North End Home Prices in the 2nd Quarter Continue to Rise

North End front-1 (987x1280) North End back-1 (2) (972x1280) North End back-1 (992x1280)

Posted on July 20, 2016 at 4:28 pm
South Sound Property Group | Category: Market Statistics, North Tacoma, Tacoma Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Real Estate Market In the North End is Great… If You’re a Seller.

Page1 (5) (980x1280) Page1 (3) (995x1280)Page1 (4) (999x1280)

Posted on April 13, 2016 at 9:16 am
South Sound Property Group | Category: Market Statistics, North Tacoma, Selling Your Home, Tacoma Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

North End Home Prices Continue to Strengthen

SouthSound_January2016_outside (1)-page-001SouthSound_January2016_inside (1)-page-001 (1)SouthSound_January2016_inside (1)-page-001

Posted on January 21, 2016 at 11:45 am
South Sound Property Group | Category: Market Statistics, North Tacoma, Tacoma Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why is Tacoma a Top 10 Housing Market to Watch in 2016

Tacoma recently ranked as number 10 on Trulia’s top 10 housing markets to watch in 2016, a list that also included cities like Grand Rapids, MI, Charleston, SC and Austin, TX (see the full report here).  Trulia’s rankings were based on a number of different criteria including strong job growth, low vacancy rates and high affordability.  I think high affordability was probably key to Tacoma’s inclusion on the list.  Though some of our buyer clients that are new to the Tacoma housing market have commented that prices here are high compared to where they’re coming from, the Tacoma housing market clearly remains a great value proposition when compared to Seattle where the median home price is more than twice as high.  As the tech industry continues to grow in Seattle, Tacoma will continue to represent a very attractive alternative to call home.  Not surprisingly, we’re seeing more and more folks from Seattle making the move to T-Town.  I think it’s that demand in particular that led to our inclusion on Trulia’s list of hot market’s to watch in the coming year.  To be clear though, Tacoma’s appeal isn’t just about being within commuting distance of Seattle.  For those of us lucky enough to live and work in Tacoma, it actually represents a preferable alternative.  A vibrant, livable small city with a big metropolitan hub nearby to visit when the mood strikes.


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.





Posted on December 5, 2015 at 10:17 am
South Sound Property Group | Category: Market Statistics, Tacoma Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

North End Homes Prices Continue to Strengthen

Sales data for third quarter 2015 are in, and unlike previous years where we've seen a weaking in third quarter in north end home values, this year we've seen the market remain strong.  Inventory levels are a incredibly low levels.  We expect a slow down due to seasonality in the fourth quarter but all indications are full steam ahead for home values in north Tacoma for the new year.  For sales comparisons by zip code please see the information attached below.


Jeff Williams is a top-producing Realtor with Windermere in Tacoma specializing in the purchase and sale of historic and luxury homes.   Click here to email Jeff or give him a call at 253-303-1135.


Posted on October 27, 2015 at 12:59 pm
South Sound Property Group | Category: Market Statistics, North Tacoma, Tacoma Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Misconceptions about Tacoma’s Historic Homes and Neighborhoods

There are a lot of misconceptions about historic homes and historic districts in Tacoma.  As a Realtor, a former board member of Historic Tacoma and a current member of the Tacoma Landmarks Preservation Commission, I’m often asked about the potential impact that historic designation might have on a property.  Many people worry that historic designation is a negative thing.  I believe (and I think the data supports me on this) that just the opposite is true.  Inclusion on the historic register has been proven to increase the value of a property and also allows for property tax credits related to home renovations.  For me, Tacoma's historic buildings and neighborhoods are a big part of what makes it so special, and I think it’s important to protect that heritage.  Below are some common misconceptions about properties included on the historic register and homes that are contributing structures in a designated historic district.


Misconception #1 – I can’t make any changes to the house.

FALSE – Interior changes to a property on the historic register do not require any additional approval above and beyond regular city permitting.  If you want to remodel a kitchen or a bathroom or upgrade plumbing, electrical or heating, the permitting and approval process is exactly the same as any non-historic home in Tacoma.  Exterior changes to the home do require approval from the Landmark Preservation Commission (a process called design review).  For guidelines about the type of exterior changes that require design review, visit the City of Tacoma Historic Preservation website.


Misconception #2 – I can’t replace any windows or doors in the house.

