The Walla Walla Valley’s real estate market got off to a slow start this year. Home closings were 19% below last year’s pace and listing inventory remained historically low. However, there were some encouraging signs; buyers continued to write contracts during the month and the pipeline of pending sales – homes under contract but not yet closed – increased by 41%. This is a good forward-looking indicator of future sales.
In addition, we are expecting Walla Walla’s listing inventory to grow during the first quarter of the year. As mentioned in our year-end report, 23 counties in Washington state are already reporting annual listing inventory gains. And although Walla Walla is often more steady than other markets, our area usually trends with the state.
January’s Listings: 219*
The month ended with the same number of listings as the previous month and 6% below the number of homes listed for sale a year ago.
January’s Closings: 42*
Closings declined by 22% from the previous month and fell 19% below the number of closings for January of last year.
January’s Median Sales Price: 233,000*
The median price fell 6% below the previous month but was 5% higher than the median price for January of last year.
*WWMLS WA Data
Click here for THE JANUARY 2019 MARKET REPORT
2018 finished 2nd best for home sales in the Walla Walla Valley.
Despite a slowing 4th quarter, the Walla Walla MLS (WWMLS) reported 807 home sales in 2018 and took ‘second-best year ever’ honors from 2017. The most active home selling year in WWMLS’s history remains to be 2016 with 838 sales. Although buyers experienced low inventory levels and slowly rising interest rates throughout the year, it did not dampen their demand to buy homes in the Walla Walla Valley.
At year’s end, listings declined to the lowest number in over 13 years.
The year ended with just 219 active WWMLS listings, 3% fewer than year-end of last year. Throughout the year the Walla Walla Valley maintained approximately 2 months of inventory and ended with just 1.8 months of inventory for the cities of Walla Walla and College Place.
The median sales price experienced an annual gain of 9.6%.
Lower inventory levels continued to put upward pressure on prices in 2018. The median sales price increased to $249,459, a 9.6% increase over the previous year. The Walla Walla Valley experienced a seller’s market, especially for homes below $600,000.
Walla Walla Real Estate 2019 Forecast:
So what will 2019 bring? To help answer that question, here is a summary from Windermere’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner:
In 2019, Matthew expects sales to rise by 1.6% and prices by 4.4%. Home price growth will continue to slow, giving that we’ve reached an affordability “ceiling”, but this should open the door to more buyers. New construction should increase by about 6.6%. Builders are still struggling with the high cost of land, labor, and materials, which will continue to stunt this segment of the market.
Rates have been rising since September of 2017 and Matthew expects this to continue with the 30-year fixed rate landing around 5.5% by the fourth quarter of 2019. However, they will remain very competitive compared to historic levels and rates above 6% aren’t likely until 2020.
Is there a Housing Bubble?
Matthew shares that there is no housing bubble yet. Credit quality for new mortgage holders remains very high and the median down payment is at its highest level since 2004. That is not to say that there aren’t several markets around the country that are overpriced, but just because a market is overvalued does not mean that a bubble is in place. It simply means that forward price growth in these markets will be lower to allow income levels to rise sufficiently.
We expect home sales to stay consistent with last year’s levels in the Walla Walla Valley and that new construction will continue to provide much-needed inventory. Upward pressure on price should subside as inventory levels begin to grow; twenty-three counties in Washington State ended the year with higher year-over-year inventory levels. Although often lagging a few months behind, Walla Walla ordinarily ends up trending with the rest of the state. This means that while the seller’s market should continue into the new year, our local market should begin moving back towards balance.
Click here for THE FULL 2018 MARKET REPORT
Despite low inventory, the Walla Walla Valley MLS is poised to have its second most active real estate year ever. With one month to go, annual homes sales remained 4% ahead of last years pace. Last year’s sales were second to the number that occurred in 2016. While sustained listing inventory levels were extremely low this year for the Walla Walla Valley, new listings that came to market each month were quickly sold. The seller’s market continued, especially for homes under $600,000.
As reported throughout the year, low inventory levels led to increased prices. With one month to go, the fourth quarter’s median sales price is 10% higher than that for the same period a year ago.
While the market sustained good activity throughout the month, there were signs that the anticipated seasonal slowdown had begun. November’s pending sales – homes under contract but not yet sold – declined by 13%. However, December’s projected closings should ensure the lead over last year is maintained.
November’s Listings: 237*
Novembers listing inventory dropped 13% from the previous month and remained 14% below the number of homes listed for sale in November of last year.
