After years of recession, Puget Sound housing market booming

BONNEY LAKE, Wash. -- Real estate experts call it a mini power surge of sales as every indicator in the Puget Sound housing industry is showing double-digit gains.

One spot at the height of the rebound is Tahaleh, a community of ultimately 6,400 homes that during the height of the recession was on the brink of disaster. The previous developer lost it in foreclosure and Newland Communities stepped in and started selling and finishing homes. The first residents moved in before Christmas.

"The streets are becoming active and lively and it's just absolutely wonderful to see," said Newland VP Scott Jones.

Tehaleh is just one example of what's happening across Puget Sound with a real estate market that's showing solid optimism. The Northwest Multiple Listing Service says several factors are driving the market: The average 30-year fixed interest rate is still attractive, but inching up at 4.4 percent. The available supply of homes for sale is slim, with only enough to last about 2 and a half months. And the numbers of pending sales in July was up a sturdy 13.6 percent.

"Let me breathe a sigh of relief," said John L.Scott Broker Bobbie Petrone Chipman. "It is tremendous after the past couple of years."

Chipman says after years of recession the market is becoming robust. A local real estate research firm reports sales of new homes are up in the Puget Sound region nearly 23 percent over last year.

"Now the challenges are being able to purchase a property," she said.

Petrone Chipman says even outside King County, buyers have to be competitive and prepared to offer over full price if they hope to buy their dream home.