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 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
October’s closed home sales rebounded from the previous month making it the third busiest closing month of the year for the Walla Walla Valley. Homes sales pulled within 8% of last years pace. October’s new listings replaced the number of homes that closed during the month keeping month-end numbers on par with the previous month. However, the trend of monthly year-over-year listing declines continued. At month’s end, there were 14% fewer listings than were available 12 months ago. Lower inventory levels this year has put upward pressure on prices. Year-to-date, the median price has increased by 5% over the previous year.
Like most of the country, buyer demand remained strong in Walla Walla. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says “The stock market run-up, along with the continued stretch of home growth and mortgage rates under 4 percent, have kept buyer activity at a very robust level.”
October’s listings: 298*
Listings held steady with the previous month but ended down 14% from the number of homes available 12 months ago.
October’s Closings: 75*
Closing increased 7% over the previous month and 25% over October of last year.
October’s Median Price: $227,500*
The median sale price increased 9% over the previous month and was 6% higher than October of last year.
Click here for October 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
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.