FALSE – While it's true that you can't replace existing wood windows with vinyl or metal windows, you are alowed to replace rotting or deteriorated windows with wood replacements.  Existing wood windows can also be repaired.  Older windows may be painted shut, sash chords and weights may not be operating properly or windows may be missing putty that holds the glazing in place.  These issues can be easily and inexpensively addressed with repairs, saving you thousands of dollars in replacement costs.  Of note, the life expectancy of a vinyl window is only about 20 years.  Properly maintained wood windows last a lifetime.  Studies also show that single pane wood windows with well fitted exterior storm windows provide the same energy efficiency as dual glazed windows.  For more information about wood windows versus vinyl, please check out my blog “Why replacing wood windows is a costly mistake.”


Misconception #3 – It’s harder to sell a historic home because of all the restrictions.

FALSE – A number of studies have been done over the years showing that property values increase dramatically when a neighborhood is designated as a historic district.  A study conducted in Tucson, AZ showed that home values in a historic district there were 30% higher on average than similar homes in non-historic neighborhoods and that homes in the historic district appreciated at a rate that was 15% greater than their non-historic counterparts.  It pays to be historic!  For additional findings, visit the American Council on Historic Preservation.


Misconception #4 – The “historic police” will tell me what I can and can’t do to my house.

FALSE – As long as you maintain your home properly, you'll never have to worry about additional scrutiny, and trees and landscaping don't fall within the scope of historic protection.  The good news for historic properties located in Tacoma is that there is now a mechanism in place to protect structures on the historic register from neglect and ruin.  The purpose is to avoid demolition of the structures.  Click here to learn more about Tacoma’s Historic Property Maintenance Code.





Misconception #5 – All old structures are considered historic.

FALSE – There are only about 1,300 structures in Tacoma that are on the local, state, or national historic registers.  Only structures individually listed on the Tacoma Historic Register or located within a Tacoma historic district are protected.  Designated historic districts in Tacoma include the Wedge, North Slope, Old City Hall and the Union Depot/Warehouse districtSalmon Beach is on the Washington Register, and Stadium District is on the National Register.

I’ve outlined a number of benefits to owning a historic home – from increased property values to the protection of our city's heritage.  If you’d like to learn more about how to place your home on the historic register, or would like to learn about the implications associated with buying or selling a historic home, please contact me or visit the City of Tacoma’s Preservation website at  


Jeff Williams is a top-producing Realtor with Windermere in Tacoma specializing in the purchase and sale of historic and luxury homes.  Jeff is also a former board member of Historic Tacoma, and currently serves on the City of Tacoma's Landmarks Preservation Commission.  Click here to email Jeff or give him a call at 253-303-1135.


Posted on August 14, 2014 at 2:07 pm
South Sound Property Group | Category: Historic Homes, Tacoma Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What Makes a House a “Craftsman?”

As a Realtor who comes from Pasadena, California (the birthplace of Craftsman architecture), and a current member of the Tacoma Landmarks Preservation Commission, nothing makes me crazier than real estate agents who incorrectly market houses as a Craftsman.  It is our job as Realtors to understand houses!  Craftsman is a distinct historic architectural style, and 95% of the time does not apply to new or newer construction.
Since we have tremendous examples of intact Craftsman homes all over Tacoma, I thought I’d explain to you, our astute real estate clients and followers, exactly what defines a Craftsman, and why.  


History: The Craftsman was the dominant style for smaller houses built throughout the country during the period from about 1905 until the 1920s. It originated in southern California and most landmark examples of Craftsman houses are concentrated there. The style quickly spread throughout the country via pattern books and popular magazines, but rapidly faded from favor after the mid-1920s.  These residences were given extensive publicity in such magazines as the Western Architect, The Architect, House Beautiful, Good Housekeeping, Architectural Record, Country Life in America, and Ladies’ Home Journal, thus familiarizing the rest of the nation with the style. As a result, a flood of pattern books appeared, offering plans for Craftsman bungalows; some even offered completely pre-cut packages of lumber and detailing to be assembled by local labor (referred to as “kit” houses). Through these kit houses, the one-story Craftsman house quickly became the most popular and fashionable smaller house in the country.

Character Defining Features:   Although these are considered the most typical character defining features of a Craftsman, not all of these will apply to each Craftsman-style building.

