3 Things You Need to Know if You Want to Buy or Sell This Year
The Pierce County real estate market is playing out much like we forecasted in 2017 with tight inventory, fierce competition for good homes and sellers in control. Interest rates have stubbornly remained historically low despite some uptick. This has helped to allow Buyers to afford the higher prices sellers are asking and we’ve seen appreciation continue at a brisk pace taking Pierce County past the pre-recession peak of $285,000 to $315,000 at the end of June. Sounds great? The answer may depend which side of the table you’re sitting at AND what price range you’re transacting in. I’ll talk about some tips for navigating the Pierce County Market in the second half of 2017 but first let’s look at the current year over year numbers.
Inventory – DOWN – 7.3%
Closings – UP – 6.1%
Median Price – UP – 10.9%
New Pending Contracts – UP – 16.7%
As I said, your interpretation of these numbers will depend if you plan to sit on the seller side or the buyer side of the table. Decreasing inventory with increasing sales makes the timing near nirvana for sellers while buyers struggle and sometimes have to write 4 or 5 offers before they win a bid and get their new home under contract. But what if I told you Pierce County has 2 markets in play at the same time? Actually, we do. The farther up the price ladder you go the more the market fundamentals normalize and even tip in favor of the buyers. It’s true, the robust Puget Sound real estate market making headlines is not sharing it’s bounty equally among sellers. Consider this, the sales ratio in Pierce County for homes priced $400,000 or less is a whopping 119%. That’s a big number when we recognize a balanced market is 55%.
Anytime the number of homes pending under contract exceeds the number of homes actively for sale we have what is called an inverted sales ratio. This is the crazy market condition that is driving the headlines and making for real price gains and difficult buyer experiences. But check out the sales ratio for homes priced $400,000 and up on the graph above, it is below average at only 37%.
Tip #1 Buyers and Sellers
Buyer & Sellers must know the numbers in the area and price range they plan to purchase or market their home for sale. There is actually a full spectrum of market conditions that will both predict your experience and determine your outcome. Ask your broker how many homes are for sale and how many are pending contract in your target price range and geographic area. Divide the active into the pending and convert to a percentage. If the number is 55% it’s a balanced market. In a balanced market sellers must price close to the comparative sales. In a balanced market buyers can look at a home more than once, make a deliberate decision about making an offer and how much they would like to offer. The higher the sales ratio goes the more in favor of sellers it is and conversely the lower the number favors buyers. Know the number where you are buying or selling and you will be able to manage your expectations accordingly.
Tip #2 Sellers
The chart above represents a compilation of all Pierce County Sales in the month of March. It shows us that 63% of the homes sold, did so in an average of 7 days and for 100.03% of their asking price. Because of the high demand on housing, if your home is properly prepared for market, priced correctly, and marketed correctly, it will be sold. Longer market times right now are not providing more value to sellers but actually less. So know your numbers and be honest with yourself and how your house fits in. A great broker can take you to market and ventilate it to the entire spectrum of buyers, but even a great broker can’t change the market.
Be prepared and work with a winning broker. If you’re getting a mortgage, have it fully underwritten not just “pre-qualified”. In order to do this you will have to turn in all of the documentations the lender asks for in addition to making application. As discussed above know your numbers and be prepared to proceed accordingly. In all likelihood if you’re shopping in a lower price range you will have lots of company and need to move quickly and decisively to snag the right house. Ask your broker how many multiple offer situations they’ve encountered and what they recommend for drafting the winning bid. Raising your offer price is one way of course, but there are other strategies that can improve your odds. You’ll want to commit to your buyer’s agent so they are available for you, just make sure you commit to one that can win!
4516 N 9th St, Tacoma
1,205 Sq. Ft.
3 Bedrooms/ 1 Bathroom
7,000 Sq. Ft. Lot
1 Car Attached Garage + Carport
Fully Fenced Yard
Nestled in highly desired North Tacoma this charming 3 bedroom home offers
1,205 sq. ft. on a 7,000 sq. ft. lot. Conveniently located blocks from Jefferson Park and
bustling 6th Avenue.
Upon entering the home you are greeted by gleaming hardwood floors and a handsome
wood burning fireplace. There is ample natural light throughout the home.
