As we report first-quarter real estate activity for the Walla Walla Valley, our state remains under Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order. And through these challenging times, our highest priority is the safety of our brokers, our clients, and our community.
Although our local economy felt the impact of COVID-19 in late March, real estate is off to a great start in 2020! First-quarter home sales surged 20% ahead of last year’s pace and the median price increased 6% above 2019’s median price. Most buyers were able to take advantage of low interest rates prior to the volatility experienced in late March.
Enough new listings came on the market during the quarter to replace the ones that sold. This left the number of active listings at the end of the quarter on par with the beginning of the year.
First Quarter’s Average Listings: 193
Number of homes available for sale during the first quarter averaged 9% less than the number available during the first quarter of last year.
First Quarter’s Closed Sales: 155
Closed sales during first quarter increased by 20% over closed sales recorded during the first quarter of last year.
First Quarter’s Median Sales Price: $298,900
The first quarter’s median sales price increased 12% over the median price for the same quarter a year ago. 6% higher than 2019’s median price.
How housing will be impacted due to COVID-19 remains to be seen. Understandably, some buyers and sellers are choosing to wait for these challenging times to pass. Others are choosing to cautiously proceed with their plans to buy or sell.
Windermere brokers are committed to safely helping their clients move their lives forward during these challenging times. To do so, we are following Washington State Governor Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order that allows certain real estate activities to occur under the following restrictions:
- In-person customer meetings are prohibited except where necessary to view a property or sign documents
- No open houses
- Property viewings, inspections, and walkthrough must be arranged by appointment
- Limits of no more than two people on-site at any one time, exercising social distancing at all times
To minimize personal contact, we strongly encourage using virtual tours, video chat, and other forms of technology to view homes, stay connected to your broker, and conduct business.
We continue to work cautiously with buyers and sellers while following our Governors guidelines for delivering essential real estate services. Our community’s safety is our utmost goal. To best serve our clients and communities we have many virtual home buying and selling tools available.
Whether you are buying or selling, there are many ways we can continue to work with you and put our virtual tools to work for you.
Windermere continues to be All In for you!
VIRTUAL HOME BUYING
1. Virtual Consult
We will schedule a virtual meeting to learn what you are looking for.
We will email you listings matching your criteria right when they hit the market.
3. Virtual Tours
We’ll send you virtual tours of any home that you like.
4. Electronically Sign
Sign all documents with the click of a button and from the comfort of your own home.
5. Earnest Money
Wiring funds has never been easier or more secure
Receive a digital inspection report detailing the property so you can get to know it.
7. Closing Time
Local title companies will coordinate a safe and secure closing with you.
8. Welcome Home
Welcome home! We’ll deliver your keys directly to you.
VIRTUAL HOME SELLING
1. Virtual Broker’s Open
We will invite local brokers to view a virtual tour of your property.
2. Just Listed Digital Ad
Your home will be advertised across top websites online.
We will work with you to stage your home for success to appeal to the most buyers.
Your home will be thoroughly photographed to best show the layout and features.
5. Online Exposure
Your property will appear on the top real estate sites with more than 300 million combined views.
6. Virtual Open House
We will invite potential buyers to view your home virtually.
7. Check In & Review
You can review offers digitally and sign online at home.
8. Successful Closing
Receive your closing documents via email and leave a review.
On March 28, 2020, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee amended his statewide “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order to allow certain real estate activities to operate in the coming weeks. It’s important to understand that this change does not mean that real estate is returning to business as usual. Rather, there are protocols that brokers and their clients must follow as mandated by the order.
Our commitment during these challenging times is to safely help our clients continue moving their lives forward. To do so, here are the guidelines we must follow:
WHAT WE CAN AND CANNOT DO IN THE COMING WEEKS:
- Open houses are not allowed under any circumstances
- In-person meetings with clients are prohibited, except when necessary to view a property or sign documents
- When deemed necessary, home showings of active listings are by appointment only
- Only two persons allowed in a home at a time, including the representing broker
- Scheduled inspections and appraisals for pending transactions can continue
- Buyer walk-throughs for pending transactions prior to closing are permitted
- We can provide keys to buyers at closing
- Photographers, videographers, and stagers are considered non-essential
- All real estate activities must meet social distancing, appropriate health standards, and worker protection measures
- Moving companies may operate using social distancing and other protective measures
While real estate brokers now have more latitude during Phase 2, we want you to know that our highest priority is the safety of our brokers, our clients, and our community. To minimize physical contact, we encourage using virtual tours, video chat, and other forms of technology. With these tools, you can continue to view homes, stay connected to your broker, and conduct business. [Learn about the ways were are putting virtual tools to work for our clients]
Despite the challenges, we’re are more focused than ever on taking care of our clients and helping to achieve their real estate goals. We will continue to serve you with outstanding professionalism, attention to detail, and commitment to service.
