Friday Flashback: Half-Million-Dollar Condos in Puyallup

Came across this one in the Seattle Bubble archives, from March 2006 in the Tacoma News Tribune:

After several years of public investment in downtown Puyallup, private money is now pouring into multilevel condominiums around Pioneer Park.

It appears to be money well spent. Some units are expected to sell for around $500,000.

“When we started, we were not predicting prices that high,” condo developer Bill Schuur said. “It’s clear that there’s a strong housing market in downtown Puyallup.”

In recent years, Puyallup has brought pedestrians and shoppers back downtown with its new library, farmers market and businesses that have replaced empty storefronts. But some say a sure sign of downtown revitalization is when people choose to live there.

“Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma – everybody is moving downtown,” said Tony Benson, 52, who was having early dinner with his wife, Julie, at a picnic table at Pioneer Park on a recent afternoon. “That’s the way to the future.”
Pioneer Park Condos: Price per Square Foot
Developers say the demand shows no sign of abating.

“Our experience in marketing Pioneer Park Condominiums tells us, anecdotally, that demand will continue to increase, and prices will rise steadily,” Cochrane said.

At right I have embedded a chart of sales history at this particular condo complex back through late 2009. Note the 56% drop in value from the high point in 2006 to the low point to date in February. Ouch.

The top-floor corner unit penthouse in this complex—presumably the nicest unit available—sold just last month for $275,000. Not quite half a million.

Hmm. I wonder what happened to the “strong housing market” and demand that showed “no sign of abating,” and the certainty that “prices will rise steadily”?

The purpose of our Friday Flashback series is to remind people why it’s never a good idea to base your home purchase decisions on the word of someone with a vested financial interest in selling as many homes as possible for as much as possible, no matter what. If you’ve got a good example of local home salespeople or other industry shills on record making fools of themselves in the years before the bubble burst, shoot me an email.
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About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.


  1. 1
    tomtom says:

    My favorite is the Florera near Green Lake. Last of the 14 of 59 sold sold in mid-’08. Only one foreclosure so far.

  2. 2
    Lake Hills Renter says:

    I think “the way of the future” is one of the key phrases that signal an impending collapse.

  3. 3
    Scotsman says:

    The future?

    “Home prices are unlikely to recover before 2020 and mortgage defaults will persist for years, says a survey of bank risk managers out Friday.”

    “Bankers concerns spread beyond the housing market.

    A large number of respondents says they also expect to see an uptick in delinquencies on auto loans, credit cards and student loans.

    Small businesses are expected to continue face a challenging credit environment. More than one-third of respondents forecast an increase in delinquencies on small business loans.

    Bankers also appear to be pessimistic about recovery in consumer spending, with 64 percent of respondents expecting credit card usage to remain below pre-recession levels for at least five more years.”

  4. 4
  5. 5
    deejayoh says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 3 – Bankers would know the future. Just like last time. I mean, look how well that worked out! Especially when asked by FICO.

  6. 6
    David Losh says:

    RE: deejayoh @ 5

    Banks make money. Banks have made boat loads of money, so I say it worked out pretty well for them.

    They are talking about an over burden debt market. They are being extremely optimistic, as they would be, that’s what they get paid for.

  7. 7
    Macro Investor says:

    Funny stuff… “downtown” Puyallup. Probably means they got a few fast food dumps into the retail space. Look here, you can live next to a KFC so it’s worth $350 per sq foot.

  8. 8
    John Bailo says:

    It’s getting to the point where all the arguments against condos versus renting are starting to go the other way. I am currently paying $790 for a 2 bedroom in Kent….but if I took some of my savings, I could probably get the equivalent for $50,000 to $60,000 and then pay less than $300 a month!

    It would mean a commitment to staying here, but assuming I live longer than 10 more years, it would seem to make sense.

  9. 9
    Scotsman says:

    RE: John Bailo @ 8

    Including taxes, HO dues and assesments? I’d be surprised.

  10. 10
    John Bailo says:

    RE: Scotsman @ 9

    Yeah, I guess you’re right.

    They make it so confusing, I always feel like I’m walking into a trap no matter what how I try to nail it down.

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