Archive for September, 2014

Sep 09 2014

July was good. August a little better for South Sound home sales.

July was good, August a little better for South Sound home sales

Here is the report from News Tribune writer about Pierce County home sales. The Gig Harbor and Key Peninsulas didn't fare quite as well for the median sales price uptick year-over-year but do show a solid 5% upgrade for year-to-date figures — just a tad lower than the county as a whole. BY ROLF BOONE Staff writerSeptember 4, 2014 Pierce County single-family residence data for August 2014/2013 -Sales rose 1.55 percent to 1,176 units from 1,158 units. -Median prices rose to $239,950 from $230,000. -Pending sales rose 4.5 percent to 1,454 units from 1,391 units. -Number of single-family residences for sale rose 12.5 percent to 3,967 units from 3,527 units. -New listings in August fell to 1,480 units from 1,505 units. Pierce County condo data for August 2014/2013 -Sales fell 4.3 percent to 88 units from 92 units -Median prices fell 5.3 percent to $154,500 from $163,200. -Pending sales rose to 96 units from 95 units. -Number of condos for sale rose 3.7 percent to 251 units from 242 units. -New condo listings in August rose to 111 units from 93 units. Source: Northwest Multiple Listing Service The South Sound housing market continued its upward trajectory in August, with monthly home sales rising to new highs for the year, according to Northwest Multiple Listing Service data released Thursday. Pierce County home sales rose about 1 percent to 1,264 units in August from 1,250 units in the same month last year, while Thurston County home sales rose more than 3 percent to 373 units from 361 units in the same period, the combined single-family residence and condo data show. The number of homes sold in both counties were highs for the year, the data show. Median prices also rose in both counties, up slightly more than 4 percent in Pierce County to $235,000, while Thurston County rose nearly 2 percent to $239,000. King County's housing market, meanwhile, ran headlong into the realities of not having enough homes for sale. Home sales fell nearly 7 percent in August, while median prices inched up about 1 percent. The challenge? King County has only a two month's supply of homes for sale, the combined data show. And that's increasingly the challenge in Pierce and Thurston counties. Although the number of homes for sale rose nearly 12 percent in Pierce County and 5 percent in Thurston County, that still equates to less than a four month's supply of homes on the market at the current pace of sales. For August, the months of inventory was 3.34 months in Pierce County and 3.83 months in Thurston County, the combined data show. But Mike Larson, president and designated broker of Allen Realtors in Lakewood, wasn't too concerned about the lower inventory level in Pierce County because at one time a two-and-a-half month to three-and-a-half month's supply of homes was once considered the norm. "It's slow and steady and trending in the right direction," he said about the market. "Balanced and moderate is a lot better than the ups and downs we saw for years." But Steve Pust, a managing broker at Van Dorm Realty in west Olympia, has noticed the lower inventory level in Thurston County, saying buyers in the market are having trouble finding a home, he said. That has resulted in some multiple offer situations, Pust said. Low levels of inventory typically pushes median prices higher, but the county still has about 60 bank-owned home sales a month, and not every buyer can qualify to purchase such a property, he said. In that situation, banks get very particular about the type of buyer they want, shutting out contingency buyers — those selling a home while trying to buy another at the same time — or requiring that their financing be in order, Pust said. If inventories get leaner, sellers will drive median prices higher, he said.

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Sep 08 2014

Washington St foreclosure rate same as nation-wide figure

Foreclosures are down from a year ago–both state-wide and nationally. CoreLoic released figues recently with1.6% of the homes are in some state of foreclosure. That tracks closely with the national number of 1.7%.

Still the number of homes in the foreclosure process is four times as high as the early 2000's.

And nearly 35% of all homeowners are under–water on their mortgages–meaning they have less than 20% equity in their home or could not sell and have enough money for a down payment on another home.

Gig Harbor homes fared even better with foreclosures and short sales only 6.5% of sales for the month of July.


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Sep 04 2014



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Sep 01 2014

Gig Harbor home sales in “recovery mode”

Gig Harbor home sales in “recovery mode” 

In a nutshell—prices are up, inventory is under par, sales volume is down and the upper tier is appreciating. Now the details for Gig Harbor home sales year-over-year for the quarter…

Gig Harbor home sales down 16.5%

July itself is not usually a high sale volume month for Gig Harbor home sales (or any other area) with vacations. Only 2004 and 2013 were better in last 12 years, so in perspective, this is not bad.

