Archive for the 'Gig Harbor Market Conditions' Category

Sep 24 2011

How do Gig Harbor home sales compare?

How do Gig Harbor home sales compare?

Qtr ending Aug 2010 to Aug 2011 Sales Price

Closed home sales figures for august rose nearly 10% over last year in Gig Harbor but that was substantially less than Pierce County which experienced a 35% increase. Key Peninsula’s figures were more in line with the county at nearly 47% increase.

King County experienced a 32.7% increase in sales over last year and Kitsap 32.2%.

The increase in sales volume, coupled with a decline in inventory since last August of 13% in Gig Harbor brought the supply of homes down to the second lowest number for the year–8.4 months. the 16% inventory decline in Key Peninsula brings its supply of homes to 9.7 months–some of the lowest it has seen this year also.  Absorption is figured on the number of homes currently listed selling at the last month’s sales rate.

The good news was short lived however as the median sales price fell once more–down 11% from a year ago–$415,000 to $369,000–in Gig Harbor and down 15% for the quarter over the same period in 2010.

Key Peninsula prices fell even more–29% from last August–$194,000 to $138,000 with a quarterly decline of 20%. All but two months in 2011 have been at 2003 prices.

In comparison, Pierce county’s sales price tumbled 15% from a year ago, while Kitsap and King counties experienced a smaller decline of less than 9%.


Carole Holmaas is a Broker at Windermere Real Estate/Gig Harbor, licensed since 1967. She may be reached at 253.549.6611 or

No responses yet

Jul 11 2011

Gig Harbor home prices great for buyers

Gig Harbor home prices great for buyers!

Gig Harbor home prices are great for today’s buyers but discouraging for sellers. Prices are the same as in late 2003.  Key Peninsula home prices are at equal to second quarter 2003.

The usual culprit dragging sales numbers down is the distressed market. When 29% of all sales in Gig Harbor and 56% of Key Peninsula sales are bank-owned or short sales it pulls the numbers down even though the same non distressed home will sell for more.

The graphs tell the story. In 2010 Gig Harbor home prices had a seven month run of improved prices over the year before, but prices plummeted in October, stayed down throughout the winter, bounced up in April and May but declined severely in June. Gig Harbor home prices are now at their lowest point in the last seven and one half years.

Gig Harbor home prices are down 10.5% for the second quarter from 2010 and down 23.4% from May. The10.5% decline speaks to how bad the market still in because the overall drop from the all-time high in 2006—five years ago–is 25%. Supply of homes, based on sales, has been holding in the 10 month range.

GH Med Sales Price - June 2011

Key Peninsula didn’t fare any better. Responsible for a higher percentage of distressed sales, prices are down 16.4% for the second quarter from 2010 and 15% from May. Between 2006 and 2008 there was more price consistency in the market with some of the highs occurring in each of the three years. But June’s low is down 54% from the all-time high of January 2007.

All of the distressed home sales in Key Peninsula were bank-owned whereas the balance between bank-owned and short sales in Gig Harbor is more equal.

KP Median Sales price-June 2011


Closings in July will reflect the first month where a true comparison can be made between current and previous year sales. June 2010 was the last month to close on the loan for first-time buyer credit so last year’s sales were slightly higher in Gig Harbor but the same in Key Peninsula. I would expect the next few months will see sales easily surpassing 2010.

Second quarter news was consistently dismal—oil and food price increases, European defaults, weather, employment, and D.C.’s stalemate over the debt ceiling and deficit reduction. The economy couldn’t get any positive traction and lack of consumer confidence meant buyers were unwilling to buy unless they got a great deal. This is really a “buyer’s market.”

One glimmer of sunshine is that Seattle has seen some strong activity, some multiple offers in certain price ranges, and some price stabilization. As goes Seattle…so goes Gig Harbor, eventually.


Carole Holmaas is a Broker at Windermere Real Estate, licensed since 1967. She may be reached at 253.549.6611 or by

No responses yet

Jun 11 2011

Gig Harbor waterfront home prices stabilize…for now

Gig Harbor waterfront home prices stabilize…for now. Sale prices for Gig Harbor waterfront homes at the end of May were on track to beat 2010 prices–$686,000. However, the median list price of pending contracts is only $500,000. Half of these are distressed properties. So it is very likely the median closed price will slide over the next few months.

