Never mind the modest dip in sales compared to 2017. More than 580 single-family residences sold in August, making it the best monthly sales total so far this year, according to Northwest Multiple Listing Service data.
The market remains hot, even if it’s not quite as sizzling as 2017. In all, 584 single-family residences sold last month, down 10 units from the same month a year ago, the data show.
What’s driving the market? Demand, not only in the form of a good economy, but by those who have been priced out of the market in other counties. Thurston County remains affordable compared to King County where the median price was $669,000 last month. Here, the median price in August was $318,000, up 10 percent from a year ago.
“Our market is the most affordable of all the major markets on the Sound,” said Ken Anderson, president and owner of Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty in Olympia.
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Still, higher monthly sales, growing median prices and the continued lack of inventory translate into a sellers’ market. Prospective buyers didn’t get a lot of help last month as months of inventory inched lower to 1.41 months in August from 1.49 months in July, the single-family residence data show.
A healthy balance between buyers and sellers is considered to be in the range of four to six months of inventory.
“We are expecting to see more sellers come to market and sales to moderate off their record highs,” Anderson said. “That combination should help us move to a better balance in the market. In turn, that will moderate price increases — something that is needed for the long term health for our community.”
But how do we get there? Anderson says we need to build more homes.
“The current pace of building is not keeping pace with the growth of our market,” he said.
A closer look at the August single-family residence data for August 2018 compared to August 2017:
- Thurston County sales fell 1.68 percent to 584 units, from 594 units.
- Median price rose 10.6 percent to $318,100 from $287,450.
- Pending sales were flat at 633 units, compared to 631 units.
Thurston County monthly sales totals for single-family residences to date in 2018: January (278); February (302); March (399); April (401); May (471); June (556); July (518); August (584).
Thurston County Condo data for August 2018 versus August 2017
▪ Sales rose to 19 units from 15 units.
▪ Median price rose 18.6 percent to $185,000 from $156,000.
▪ Pending sales fell to 14 units from 18 units.
▪ Total inventory rose to 48 units from 38 units.
▪ New listings in August fell to nine units from 23 units.