Fewer homes for sale, but prices remain low

Several factors contribute to 6-year inventory low for December in Thurston

rboone@theolympian.comJanuary 8, 2013 

The number of homes for sale in Thurston County fell under 1,000 units in December for the first time in six years, according to Northwest Multiple Listing Service data released Monday.

The number of homes for sale fell 25.38 percent to 988 units in December from 1,324 units in December 2011, the combined single-family residence and condominium data show.

A combination of factors have contributed to the lower inventory levels, and it could mean that less supply and buyer demand stimulate home prices, Washington Realtors Association President Mark Kitabayashi said Monday.

Inventory levels are lower because sellers are waiting for prices to rise, but also because of the holidays, and the uncertainty created by the election and the so-called “fiscal cliff,” he said.

“It all kinds of adds up,” he said.

Median prices could rise if inventory levels remain low and there is buyer demand, Kitabayashi said, although that was not the result in December.

Thurston County median prices fell 4.25 percent to $203,000 last month from $212,000 in December 2011, the combined data show.

Inventory levels are lower, but, so, too, are mortgage interest rates, Kitabayashi said.

“The opportunity is still there for buyers,” he said.

The average rate for a 30-year mortgage was 3.34 percent, according to a recent Freddie Mac survey.

Home sales, meanwhile, fell 2.19 percent to 223 units from 228 units in the same year-over-year period, while pending sales rose 7.83 percent to 248 units from 230 units.

New listings in December fell to 187 units last month from 211 units in December 2011, the combined data show.

Thurston County home sales data

Single-family residences for December 2012/2011

 • Sales fell 4.07 percent to 212 units from 221 units.

 • Median prices fell 3.49 percent to $207,495 from $215,000.

 • Pending sales rose 5.43 percent to 233 units from 221 units.

 • Number of single-family residences for sale fell 25.45 percent to 946 units from 1,269 units.

 • Number of new listings in December fell to 184 units from 204 units.

Condominiums for December 2012/2011

 • Sales rose to 11 units from seven units.

 • Median prices rose to $130,000 from $89,000.

 • Pending sales rose to 15 units from nine units.

 • Number of condos for sale fell to 42 units from 55 units.

 • Number of new condo listings in December fell to three units from seven units.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 rboone@theolympian.com theolympian.com/bizblog @rolf_boone Source: Northwest Multiple Listing Service

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