  • Low-Pitched Gabled (or sometimes Hipped Roof)
  • Wide, Unenclosed Eave Overhang
  • Timber Framed
  • Triangular Knee Brace Supports
  • Wood Shingle Siding and/or Wood Horizontal Siding and/or Cut Stone Cladding
  • Wide Window and Door Casings
  • Tapered Porch Supports
  • Low Porch Pedestals usually Supporting Columns
  • Exposed Rafters
  • Decorative (False) Beams or Braces under Gables
  • Shed, Gabled or Eyebrow Dormers
  • Porches, either Full- or Partial-Width
  • Sloping (Battered) Foundation


Types of Craftsman:


Cottage Style Craftsman – Typically a one-story building with a compact rectangular plan; a centralized main entrance consisting of a partial-width porch and flanked by windows; a symmetrical facade; a side-gabled low-pitched roof; horizontal wood siding; and Craftsman stylistic details.









The Bungalow – The typical bungalow is a one-story house with low pitched broad gables. A lower gable usually covers an open or screened porch and a larger gable covers the main portion of the house. In larger bungalows the gable is steeper, with interesting cross gable or dormers. 








Clipped-Gabled (Hip Roof) Craftsman – A Craftsman building covered by a gabled roof which has had its gable point “clipped off.” The roof can be front, side or cross-gabled. Typically this type of Craftsman is a one-story building. Sometimes the clipped-gabled roof will have gabled, hipped or eyebrow dormers.










Colonial Craftsman – A Craftsman building which displays Colonial Revival features. Typically, this type of Craftsman has a trellised front and/or side porches, symmetrical façade and columns.








Aero-plane Craftsman – A Craftsman building with a set-back second-story and wide overhanging eaves which gives the impression of an airplane wings. This style can have a front, side or cross-gabled roof.








Transitional – A building which appears to be “transitioning” from the Victorian-era into the Craftsman-era. Typically, this type of house retains a vertical emphasis on the facade and Victorian-era design elements, but is differentiated by its Craftsman features.









Jeff Williams is a top-producing Realtor with Windermere in Tacoma specializing in the purchase and sale of historic and luxury homes.  Jeff is also a former board member of Historic Tacoma, and currently serves on the City of Tacoma's Landmarks Preservation Commission.  Click here to email Jeff or give him a call at 253-303-1135.




Posted on May 9, 2014 at 2:06 pm
South Sound Property Group | Category: Architecture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How Much is a Water View Worth in North Tacoma?


With market values in Tacoma’s North End on the rise, we’re often asked by our clients to “keep our eyes open” for a house exactly like theirs but with a water view.  The implication being that if they found a view home that was as nice as their current residence, they would want to buy it.  The follow-up question from them is inevitably, “how much more would that cost?”  Well, that isn’t always an easy question to answer.  When showing homes to buyers that are specifically interested in purchasing a view property, it becomes readily apparent that not all views are created equal.  I did some digging and found an article published in 2011 by the Texas Association of Appraisal Districts that mirrors my experience with the Tacoma housing market.  It states the following:


Market studies support the premise [that a view adds value], with one study concluding that . . . “in addition to square footage and lot size, view is the most significant determinant of home value.”  A panoramic view (breadth and/or depth in aspect) tends to command the ultimate premium, . . .  a near view of a prized view object is preferred over a far view, while the ability to see a far distance is prized over a vista that is foreshortened. Other things being equal, an obstructed (or keyhole) view will draw a lesser premium. A view only visible from the upper floor of a single family residence likely draws a lesser premium.   A damaged view (a mountain view marred by overhead power lines or a junkyard in the foreground) will likely invoke a lesser premium.   View orientation can influence value. It is said that the view from the “back” of a residence (where family rooms and patios are often located) is significant, while the view from the front door is less significant.