Continue from the living room into the eat in kitchen with crisp white cabinets.
Tile counters and a matching backs splash provide ample space for your counter top appliances.
Head into the private, fully fenced backyard and you’ll find a large patio perfect for the BBQ!
Head to Tacoma Boys to pick up fresh produce and meats / seafood for the grill and enjoy
the tranquil backyard.
To the right is the carport which provides additional covered storage in addition to the
1 car garage.
The lush, mature landscaping provides privacy from your neighbors. There is plenty of room
for pets or playing in the backyard! You could also add some garden beds and grow your own
fruits and vegetables in the sun drenched yard if you desire! If you’re looking for more
room to roam you’re less than a mile from the University of Puget Sound
where you can meander the manicured grounds and grab a cup of coffee at their cafe.
Overhead view of the backyard with alley access showing the privacy provided
by the mature landscaping.
913 Altadena Dr, Fircrest
4,156 Sq. Ft.
4 Bedrooms /3.5 Bathrooms
8,470 Sq. Ft. Lot
3 Car Attached Garage
Offered for $575,000
Nestled in peaceful and commuter friendly Fircrest this spacious 4,156 sq. ft. home
features 4 bedrooms including a main floor master suite. You are greeted by tasteful
landscaping as you approach the home. The three car garage provides plenty of
parking for all your vehicles!
As you enter the contemporary home you are greeted by gleaming hardwood floors
and crisp white mill work. Currently the formal living room is being used as a billiards room!
You can see how spacious it is as the pool table is easily accommodated.
Beyond the living room is the formal dining room which leads into the kitchen.
Well appointed kitchen with slab granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances.
Island seating is ideal for a casual meal.
The kitchen also overlooks the family room which has a cozy gas fireplace.
There is a tranquil master suite on the main floor as well as 2 additional bedrooms, another full
bathroom, and a powder room.
The five piece master bathroom with a soaking tub, seperate shower, and dual vanities.
Downstairs you will find a huge bonus / rec room that makes an excellent game room, imagine
the possibilities with all this space! Daylight walkout basement is perfect for enjoying the
large backyard, you just open the door and step out to the patio!
The 4th bedroom with an attached full bathroom is also downstairs. It makes a lovely
guest suite as it is privately tucked away from the rest of the bedrooms.
Beautiful finishes in the attached full bathroom.
The backyard is perfect for entertaining with a hot tub, gas fire pit, and large patio.
The seller will miss sitting by the water feature and unwinding after work, as well as
roasting S’mores with her family at night!
Ariel view of the home and yard.
Conveniently located near all major amenities and minutes to Hwy 16 makes commuting a
both of which have a plethora of dining and shopping options. Bellarmine Preparatory School is a quick 10 minute drive away.
You can also enjoy a round of golf at the Fircrest Golf Club or relax at their pool! If you’re looking for more room to roam
Whittier Park is just up the road at offers a 13 acre playfield with a covered picnic shelter, bocce courts, basketball, soccer fields,
horseshoe pits, and is bordered by a natural trial system!
3719 N 13th St, Tacoma
1,300 Sq. Ft.
6,000 Sq. Ft. Lot
3 Bedrooms / 1.75 Bathrooms
Mature Landscaping and Sprinkler System
Detached 2 Car Garage with Alley Access
The wood burning fireplace will keep you cozy all year round.
The open floor plan is ideal for entertaining with the living room flowing seamlessly into
the dining room.
Continue into the light and bright kitchen with Oak floors and cabinets.
The sunny eating nook is perfect for a casual meal. All appliances are included.
The sun drenched backyard is perfect for dining alfresco! There is plenty of space for
pets or playing and the lush, mature landscaping is easy to maintain with the
The garage is newer and is conveniently accessed from the alley!
There is also security lighting.
on Saturdays where you can find fresh local produce, meats, cheeses, and flowers.
Make you way down to the Ruston Way waterfront and stroll along the Puget Sound or rent a
stand up paddle board.
1208 27th St Ct NW, Gig Harbor
2,078 Sq. Ft.
4 Bedrooms / 2.5 Bathrooms
13,577 Sq. Ft. Lot
3 Car Attached Garage
Offered for $415,000
Just over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, in the maritime city of Gig Harbor, this 4 bedroom,
2.5 bathroom home sits proudly on a landscaped lot in the Point Evans Ridge neighborhood.
