The median price of single-family homes sold in King County in May was $480,942, about the same as in April but almost 9 percent more than a year ago, according to figures released Thursday.

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The median price of single-family homes sold in King County in May was $480,942, about the same as in April but almost 9 percent more than a year ago, according to figures released Thursday.

The Northwest Multiple Listing Service said buyers were in “full sprint” mode, competing for a dwindling number of homes for sale. There were 3,280 active listings in May, down 21 percent from the previous May, the MLS reported.

“We are definitely feeling the squeeze on inventory levels with sellers holding off until they can find a home,” said George Moorhead, owner of Bentley Properties in Bellevue, in a statement.

The trend holds true regionwide: Snohomish and Pierce counties each saw their inventory drop by 18 percent compared to a year ago. That helped push median prices up by about 8 percent over the year to $350,000 in Snohomish and $255,000 in Pierce.

For the third month in a row, King County had less than one month’s supply of homes for sale, a drought the market hasn’t seen since at least 2004. Snohomish and Pierce have less than a two-month supply. Experts say a balanced market would have at least a five-month supply.

“We’re still in desperate need of inventory,” said OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate, in a statement. “The irony is that there are plenty of people who want to sell, but won’t put their home on the market until they can buy something new. But they can’t buy something new until there are more homes on the market. It’s the proverbial chicken and egg situation for which I see no end in the near future.”

Buyers across the four-county Puget Sound region are jumping on almost any listing in their price range. In May, there were 8,620 pending sales, the highest May total in at least 15 years. A sale is pending when buyer and seller have a mutual agreement but haven’t closed the deal yet.

The median price of single-family homes in Kitsap County, where inventory was down 26 percent compared to a year ago, posted a 16 percent annual gain to $266,950.

Frank Wilson, managing broker at John L. Scott in Poulsbo, said that Kitsap is seeing more buyers from King County.

“They have run out of inventory in the Seattle market so now it’s just a matter of how far a buyer needs to drive to find a home that is available and affordable,” he said.

Even the sluggish condo market revved up in May, with double-digit annual gains in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties — all of which had fewer condos for sale than a year ago.

The median price in King was $289,000, up 12 percent over the year; in Snohomish, $235,000, 13 percent; and in Pierce, $188,250, 18 percent.