A study of 1984 – 1993 data from Bellingham, Washington found that a view added a 25.9% premium to home value. When the views were differentiated, however, the study findings were more informative: poor partial ocean view (8% premium), good partial ocean view (29% premium), unobstructed ocean view (59% premium), and water frontage (127% premium).  (See the full study here)

I was curious to see if view homes in North Tacoma garnered this same price premium so I pulled recent sales data specific to the North End, comparing similar houses in the same neighborhood with and without views to determine pricing differentials.  The exercise is a challenging one, but I was able to find three pairs of properties of the same size and condition but differing in view (see below for side-by-side comparisons).  The view homes sold for 51%, 40% and 55% more than their non-view comparables for an average premium of 49%.  My sample size is obviously too small to draw definitive conclusions, but I think the results do support the findings of the study discussed above.  The results also echo what I always tell our real estate clients when they ask me “how much more for a view property?”… expect to pay at least 50% more for a great view property and be prepared to wait.  Patience is everything.


7213 N. 25th Street

5 bedroom, 2.5 bath, 3,032SF

Built in 1970, sold for $425,000 on 9/20/2013

View:  unobstructed water view from rear

1818 Skyline Drive

5 bedroom, 2.75 bath, 3,000 SF

Built in 1965, sold for $282,000 on 12/13/2013

View:  clipped, fully obstructed 

3009 N. 31st Street

3 bedroom, 1.5 bath, 2,006 SF

Built in 1906, sold for $462,000 on 8/28/2013

View: unobstructed water view from rear

2210 N. 29th Street

3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1,820 SF

Built in 1904, sold for $330,000 on 10/23/2013

View: obstructed partial view from 2nd floor

3712 N. 39th Street

2 bedroom, 1.75 bath, 1,606 SF

Built in 1916, sold for $460,000 on 07/31/2013

View:  unobstructed water view from side and rear

3905 N. 35th Street

3 bedroom, 1 bath, 1,358 SF

Built in 1922, sold for $297,000 on 8/1/2013

View:  none



Jeff Williams is a top-producing Realtor with Windermere in Tacoma specializing in the purchase and sale of historic and luxury homes.  Click here to email Jeff or give him a call at 253-303-1135.

Posted on January 20, 2014 at 1:04 pm
South Sound Property Group | Category: North Tacoma, Tacoma Real Estate, Waterfont Living | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

North Tacoma Home Prices End 2013 Just Above 2012

As we start the New Year, we thought it might be a good idea to take a quick look back at what happened to the housing market in Tacoma’s North End in 2013 and to make a few predictions about what to expect in 2014.  The market in Tacoma’s North End essentially took two steps forward and one step back in 2013.

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


Posted on January 6, 2014 at 4:14 pm
South Sound Property Group | Category: Market Statistics, North Tacoma, Tacoma Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

The Value of a Garage in Tacoma’s Coveted North End

Homeowners in Tacoma’s coveted North End really like their garages, whether they’re attached or detached, one car or two.  Some people use their garages as workshops.  Others use them for overflow storage.  Some people actually use them the old fashioned way – for parking cars.  Regardless of how it’s used, the presence of a garage in Tacoma’s North End definitely adds value to a property.  People love the North End of Tacoma for its character Victorian and Craftsman homes and its quaint tree-lined streets, but many of the older homes weren't built with a useable garage.  Some of the garages that were built are narrow, single car structures.  Others offer tandem parking in the basement, while some of the grander homes built at the turn of century have garages that were originally carriage houses. 


If a home has no off-street parking whatsoever, it can be a deal-breaker for a lot of buyers, regardless of their price range.  A carport may be acceptable, but that really depends on the design and security that the structure offers.  The bottom line is that off-street parking seems to be the bare minimum that many buyers will accept, whether it's a garage, a carport, a driveway or just a parking pad.  If it's a garage, the bigger and better it is, the greater the added value.  Several of our listings have sold quickly in large part because they’ve had a good sturdy two-car garage.  Other listings have languished if they’ve lacked a garage. 

If you're buying or selling a home in the North End of Tacoma, you should evaluate the garage (or lack thereof) and make sure that the parking accomodations are factored into the purchase price.  If you plan to make home improvements that have a good rate of return and you don’t already have a garage, consider adding one.  We’ve seen appraisers add as much $30,000 for a garage if a comparable sale doesn't have one, depending on the size and useability of the structure.   There are obviously guidelines and requirements that you’ll need to follow, but much of the investment that you make in a new garage will come back to you at the time of sale.  For additional information about adding a garage in Tacoma’s North End, visit the city’s Planning and Development Services Department website.  

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
Posted on December 4, 2013 at 9:42 am
South Sound Property Group | Category: North Tacoma, Tacoma Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , ,