The median sales price of single-family homes and condos combined in Pierce and Thurston counties in August rose 18.8 percent and 19.5 percent, respectively, from a year ago. But each county saw subtle price increases of less than 1 percent from July, according to figures released this week by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS).
Pierce County’s median sales price for homes and condos combined was $505,000 in August, up from $501,500 in July. Thurston’s median was $464,000, up from $460,000 in July.
In the South Sound, only Lewis County saw a price decline from July to August, with the August median for homes and condos combined hitting $375,000. This was up 17.6 percent from a year ago but down from $385,450 in July.
Mason’s combined median was $399,000 in August, up 27.7 percent from August 2020 and up from $387,000 in July. Grays Harbor’s median was $331,750 in August, up 26.2 percent from a year ago and up from $320,000 in July.
Home inventory remains tight in each market.
Throughout the 26-county NWMLS area, figures comparing July to August show month-to-month drops in new listings, total inventory, pending sales, closed sales, and median prices, NWMLS said in a news release. But several counties experienced year-over-year increases in inventory, including Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, and Thurston.
“August showed a more traditional seasonal pattern with decreased activity as families took end-of-summer vacations and made back-to-school preparations,” Frank Wilson, Kitsap regional manager and branch managing broker at John L. Scott Real Estate, said in a statement.
NWMLS statistics show the volume of new listings added during August, including single-family homes and condominiums, declined from both July (down 11.5 percent) and 12 months ago (down 4.2 percent). Total inventory for the 26 counties in the report also fell, shrinking about 6.6 percent from July and nearly 22.6 percent from a year ago, NWMLS said.
Matthew Gardner, chief economist at Windermere Real Estate, suggested price cooling is in sight based on his examination of listing prices, which he considers a leading indicator of where markets are headed. King County’s median list prices dropped from $740,000 in July to $729,000 in August, he said in the release.
“That would explain why the median sales price also fell modestly month-over-month,” Gardner said. “I believe this is because we are hitting a price ceiling and that the rabid pace of home price appreciation will continue to cool as we move through the rest of the year.”
Gardner noted luxury home sales continue to exceed expectations, with no signs of slowing.
Throughout the 26 counties, 15 percent of this year’s sales through August registered prices of $1 million or more, the release said. The year-to-date total of 10,237 sales that have fetched $1 million-plus eclipses the totals for all of 2020 when there were 8,898 such sales, and 2019, when there were 6,711 sales exceeding $1 million.
Gardner found strong activity for luxury homes in Snohomish and Pierce counties, adding, “This tells me that there’s a migration of buyers who are choosing to move away from King County and into adjacent areas where their money goes further.”
In Pierce County, the Rosedale and Fox Island areas were the only two submarkets to post median sales prices for single-family homes of more than $1 million. Rosedale was $1.07 million on four closed sales, and Fox Island was $1.3 million on six closed sales.
In Thurston County, the priciest submarket was Boston Harbor, with a median sales price of $740,000 on 13 closed sales of single-family homes.