Anon posted a comment last week suggesting it would be interesting to compare Tacoma’s sales ratios with markets traditionally known for being higher end, such as Seattle and Gig Harbor. It turns out Seattle is quite a bit more robust in the higher end (and across the board, really) as the chart shows. Not only are the percentages better, the underlying numbers behind them are larger, at least in the upper price range: 91 pending Seattle sales over $800K, versus just 2 pending sales in Tacoma.
Gig Harbor does not shape up to be a higher end market than Tacoma at all. There are just two pending sales over $800K there and it is bloated with more than twice the number of actively listed properties over $800K as Tacoma. Gig Harbor does seem to be absorbing inventory better than Tacoma in one segment here: $300K to $500K. All in all, they are very similar markets.
Does this mean that what Anon suggests about Tacoma not being an area that could support $400+ homes is true? Maybe to some degree. Seattle is a bigger city with more people and access to high paying jobs and a wider array of opportunities. Therefore, it stands to reason that there are more buyers for expensive homes. However, you get more house for your money in Tacoma or Gig Harbor. I think in a healthy economy there are buyers for Tacoma’s mansions and upper end view homes; they just cost less here than in Seattle.