Pierce County becoming ‘darling’ of Puget Sound housing market

Jul 9, 2019, 3:14 PM | Updated: Jul 16, 2019, 11:06 am
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The Tacoma Dome. (File, MyNorthwest)
(File, MyNorthwest)

While the King County housing market continues to favor buyers well into the summer, it’s our southern neighbor that’s quickly become the place to live, with one broker labeling Pierce County the “darling of the Puget Sound real estate market.”

Former Seattleites braving commute for nation’s hottest housing market

“The secret is out about Pierce County,” Allen Realtors President Mike Larson agreed in a recent news release. “You can buy twice the house for about half the price. You just have to be willing to deal with the traffic if you work north or south of here.”

The resulting buying spree in Pierce County had median prices for residential homes up by a whopping 7.26 percent year-over-year in June. Even so, that number sits at just $376,000, just over half of King County.

Meanwhile, the market in King County remains intriguing for one key reason.

“What I find interesting is on pricing we are still below the prices we saw a year ago in King County by almost 2 percent — we’ve seen a gradual softening in the last few months,” Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross.

Despite that drop, Gardner notes that it’s still Pierce County that “screams affordability” right now. That’s had it supplanting Snohomish County as the prime destination for home buyers.

“Essentially people used to go north to Snohomish County,” Gardner noted. “That market is just fairly balanced right now — prices really aren’t growing but they’re not contracting either. But we are seeing a significant increase in prices down in Pierce County because of housing costs.”

When measuring Pierce County’s market against King County, the differences are even more stark.

Puget Sound housing market continues to favor buyers in 2019

“For years, King County has been a bit like a top fuel dragster — high performing, thrilling, but maybe a bit temperamental. It got the headlines and values skyrocketed, but now it’s experiencing a bit of a hangover. Pierce County’s market is more like a diesel truck — steady, consistent, and less prone to dramatic market changes,” Larson described.

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Pierce County becoming ‘darling’ of Puget Sound housing market