As you pass into the foyer you are greeted by vaulting ceilings and hardwood floors.
Continue past the living and dining rooms and you will find the spacious kitchen that overlooks
the tranquil backyard. There is ample cabinet space and Corian counters.
The family room has a cozy gas fireplace perfect for winter time!
Island seating for a casual meal, or a great spot to watch the chef hard at work!
The glass slider leads to the deck, perfect for BBQs!
Upstairs you will find a spacious master suite with a 5 piece bathroom including a soaking tub.
There is another full bathroom and 3 spare bedrooms upstairs as well.
Outside you’ll find a fully fenced backyard with plenty of room for playing or pets.
Mature landscaping provides ample privacy.
The location of this home is ideal if you are commuting! Located off the first exit over the Tacoma Narrow’s
Bridge making for a quick trip to Tacoma or further east on Hwy 16. You’re also only an 8
minute drive from the heart of the harbor where you can stroll along Harborview Dr
a steaming hot cup of coffee while painting pottery at Java & Clay Cafe, it’s fun for all ages!
from 3 pm – 7 pm beginning June 1st and running until August 31st.
909 Altadena Dr, Fircrest
3 Bedrooms / 2.5 Bathrooms
2,308 Sq. Ft.
3 Car Attached Garage
8,470 Sq. Ft. Lot
Landscaped with Sprinkler System
Offered for $429,900
Sitting proudly on a 2,308 sq. ft. lot in picturesque Fircrest this contemporary home offers
3 bedrooms + a den and 2.5 bathrooms with a generous 3 car garage.
The charming front porch welcomes you to the turn key home.
As you enter the foyer soaring ceilings and gleaming hardwood floors greet you. The den is to the left
along with the powder room.
Continue into the dining room and living room which flow effortlessly into the well appointed
kitchen and overlook the landscaped backyard.
Beautiful cherry cabinets, slab granite counter tops, and tile floors wait in the kitchen.
Island seating for a casual meal as well as a breakfast nook.
Continue into the spacious family room, behind the beautiful built in cabinetry is a
Murphy bed! The perfect spot for overnight guests or to enjoy a movie marathon!
Upstairs you will find a generous master suite with dual walk in closets and 5 piece bathroom.
Two walk in closets for all your storage needs!
5 piece master bathroom with a corner soaking tub and private commode.
Two additional bedrooms and a full bathroom are also upstairs.
Meander outside to the patio and enjoy the tranquil territorial view.
The yard is fully landscaped with a sprinkler system!
You’re minutes from the famed Fircrest Golf Club which offers an 18 hole golf course, club house, and a pool.
Bellarmine Preparatory School is also only 10 minutes away!
Commuting is a breeze with easy access
to Hwy 16.
10716 33rd Av Ct NW, Gig Harbor
2,174 Sq. Ft.
12,933 Sq. Ft. Lot
3 Bedrooms + Den / 2 Bathrooms
2 Car Attached Garage
Offered for $415,000
Gig Harbor North on a private lot this 3 bedroom + den home is well appointed with gleaming
hardwood floors throughout most of the main floor.
The living room is flooded in natural light and overlooks the peaceful backyard.
Continue into the well appointed kitchen with slab granite counters, ample cabinet space,
and stainless steel appliance.
The kitchen flows effortlessly into the dining room with vaulting ceilings and
a cozy gas fireplace. The slider leads to the spacious deck and backyard perfect for
BBQs and dining alfresco!
Off the living room is the main floor master bedroom with an attached five piece bathroom.
Elegant master bathroom with a large soaking tub and granite slab counters.
There is a den next to the master bedroom that would work great as a nursery or home office.
Another main floor full bathroom and bedroom and a lower level bedroom as well!
Outside you will find a spacious deck ideal for BBQs and a landscaped yard
perfect for playing with plenty of space to add some garden beds if you
would like to grow your own veggies!
There is also a pond that you could add some koi fish to, or simply enjoy the beauty of the
The location is ideal, you’re less than 10 minutes by car or a 30 minute walk from all of the shopping
or hike the trails of McCormick Forest Park. For some waterfront fun venture down to the
Tides Tavern and watch the boat traffic!