For additional information please visit the Northwest Multiple Listing Service FAQ.
See how the Walla Walla Real Estate Market has been performing over the last few months – Walla Walla Market Updates
Let’s be All In for supporting local businesses, providing resources for those in need, and keeping our community safe and healthy. The following organizations have compiled links and resources to aid businesses and individuals through the changes caused by the spread of COVID-19.
Local Curbside, Takeout & Delivery Restaurants Facebook Group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/2805141982933756/
Discover Walla Walla Business Updates – https://discoverwallawalla.net/blog/walla-walla-will
Walla Walla Mutual Aid Network – https://wallawallahelp.org/
City of Walla Walla Volunteer Registration – https://www.wallawallawa.gov/our-city/volunteer
City of College Place – http://www.cpwa.us/residents/covid-19_resources.php
BUSINESS AND WORKER RESOUCES
Downtown Walla Walla Foundation – https://www.downtownwallawalla.com/
Small Business Administration – https://www.sba.gov/
Oregon Governor – https://govstatus.egov.com/or-covid-19#forEmployers
Washington Governor –https://www.governor.wa.gov/issues/issues/covid-19-resources
Walla Walla Public Schools – https://www.wwps.org/news/news-events
College Place Public Schools – https://www.cpps.org/o/District/page/covid-19-resources–5
Oregon Department of Education – https://oregonearlylearning.com/COVID-19-Resources/For-Families
Virtual Learning and Entertainment – https://www.cnn.com/style/article/what-to-do-at-home-streaming-art- museums-concerts-coronavirus-trnd/index.html
Walla Walla Valley’s home sales and pending sales experienced annual increases during the month of February despite historically low inventory levels. Through the first two months of the year, closed home sales were up 18% above last year’s pace and pending sales increased by 23%. Low interest rates fueled buyer activity. Enough new homes came on the market to replace those that sold, leaving inventory at the same level as the previous month. However, there were still 8% fewer homes listed for sale than in February of last year. Thus far in 2020, there have been more buyers than sellers in our market.
At the time of this posting, the coronavirus is creating lots of personal and economic uncertainty. New listings are arriving daily and buyers are taking advantage of historically low interest rates. Yet, some buyers have become nervous about the overall economy and some sellers have delayed listing their homes due to these uncertain times.
While it is wise to take the Coronavirus and economic chaos very seriously, may we suggest that this will all pass. Sooner….or later. In the meantime, we expect the market to remain tight as our valley and our country works through these challenging times.
February’s Listings: 192*
The month’s listings remained the same as the previous month but were 8% below the number of homes listed for sale in February of last year.
February’s Closed Sales: 40*
Home sales dropped 13% from the previous month but were 14% higher than the number of homes sales in February of last year. Year-to-date totals are 18% ahead of last year’s pace.
February’s Median Price: $277,500*
February’s median price remained on par with the previous month and was 3% higher than in February of last year.
*WWMLS WA Data
Homebuyers got a head start over home sellers in the month of January. January’s real estate activity saw home sales surge 20% above the number of sales that occurred in January of 2019, but the real story was the continued decline in the number of listings. For the first time in more than 20 years, the number of homes listed for sale in the Walla Walla MLS dropped below 200 – a 12% decline from the number of homes listed for sale a year ago. Historically, the 2nd and 3rd quarters are the busiest listing periods in the Walla Walla market, but right now more listings would be a welcome sign for buyers.
The median sales price jumped 17% above the median price for the same period a year ago but favorable interest rates kept buyers active. And while there are signs that more sellers are preparing their homes for market, January’s low inventory levels indicated that the seller’s market will continue well into 2020.
January’s Listings: 192*
The month’s listings dropped 11% below the previous month and ended 12% below the number of listings at the same time a year ago.
January’s Closed Sales: 53*
The months closed sales declined 2% from the previous month but was 20% above the number that closed in January of last year.
January’s Median Sales Price: $276,000*
The month’s median price increased 6% above the previous month and was 17% above the median price of the previous January.
*WWMLS WA Data
Walla Walla Real Estate – 2020 Forecast:
So what will 2020 bring? To help answer that question, here is a summary from Windermere’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner:
US Economy: Despite some concerning signs, the likelihood that we will enter a recession in 2020 has dropped to about 26%. If we manage to stage off a recession in 2020, the possibility of a slowdown in 2021 is around 74%. That said, Gardner fully expects that any drop in growth will be mild and will not negatively affect the U.S. housing market.
Home Sales: Home prices in the new year will continue to rise as mortgage rates remain very competitive. Look for prices to increase 3.8% in 2020 as demand continues to exceed supply and more first time home buyers enter the market.
Mortgage Rates: 2020 will be very positive from a home-financing perspective, with the average rate for a 30-year conventional, fixed-rate mortgage averaging under 4%. That said, if there are significant improvements in trade issues with China, this forecast may change, but not significantly.
