With just one month left to report, Walla Walla’s real estate market has been characterized by three main trends. First, the pace of homes sales has been active. 2017 is poised to be the 2nd best market in the last 12 years – just 6% behind last year’s record setting pace. Secondly, listing inventory has remained low. At the end of November, the Walla Walla Valley had 13% fewer homes available for sale than 12 months ago. The cities of Walla Walla and College place reported just 2 months of inventory. And lastly, home prices have increased moderately. The Walla Walla Valley’s median sales price had increased by 5% over last year.
These same trends have happened across the country but for large metropolitan areas they have occurred at more extreme levels. Historically, the the Walla Walla Valley’s real estate market has been more steady than many other communities, which we think that is a good thing. Check back next month for our thoughts on what 2018 will bring.
November’s listings: 274*
November’s listings dropped 8% from the previous month and was 13% below the number of homes listed for sale in November of last year.
November’s closed sales: 63*
Closed sales dropped from the previous month but increased 9% over the number that closed in November of last year.
November’s median price: $238,788*
November’s median price increased 5% over the previous month and was 9% higher than the median price of homes closed in November of last year. Note that Walla Walla’s year-to-date median price for 2017 is $226,160.
Click here for November 2017 Charts!
*WWMLS WA Data
June’s home sales surpassed May’s total to become the biggest closing month of the year. Home sales have been very healthy this year but have slowed a bit. At the halfway point of 2017, Walla Walla’s homes sales are 9% below last year’s record setting pace. The slowdown has been caused primarily by low listing inventories in most price ranges. June ended with 23% fewer homes listed for sale than were available 12 months ago.
Low inventory levels continued to put upward pressure on prices. June’s median price was 8% higher then June of last year. The increase can also be attributed to more homes closing in the upper price ranges. Seventeen homes sales occurred above $350,000 in June.
Buyer demand which has been strong this year softened a bit as many focused on graduations and family vacations. June’s pending sales, a forward looking indicator based on contract signings, declined by 10%. Interest rates remained favorable. While some may be waiting for more listings, we expect buyers to remain active throughout the summer.
June’s Listings: 286*
June’s listing total declined 8% from the previous month and ended down 23% from a year ago. There were 87 fewer single family homes listed than were available 12 months ago.
June’s Closings: 79*
Closed homes sales increased 8% from the previous month. Although June was the most active closing month yet this year, closings were still 12% below June of last year.
June’s Median Price: $249,000*
Median Prices increased 11% over the previous month and was 8% higher than the median sales price for June of last year.
Click here for June’s charts.
*WWMLS WA Data
More homes sold in May than any previous month this year in Walla Walla. Yet, through the first five months of the year, sales were still 8% behind last years record setting pace. The slow down was largely due to the low inventory levels Walla Walla has experienced through the first part of the year.
However, listing inventories have improved a bit. May experienced the largest monthly gain in new listings yet this year. The month ended with 24% more homes listed for sale than the previous month. But even after the boost in new listings, Walla Walla was still 20% below the number of homes listed for sale during May of last year.
Buyer demand remained strong during the month of May. Pending sales, a forward looking indicator based on contract signings, increased by 8%. On the year, Walla Walla has experienced a strong seller market, especially for homes priced $350,000 and below. We anticipate that more sellers will bring their homes to market during the month of June to take advantage of this dynamic.
May’s Listing total: 310*
The month ended with 60 more active listings than the previous month. However, Walla Walla is was still 20% below last year’s totals.
May’s Closings: 71*
May’s closed sales increased 45% over the previous month and was 9% a head of the number of homes that closed during May of last year.
May’s Median Price: $223,500*
The median price increased 6% over the previous month and was 5% above the median price for May of last year. Year-to-date, Walla Walla’s median price was 2% above last year.
Click here for May’s charts.
*WWMLS WA Data
Walla Walla’s listing inventory remained low through April. The month ended with 30% fewer listings than were available at the same time a year ago. Typically, listing inventory begins to build during the month of April, but the number of homes for sale has remained flat since the year began. New listings have occurred, however homes have sold as fast as they came to market.
Although buyer demand remained extremely strong, the number of year-to-date homes sales fell behind last years pace by 16%. The lack of inventory has had an impact. In price ranges below $400,000, there have been more buyer than sellers thus far.
The cold, wet spring has caused many sellers to delay bringing their home to market. We expect listing inventory to grow during the month of May. Those looking to sell a home in Walla Walla will benefit from one of the strongest seller’s markets we have had in quite a while.
April’s Listings: 250*
April ended with essentially the same number of listings as the previous month. However, at the same time of last year there were 109 more homes listed for sale.
April’s Home Sales: 48*
The month’s closed sale dropped significantly from the previous month and ended with 24% fewer closings than April of last year.
April’s Median Price: $202,950*
Although low inventory levels have put upward pressure on Walla Walla prices, April’s median price dropped 9% from the previous month. However, the median price increased 11% when compared to the median price for April of last year.
Click here for April’s charts.
*WWMLS WA Data
March’s home sales rebounded from the previous month in Walla Walla. However, first quarter closings were down 14% from the first quarter of last year. The year-over-year decline in home sales can be largely attributed to low inventory levels. Through the first quarter of the year, Walla Walla has experienced 21% fewer listings than were available for sale a year ago.
Through March, buyer demand remained strong. Pending home sales, those under contract but not yet closed, increased by approximately 20%. With a low listing inventory, it has become more common for sellers to receive multiple offers as buyers compete for the sale. Home prices continued to increase. March is the 3rd consecutive month to experience a monthly gain in Median price.
The second quarter is typically Walla Walla’s busiest listing season and buyers appear ready. Sellers who bring their home to market should benefit from rising prices and fewer days on market.
March’s Listings: 253*
March’s listings held steady with the previous month. Just enough new listings came on the market to replenish the listings that were sold. At the end of March, Walla Walla had 73 fewer homes for listed for sale than a year ago.
March’s Closings: 58*
March’s closings increased significantly from the previous month but still ended 16% lower than the same month of last year.
March’s Median Price: $223,500*
The median price of homes sold in March increased by 3% over the previous month. Low inventory levels continue to put upward pressure on price.
*WWMLS WA Data
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.