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
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
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