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
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
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
Low interest rates and slightly higher inventory levels are keeping buyers active in the Walla Walla Valley this fall. Through October, closed sales remained 11% ahead of last year’s pace and pending sales increased by 6%.
The number of homes listed for sale in October increased by 1.5% over the previous month. At the current rate of sales there are approximately 3.24 months of inventory in the valley. Walla Walla’s median sales price remained 13% ahead of last year. While the market remained a seller’s market, Walla Walla continued to have more inventory then most communities in Washington State.
Overall, Walla Walla is having a great year for Real Estate. Thus far, the Walla Walla Valley is on track to experience the most active real estate market in 10 years.
October’s Listings: 348
The number of homes listed for sale grew 1.5% over the previous month and 2% over the number of homes listed for sale 12 months ago.
October’s Closings: 58
Monthly closings declined 39% from the previous month but remained 31% higher than October’s closings for the previous year.
October’s Median Price: $214,496
The median price declined from the previous month but equaled the current year’s median price.
Click here for October’s charts.
*WWMLS WA Data
September was the biggest home sale month of the year in the Walla Walla Valley. 94 homes closed making it the most active home sale month in Walla Walla MLS’s history. With one quarter left, annual home sales were 9% ahead of last years pace.
In the midst of all those closings, there were signs of the market slowing a bit as we entered the autumn season. Pending sales – homes under contract but not yet closed – declined by 28% from the previous month and the number of listings available for sale also dropped.
With approximately 3 months of inventory, Walla Walla’s real estate market continued to tip in the sellers favor. Lower inventory levels continued to put upward pressure on price. Through the first three quarters of the year, Walla Walla’s median price was $214,555, a 13% increase over the previous year.
September’s Listings: 343*
September’s listings declined 10% from the previous month and 5% from the number of listings a year ago.
September’s Closings: 94*
Closings increased 15% over the previous month and 25% over the number of homes that closed in September 2015.
September’s Median Price: $235,000*
The median price increased 9% over the previous month and 28% over the median price for homes sold in September 2015.
Click here for September’s charts.
*WWMLS WA Data
June marked the busiest closing month of the year. At the halfway point of 2016, Walla Walla’s home sales remained 5% ahead of last year's pace. June's closing activity led to declines in pending sales and listing inventory.
Pending sales – homes under contract but not yet closed – declined by 16% in June and after four consecutive monthly gains, the number of homes listed for sale declined by 3%. Yet Walla Walla’s inventory remained in the 3 month range. While this level of inventory was low for Walla Walla, it remained above the inventory levels found in most communities in our state.
Through the first half of the year, Walla Walla’s median price was 9% above last year, but low interest rates have kept homes reasonably affordable. As we’ve reported, what happens to our local market through the rest of they year will be impacted by our listing supply and interest rates.
June’s Listings: 373*
June’s listing supply declined 3% from the previous month and remained 5% lower than June of last year.
June’s Closed Sales: 85*
June’s closings swelled 39% over the previous month and beat out June of last year by 2%
June’s Median Price: $230,000*
June’s median price was the highest of the year. More homes closed above $400,000 than any previous month this year.
Click here for June 2016 Charts
*WWMLS WA Data
Photograph courtesy of Christina Kennell Photography
New contract activity and listing inventory grew in May. Pending sales – homes under contract, but not yet closed – increased by 22% over the previous month. The number of closed home sales held steady with the previous month, but declined from the number of closings that occurred in May of 2015. Still, year-to-date sales are ahead of last year's pace by 5%.
The number of homes listed for sale in May grew by 7% over the previous month. The trend of year-over-year listing declines also continued, but the gap narrowed to just 2% fewer. While the number of listings in Walla Walla are lower than previous years, we are still not experiencing the extreme lows of many metropolitan areas, including many neighborhoods on the west side of our state. Therefore, price gains are more modest in Walla Walla. For the year, our median price is 6.6% higher than the previous year.
While some buyers may wish they had more inventory to chose from, favorable interest rates and modest inventories have kept them active through the first five months of 2016.
May's Listings: 386
May's listings increased by 7% over the previous month. Approximately one third of the total active listings are under contract.
May's Closed Sales: 61
May's home sales held steady with the previous month.
May's Median Price: $213,000
May's median price increased from the previous month. For the year, Walla Walla's median price is $202,664.
*WWMLS WA Data
Click here for May 2016 Charts
Photography courtesy of Christina Kennell Photography.