If you expected the South Sound housing market to cool in January, think again, because after a sizzling 2016, the market picked up right where it left off in December with more escalating sales and median prices.
That’s according to Northwest Multiple Listing Service data, which revealed Monday that sales rose more than 20 percent in Pierce County last month from the year-ago period and rose nearly 20 percent in Thurston County over the same time frame.
Median price gains were also solid, the data show. The median price of a single-family residence in Pierce County jumped more than 11 percent from January 2016.
The culprit in all this — if you’re a prospective buyer — is that inventory levels remain low. Months of inventory remained below two months in Pierce County and right at two months in Thurston County. A healthy balance between buyers and sellers is months of inventory in the four- to six-month range.
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Months of inventory is the estimated amount of time it would take to exhaust the supply of single-family residences at the current pace of sales.
“If home buyers were hoping that January would start to bring more balance to the housing market, they’re going to be sorely disappointed,” said OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate, in a statement. “The number of homes for sale remains at record lows, and the growth in pending sales tells us that sellers are still firmly in the driver’s seat.”
King County still shows strong sales. Despite months of inventory standing at 1 month, sales still rose 20 percent from January a year ago, with a median price gain of nearly 7 percent, the single-family residence data show.
A closer look at the single-family residence data for January 2017/2016:
▪ Pierce County: Sales rose 23.2 percent to 1,035 units from 840 units. Median price rose 11.6 percent to $270,000 from $242,000. Pending sales climbed 13.3 percent to 1,432 units from 1,264 units.
▪ Thurston County: Sales rose 18 percent to 308 units from 261 units. Median price rose 6.3 percent to $255,000 from $239,950. Pending sales rose 22.7 percent to 460 units from 375 units.
South Sound condo data
▪ Sales were unchanged at 64 units.
▪ Median price fell 7.52 percent to $197,450 from $213,500.
▪ Pending sales rose 2 percent to 98 units from 96 units.
▪ Total number of condos for sale fell 19 percent to 103 units from 127 units.
▪ New listings in January rose to 90 units from 71 units.
▪ Sales fell to three units from four units.
▪ Median price rose 2.45 percent to $125,500 from $122,500.
▪ Pending sales rose to 18 units from 14 units.
▪ Total number of condos for sale rose to 26 units from 20 units.
▪ New listings in January rose to 17 units from 14 units.
Source: Northwest Multiple Listing Service