Grand opening set for long-awaited Tumwater subdivision

Staff writerMarch 5, 2014 

New homes finally are rising at a large subdivision in Tumwater, a development that has spent about a decade in the making.

And on Wednesday, subdivision owner UCP Inc., formerly known as Union Community Partners, announced that it is having a grand opening this weekend at The Preserve at Tumwater Place, including model home tours for prospective buyers.

The grand opening is set for 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at 8856 Yarrow Court SE, Tumwater.

UCP of San Jose, Calif., and Benchmark Communities, its home building unit, plan to build 544 homes at a site off Old Highway 99 between 88th Avenue and 93rd Avenue.

Long before the subdivision was known as The Preserve, it got its start in 2004 as Tumwater Highlands — and later was called Sagewood — a project once set to be developed by Tri Vo.

It later changed hands to SoundBuilt of Puyallup, then was foreclosed on by the lender as the housing market went from boom to bust. The property was later acquired by UCP, city of Tumwater permit manager Chris Carlson said Wednesday.

The Olympian reported in September 2011 that UCP paid $6.4 million for 599 lots, or roughly $10,000 a lot, a steep discount after single-family lots sold for $90,000 to $110,000 during the housing boom.

UCP since has eliminated a plan to develop town homes on the site, which cut the number of buildable lots to 544, Carlson said.

Carlson said about 20 to 30 homes are under construction at the site and another 25 building permit applications are under review.

UCP said in a news release that “pricing starts in the low $200,000s.”

Meanwhile, the Thurston County housing market had a lackluster February as year-over-year sales were flat and median prices fell about 3 percent, according to data released Wednesday by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Sales inched up to 201 units from 200 units in February 2013, while median prices fell 2.96 percent to $213,000 from $219,500, the combined single-family residence and condo data show.

There are plenty of buyers in the market, but most of them are buying a home at or below the county’s median price, which has caused those prices to dip, Thurston County Realtors Association President Randy Reynolds said.

And sales are flat because apartments rents haven’t escalated to the point that renters feel it’s time to buy a home, he added.

Real estate numbers

Thurston County single-family residence data for February 2014/2013

• Sales rose 1.5 percent to 195 units from 192 units.

• Median prices fell 3 percent to $215,350 from $222,225.

• Pending sales fell 8.7 percent to 312 units from 342 units.

• Number of single-family residences for sale rose 4.2 percent to 1,038 units from 996 units.

• Single-family residences added in February fell to 321 units from 329 units.

Thurston County condo data for February 2014/2013

• Sales fell to six units from eight units.

• Median prices rose to $106,000 from $87,562.

• Pending sales rose to 15 units from 10 units.

• Number of condos on market rose to 57 units from 38 units.

• Condos added in February rose to 12 units from seven units.

Source: Northwest Multiple Listing Service Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 rboone@theolympian.com

Rolf Boone rboone@theolympian.com 360-754-5403

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