November’s Closed Sales: 63*
Closed sales declined 14% from the previous month but stayed on par with the number of homes that closed in November of last year.
November’s Median Price: $260,000*
The month’s median price equaled that of last month but was 9% higher than the median price of closed homes in November of last year.
*WWMLS WA Data
With just two reporting months left in the year, 2018 is poised to be the second busiest real estate year in Walla Walla’s MLS history. 2016 currently holds the record for the most annual MLS home sales and 2017 holds the record for the second most. Through October of this year, home sales were 4% ahead of the pace from a year ago, but there were signs that the market is slowing a bit. October’s pending sales – homes under contract but not yet closed – declined by 14%.
Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors’ chief economist, reported that most of the country experienced “another month of rising inventory on a year-over-year basis”. However, this trend has not occurred in the Walla Walla Valley where inventory has remained low. At months end, year-over-year listings were 9% less than October of 2017.
Low inventory levels continued to put upward pressure on prices and the current seller’s market continued for homes under $600,000. Through October, the annual median sales price had increased 9% over the previous year to $248,481.
We continue to experience a moderately active market with buyers and sellers looking to make a move before year-end.
October’s Listings: 271*
The number of listings declined 2% from the previous month and was 9% below the number of homes available a year ago.
October’s Closed Sales: 67*
Monthly home sales stayed even with the previous month but were 13% below the same month of last year. As mentioned above, annual homes sales were still 4% ahead of last year’s pace.
October’s Median Price: $259,500*
The months median sales price increased by just $2000 over the previous month but was 14% higher than the same month of last year.
*WWMLS WA Data
Walla Walla Valley home sales slowed in September which is typical during this time each year as many buyers focus on summer vacations and back to school activities.
Inventory declined during the month and remained 8% below the number of homes listed for sale a year ago. Low inventory levels have been caused, in part, by sellers who were excited about the prospect of receiving good offers on their property but were reluctant to list for fear of not being able to find their next home.
In spite of low inventory levels, Walla Walla has experienced a strong market through the first nine months. At month end, annual closed sales were 6% ahead of last years pace. The seller’s market continued to put upper pressure on prices. Year-to-date, Walla Walla’s median price has increased by 9% over the previous year.
We expect activity to pick up this fall prior to the Holiday Season as both buyers and sellers look to make changes and/or additions to their real estate holdings before year end.
September’s Listings: 277*
The month ended with 2% fewer listings than the previous month and 8% fewer than the number of homes listed for sale 12 months ago.
Septembers Closed Sales: 67*
Closed home sales declined 21% from the previous month. But as mentioned above, this is typical for the month of September. Closed sales were just 6% off the total for September of last year.
September’s Median Price: $257,500*
The months median price had a slight drop of 1.3% from the previous month but was significantly up from last September’s median sales price of $209,500.
*WWMLS WA Data
Hot weather and smoky skies did not slow home sales in August. The month tied June for the most monthly home sales of the year in the Walla Walla Valley. But a decline in pending sales and an increase in listing inventory suggested the market had slowed just a bit. Pending sales – homes under contract but not yet closed – stayed even with the previous month but were down 18% from the pace set earlier in the summer. However, at month end, annual sales were still 7% ahead of last years pace.
Listing inventory grew during the month to the highest level in 10 months, but remained historically low for our market. The number of homes listed for sale was down 6% from the number available 12 months ago.
As reported in previous months, low inventory continued to put upward pressure on price. The month’s median price was 13% higher than in August of last year. However, rising interest rates and home prices have not yet damped buyer’s demand for Walla Walla valley homes and our year is on track to be the 2nd most active annual market in our MLS’s history.
August’s Listings 284*
The month’s listing inventory grew by 7% over the previous month but there were still 6% fewer homes listed than were available 12 months ago.
August’s Closed Sales: 84*
Monthly closed home sales increased by a single sale over the previous month and were within 1 closing of the number that closed in August of last year.
August’s Median Price: $261,000*
The month’s median sales price held level with the previous month but was 13% higher than the median price for the same month of last year.
*WWMLS WA Data
Rising interest rates and home prices haven’t slowed buyer activity in the Walla Walla Valley yet. July was the 2nd busiest month of the year for closed home sales. At month end, annual homes sales were 8% ahead of last years pace.
