A Recap of the 2012 Real Estate Market Gig Harbor and Fox Island (98332, 98333, and 98335)
Sales started slow in 2012, but picked up in March, peaked in August and stayed respectable through the end of the year, beating 2011 sales by 14%.
But overall 2012’s median price (half of the homes sold for more, half for less) was actually down 1% from 2011—$337,000 in 2011, $333,000 in 2012. Again, this is for Gig Harbor and Fox Island and excludes the Key Peninsula and condos. Because of the high-priced waterfront homes that sell in Gig Harbor, I prefer median price rather than average price as a market indicator. Especially when there are not many sales—a few home sales at over $1 million can really skew the average price. Over the past few months, we’ve seen an uptick in the median price, so I anticipate it to increase in 2013.
Another market measure is cost per square foot. Buyers are very savvy and know this number. And appraisers use this to value property as well. So it’s a good number to be familiar with. It fluctuates from month to month as does median sales price depending on what homes sold. If several waterfront homes sell, it will increase both price per sq. ft. and median price for that month. The average price per sq. ft. in 2012 was $154.67, up 2% from 2011.
You’ll see a lot of statistical data that is for all of Pierce County. Gig Harbor is, and always has been a different market. For comparison’s sake, Pierce County’s December median sales price was $205,000; Gig Harbor’s was $323,000.
Distressed homes (short sales and bank-owned homes) still play a significant role in our market, but we have seen a fairly drastic decrease in the number of bank-owned homes coming on the market in the past few months. I’ve been tracking them for several years now, and as I look back at the numbers, the percentage of bank-owned home sales peaked at 42% of total sales in April, 2011. Over the past 30 days worth of sales, that number is only 5.4%. Short sales represent 41% of pending home sales, but only 10% of homes actively for sale and only 8% of total sales. The large percentage of pendings is due to how long short sales remain in pending status as they await lienholder approval.
The way short sales (homes that sell for less than the amount the seller owes) are handled has changed . We’re starting to see more and more pre-approved short sales, often initiated by the lien-holder to avoid foreclosure. This should reduce the amount of time it takes to actually close on a short sale. Many buyers just give up and walk away because the process takes so long. I had buyers that waited for 13 months for the seller’s lienholder to approve our purchase price on a short sale!
During the 4th quarter of 2012 we started seeing homes that were priced correctly for the current market and in good condition selling fast, and often getting multiple offers. Supply and demand contributes to sales price as well as how long a home takes to sell. Currently days on market is about 115—days
I’m excited about 2013—new homes are selling faster than they can be built, and interest rates are still ridiculously low. We now need to get more homes on the market and create the “perfect storm” for purchasing a home (whether it be a primary residence or an investment property) this year.
If you’re thinking about either buying a rental home or selling your current home in 2013, and would like market reports on a more frequent basis, let me know. I’d be glad to keep you, your family, friends and co-workers informed. All the best to you in 2013!