Pierce County Housing Reports April 23, 2014

Spring 2014 Pierce County Housing Report


Normalization continues, look who's buying and selling! 
And where are rates headed?


The Pierce County Housing Market as measured by April 2014 numbers looks pretty benign and one might be tempted to believe the national headlines that the market is slowing down.  Not so fast!  Here are the numbers followed by a look inside the data that might surprise you!

Inventory – UP +17%

Closings – Down -7%

Pending Sales – UP +4%

Months of Inventory – UP last year 3 this year 3.7

Median Price – UP 13%

The stats above  are not too impressive, maybe indicating the Pierce County Housing Market is neutral, and in a sideways crawl.  To be honest I thought the same at first, and that is why I didn't check in with my report last month (My apologies to the 4 of you that missed it!  lol!).  Sometimes the real story is inside the numbers.


Normalization of the Pierce County Housing Market is evident. With falling distressed sale transactions and a substantial increase in upper end price ranges. This tells the story of the return of repeat sellers willing to resume participation in the market. Take a look at the breakdown of Pierce County sales by price range and what jumps out is the spike on the $350,000 to $500,000 price range.  

Although the overall numbers are not showing the big year over year gains we watched for most of last year, we can safely observe the market is more balanced and not just fueled by first time buyers and investors. Look below at how the makeup of sales is trending as measured by April numbers.

No Surprise – Rates will be going up – but when? By the end of 2015 Fannie Mae projects mortgage rates will be 5% while Freddie Mac's projection is 5.7% and Mortgage Bankers Association is 5.3%.  The consensus is unanimous as to the direction of rates, the question is when.  If Freddie Mac is correct with their projections the graph below is what we can expect.

You've heard it before – "Even a rate in the 5's is great when compared to historical levels" While this is true, I found the chart below helpful in providing perspective.  It shows that rates affect the "cost" of housing.  Significant shifts in how much a monthly payment costs a homeowner can happen with a swing in rates.

Possibly the greatest buying opportunity of a generation that was created by the Great Recession will be something we all talk about in the future. How soon that day comes is yet to be determined but it is clear we are still in a great window of opportunity. 

Despite recent gains, Pierce County still remains 21% below the peak median price, couple that with rates in the 4's one can say that both the Price and the Cost of a new home are very attractive!