Real Estate

Sales of Thurston County single-family homes were strong for an October, median price rose by a double-digit margin and once again there was little inventory to choose from, according to Northwest Multiple Listing Service data released Thursday.

Sound familiar? It should because October was yet another month of an entrenched seller's market characterized by low inventory, high demand and higher prices.

Demand remained high even though the median price escalated to $348,300 last month. The key is that those prices are a bargain for someone in King County, where the median price was $660,000 in October.

"We are by far the most affordable major county on Puget Sound's I-5 corridor," said Ken Anderson, president and owner of Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty in Olympia. "The only other affordable county is Pierce, and it is now on the verge of being unaffordable."

Pierce County median price in October was $365,000.

The culprit here, as it is in other Western Washington counties, is a lack of inventory. Inventory of single-family homes was down 34 percent last month compared to the same month a year ago.

A housing market that doesn't favor buyers or sellers is thought to have inventory in the range of four to six months. Months of inventory in the county last month was about one month.

The county has now been in a seller's market for five years and Anderson doesn't expect that to change anytime soon because of the lack of home building.

"It would take a major shift, one that isn't likely to occur for the market to even just get back to balance," he said. "For instance, we would need 2,064 homes actively for sale to just reach a four-month supply."

A closer look at the Thurston County single-family home data for October 2019 compared to 2018:

-- Sales fell 4.6 percent to 454 units from 476 units.

-- Median price rose 10.6 percent to $348,300 from $315,000.

-- Pending sales fell 6 percent to 491 units from 523 units.

A closer look at the county condo data for October 2019 versus 2018.

-- Sales rose to 13 units from seven units.

-- Median price increased to $220,000 from $145,000.

-- Pending sales rose to 18 units from 12 units.

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