There is some good news for sellers trying to sell their homes though. Gig Harbor brokers have already closed as many sales in the first five months as the first half of the last three years. The first quarter was particularly strong as interest rates were low and buyers sensed prices were bottoming and made good use of sellers’ willingness to negotiate heavily at the end of winter.

January-May Gig Harbor waterfront home highlights

  • Sales volume well ahead of 2008, 2009 and 2010—as much as 50%
  • $686,000 median closed price up $25,000 from 2010 prices
  • Inventory down 30% from a year ago
  • Inventory up 25% in last 75 days
  • Pending sales median list price only $500,000
  • 37% of closed sales are distressed properties
  • 50% of pending sales are distressed properties—1 bank-owned & the rest stuck in the short sale approval process
  • Bank-owned homes closed for 81% of the bank’s list price and were on the market an average of 135 days after the bank took over. This drops precipitously to 63% from seller’s original list price
  • Short sale homes closed for 67% of original list price and were on the market an average of 415 days
  • Non-distressed homes closed for 70% of original list price, only slightly better

Sellers, as they consider pricing, should note the list to sales price ratio for original owners of homes eventually foreclosed on—63%– as well as the 70% for non-distressed closings. There is a difference in being “on the market” and “in the market” and several well-priced homes have sold this year in a matter of days for 95% of list price.

Four Gig Harbor waterfront home sales have tipped the scale at $1 million plus since the first of the year. The homes–two homes on Fox Island and two in Rosedale- sold for 72% of original list price. 2010 produced 17 sales over this mark.  In perspective…there are 50 homes listed over $1 million, including 16 over $2 million. This is a 61% increase in this price range in the past 75 days. It is easy to see many of these homes will be on the market for some time.

To further understand this market segment…there is not one current pending sale above $1 million. At this moment very few buyers are stepping up to these very high-end properties. However, willing and able buyers are receiving some very high quality Gig Harbor waterfront homes…in some cases at or under county assessed values.

No responses yet

May 18 2011

Gig Harbor home prices drop to 2004 levels

Gig Harbor home prices drop to 2004 levels for the first four months of this year. Prices have clearly not stablized. The 15.4% drop from the same time last year is typical of Pierce county as a whole.

The Gig Harbor peninsula and Fox Island make up the data for Gig Harbor home prices.

May 2011 GH med. sales price

April showed improvement, posting the highest median sales figure since November. And the lower inventory is pulling down the supply of homes.

Distressed home sales–mostly bank-owned–represent roughly a third or more of all sales currently. This is applying downward pressure on Gig Harbor home prices. this figure is slightly higher than nationally reported data.

Zillow reported last week that house prices are falling at their fastest rate in over three years. Zillow predicts the market will not bottom nationally until 2012…something no Gig Harbor real estate professional will agrue with.

For buyers–it is great time to buy–mortgages are cheap and bank-owned deals are plentiful.


Carole Holmaas is a Broker at Windermere Real Estate, licensed since 1967.

No responses yet

May 09 2011

Gig Harbor home prices not yet stabilized

Gig Harbor home prices have clearly not yet stabilized as April data shows prices down 15.4% for the last three-month period from a year ago…but up from March. This $348,000 figure is the highest since November and uses the median sales price (half the sales above and half below).

Overall, Gig Harbor home prices are down 5.7% in the last one year compared to the one year period prior.  The Gig Harbor peninsula and Fox Island are included in data for Gig Harbor home prices.

Sales volume is right in line with last April and year-to-date figures—and the best since 2007.

Inventory is down nearly 20% from a year ago with an 11 months supply of homes on the market. This drop of listings correlates closely with the rest of the Puget Sound. Buyers in select price ranges may want to monitor that closely as a few areas have become seller’s markets.  The $200-250,000 range has only a four month supply and a couple mid to high-end ranges are in a balanced market condition.

Seattle Realtors are reporting they believe the bottom has been reached in that area’s homes priced under $350,000 and with a slimmer supply of good listings some upward pressure is being applied to home prices there. Gig Harbor home prices typically follow suit.

But sales above $800,000 have retrenched deeply in the past couple months as the economy has stumbled with only  one closing in April—for $2.1m—a deal that started as early as January. 

