Business

Median Pierce County home prices remain above half-million dollars in February sales

High demand is keeping Pierce County home prices in an ever-rising status, with the median closed sale price for existing single-family homes now at $535,000, up from January’s $525,000.

February’s price is up from $462,000 the same time a year ago.

Pierce County’s median price was the third-highest in the Northwest Multiple Listing Service area, with King County at $857,750 and Snohomish County at $745,725.

New listings hitting the market February for homes, at 1,247, were up from January’s 895, but total active listings for single-family homes were down just over 9 percent from the same time in 2021.

Total active listings for condominiums saw a more dramatic drop year-over-year, down more than 43 percent. But that’s still an improvement, if you can call it that, from January, which was down more than 50 percent and saw just 80 new condo listings. February saw 102.

The median closed sale price for condos in Pierce County in February hit $400,000, up from $378,500 in January and up nearly 27 percent from a year ago.

Pierce County’s available real estate inventory remains less than a month’s worth.

Agents are awaiting the spring bump of new inventory. In a report for John L. Scott Real estate, J. Lennox Scott noted that last year, new listings in Pierce County went up 38 percent from February to March. In comparison, new listings rose 56 percent in Thurston County in that same time frame.

Kitsap County saw a bigger jump in percentage increase in price year-over-year than Piece, King or Snohomish counties, up more than 21 percent at $525,000 for its February median price, and up from $508,750 the month before.

Frank Wilson, branch managing broker and Kitsap regional manager at John L. Scott Real Estate, said in Monday’s NWMLS release accompanying the report: “We have more new listings (up 30.6%), more total active listings (up 36%), and more pending transactions (up 10%) compared to last year’s numbers. Also, home prices continue to rise ... This is concerning because we are just starting into the spring market.”

While buyers might still be doing a constant refresh of screens to find new listings, one agent told The News Tribune that the picture has changed for those not making a big cash offer.

“We are still seeing cash offers, but just because an offer is cash doesn’t mean a seller is guaranteed to select it,” said Jeremy Martini, broker with John L. Scott Tacoma North office, via email in response to questions.

“We recently had a seller client who received a cash offer but chose to go with an offer that was financed because it had fewer contingencies,” he wrote.

Mortgage transactions aren’t always taking as long to get to closing as in previous times, according to Martini.

“Many people still think that cash is king, but nowadays mortgage loan offers can close relatively quickly in about 16 days or so, which can make them quite competitive,” Martini said.

Agents also are coming up with terms so sellers aren’t faced with a move-out they might not be ready for if their home sells faster than they can find a replacement.

“Our top strategy is to plan for a ‘rent back’ ... a contingency in your offer that would give you anywhere from two weeks until 30+ days after the home closes to find a new home,” Martini noted.

He added, “We advise our clients to have a game plan in case something doesn’t go to plan — that could be finding a short-term rental, or living with friends or family for a short period of time.”

This story was originally published March 8, 2022 10:22 AM.

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