Just enough listings came on the market in July to replenish the inventory that sold. However, the trend of year-over-year listing declines continued. There were 20% more homes listed for sale 12 months ago. The seller’s market continued for homes under $600,000 and listing inventory remained just below the 2 month level for the cities of Walla Walla and College Place.
Prices continued to move upward. At months end, Walla Walla’s median and average sales prices were 10% higher than the same period 12 months ago. Pending sales – homes under contract but not yet closed – declined 18% from the previous month.
While buyer activity remained strong, there were signs that the market is slowing a bit. Pending sales – homes under contract but not yet closed – declined 18% from the previous month. This typically happens in July as people focus on summer activities and vacations. However, we expect the market to remain very active as summer ends and we head into fall.
July’s Listings: 265*
The month’s listings ended on par with the previous month and but dropped significantly from the same period of last year. There were 20% more homes available 12 months ago.
July’s Closed Sales: 82*
Monthly homes sales nearly matched the previous month’s pace and finished 14% ahead of home sales for July of last year.
July’s Median Price: $259,700*
The month’s median price edged up 1% over the previous month as was 10% higher than the median price for July of last year.
Click here for Monthly Charts.
*WWMLS WA Data
Through the first half of the year Walla Walla’s Real Estate Market has experienced active sales, low inventory, and rising prices. 2017 was the second most active real estate market in Walla Walla’s MLS history but at the end of June, home sales were 6% ahead of last years pace. June was the single busiest month for home closings yet this year.
Inventory remained low but did not experience a month-over-month decline as enough new listings were brought to market during the month to replace those that sold. The seller’s market continued, especially for homes under $600,000.
Year-to-date, Walla Walla’s median price was $241,185 – a 6% increase over the previous years median price. Thus far, rising prices coupled with increasing interest rates have not dampened buyer activity. We expect the active real estate market to continue through the summer.
June’s Listings: 265*
Even after a busy closing month, the month ended with essentially the same number of active listings as the previous month. Listings were down 7% from the number of homes available at the same time a year ago.
June’s Closed Sales: 81*
June’s closings increased 20% over the previous month and equalled the number that closed during June of last year.
June’s Median Price: $257,000*
June’s median price settled 8% from the previous month and was 3% higher than June of last year.
Click here for June’s Charts.
*WWMLS WA Data
Strong buyer activity continued during the month of May in the Walla Walla Valley. Closed homes sales slowed slightly from the previous month’s pace but May still became the 2nd busiest month of the year. Thus far, annual home sales are 8% ahead of last years pace.
Heading into summer, two important things to watch will be inventory levels and rising prices. While inventory remained low in May, new listings came on the market to replenish those that sold. The month ended with a net listing increase of 6%. Yet, the trend of year-over-year listing declines continued. Walla Walla’s listing inventory was 14% lower than the number of homes listed for sale 12 months ago.
Low inventory levels coupled with strong buyer demand continued to put upward pressure on prices. May’s median price of $279,000 represented a 23% increase over the previous month. The sharp monthly increase was caused by a decrease of homes sold under $200,000 coupled with the the number of home sold in the upper price ranges of our market. The upper priced segment of our market is strengthening. Ten of the homes that closed in May were above $400,000 including two above $800,000.
May’s Listings: 266*
The month ended with 6% more listings than the previous month. However, the trend of year-over-year inventory declines continued. There were 44 more homes for sale in May of last year.
May’s Closed Sales: 67*
The month experienced a 14% decline in closed sales from the previous month and was 7% below May of last year. Yet, year-to-date sales are 8% ahead of last years pace during the same period.
May’s Median Price: $279,000*
The months median price was one of the highest monthly totals ever in Walla Walla. This was due to an increase in the closings of more upper priced homes than in previous months. For the year, Walla Walla’s median price has increased 5% over last year.
Click here for May’s monthly charts.
*WWMLS WA Data
Every year since 1984, Windermere associates have dedicated a day of work to complete neighborhood improvement projects as part of Windermere’s Community Service Day.
The 2018 Community Service day was held on June 8th. Our office spent the morning working in our community to make things a little brighter for our neighbors by staining benches downtown, cleaning & weeding downtown tree wells, and helping at YWCA Family Shelter.
Creating vibrant communities is one of the things that inspire all of us at Windermere to be involved in Community Service Day as it gives us an opportunity to give back to the communities where we live and work.
After all, real estate is rooted in our communities. And an investment in our neighborhoods gives us all a better place to call home.