Distressed home sales—mostly bank-owned– represented a slightly smaller part of April’s closings—36% compared to 42% in March.  It is easy to see the downward pressure on Gig Harbor home prices with only 6% of listed homes bank-owned but 31% of all sales bank-owned properties.

Currently the national figure is about 30% of sales. Gig Harbor’s figures have continued to creep up over the past year.  According to the Case-Shiller Index, the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett area has about a 12.9 month supply of distressed homes to purge.  This represents the “shadow inventory” of homes in varying stages of delinquency and foreclosure as well as listed homes.

Carole Holmaas is a Managing Broker at Windermere Real Estate specializing in waterfront and view properties. She has been licensed since 1967. She maybe reached at 253.549.6611 or


No responses yet

Apr 08 2011

New Gig Harbor home sales reverse February trend

New Gig Harbor home sales reverse February trend

There are two bright spots in March Gig Harbor home sales but the overall trend reverses the gains made in February. Pendings sales—contracts negotiated but not yet closed—are up nearly 20% from a year ago while inventory is down nearly 23%. The table includes both Gig Harbor and Key Peninsula.


  Mar 2011 Mar 2010 Change
Gig Harbor home sales



Median sales price



Gig Harbor home sales YTD



Median price YTD



Pending sales



Homes on market



Median list price



Days on market



No change




Gig Harbor home sales numbers along with Key Peninsula and their accompanying median prices were all up in February but that picture changed drastically in March.

Pending sales produce the “pipeline” for closed sales. If a high percentage of the pendings close in April and May that will produce more sales than we have experienced since 2007. It wouldn’t take much beat April 2010’s 59 sales with only 51 and 55 the two years prior. One cautionary note is pending numbers for short sale transactions are always a bit dubious. And February “pendings” were also high—23% over the year before. Gig Harbor’s “pendings” was contradicted Pierce County as a whole which was down for March.

 My personal feeling is buyers are reeling from the combination of higher gas prices, the disaster in Japan and the political upheaval in the Middle East. Because interest rates stopped their climb some buyers decided to sit on the sidelines. Additionally March figures for Gig Harbor home sales was pushed upward in 2010 as the federal buyer stimulus was winding down.

With unemployment figures slowing and consumer confidence gaining those buyers will come back into the market, especially as the inventory of available homes continues to decrease. This pool of homes is down 23% from a year ago—the reason appears to be sellers holding out for the market to rid itself of foreclosures. Currently there is a 10 month supply of homes in Key Peninsula and Gig Harbor.

Gig Harbor home sales have been following the national trend where one in three closed sales is a distressed sale. Lately we have been seeing more bank-owned properties than short sales. The bank-owned sales are killing the prices as the lenders constantly drop the listed price to find a buyer.


Carole Holmaas is a Broker at Windermere Real Estate, licensed since 1968. She specializes in waterfront and view properties. She may be reached at 253.549.6611 or at, where you may follow her blog postings.

No responses yet

Apr 08 2011

February brings recovery to Gig Harbor home sales

February brings recovery to Gig Harbor home sales

The short February month brought signs of recovery to Gig Harbor home sales as well as Key Peninsula. While the indicators showed improvement it is too early to tell if a trend is developing. The world economy and political turmoil, as well as unemployment and foreclosures still provide a rocky picture for all of this year.


  Feb 2011 Feb 2010 Change
Gig Harbor home sales



Median sales price



Gig Harbor pendings






Key Peninsula home sales



Median sales price



Key Peninsula pendings




GH/KP homes on market



GH/KP price reductions




Gig Harbor home sales numbers along with Key Peninsula and their accompanying median prices were all up, from January as well. This is a particularly good sign for Key Peninsula which has experienced a very stagnant market for over a year.

The last 12 months has seen a 12% drop in prices in Key Peninsula from the previous 12 months while Gig Harbor’s pricing is essentially flat.

The numerous foreclosures and economic instability is perpetuating another trend—price reductions. One in four sellers dropped their price last month—and this has been consistent the past couple years—while they try to find the sweet spot that will entice the buyer to offer.

