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Pierce County Report: NW Multiple Listing Service Stats for January

Pierce County’s January figures show the lowest year-over-year price gain in over three years, while prices actually dropped in King County, leading some to wonder if the market has peaked.  Inventory continues to be higher than a year ago, but supply is still tight.  Buyers are attracted by lower interest rates, but housing affordability is still a concern, especially for first- time buyers.

At month end, there were 1,623 active listings in the MLS database, 105 less than December’s 1,728 inventory, and 19% more than 1,360 homes and condos listed a year ago.   MLS brokers added 1,245 new listings to inventory during January, 565 (83%) more than last month, and 12 more than last January.

January’s 1,418 pending sales were 34% higher than December’s 1,056 mutually accepted offers, and 10% lower than 1,570 pending sales last January.

Pierce County MLS members reported 895 closed sales during January.  This is 21% lower than last month’s 1,134closed sales, and 103 (10%) less than 998 completed transactions in January a year ago.

The median price for January’s closed sales of single family homes and condominiums (combined) was $326,950. This is up 6.4% from the January 2018 figure of $307,250.  The average time on market for properties that sold was 50 days, compared to 47 days last month and 47 days this month last year. Pierce County has a 1.8 month supply of housing inventory on the market. (4-6 months is considered a balanced market.)

Pierce County Report: NW Multiple Listing Service Stats for December

2018 is being described as a transition year with some balancing of the market, although it is still seller-leaning due to lack of housing inventory for a job-expanding regional economy. Predictions for 2019 include a continuing trend toward a more balanced market with home prices continuing to rise, but at a more moderate rate, with cautious buyers and activity moving from urban center’s higher prices to lower priced areas.

At month end, there were 1,728 active listings in the MLS database, 458 less than November’s 2,186 inventory, and 15% more than 1,500 homes and condos listed a year ago.   MLS brokers added 680 new listings to inventory during December, 356 (34%) less than last month, and 192 less than last December.

December’s 1,056 pending sales were 19% lower than November’s 1,308 mutually accepted offers, and 15.4% lower than 1,248 pending sales last December.

Pierce County MLS members reported 1,134 closed sales during December.  This is 6% lower than last month’s 1,207closed sales, and 222 (16%) less than 1,356 completed transactions in December a year ago.

The median price for December’s closed sales of single family homes and condominiums (combined) was $339,838. This is up 8% from the December 2017 figure of $314,995.  The average time on market for properties that sold was 47 days, compared to 39 days last month and 45 days this month last year. Pierce County has a 1.5 month supply of housing inventory on the market. (4-6 months is considered a balanced market.)

Pierce County Report: NW Multiple Listing Service Stats for November

Pierce County’s median home price is about half of King County’s, causing it to experience the balancing of the market in less extreme ways than King County.  The number of active listings hasn’t increased as much, and the month’s supply of inventory is lower. Pending and Closed Sales have not dropped by as much. Prices have continued to rise at a higher rate.   

At month end, Pierce County had 2,186 active listings in the MLS database, 288 less than October’s 2,474inventory, and 19.5% more than 1,830 homes and condos listed a year ago.   MLS brokers added 1,036 new listings to inventory during November, 371 (24%) less than last month, but the same number as last November.

November’s 1,308 pending sales were 21% lower than October’s 1,652 mutually accepted offers, and 11.5% lower than 1,478 pending sales last November.

Pierce County MLS members reported 1,207 closed sales during November.  This is 15% lower than last month’s 1,427closed sales, and 178 (13%) less than 1,385 completed transactions in November a year ago.

The median price for November’s closed sales of single family homes and condominiums (combined) was $337,000. This is up 11.6% from the November 2017 figure of $301,900.  The average time on market for properties that sold was 39 days, compared to 37 days last month and 39 days this month last year. Pierce County has a 1.8 month supply of housing inventory on the market. (4-6 months is considered a balanced market.)

Pierce County Report: NW Multiple Listing Service Stats for October

Signs of the upcoming holiday/winter season were evident in October with fewer new listings than we’ve seen since February. The trend toward a more balanced market encouraged buyers, shown in increased pending and closed sales over the previous month, although still not as high a volume as we had last October. Increased average days on market and slowing price increases are additional signs that things are starting to shift.   

