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Pent-up demand in King County drives home prices up in nearby counties

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TACOMA — Even with interest rates creeping up, the Puget Sound housing market is not slowing down.

According to Northwest MLS, there were nearly 9,500 closings last month; that’s a record for July.

Experts expect that trend to continue, and as home prices surge in King County, many home buyers are leaving for other counties.

“Buying a home should not be on the same par as going to Vegas,” George Moorhead at Bentley Properties said.

But for many local families forced into bidding wars, that`s what it feels like.

“You get so little property, no parking, it's crazy,” Michelle Olivarrias said.

With record-low inventory and median prices at almost a half-million dollars in King County, brokers like Moorehead are showing more properties in Snohomish and Pierce counties.

“Tacoma is seeing a pretty significant revitalization with that ... We are also seeing Spanaway, you are also seeing parts of Puyallup that`s really bumping up, which I call the next Redmond."

Millennials and first-time home buyers are now driving sales in counties like Pierce County, where the median home cost if nearly half of what it is in King County.

But the market isn`t only heating up along I-5, the western areas are seeing a boom, too.

In Kitsap County, prices are escalating at a faster pace than in King County. An average home price in Kitsap County is now $275,000 -- that is a 22.4% surge since January.

Experts say buyers are willing to deal with longer commutes for better prices.

“There is nothing worse than coming home and knowing that you overpaid for your home,” Moorhead said.