Home prices are moving upward in Western Washington

Blame the nice weather and the cockeyed optimism that accrues in an economic recovery.

The real estate market is back. Sales are up, Inventory is down and the price of homes has increased.

Tacoma Puyallup home mortgageThe Northwest Multiple Listing Service reported Thursday that the weather and restored confidence “are propelling home buying activity around Western Washington to the highest level in nearly a decade.”

Buyers are hungry and the greatest impediment to greater sales is the lack of inventory, the agency said.

Dick Beeson, principal managing broker at RE/MAX Professionals in Tacoma and a member of the NWMLS board of directors, stated that both buyers and sellers are frustrated, “but buyers will not be dissuaded. Sellers are frustrated because they can’t find replacement homes. Some won’t list their homes because of fear of not finding a suitable replacement.”

“The pent-up demand being unleashed has rocketed pending sales back to the levels of our record year in 2006,” said Ken Anderson, president and designated broker at Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty in Tumwater.

Buyers, Anderson stated, are leaving the sidelines, while “at the same time, homes for sale are near a 10-year low.”

J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate, was more effusive still.

“The housing market is on fire,” he said in Thursday’s NWMLS news release. “Due to a backlog of buyers and a shortage of homes available for sale, we are experiencing multiple offers on nearly every new listing.”

Among the February data released Thursday:

•  Pending sales in Pierce County (1,396) were up 20.14 percent over February 2014.

•  Pending sales in Thurston County (401) were up 28.53 percent.

•  Active listings in Pierce County (2,631) were down 6.97 percent.

•  Active listings in Thurston County (1,014) were down 2.31 percent.

•  The median price of a home in Pierce County ($233,000) was up 3.51 percent.

•  The median price of a home in Thurston County ($225,000) rose 4.47 percent.

•  Throughout the 23-county NWMLS catchment, pending sales were up 20.14 percent; active listings were down 11.3 percent and the median price of a home ($289,925) was up 7.38 percent.

•  In Pierce County, active condominium listings (205) were down 16.67 percent; pending sales (79) were up 3.95 percent; and the median condominium price ($215,500) was up 5.13 percent.

•  In Thurston County, active condominium listings (36) were down 36.84 percent; pending sales (8) were down 46.67 percent; and the median condominium price ($100,750) was down 4.95 percent.

•  Throughout the region, active condominium listings were down 18.09 percent; pending sales were up 10.19 percent and the median price ($230,000) increased by 6.73 percent over February 2014.

•  Along the Interstate 5 corridor, Clark County reported the greatest change in active listings for homes and condominiums combined, down 53.26 percent; and the highest change in pending sales, up 122.58 percent. Cowlitz County reported the greatest change in the median price of a home or condo ($165,000), up 23.18 percent from the year before.

•  King County reported the shortest number of months of combined inventory available for buyers, at 1.99, while Pierce and Thurston counties followed at 3.59 months and 4.32 months respectively.

C.R. Roberts: 253-597-8535 c.r.roberts@thenewstribune.com

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