February’s home sales dropped in Walla Walla amid harsh winter weather and a declining housing inventory. Year-to-date closings were 12% below last year’s pace during the same period a year ago. Buyers also faced higher home prices and mortgage rates, yet, they stayed surprisingly active. New contract activity for homes not yet closed increased by approximately 30% during the month.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says interest in buying a home is the highest it has been since the great depression. “Households are feeling more confident about their financial situation, job growth is strong in most parts of the country and the stock market has seen record gains in recent months.”
Through the first two months of the year, buyer traffic has outpaced seller traffic in Walla Walla. As we enter what is typically our busiest listing season of the year, many sellers will benefit from buyer demand that is already waiting for them.
February’s Listings: 250*
February’s listings held steady with the previous month. However, there were 22% fewer homes listed for sale than were available exactly a year ago.
February’s Closing: 32*
February’s closings dropped sharply from the previous month and ended 31% below the number of homes that closed in February of the 2016.
February’s Median Price: $217,500*
February’s median price increased 4% over the previous month. A seller’s market continued in Walla Walla as low listing inventory placed upward pressure on price.
Click here for February’s charts.
*WWMLS WA Data
During the first month of 2017, Walla Walla homes sales increased while the number of homes listed for sale continued to drop. While listing inventory is typically low at the beginning of each year, it is particularly low this January. Most seller’s typically wait for spring to list their homes, but those who decide to put their home on the market earlier could benefit from buyer demand already apparent in the market.
January’s Listings: 247
Listings in January dropped 9% from the previous month and 15% below the number of homes listed for sale in January of last year.
January’s Closings: 56
Though January’s home sales decreased from the previous month, it increased 6% over the same period a year ago.
January’s Median Sales Price: $209,450
The month’s median price held steady with the previous month and increased 3% over the median price for January, 2016.
2016 was the most active year ever for real estate sales in the Walla Walla Valley. Here are the highlights:
1. Annual MLS home sales passed the 800 mark in the Walla Walla Valley for the first time.
Low interest rates kept buyers active throughout the year in Walla Walla. The Walla Walla MLS (WWMLS) reported 838* home sales in 2016 surpassing the 2nd highest annual total of 776* sales set back in 2005. 2016’s sales were 15% higher than the previous year.
2. At year’s end, listings declined to their lowest level since December of 2005.
At the end of 2016, the WWMLS reported just 270 active listings. The last time the Walla Walla Valley had fewer homes listed for sale was 261 listings in December of 2005. Throughout the year Walla Walla maintained approximately 3 months of inventory. While this was a low level for Walla Walla, our community maintained more inventory then most communities in WA state.
3. The median sales price experienced an annual gain of 13%.
Lower inventory levels put upward pressure on prices as the market moved to a sellers market. The WWMLS reported a 2016 median sales price of $214,804, a 13% gain over the previous year.
Walla Walla Real Estate – 2017 Forecast
So what will 2017 bring? To help answer that question, here is a 2017 summary of Windermere’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner’s, housing market predictions:
Housing supply: There should be a modest increase in the number of homes for sale in 2017, which should relieve some of the upward pressure on price.
First Time Home Buyers: We believe 2017 will be the return of the first time home-buyer. While first time buyers will face rising interest rates and prices, a modest uptick in housing inventory should alleviate these challenges a bit. Walla Walla will also continue to experience 2nd home sales to buyers from outside our area due to being a wine destination.
Interest Rates: Interest rates will rise above current rates but will remain remarkably low. The 30-year fixed rate will rise to about 4.5% by year end.
Housing Affordability: Housing affordability has become a concern as recent price gains have escalated well above income growth. In 2017, the projected uptick in listing inventory will cause the rate of price growth to slow.
Click here for December 2016 Charts.
November home sales in the Walla Walla Valley brought the annual total to within 15 sales of the record of 759 sales reached in 2005. With one month left to report, Walla Walla is certain to pass that milestone and become the most active year yet for real estate.
At the current rate of sales, Walla Walla has approximately 3 months of inventory. The market continued to tip in seller’s favor, but low interest rates have continued to keep buyers active. This year, the median sales price has increased 13% over the previous year.
What will the new year bring? We’ll attempt to answer that next month when we bring you our 2016 year end numbers and provide our 2017 real estate forecast. In the mean time, we wish you the happiest of holiday seasons. Cheers!
November’s Listings: 314*
The number of homes listed for sale declined 10% from the previous month and 8% from the number of homes listed for sale in November of last year.
November’s Sales: 55*
The month’s sales declined 5% from the previous month but were 41% more than the number of sales that occurred November of last year.
November’s Median Price: $219,300*
November’s median price increased 2% from the previous month and was 15% higher than the same month’s median price of a year ago.
Click here for November’s Charts.
*WWMLS WA data
Low interest rates and slightly higher inventory levels are keeping buyers active in the Walla Walla Valley this fall. Through October, closed sales remained 11% ahead of last year’s pace and pending sales increased by 6%.
The number of homes listed for sale in October increased by 1.5% over the previous month. At the current rate of sales there are approximately 3.24 months of inventory in the valley. Walla Walla’s median sales price remained 13% ahead of last year. While the market remained a seller’s market, Walla Walla continued to have more inventory then most communities in Washington State.
