Sales rose 6 percent, the median home price jumped 8 percent and nearly 500 single-family residences sold in May in Thurston County, according to Northwest Multiple Listing Service data released Tuesday.
And all of that was accomplished with little inventory. In fact, the county had just a 1.33-months supply of single-family residences for sale last month. A housing supply of four to six months is thought to be a more balanced market between buyers and sellers.
In other words, the county is in the middle of a sellers market, which has proven to be “incredibly competitive from a buyer’s perspective,” said Steve Garrett, designated broker and owner of Windermere Olympia.
It is particularly competitive, he said, if you’re shopping for a home in the range of $230,000 to $260,000. Multiple offers are not uncommon at those price points, Garrett said.
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“You have one winner and five or six losers,” he said, adding that after prospective buyers have been through that three or four times, “buyer fatigue” sets in.
“It becomes very frustrating,” Garrett said.
Prospective buyers, especially first-time buyers, need to be prepared. Garrett emphasized the importance of getting pre-approved by their choice of lender so they can “demonstrate to the seller they have the ability to complete the transaction.”
The other wrinkle in the market is the number of all-cash buyers who can circumvent the longer process of obtaining a loan, he said. He said those all-cash buyers are investors and people downsizing from an even hotter housing market, such as in King County.
Another downside to the market is buyers are waiving the home inspection contingency to make their offer more competitive, he said.
“As an advocate for the buyer, you have to counsel them that it’s in their best interest to get an inspection done,” Garrett said.
Waiving the inspection might strengthen the buyer’s offer, but “they are taking all the risk,” he said.
But the balance may be starting to shift. New listings in May rose to 710 units, up from 653 units in May 2016, the data show.
A closer look at the Thurston County single-family residence market for May 2017/2016:
▪ Sales rose 6.6 percent to 484 units from 454 units. The median price rose 8.5 percent to $287,450 from $265,000. Pending sales rose 17.7 percent to 731 units from 621 units, the data show.
Thurston County condo data for May 2017/2016
▪ Sales fell to 13 units from 15 units.
▪ Median price rose to $209,950 from $147,900.
▪ Pending sales rose to 14 units from 13 units.
▪ Total number of condos for sale were unchanged at 28 units.
▪ New listings rose to 18 units from 16 units.
Source: Northwest Multiple Listing Service