The middle one-third of Gig Harbor home sales ($325-500,000) has predictably shown the least downturn in sales volume and the top one-third ($500,000 plus) has shown the least downgrade on number of contracts written (pending). Contracts written but not closed indicate current activity, thereby important because they show “move-up” activity as well as increased market strength and pricing for the higher tier.

Gig Harbor home sales “pending” down 14%

Pending sales for the quarter are down but shot up 14% from June, which is the experience local brokers have seen. Most central Puget Sound counties had the same experience.

Prices for Gig Harbor home sales up 7.2%

The median price is appreciating–$387,000 for the quarter and $410,000 for July. July is also up 3.8% over June and up 25% year-over-year for the month. It has been gradually strength this year, after starting very low at $303,000 in January. This increase in prices for Gig Harbor home sales will encourage more sellers to list, adding the inventory the area badly needs.

We are down 18% from our 2006 third-quarter peak–or at summer 2005 prices. But at that time new homes made up as much as 40% of the sales, priced at $600,000 plus. The King/Pierce/Snohomish market as a whole is down 12.6% from the peak—the lower figure representing ever-strong metro King County.

Price increases are not exorbitant–just realistic appreciation. Brokers area-wide are saying sellers who overprice their homes face disappointing consequences.

Resale non-distressed appreciating

Sales prices have steadily been gaining since the first of the year–now at first-quarter 2006 prices $395,000.  August 2006 the peak–we are down 18% from the peak.

Inventory up 3%

Inventory is still low, which leads to multiple offers and homes selling above their list prices. Brokers throughout the Puget Sound point to the quality of some homes plus unrealistic pricing hindering sales. They say buyers often will not even look at a house they perceive to be over-market but just wait for a price reduction before viewing it.

New homes sales 10%

New construction has taken over 10% of all Gig Harbor home sales, down from 15% a year ago. But it represents 19% of all active listings,

Distressed sales 12%

This distressed market represents just 12% of Gig Harbor home sales—slightly less than the 14% in 2013. The single month of July was even better at just 6.5%.

Waterfront sales down

Sales volume is down significantly following the last 2 “makeup years”. Sales over $1m are running at just half-speed from those 2 years.

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Sep 01 2014

Gig Harbor waterfront prices up 10%

Gig Harbor waterfront prices up 10%

Gig Harbor waterfront prices up 10%, January to mid-May, over the 2013 year. The entire price bump is coming from Gig Harbor and Fox Island—up 14% while Key Peninsula is experiencing a 7% decrease. Here are the highlights…

Sales volume for Gig harbor waterfront

  • On track for 100 sales by year-end—fairly typical
  • Slower thus far than 2013’s all-time high of 135
  • Sweet spot is $500-600,000, 4 closed/2 active listings
  • Also $400-500,000, 8 closed/14 listings
  • Also $900,000, 4 closed/8 listings

Median sales prices y-t-d for Gig Harbor waterfront

  • Prices ↑ 10% on both peninsulas over 2013 year–$550,000
  • Prices still ↓ 38% from 2007 peak
  • $1m+ represents 30% of listings—but just 11% of sales
  • $1m+ average 2 years on market before sale
  • Under $1m—average under 6 months on the market
  • Gig Harbor/Fox Island ↑ 14% over 2013–$713,000
  • Gig Harbor highest sale $2,960,000 after 6 ½ years
  • Key Peninsula ↓ 7%–$ 395,000
  • Key Peninsula highest sale $600,000 this year

Proposed Gig Harbor waterfront changes muddy the waters

The proposed all-new Shoreline Master Plan for Gig Harbor waterfront, mandated by the State, is proceeding cautiously—with local  hearings postponed by the Pierce County Council. The Council has chosen to push back against the State Department of Ecology on issues including buffers and aquaculture, but with the threat the State will impose more onerous regulations on shoreline properties if the Council can’t agree. The current 50 foot “setback” is proposed to change to a 75-150 foot “vegetative buffer.” And structural expansion into the “buffer” would be limited to 25% of the existing footprint, in most cases.

Every Gig Harbor waterfront owner should pay close attention to the current process and seek professional assistance, “sooner than later” if there is any thought of expanding, building or selling in the future.

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