Overall, Walla Walla is having a great year for Real Estate. Thus far, the Walla Walla Valley is on track to experience the most active real estate market in 10 years.
October’s Listings: 348
The number of homes listed for sale grew 1.5% over the previous month and 2% over the number of homes listed for sale 12 months ago.
October’s Closings: 58
Monthly closings declined 39% from the previous month but remained 31% higher than October’s closings for the previous year.
October’s Median Price: $214,496
The median price declined from the previous month but equaled the current year’s median price.
Click here for October’s charts.
*WWMLS WA Data
September was the biggest home sale month of the year in the Walla Walla Valley. 94 homes closed making it the most active home sale month in Walla Walla MLS’s history. With one quarter left, annual home sales were 9% ahead of last years pace.
In the midst of all those closings, there were signs of the market slowing a bit as we entered the autumn season. Pending sales – homes under contract but not yet closed – declined by 28% from the previous month and the number of listings available for sale also dropped.
With approximately 3 months of inventory, Walla Walla’s real estate market continued to tip in the sellers favor. Lower inventory levels continued to put upward pressure on price. Through the first three quarters of the year, Walla Walla’s median price was $214,555, a 13% increase over the previous year.
September’s Listings: 343*
September’s listings declined 10% from the previous month and 5% from the number of listings a year ago.
September’s Closings: 94*
Closings increased 15% over the previous month and 25% over the number of homes that closed in September 2015.
September’s Median Price: $235,000*
The median price increased 9% over the previous month and 28% over the median price for homes sold in September 2015.
Click here for September’s charts.
*WWMLS WA Data
August’s homes sales topped 80 sales making it the third consecutive month to hit that mark. Though the first 8 months of the year, sales were 6% ahead of last year’s pace during the same period. Buyer’s continued to enjoy low interest rates and pending sales – homes under contract but not yet sold – held steady with the previous month.
The number of homes listed for sale held steady with the previous month but after 20 consecutive months, the trend of year-over-year listing declines ended. August’s listings were 10% higher than the same month a year ago. At August’s rate of sales, the listing inventory for our whole MLS was 3.5 months and just 2.74 months for the Cities of Walla and College Place.
Due to low inventory level’s, Walla Walla’s median price remained 12% higher than last year. While our market’s inventory levels remained low for us, we continued to have more inventory than most communities in Washington State.
Current activity indicates Walla Walla’s real estate market will remain busy this fall.
August’s Listings: 379*
The number of homes listed for sale held steady with the previous month but was 10% higher than August of 2015.
August’s Closed Sales: 82*
August’s homes sales increased by 2% over the previous month and held steady with August of 2015.
August’s Median Price: $214,500*
August’s median price dropped 11% from the previous month and ended closer to the current year’s median price of $212,456.
Click here for August’s charts.
*WWMLS WA Data
Home sales kept up their robust pace in July and pending sales – homes under contract but not yet closed – grew by 6%. Annual home sales are now 7% ahead of last years pace.
Walla Walla’s listing inventory grew slightly over the previous month but the trend of year-over-year inventory declines continued. In the cities of Walla Walla and College Place, listing inventory dropped slightly below the 3 month range as the market moved more strongly to a sellers market.
July’s median sales price increased to $242,032, the highest of the year. The increase was caused by lower inventory levels and by more homes selling in the upper price ranges. On the year, Walla Walla’s median price is $212,164 – a 12% increase over last year’s median price.
While rising prices create affordability concerns, low interest rates have kept buyers active. As we've reported, what happens through the rest of the year will depend largely on interest rates and listing inventory.
July’s Listings: 380*
July’s listings increased by 2% over the previous month. While the monthly trend of year over year listing declines continued, the gap was just 1% lower.
July’s Closed Sales: 80*
While June was the busiest closing month of the year, July became the 2nd busiest. July’s closings were 10% ahead of the same month a year ago.
July’s Median Price: $242,032*
July’s median price rose 5% over the previous month as more homes in the upper price ranges sold.
Click here for July Charts.
*WWMLS WA Properties
June marked the busiest closing month of the year. At the halfway point of 2016, Walla Walla’s home sales remained 5% ahead of last year's pace. June's closing activity led to declines in pending sales and listing inventory.
Pending sales – homes under contract but not yet closed – declined by 16% in June and after four consecutive monthly gains, the number of homes listed for sale declined by 3%. Yet Walla Walla’s inventory remained in the 3 month range. While this level of inventory was low for Walla Walla, it remained above the inventory levels found in most communities in our state.
Through the first half of the year, Walla Walla’s median price was 9% above last year, but low interest rates have kept homes reasonably affordable. As we’ve reported, what happens to our local market through the rest of they year will be impacted by our listing supply and interest rates.
June’s Listings: 373*
June’s listing supply declined 3% from the previous month and remained 5% lower than June of last year.
June’s Closed Sales: 85*
June’s closings swelled 39% over the previous month and beat out June of last year by 2%
June’s Median Price: $230,000*
June’s median price was the highest of the year. More homes closed above $400,000 than any previous month this year.
Click here for June 2016 Charts
*WWMLS WA Data
Photograph courtesy of Christina Kennell Photography