Red-hot real estate market cools slightly in November. But it’s still pretty warm.

Thurston County home sales cooled in November.
Thurston County home sales cooled in November. Getty Images

It had to happen.

The red-hot Thurston County housing market, which produced month after month of double-digit sales gains over last year, finally hit a cooler stretch in November, according to recently released Northwest Multiple Listing Service data.

The result was that sales of single-family homes fell nearly 2 percent last month compared to November 2016. Still, more than 400 single-family residences sold last month and the median price continues to climb, hitting $287,000 in November.

Some factors that weighed on the market throughout the year also continued into November. Chiefly, months of inventory remained low at 1.26 months. It’s still a sellers market, but that low level of inventory doesn’t necessarily mean that buyers have little to choose from, said Ken Anderson, president and owner of Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty in Olympia.

Although standing inventory has been low, the county also has experienced a nine-year high of listings coming to the market, he said. That trend continued in November as well as new listings last month rose to 325, compared to 317 in November 2016.

One might think: Well, if that’s the case, why aren’t months of inventory any higher? The answer: Strong demand.

In other words, many homes are being listed, but when they are, they are sold, he said.

“The absorption rate shows a different thing — the competition in the market, which is fierce right now,” Anderson said.

He added: “It’s like a retailer who has things flying off the shelves, and supply trucks coming every day to restock the shelves.”

A more extreme example of this can be found in King County. More than 2,000 single-family homes sold in King County last month, yet sales were flat from November 2016. Months of inventory fell to 0.84, the data show, pushing median price higher by nearly 15 percent to $630,750.

A closer look at the single-family residence data in Thurston County for November 2017 compared to November 2016:

▪ Sales fell 1.81 percent to 433 units from 441 units;

▪ Median price rose 8.3 percent to $287,000 from $265,000;

▪ Pending sales rose 9.4 percent to 443 units from 405 units.

Thurston County condo data for November 2017 vs. November 2016

▪ Sales fell to eight units from 13 units.

▪ Median price rose to $216,450 from $166,000.

▪ Pending sales fell to 12 units from 15 units.

▪ Total inventory rose to 25 units from 17 units.

▪ New condo listings in November was unchanged at nine units.

Source: Northwest Multiple Listing Service