 One positive trend we have been seeing for a year now—and one that historically produces upward pressure on prices—is fewer sellers in the marketplace. Unfortunately the reason appears to be sellers holding out, when they can, for the market to rid itself of foreclosures.  Inventory is down 21% currently. There is a nine month supply of homes in Key Peninsula and a 14 month inventory in Gig Harbor.

 Carole Holmaas is a Broker at Windermere Real Estate, licensed since 1968. She specializes in waterfront and view properties. She may be reached at 253.549.6611 or at, where you may follow her blog postings.

No responses yet

Feb 25 2011

Gig Harbor homes parallel national distressed market


Gig Harbor homes parallel national distressed market

Distressed sales for Gig Harbor homes totaled 23% of everything sold in January. And for Key Peninsula it hit 70% of all sales. This was a total of 15 properties–all but two were bank-owned.

Figures from the National Association of Realtors® show distressed homes rose nationally to 36% of sales of existing homes in December, up from 33% in November and 32% a year ago. Such homes are typically discounted by 10 to 15 percent, according to NAR research.

Local figures show an increase from 2009 in distressed properties for Gig Harbor homes as well. Gig Harbor is up 6% in the 4th quarter of 2010 compared to a year before…that is 31% of all homes that closed in the three month period. Key Peninsula was up 17% during that same time to a high of 56% of all closings.

Recently reports indicated the Greater Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue area’s foreclosure rate jump 23 percent from a year ago, second only to Houston. Regional experts believe that as our economy and unemployment improves, our market will recover more quickly than Florida, California, Arizona, and Nevada, because they have been in a deep trough longer. Snohomish and Pierce counties are currently experiencing the highest rates. And Seattle Metro prices dropped 6% from a year ago in December, which backs up the discounting of house prices due to distressed home sales. I would anticipate the Boeing award for the Air Force fueling tankers will help pull up the local economy up more quickly.

Most foreclosures now are being caused by unemployment and economic displacement, rather than bad loans and overheated values. But many of the 5 year ARM loans taken out in the heat of the 2006 housing bubble are coming due this year. Another record year for foreclosures is forecast which no doubt will drag house values down even further, pushing other homeowners into negative equity territory. It could be another five years to completely purge the housing inventory. Assets are being kept in weak hands longer as this becomes a long tedious market correction.

Distressed properties currently make up 29% of all listings in Key Peninsula and 19% of all listings for Gig Harbor homes. Two-thirds of Key Peninsula distressed homes are already owned by the bank where just 44% of the distressed inventory for Gig Harbor homes has been taken back thus far. However there is a large “shadow inventory” of bank-owned properties not yet on the market. Lenders are obligated to not flood the market.

Largest inventories are currently found in North Key Peninsula at 39%, Fox Island with 34% and Wauna/Minter at 32%.

 MLS area map by area


MLS Area

Listings Distressed %

Gig Harbor (close in)






So Key Peninsula


Fox Island




Arletta/Horsehead Bay


Gig Harbor No


No Key Peninsula



The largest impact by price range is under $300,000 where 72% of January’s closing was distressed, and where 38% of all homes on the market fit this price range. This makes it very difficult for sellers, not in a distressed situation, in these price ranges to compete for buyers. Realty Trac, nationally foreclosure reporting service just this week noted that foreclosed properties are sometimes selling for a 28% discount over non-banked owned.

No responses yet

Feb 15 2011

Gig Harbor waterfront sales end strong in 2010

Gig Harbor waterfront experienced some strong signals at the end of the year.

 Gig Harbor waterfront sales volume facts:

  • Closings 25% better in 2010 than 2009
  • December closings 66% better year-over-year
  • 4th qtr 71% better than 4th qtr 2009
  • 15% more homes closed in 2nd half of 2010 than 1st half—normally close to 50/50
  • Only 21% of sales Key Peninsula homes—normally 33-35%
  • January started strong with 7 sales “under contract”–on a par with 2002 (only 2003 & 2004 higher)

Gig Harbor waterfront median sales price facts:

  • Up 8% in Gig Harbor (median sales price)–$782,000
  • Down 2% in Key Peninsula–$455,000
  • 18 Gig Harbor waterfront homes closed over $1m in 2010—double 2009
  • Homes selling over $1m bunched in the $1.2m range
  • Gig Harbor waterfront prices back to 2004-05 prices
  • January sales show 3 over $1m “under contract”

Waterfront sales thru 2010









I believe the strong 4th quarter closings were due, in part, to savvy buyers picking up some incredible Gig Harbor waterfront buys–recognizing the bottom was nearing while interest rates were increasing.

