Thurston home prices mysteriously slip a bit

Staff writerFebruary 6, 2014 

The residential real estate market in Western Washington continued to heal in January, with most counties seeing an increase in sale prices and overall sales.

Thurston County’s median sale price took a tiny dip, dropping almost 3 percent from the same time a year ago, to $208,250, according to data released Wednesday by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. The reason for the drop wasn’t immediately clear. Other data indicate market strength, including a 27 percent increase in closed sales and about 4.5 months worth of inventory.

“I really don’t understand it,” said Randy Reynolds, president of the Thurston County Realtors Association. “I haven’t truly analyzed it yet, but what I’m feeling is that we’re seeing more investors picking up properties at the low end” of the price range, which would drive that median point down a bit.

Pierce County’s median sale price increased almost 12 percent from January 2013, to $212,500, according to the data At the median sale price, half the homes sold for more than that amount, and half sold for less.

Brokers say there aren’t enough homes on the market. Of the 21 counties in Western and Central Washington represented by the NWMLS, 13 have more listings than a year ago, but eight report declines.

“We need more homes to sell, especially in the most desirable neighborhoods,” said Mike Gain, CEO and president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate, in a news release.

Pricing also is a concern. “Many listings are overpriced,” said Deidre Haines, regional managing broker in Snohomish County for Coldwell Banker Bain. “Buyers are not interested in making offers on those properties,” she said. Meanwhile new housing developments are drawing strong interest — people are making reservations for homes that haven’t been built yet, Haines said.

Kathleen Cooper: 253-597-8546 kathleen.cooper@ Twitter: @KCooperTNT

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