The go-go Thurston County housing market of 2017, in which strong demand made homes scarce and prices rose sharply, hit pause to start the new year, according to Northwest Multiple Listing Service data released this month.
For a change of pace, sales of single-family residences fell nearly 10 percent last month from the same month a year ago, the data show. But the factors that have contributed to a strong sellers’ market, including low levels of inventory and a good economy, are still very much in play.
Months of inventory stood at 1.6 in January, and the total number of active listings were down 28 percent from a year ago. A healthy inventory — which doesn’t favor either buyers or sellers — is considered to be 4-6 months.
However, if you’re a prospective buyer looking for a silver lining, there was a bit of good news: New listings in January outpaced those of last year — 395 units last month, compared to 378 units a year ago.
Despite the nearly 10 percent decline in sales, the median home price still rose nearly 12 percent to $285,000 for a single-family residence. Yet that median, when compared to King County, is a relative bargain. The median price of a single-family residence in the Seattle area was $628,388, a 20 percent increase over the same time last year.
That difference in price means the county can expect more in-bound migration in 2018.
Some think price increases will ease this year.
“As interest rates rise, the rate of price increases will slow down,” said Northwest MLS director Dick Beeson in a statement.
Still, it may be a moot point if inventory remains low and buyers find themselves competing for the same house. That alone could push prices up.
A closer look at the Thurston County single-family residence numbers for January 2018 compared to January 2017:
▪ Sales fell 9.7 percent to 278 units from 308 units.
▪ Median price rose 11.8 percent to $285,000 from $255,000.
▪ Pending sales fell 4.6 percent to 439 units from 460 units.
Thurston County condo data for January 2018 versus January 2017
▪ Sales rose to nine units from three units.
▪ Median price rose to $192,000 from $125,500.
▪ Pending sales rose to 20 units from 18 units.
▪ Number of total listings fell to 20 units from 26 units.
▪ Number of new listings in January fell to 16 units from 17 units.
Source: Northwest Multiple Listing Service