Key Peninsula is not providing its traditional 33% of sales—one big change in the market.  Likely this is due to the Gig Harbor waterfront inventory pegged at prices not seen since 2004-05, allowing buyers to not drive the extra miles for “value”.

A second change for Gig Harbor waterfront is bank-owned homes have become a part of even the local waterfront scene. 17% of all sales last year were bank-owned or short-sales, including three homes priced over $1m as well as five built since 2004.

Gig Harbor waterfront homes took an excess of a year to sell–doubling 2009 figures and reflective of how slow the market has been. Homes originally listed at more than $1.5 took on average nearly 600 days before receiving a contract. Key Peninsula waterfront took a bit less time—315 days.

2010 was a reality check for sellers.  Prices are down 25% from the 2007 peak and 17% from 2008, which was still a good year for sellers. Gig Harbor waterfront homes sold in 2010 for 79% of the original listed price. This figure would actually have been lower, if prior listings were factored in.  Key Peninsula’s selling price to original price was 82%.

2010’s priciest Gig Harbor waterfront sale was a high bank estate in the Horsehead Bay area—for $2,350,000. Three of the other $1m sales came from the same area.

This is “the season” for Gig Harbor waterfront.  Inventory is down but a high percentage of this year’s buyers are already actively looking. March is historically the best month for written contracts, followed by May.


Carole Holmaas is a Broker at Windermere Gig Harbor, licensed since the late 1960’s. She may be reached at 253.549.6611 or

No responses yet

Feb 07 2011

Gig Harbor home sales up 17% from year ago

Gig Harbor home sales up 17% from year ago. January has not been flooded with buyers for either Gig Harbor or Key Peninsula—but the pace appears to have picked up at the end of the month. 

Gig Harbor posted a 40% gain in sales (31 sales) but Key Peninsula slipped by 15%(10 sales). Gig Harbor home sales were on a par with 2006. But Key Peninsula total is typical of the trend all last year with the area no longer producing its historic one-third of all sales.

Local homeowners and Realtors got part of what they were hoping for–more sales, but higher prices eluded them…for the month of January at least.  Newly generated (pendings)sales were on a slower pace than a year ago. It will take another two to three months to determine a more definite pattern for Gig Harbor home sales.

Median sales prices are reflective of prices last seen in 2004…in other words, nothing encouraging by way of price increases yet.  The median sales price actually dropped substantially from last January.

Half the months in 2010 showed improvement for Gig Harbor home sales over the year before for both sales numbers and median price. While this does not show a major uptick it does show some signs of stabilizing. Most homeowners are obviously hoping prices don’t slip any further.

Inventory is continuing to fall—7% fewer homes were listed in 2010 than 2009. Once we move into the Spring season we should see inventory absorption improve too. Six months supply is considered a balanced market.  Pockets of better sales can be found between $200,000 and 350,000.

So what has happened to prices in your neighborhood this past year? This map will show you the median price for Gig Harbor home sales and market days in your zip code.


Map with call outs
















The zip code 98332 experienced a 2.2% increase in median sales price over the year, while 98333 and 98335 dipped 15.7% and 3.3% respectively.

University of Puget Sound economic professors Bruce Mann and Douglas Goodman this fall forecast the first half of 2011 will be the better part of the year for Pierce County because of the returning troops to JBFLM. That impact will diminish as the year progresses. The professors said historically recessions are caused by weak local conditions but our region’s strong economy was what caused the local delay of the national events. So our downturn started later—the end of 2008—and ended later–the summer of 2010. Their predictions look like 2011 could be another sluggish year.

The professors also said at the December meeting that Pierce County could be affected with overseas devaluation. In fact the Port of Tacoma has gone through three years of sharp declines in traffic. Very little growth is expected for 2011 at the Port.

They also indicated that Gig Harbor home sales could improve faster than the rest of the county.


Carole Holmaas is a Broker at Windermere Real Estate, licensed since 1968. She may be reached at 253.549.6611. Her postings can be followed at

No responses yet

« Prev - Next »