Those trying to buy a house in Thurston County didn’t gain much breathing room in July as the number of homes on the market remained well below what is considered normal.
Last month in Thurston County, inventory for single-family homes stood at 1.56 months’ worth, up a tad from 1.37 months in June, according to Northwest Multiple Listing Service data released Monday. A market that doesn’t favor either buyers or sellers is thought to have inventory in the range of four to six months.
Despite the low inventory, a good economy has produced demand, so sales of Thurston County single-family residences rose 6 percent in July from the same time last year.
The median price also jumped 9 percent over the same period.
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All of that continues to make life difficult for prospective buyers, said Andrea Peters, a Windermere of Olympia real estate broker who held an open house Sunday in Lacey’s Horizon Pointe neighborhood.
The race to buy a house amid limited inventory is competitive enough, but those paying cash from King County, Pierce County or elsewhere makes it even more competitive because they can sidestep the slower process of obtaining a mortgage, she said.
Among those buyers are Californians who are looking to convert homes into rentals, Peters said.
Because sellers are in the driver’s seat, they don’t have to honor deals contingent upon something else happening, such as waiting for a prospective buyer to sell their house so that they can buy theirs, she said.
For some, that also means waiving the home inspection to get the house they want. Although that is happening in this market, Peters emphasized how important it is to get a home inspection if you’re a buyer.
Here’s also what happens when you have too little inventory: Sales fall, just as they did last month in King County, where sales dipped nearly 3 percent from the same period a year ago.
And yet here’s how crazy King County is: Despite a 3 percent drop in sales, more than 2,700 single-family residences sold with a median price of $658,000, an 18 percent price increase compared to July 2016.
Peters’ open house on Sunday was for a 2,000-square-foot house in Horizon Pointe with three bedrooms and 2-1/2 bathrooms. It was listed for $285,000 and she received a full-price offer Sunday after two weeks on the market. That’s actually slow in this market, she said.
Earlier in the year, offers were coming in three or four days after listing, she said.
She also recently sold a 900-square-foot house in west Olympia for $185,000. It had 60 showings and received more than five offers, she said.
A closer look at the Thurston County single-family residence market for July 2017 compared to July 2016:
▪ Sales rose 5.9 percent to 533 units from 503 units.
▪ Median price climbed 9.3 percent to $295,000 from $269,950.
▪ Pending sales fell 3.5 percent to 609 units from 631 units.
Thurston County condo data for July 2017/2016
▪ Sales fell to 10 units from 11 units.
▪ Median price fell to $142,425 from $154,950.
▪ Pending sales fell to 17 units from 25 units.
▪ Total number of condos for sale fell to 30 units from 34 units.
▪ New condo listings in July rose to 21 units from 13 units.
Source: Northwest MLS