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
Sellers brought their homes to market in March and the buyers were ready. The Walla Walla Valley experienced a monthly increase in both home sales and listings. Exceptionally low inventory levels continued to put upward pressure on pricing. Walla Walla’s median sales price increased for the 2nd consecutive month to $238,000.
Here is how the 1st Quarter of this year compared with the 1st Quarter of last year: Closed home sales remained steady but are 3% behind last years pace. Prices increased modestly. The Quarter’s median home sale price increased 3% over the same period of last year. The interesting story was listings. For the first time in 16 months, the number of homes listed for sale experienced a year-over-year monthly gain. Although by a slim margin, March ended with 1.5% more listings than Walla Walla had 12 months ago. We expect this trend to continue as more sellers list their homes in preparation for Walla Walla’s active Spring buying season.
March’s Listings: 257*
March’s listings increased by 11% over the previous month and by 1.5% over March of last year. This was the first year-over-year monthly increase in 16 months.
March’s Closings: 55*
The months closings increased significantly (37%) over the previous month but was 11% behind the number of closing for March of last year.
March’s Median Price: $238,000*
The months median price increased by 6% over the previous month and was also 6% higher than March of last year.
Click here for March 2018 Charts.
*WWMLS WA Data
Through the first two months of the year in the Walla Walla Valley, closed home sales have held steady with last years pace. Buyers were active during February with new contract signings; pending sales – homes under contract but not yet closed – grew by 17% over the previous month. However, buyers choices were limited. Listing inventory remained low. The number of homes listed for sale was 7% lower than the number available at the same time last year.
The market remained a clear sellers market, especially for homes under $400,000. Low inventory levels continued to put upward pressure on price. During the first two months, Walla Walla’s average sales price increased by 2.5%. Going forward, our listing supply should get a boost! Typically, more sellers list their properties for sale during the spring months. We expect listings to grow in March which will alleviate some of the pricing pressure.
February’s Listings: 232*
The month’s listings held steady with the previous month but ended 7% below the number of homes available for sale at the same time a year ago.
February’s Closed Sales: 39*
Typically, February’s closed sales slow from January’s pace. That is what happened again this year. Closed sales declined by 25% from the previous month but were up 15% ahead of the closed sales for February of last year. YTD, closed sales are on pace with last year.
February’s Median Price: $224,000*
The Median sales price held steady with last month. However, the average sales price increased 2.5% over the previous year. What happens to listing supply will determine how much upward pressure pricing face as we go forward.
Click here for February 2018 Charts.
*WWMLS WA data
An uptick in Walla Walla Valley home sales in the final three months of 2017 pulled down housing inventory to its lowest point in more than 15 years. But listing inventory improved a bit early in the year. Some sellers, wanting to capitalize on continued buyer demand, listed their homes early in January. As a result, listing inventory grew 3.5% during the month.
January’s median price ($222,750) pulled back a bit from 2017’s median price ($227,517) but low inventory levels will continue to put upward pressure on prices. The prospect of higher prices and potentially higher interest rates continued to fuel buyers motivation.
Although 6 sales shy of last January, closed home sales got off to a steady start in the new year. What happens to sales going forward will depend on whether or not listing inventory can keep up with buyer demand.
January’s Listings: 234*
The months listings grew 3.5% over the previous month but was still 5% below last January.
January’s Closings: 50*
The month’s closed sales settled from last month and was just 6 sales behind last January’s pace.
January’s Median Price: $222,750*
The month’s median price settled 8% from the previous month but was 6% higher than last January.
Click here for January 2018 Charts.
*WWMLS WA Data
2017 finished 2nd best for home sales in the Walla Walla Valley.
The Walla Walla MLS (WWMLS) reported 799* home sales in 2017 finishing just 5% behind last years record setting pace. Low interest rates kept buyers active despite fewer homes on the market making 2017 the 2nd best year for home sales in WWMLS’s history.
At year’s end, listings declined to their lowest level in over 12 years.
The year ended with just 226* active WWMLS listings, 16% fewer than 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 6%.
Lower inventory levels continued to put upward pressure on prices in 2017. The median sales price increased to $227,517*, a 6% increase over the previous year. The Walla Walla Valley experienced a seller’s market, especially for homes below $400,000.
Click here for our 2017 Year-End Charts.
Walla Walla Real Estate 2018 Forecast:
So what will 2018 bring? To help answer that question, here is a summary from Windermere’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner:
Existing Home Sales
In 2018 we should expect existing home sales to increase by 3.7%. In many areas, demand will continue to exceed supply, but a modest increase in inventory will help take some heat off the market. Because of this, home prices are likely to rise by 4.4%.
Matthew continues to be concerned about housing affordability. Home prices have been rising across much of the country at unsustainable rates and, although Mathew still contends we are not in “bubble” territory, it does represent a substantial impediment to the long-term health of the housing market. If home price growth begins to taper, as predicted in 2018, that should provide some relief.
Interest rates continue to baffle forecasters. The anticipated rise that many have predicted for several years has yet to materialize. As it stands right now, Matthew’s forecast is for interest rates to rise modestly to an average of 4.4% for a conventional 30-year fixed rate mortgage – still remarkably low when compared to historic averages,
Click here for Matthew’s forecast.
*WWMLS WA Data
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