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
September’s closed home sales slowed in the Walla Walla Valley. At month’s end, closings were 12% below last years pace. As we have reported, the slowdown in existing sales has been the result of a supply problem not diminished demand. Listing inventory, especially for homes below $400,000, remained low. September ended with 13% fewer homes listed for sale than were available in September of last year.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says “demand continues to overwhelm supply in most of the country, and as a result, many would be buyers from earlier in the year are still in the market for a new home.” This remained true for Walla Walla. The number of pending sales – homes under contract but not yet closed – held steady with the previous month. Home prices have increased modestly. This year the median sales price has increased 4.5% over last. While we expect annual homes sales to remain a bit behind last years pace, we believe buyers will remain active as we head towards the end of the year.
September’s Listings: 300*
The month ended within 1% of the previous month’s listing total but remained 13% below the number of homes listed for sale 12 months ago.
September’s Closings: 68*
Closings fell behind the previous month’s pace by 16% and ended 29% lower than the number of sales that closed in September of last year.
September’s Median Price: $209,500*
The median price was 9% lower than the previous month and was 11% lower than the median price of homes that closed in September of last year.
Click here for September’s charts.
*WWMLS WA Data
August tied June for the highest number of monthly closings this year in the Walla Walla Valley. Yet, home sale still lagged 9% behind last years pace. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist reports that feedback from Realtors continues to confirm that the slowdown in existing sales is the result of a supply problem and not one of diminished demand. This is certainly true for Walla Walla. The number of homes listed for sale at the end of August had dropped 21% below the number listed exactly a year ago. The pace of new listings is not catching up with what’s being sold, especially for homes priced below $400,000.
Lower inventory levels, especially in the lower price ranges, have created a sellers market and pushed prices upward. This year, the median sales price for Walla Walla has increased 5% over last year.
With autumn at the doorstep, we expect buyer demand to remain strong as we head towards winter.
August’s Listings: 303*
Listings declined by 5% from the previous month and 21% below the number of homes listed for sale 12 months ago.
August’s Closings: 81*
Closings increased 16% from the previous month and essentially pulled even with closings in August of last year.
August’s Median Price: $230,000*
The median price declined 2% from the previous month but was 7% higher than August of last year.
Click here for August’s charts.
*WWMLS WA Data
Monthly home sales slowed in the Walla Walla Valley, yet July became the 3rd busiest closing month of the year. Through the first 7 months of the year, Walla Walla’s home sales were 10% behind last years pace. Strong buyer demand has been hampered this year by a low supply of listings. The month ended with 16% fewer active listings than were available 12 months ago.
Due to low listing inventories, Walla Walla has experienced a sellers market and prices have moved upward. Through July, Walla Walla’s median price has risen 5% over the previous year. Yet, price increases have not dampened buyers enthusiasm largely due to interest rates which have remained low.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist says “Market conditions in many areas continue to be fast paced, with few properties to choose from, which is forcing buyers to act almost immediately on an available home that fits their criteria.” We have found this to be true in Walla Walla, especially for homes priced below $400,000.
July’s Listings: 319*
Although the trend of year-over-year listing declines continue, July experienced a 12% increase in listings over the previous month. This is the highest monthly listing total of the year.
July’s Closings: 68*
Closings declined 16% from the previous month and ended 17% below July’s closings of a year ago.
July’s Median Price: $235,500*
July’s median price dropped 5% from the previous month and was 3% lower than the median price for July of last year. On the year, prices are trending up. Walla Walla’s median sales price has increased 5% over last year.
Click here for July’s 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
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
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