The median price of a single-family home in Thurston County rose to nearly $300,000 in February, up 11 percent from the same month a year ago, according to new Northwest Multiple Listing Service data.
That price is a first for the county and a good news/bad news proposition for those buying or selling homes in this market.
For the seller, it’s good news as prices continue to climb. For the buyer, particularly the first-time buyer, it means a home might be out of reach or delayed as more money needs to be set aside to make a down payment.
And the factors that drove the market last year continue to be felt this year.
The pace of sales slowed in January and rose only 1 percent in February. Still, more than 300 single-family houses sold last month, the median price jumped by a double-digit margin, and strong demand has put the squeeze on supply, the data show.
“We are seeing most well-priced homes, especially those priced under $450,000, receiving multiple offers,” said Ken Anderson, president and owner of Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty in Olympia. “Oftentimes, this is happening within days of the home coming to market.
“So, the challenge in our market isn’t lack of homes to choose from, it is the number of buyers competing for the homes when they do come to market.”
Although new listings last month outpaced those of a year ago — 398 units to 373 units — months of inventory in Thurston County stood at 1.35 months in February. A balanced market that doesn’t favor either buyers or sellers is thought to be in the range of four to six months. Right now, sellers rule.
Elsewhere in the region, February was much the same: Months of inventory was 1.15 months in Pierce County and 0.97 months in King County, where the median price rose 15 percent to $649,950. It is that kind of median price and price increase that will continue to make Thurston County a relative bargain — even as prices rise.
A closer look at the Thurston single-family home data for February 2018 versus 2017:
▪ The number of homes sold rose 1 percent to 302 units from 299 units.
▪ The median price increased 11 percent to $297,000 from $267,500.
▪ The number of pending sales rose 3.9 percent to 483 units from 465 units.
Thurston County condo data
For February 2018 compared to 2017:
▪ Sales rose to 10 units from seven units.
▪ Median price rose to $190,250 from $149,000.
▪ Pending sales fell to 12 from 16 units.
▪ Total listings fell to 23 units from 24 units.
▪ New listings rose to 17 units from six units.
Source: Northwest MLS