Not all housing bubbles burst

Some areas in Thurston County were popular destinations for buyers last year even though overall Thurston County home sales fell 7.5 percent in 2009 compared with 2008.

Of the 2,938 single-family residences and condos that sold in the county last year (down from 3,175 in 2008), 1,425 were in Lacey and Hawks Prairie, preliminary year-end Northwest Multiple Listing Service data show. Leading the way in Lacey last year was the Ruddell Road area, which generated 516 sales, down slightly from the 546 recorded in 2008. In some parts of Lacey, 2009 home sales actually exceeded totals in 2008. According to the data:

 • In the Long Lake area, 314 homes sold last year, up from 276 in 2008.

 • In the Yelm Highway/Mullen Road area, 124 homes sold last year, up from 102 in 2008.

 • In the Chambers Lake area, 201 homes sold last year, up from 196 in 2008.

The Lacey area continues to attract buyers because of its proximity to Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base in Pierce County, Abbey Realty designated broker Jeff Crandell said Thursday.

“You just can’t deny the impact of the military clientele,” he said, adding that prices in Lacey largely are geared toward military buyers. “They have supported us, and part of our continued success is due to that.”

More homes also have been built in the Lacey area in recent years, and they generally are more affordable than in Olympia, Crandell said.

Olympia has its hot spots as well, such as the South Capitol neighborhood, historically a destination for government and other white-collar workers, real estate agent Paul Klenk said. “It’s a good location, and you have good salaries in the area,” he said.

Although the year-over-year countywide median price fell about 8 percent from 2008 to 2009, some areas of the county were more stable than others. The median price in the Boston Harbor Road area of Olympia increased from 2008 to 2009, as did sales, the data show. The year-to-date median price for the area rose to $367,500 in 2009 from $354,950 in 2008. Sales, meanwhile, increased to 50 units last year from 40 in 2008.

The Boston Harbor area of the county is popular because it is near the water, Crandell said. Klenk added that a tighter supply of homes in that area also contributes to the higher prices.

More than 400 homes sold in the Yelm area last year, down from about 503 in 2008, and more than 260 homes sold in the Tumwater area, down from about 291 in 2008. West Olympia generated about 273 sales last year, down from about 300 in 2008, the data show. That area continues to be popular, because it’s a short drive to downtown, Klenk said.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403