At month end, there were 2,474 active listings in the MLS database, 268 less than September’s 2,742 inventory, and 12.3% more than 2,204 homes and condos listed a year ago.   MLS brokers added 1,407 new listings to inventory during October, 150 (9.6%) less than last month, and 34 less than the same month a year ago.

October’s 1,652 pending sales were 2.5% higher than September’s 1,612 mutually accepted offers, but 14.5% lower than 1,934 pending sales last October.

Pierce County MLS members reported 1,427 closed sales during October.  This is 4.4% higher than last month’s 1,367 closed sales, and 119 (7.7%) less than 1,546 completed transactions in October a year ago.

The median price for October’s closed sales of single family homes and condominiums (combined) was $331,000. This is up 7% from the October 2017 figure of $309,000.  The average time on market for properties that sold was 37 days, compared to 32 days last month and 35 days this month last year. Pierce County has a 1.7 month supply of housing inventory on the market. (4-6 months is considered a balanced market.)

UW Tacoma's Escalating Enrollment Drives Housing Demand

UW Tacoma, has grown since its start in the early 1990s, and so has its need for student housing.    There are not enough student housing-style housing units near the campus. The area’s renewed vibrancy due to UWT’s presence and growing student population makes for attractive real estate investment.

Click here for a full article on this topic. 

Discount Physician? Discount Lawyer? Discount Real Estate Broker?

Who would select their physician or their lawyer based solely on their fee? Yet, sometimes sellers think it smart to select their listing broker based exclusively on what the broker charges. Discount brokers may tout the fact they charge as little as 1%  of  the sale price to list your home, but they generally need to pay the buyer’s broker 2.5 to 3%, so the difference between the fees of a discount broker and a full-service broker is much smaller than it appearsBut there is a big difference in the expertise and service they provide.  Just one example: Most discounters are NOT Realtors, and so aren’t governed by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) code of ethics, and can’t access NAR continuing professional education classes.

Some folks who sign with a discount broker understand that they'll be doing some of the work normally done by a full service broker. And for some people that's OK. They have a talent for negotiating on their own behalf. They are familiar with all of the challenges and options in today's financing, and may have some knowledge of construction, structural and maintenance issues that come up in a home sale. They are comfortable with legal contracts, and may be able to avoid the common problems and pitfalls. But, honestly, those people are pretty rare. Just the act of negotiating on your own behalf, in a balanced and effective way, is a big challenge. Amateurs tend to err on the side of excessive generosity or deal breaking demands.

How does a business that sells at a discount make up for it? High volume!  On top of paying a higher fee than discount broker ads imply, your home, which is likely your largest single investment, is usually just one of a large number of transactions handled by the broker’s staff, who may not even be licensed real estate brokers. Rarely will you continue to deal regularly with the broker you signed up with; they will move on to sign up the next person.

Don't expect the extraordinary service provided by full service brokers from salaried employees of a discount broker who may not even be available after business hours. It's simply not feasible within their business model.  The 1% fee received by the discount listing broker just can't go far enough to provide anything resembling what full service brokers offer.

Don't be fooled when you see claims of low brokerage fees. You are money ahead by employing an experienced, reputable Realtor. Of course that's us!

How much downpayment do you need?

This is a great time for buyers to buy a home!  First-time homebuyers have mistaken beliefs about how much down payment is needed. 
49% of homebuyers believe they need to put at least 10% down to secure a mortgage  WRONG! 
Only 26% believe that less than 5% down is sufficient to purchase a home.  THAT IS CORRECT!
Here’s what it takes:

CONVENTIONAL:  3% down for loans up $453,100:   5% down for loans up to $667,00 

FHA:  3.5% down for loans up to $667,000

VA:   0% down for loans up to $667,000 

And don’t forget DOWN PAYMENT ASSISTANCE through the Washington State Housing Finance Commission – basically , zero-down.

Pierce County Report: NW Multiple Listing Service Stats for September

We are trending toward a more balanced market: House hunters have the largest supply of homes in two years. Houses are staying on the market a little longer, and prices aren’t rising as rapidly. Sellers need to be realistic in their pricing. Buyers should consider a move now while they have more home choices and can avoid continued home price and interest rate increases.