Conclusion: In 2020, affordability issues will persist in many markets around the country. The market will continue to favor home sellers, but we will start to move more towards balance, resulting in another positive year overall for housing.
2019 finished 4th best for home sales
The Walla Walla MLS (WWMLS) reported 795 closed sales in 2019 making it the 4th most active year ever. Despite an active 4th quarter, annual home sales ended up just short of the previous year’s numbers. The record high of 838 closed sales was hit in 2016 followed by 807 sales in 2018, and 799 sales in 2017. All in all, 2019 was another strong year for real estate in the Walla Walla Valley.
Listing Inventory remained low
2019’s average listing inventory was 1.5% higher than 2018 but remained at historic lows. The year began and ended with the lowest inventory of the decade. Throughout the year, the market was categorized as a seller’s market, especially for homes under $600,000. Although inventory remained low, favorable interest rates kept buyers active.
Walla Walla’s median sales price experienced an annual gain of 7%
As reported throughout the year, low inventory levels continued to put upward pressure on price. The 2019 median sales price was $267,704, a 7% increase over the previous year.
Home sales remained active in November. With one month left to report, the Walla Walla valley’s 4th quarter’s home sales surged 16% ahead of last year’s 4th quarter and year-to-date home sales have now pulled within 1.5% of last years pace.
Low interest rates and a slight annual increase in listings kept buyers active. November became the sixth month in a row to experience year-over-year gains in the number of homes available for sale. There were 6% more homes available for sale than in November of last year. However, most of Walla Walla’s market continued to be a seller’s market and applied upward pressure on prices. Year to date, Walla Walla’s median sales price has increased by 7% over the previous year.
The number of pending sales – homes under contract but not yet closed – remained the same as the previous month as new contract signings during November kept pace with the number of homes that closed. The number of pending sales indicates that year-end activity will remain quite brisk.
November’s Listings: 251*
Monthly listings dropped 12% from the previous month but remained 6% above the number of homes that were listed for sale in November of last year.
November’s Closed Home Sales: 76*
Closings slowed 10% from the previous month but were 17% higher than the number of closed home sales in November of last year.
November’s Median Sales Price: $275,000*
The month’s median price increased slightly over the previous month but was 6% higher than the median sales price for November of last year.
Click here for a FULL REPORT FOR NOVEMBER
*WWMLS WA Data
Over the last month, sales, listings, and prices continued to trend upward in the Walla Walla Valley. October became the 2nd most active home closing month yet this year and brought total annual home sales within 4% of last year’s pace.
October also became the 5th month in a row to show annual monthly gains in the number of homes listed for sale. The month ended with 6% more listings than there were at the same time last year. However, the market continued to be a sellers market and more listings will be needed to reach balance. Walla Walla’s low inventory continues to impact prices. Thus far, the Valley’s median sales price has increased by 7% over the previous year.
We expect low-interest rates to keep buyers active through the remainder of the year, but there are signs the pace will pull back a bit as we move towards year-end. New contract signing slowed during the past month and pending sales – home under contract but not yet closed – declined by 20%.
October’s Listings: 286*
The number of homes listed for sale dropped 7% from the previous month but remained 6% above the number available 12 months ago.
October’s Closed Sales: 82*
The number of closed sales jumped 19% over the previous month and ended 6% higher than the number of closings that occurred in October of last year.
October’s Median Price: $270,000*
The month’s median price was on par with the previous month but was 4% higher than the median sales price for October of last year.
Click here for the full October Report
*WWMLS WA data
September became the fourth month in a row in the Walla Walla Valley to post year-over-year monthly gains in listing inventory. With approximately 2.5 months of inventory, Walla Walla’s market is still best categorized as a seller’s market. However, annual inventory gains indicate the market is moving towards balance. Should this trend continue, it will take pressure off increasing prices. This year, Walla Walla’s median sales price has increased 7% over last year.
Closed home sales slowed a bit during the month. While a slow down is typical for this time of year in the Walla Walla Valley, there are signs that the market should stay busy throughout the rest of the year. Historically, low interest rates have kept buyers active. The number of pending sales – homes under contract but not yet closed – grew 30% over September of last year. And strong buyer activity is expected to continue. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, commented that “with interest rates expected to remain low, home sales are forecasted to rise in coming months and into 2020.” We anticipate a busy fourth quarter for the Walla Walla Valley’s real estate market.
September’s Listings: 309*
Monthly listings declined 3% from the previous month but remained 12% higher than the number of homes available for sale during September of last year.
September’s Closed Sales: 63*
The months home sales slowed 13% from the previous month and ended 7% below the number of closings during the same period a year ago. With one quarter to go, closed sales are 9% off last year’s pace.
September’s Median Sales Price: $269,900*
The months median sales price settled 7% from the previous month but was 5% higher than September of last year.
Click here for September’s charts.
*WWMLS WA Data