Sales activity picked up momentum in July and posted the most monthly closings of the year. Pending sales – homes under contract but not yet closed – increased by 20% indicating that the brisk activity will continue as summer draws to a close.
Growing listing inventory and favorable interest rates were contributing factors for the jump in activity. For the second month in a row, our valley experienced year-over-year monthly gains in the number of homes available for sale. By month’s end, there were 15% more homes listed for sale than were available 12 months ago.
While there are signs that the market is moving towards balance, the seller’s market remains. Most economists consider 4-6 months of inventory to be a balanced market. Yet the cities of Walla Walla and College Place remained around 2 months of inventory. Overall, the gain in listings was a welcome sign and we expect the active market to continue into fall.
July’s Listings: 305
Listings increased by 6% over the previous month and ended 15% above the number of homes available in July of last year.
July’s Closed Sales: 87
Sales jumped 40% over the previous month and 5% above the number of closings that occurred in July of 2018.
July’s Median Price: $267,700
The median sales price settled slightly from the previous month but was 3% above the median sales price of July 2018. On the year, Walla Walla’s median price has increased 5% above the previous year.
Click here for the FULL MONTHLY REPORT FOR JULY.
*WWMLS WA Data
Walla Walla Valley’s pending homes sales continued to increase in June, a positive sign from the month’s minor sales dip. This increase in contract signings mirrored the national trend. Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors chief economist, credits lower-than-usual mortgage rates, “Rates of 4 %, and in some cases even lower, have created extremely attractive conditions for consumers. Buyers, for good reason, are anxious to purchase and lock in at these rates.”
While the number of listings increased during the month, there is still a need for more inventory. Demand for homes in the valley continued to exceed inventory, especially for homes under $600,000. Through the first 6 months of the year low inventory has contributed to reduced sales and increased prices. At the mid-year mark, home closings have slid 15% and median sales prices have increased 4% when compared to the previous year.
All said, we are experiencing a good real estate market and we expect strong consumer confidence about buying a home in our valley to continue through the summer. Buyer activity will be fueled by low interest rates and a moderate increase in listings.
June’s Listings: 286*
The number of homes listed for sale grew by 8% over the previous month and 8% over the number of homes available last June.
June’s Closed Home Sales: 62*
The month’s closed home sales dipped 6% below the previous month’s totals and 27% below the number of homes sales for the same period a year ago. At the midpoint of the year, home closings are 15% off last year’s pace.
June’s Median Sales Price: $278,500*
The month’s median price declined 4% from the previous month but was 8% higher than the median price for June of last year.
Click here for the FULL MONTHLY REPORT FOR JUNE.
*WWMLS WA Data
More sellers listed their homes for sale in May which brought a much-needed boost to the Walla Walla Valley’s listing inventory. The number of listings grew 14% over the previous month and essentially equaled the number of homes available for sale 12 months ago. Closed homes sales declined a bit from the previous month but remained quite active. Yet at month’s end, annual homes sales were still 13% behind last year’s pace.
The valley’s median price jumped significantly from the previous month as more upper priced properties sold. However, this year’s median price has increased by just 3% over last year. Favorable interest rates continued to fuel buyer demand and new contract formation continued to be strong in May. The number of pending transactions – homes under contract but not yet closed – increased 30% over the previous month. This forward-looking indicator shows that the active market is continuing into the summer months.
May’s Listings: 264*
The month’s listings grew 14% over the previous month and equaled the number listed in May of last year.
May’s Closed Sales: 65*
Closed home sales slowed 7% from the previous month and 2% below the number that closed in May of last year.
May’s Median Price: $289,000*
The month’s median sales price took at 15% leap over the previous month but was just 4% above the median sales price for May of last year.
*WWMLS WA Data
Walla Walla valley’s real estate market sprung back to life in April. Homes sales surged 52% and listing inventory grew 9% over the previous month. However, given the slow first quarter, year-to-date sales remained 16% behind last years pace and the trend of year-over-year listing declines continued. At month’s end, there were 8% fewer homes listed for sale than were available 12 months ago.
However, there were signs that the market will stay active as we head into summer. Buyer demand remained strong and the number of purchase and sale agreements increased. Pending sales, a forward-looking indicator for homes under contract but not yet closed, grew 12% over the previous month. We also expect to see listing inventory grow during May as sellers look to take advantage of the busy market.
April’s Listings: 232*
The month’s listing inventory grew 9% over the previous month but remained 8% below the number of homes available a year ago.
April’s Closed Sales: 70*
Home sales surged 52% ahead of the previous month but were 11% behind the number that closed during April of last year.
April’s Median Price: $252,000*
The month’s median price was 2% higher than the previous month and 11% higher than the median price for April of last year.
*WWMLS WA Data
Through the first part of the year, there were more buyers on the market than listings in the Walla Walla Valley. Some buyers delayed their purchase decisions because they were unable to find what they were looking for. At the first quarter end, both listings and sales had fallen 18% behind last years pace.
The low inventory continued to put upward pressure on price. The median price for this year’s first quarter was 9% higher than the first quarter of last year.
However, buyer demand remained strong and there were signs that home sales were increasing. Pending homes sales – those under contract but not yet closed – grew by 4% over the previous month. There were also signs that more listing inventory was on the way. Many sellers wanting to sell their homes this year have waited till spring to list. And the buyers can’t wait. We expect an active real estate market in the second quarter of the year.
Listing grew a modest 2% over the previous month but remained 18% below the number of homes available 12 months ago.
Closed Home Sales: 46*
Home sales increased 12% over the previous month but declined 20% below the number of closings in March of last year.
Median Price: $247,500*
The median decreased 5% from the previous month but was 4% higher than the median price for March of last year.
*WWMLS WA Data
Walla Walla’s real estate market experienced an icy month. Both listings and sales continued to decline and harsh winter conditions are partly to blame. Many brokers reported that their sellers who wanted to list homes in February were waiting for the snow to melt so they could prepare their homes for market. In addition, slippery roads combined with the prospect of additional homes coming on the market caused some buyers to delay their purchase decisions. Through the first two months, closed home sales fell 17% behind last years pace.
Everyone is ready for spring! And Walla Walla’s real estate market is poised to get very busy. Warm weather will certainly bring listings to market and buyer demand for homes in the Walla Walla Valley will remain strong. Our local economy, favorable mortgage rates, and small-town lifestyle will continue to make owning a home here a very desirable investment. Like pretty much everyone, we are ready for the snow to melt!
February’s Listings: 208*
The month ended with 5% fewer listings than the previous month and 10% below the number of homes listed for sale a year ago.
February’s Closings: 34*
Monthly closings slid another 19% from the previous month and ended 15% below the number of closings in February of last year.
February’s Median Sales Price: $263,750*
Median prices increased 13% over the previous month and 18% above the median price for February of last year.
*WWMLS WA Data
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