, and two kitchens.

It was the highest recent closed sale in Gig Harbor, according to a review of NWMLS data through a representative. The Pierce County Assessor’s Office could not independently confirm it as a record setter just yet, pointing to lag time in updating its records of sales. For now, its figures only run through October.

The sale was completed Jan. 7.

Given the assessor’s office figures from January 2018 through October, the next-most expensive sale was of a home on Fox Island for $3 million, which sold January 2018.

Michael Morrison of Morrison House Sotheby’s International Realty said in a news release announcing the sale: “High-end buyers we are seeing today are often times coming from outside the area where they are looking to escape extreme weather swings and taxation.”

Morrison also noted there were multiple interested parties that considered the $3.5 million house.