According to an article in the Seattle Times, Gene Balk examined recent census data surrounding an emerging trend that points to a shift from King County to more affordable Pierce county.
Gene notes, "It's no secret that newcomers are pouring into King County from around the country and the globe. In fact, we broke a record in 2014 for the number of new arrivals from out of the state, which I wrote about in my last column. But could we also be witnessing the emergence of a countertrend – that of a growing number of folks fleeing pricey King County and heading south to Pierce? New data on U.S. counties, released by the Census Bureau on Thursday, hints that this may be the case." Click here to read Gene's full article.
The reporter's observations certainly support what we as Realtors are seeing here in North Tacoma on a routine basis. Many of our new buyers are people moving to Tacoma from the Seattle area, and our last four North End listings have sold to folks from Seattle. So… what does this trend mean? Well, we're currently seeing an upsurge in prices and a significantly low level of home inventory in North Tacoma. (you can review those trends here). Thats good news if you currently own a home here, but not such good news if you're in the market to buy this spring.
One of the things I love most about selling real estate in downtown Tacoma is introducing clients to the different condominium buildings there – some shiny and new and others tastefully restored. The Vintage Y at 714 Market Street falls into the tastefully restored category. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the building was designed by prominent local architect George Bullard and built in 1909 to house the Tacoma chapter of the YMCA. As one of the first chapters in the Pacific Northwest, the Y provided its members with athletic facilities and a robust vocational education program. The YMCA vacated the building on Market Street in 1977, and it was ultimately converted into luxury condominiums dubbed the Vintage Y in 2005. Building amenities include a secure lobby and parking garage, a roof-top deck with barbecue, an outdoor patio, a fitness room and a guest suite.
The Vintage Y is located in the heart of Tacoma's historic theater district. Nearby venues include the Pantages, the Rialto, Theater on the Square and the Tacoma Armory (all managed by the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts) Upcoming Broadway Center events include the Heritage Blues Orchestra at the Rialto, Spectrum Dance Theater at the Armory and The Capitol Steps at the Pantages. The theater district is also home to the Grand Cinema, which offers an excellent selection of first run independent films. Corina Bakery conveniently located next to the Grand on Fawcett, is great for a quick bite before or after the movies. Deanna Bender’s Over the Moon Café on Opera Alley is one of my favorites for a casual lunch or special dinner. The service is great, the décor is eclectic and the food’s delicious. When I’m in the market for some new household furnishings, I like Giraffe and Dwelling, both on St. Helens.
Another great thing about the Vintage Y is its proximity to 27-acre Wright Park – a jewel of a green space that includes an arboretum, a playground, a running path and a pond complete with a bridge and waterside benches. If you haven’t checked out the Vintage Y, the Theater District or Wright Park lately, you should. Well worth the visit. For more information about living at the Vintage Y and properties currently available for purchase, visit www.401vintagey.com.
The Proctor District is one of North Tacoma’s most popular neighborhoods. Historic homes, great public schools, tree lined streets, views of the water and a charming central business district are just a few of the things that make this neighborhood so special. For those who aren’t familiar with Proctor (and for those who are already fans), I thought I’d share some of my favorite things about the place we call home.
Metropolitan Market – Met Market is the undeniable anchor of the Proctor District. This upscale grocery store caters to a sophisticated palate, with many locally sourced products, an outstanding cheese department and a wine steward. Met Market could feel some heat if Whole Foods delivers on their promise to open a store in University Place, but the neighborhood feel at the Met will always be hard to beat.
Chalet Bowl – This family owned and operated 12-lane bowling alley “strikes” a wonderful balance between old school Americana and new school hip. The lanes are well maintained, the staff is extremely friendly and the weekly bargain specials are hard to resist. Two words. Glow Bowling.
Wheelock Public Library – This local library has been serving the community since 1927 and is much used and much loved by children and adults alike. An iconic bronze statue of Tacoma pioneer and early businessman Allen Mason located adjacent to the library is often whimsically decorated to befit the season.
Puget Park – Located at the corner of Proctor and N. 31st Street, Puget Park was one of the first green spaces to be donated to the city of Tacoma for public use in 1888. The park features an updated play area and a picnic-perfect grassy knoll. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can follow a trail down through Puget Gulch to the waterfront for a wilderness experience right in the heart of the city.
Blue Mouse Theater – Originally opened in 1923 and now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Blue Mouse is Washington State’s oldest continuously operating movie theater. A group of local activists and preservationists purchased and restored the theater in 1993. Dale Chihuly reportedly designed the blue neon mice that grace the marquis.
Mark Pinto is a top-producing Realtor with Windermere in Tacoma specializing in the purchase and sale of historic and luxury homes. Click here to e-mail Mark or feel free to give him a call at (253) 318-0923.
The median sales price in north end zip codes 98403, 98406 and 98407 jumped from $212,000 in January of 2013 to $285,000 in July (a 34% increase). However, after the 4th of July, the market began to cool off. primarily due to buyer hesitancy given multiple offers on properties for sale in the spring and an increase in interest rates for home mortgages. After the slow down the median sale price had dropped to $222,000 by November.
Some neighborhoods held their gains better than others, most notably zip code 98406, but the current market as a whole looks much as it did at this time last year with respect to home values and sales activity. That’s not altogether a bad thing. A steady, measured recovery is more likely to be a sustained recovery.
Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, predicts that strong job growth in 2014 will continue to drive the housing recovery (see the interview here). The foreclosure crisis is expected to draw to a close, and home values will continue to rise, albeit at a slower pace than they did in early 2013. Most pundits agree that mortgage interest rates, currently hovering around 4.5%, will top 5% by the end of 2014. With housing values and mortgage interest rates on the rise, housing affordability is admittedly beginning to decline. That means it could become more difficult for first time home buyers to enter the market, which could temper the recovery in some areas. The good news is that according to Zillow, an online real estate housing database, the Seattle metro area is predicted to be one of the hottest housing markets in the country in 2014,
Mark Pinto is a top producing Realtor with Windermere specializing in historic and luxury homes located in Tacoma, Lakewood and Gig Harbor. For further information contact Mark at email@example.com.