At month end, there were 2,742 active listings in the MLS database, 5 more than August’s 2,737 inventory, and 7.3% more than 2,556 homes and condos listed a year ago.   MLS brokers added 1,557 new listings to inventory during September, 493 (24%) less than last month, and 112 less than the same month a year ago.

September’s 1,612 pending sales were 13.6% lower than August’s 1,867 mutually accepted offers, and 9% less than 1,775 pending sales last September.

Pierce County MLS members reported 1,367 closed sales during September.  This is a 15% drop from last month’s 1,610 closed sales, and 250 (15.5%) less than 1,617 completed transactions in September a year ago.

The median price for September’s closed sales of single family homes and condominiums (combined) was $345,000. This is up 9.5% from the September 2017 figure of $315,000.  The average time on market for properties that sold was 32 days, compared to 27 days last month and 33 days this month last year. Pierce County has a 2 month supply of housing inventory on the market. (4-6 months is considered a balanced market.)

Pierce County Report: NW Multiple Listing Service Stats for July

Inventory has been gradually increasing since February. There is now a 1.5 month supply of listings on the market, the highest it’s been since last September. These are signs of relief for buyers, but it will still be a long time before they are on a level playing field with sellers. Pierce County’s 13.8% year-over-year price increase this month was higher than King, Snohomish or Kitsap County.  Buyers should consider a move now while they have more home choices and can avoid continued home price and interest rate increases.

At month end, there were 2,413 active listings in the MLS database, 186 more than June’s 2,227 inventory, but 3.4% less than 2,499 homes and condos listed a year ago.   MLS brokers added 1,990 new listings to inventory during July, 92 (4%) less than last month, and 107 less than the same month a year ago.

July’s 2,012 pending sales were 1.5% lower than June’s 1,982 mutually accepted offers, and 8.9% less than 2,208 pending sales last July.

Pierce County MLS members reported 1,605 closed sales during July.  This is a 9% drop from last month’s 1,772 closed sales, and 30 less than 1,635 completed transactions in July a year ago.

The median price for July’s closed sales of single family homes and condominiums (combined) was $348,450. This is up 13.9% from the July 2017 figure of $306,000.  The average time on market for properties that sold was 23 days, compared to 23 days last month and 26 days this month last year. Pierce County has a 1.5 month supply of housing inventory on the market. (4-6 months is considered a balanced market.)

Pierce County Report: NW Multiple Listing Service Stats for June

In June, there was a drop in new listings added to the market, but there was a drop in pending sales too, so we ended the month with increased inventory. Year over year price comparisons show the appreciation rate slowed down too. These are welcome signs of a potential shift to a more balanced market. It’s a good time for buyers to act while they have more home choices and can avoid continued home price and interest rate increases.  

At month end, there were 2,227 active listings in the MLS database, 298 more than May’s 1,929 inventory, and 4.3% less than 2,326 homes and condos listed a year ago.   MLS brokers added 2,082 new listings to inventory during June, 298 (13%) less than last month, and 213 less than the same month a year ago.

June’s 1,982 pending sales were 8% lower than May’s 2,151 mutually accepted offers, and 7.5% less than 2,143 pending sales last June.

Pierce County MLS members reported 1,772 closed sales during June.  This is a 14% increase from last month’s 1,559 closed sales, and 58 more than 1,714 completed transactions in June a year ago.

The median price for June’s closed sales of single family homes and condominiums (combined) was $346,975. This is up 10.2% from the June 2017 figure of $315,000.  The average time on market for properties that sold was 23 days, compared to 27 days last month and 30 days this month last year. Pierce County has a 1.26 month supply of housing inventory on the market. (4-6 months is considered a balanced market.)

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Ron & Jeanette Lunceford
Keynote Real Estate
PO Box 64190
University Place, WA 98464
Office: 253-565-1617

Ron: 253-381-6296
Email: Rlunceford@KeynoteRE.com

Jeanette: 253-203-5296
Email: JLunceford@KeynoteRE.com

Phil Mondau: 360-789-5355
Email: PhilM.Keynote@gmail.com


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Ron & Jeanette Lunceford  |  Keynote Real Estate  |  253-565-1617  |  JLunceford@KeynoteRE.com
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