Clark County’s real estate market cooled in September, with declines in pending and closed sales and a sharp 14.7 percent drop in new listings, according to the latest Market Action report from RMLS, the Portland-based real estate listing service.
Still, the inventory of homes for sale remains at a level low enough to keep the strong seller’s market alive in the county. The current supply of homes, including those proposed or under construction, would satisfy market demand for just 2.7 months, RMLS reported. That’s well below the 4.5- to 6.5-month supply that real estate brokers say provides a healthy balance between supply and demand.
The inventory of homes for sale has remained markedly lower each month this year compared to 2013 and 2014. In September, for instance, the inventory would have lasted 3.7 months in 2014 and 5.7 months in 2013. The highest inventory level since 2013 was in January of that year, when there was a 6.2-month supply of homes for sale.
Homes that sold during September on average were on the market for just 53 days. That’s down from 60 days in August of this year and from 87 days in September 2014.
The median sale price that sold last month in Clark County was $272,200, a 10.9 percent hike from the $245,500 median in September 2014.
The 847 new listings in September represented a 14.7 percent drop in new listings from a month earlier. By another comparison, the listings were up by 10 percent from September 2014.
Pending sales, at 814, dropped by 4.1 percent from August but were 20 percent higher than in September 2014. The 674 closed sales marked a 9.4 percent decline from August but a 9.4 percent increase from September 2014.
As tight as Clark County’s housing market has become, it doesn’t compare to the market for the Oregon side of the Portland metropolitan area. Still, the gap between median sales prices in Clark County and metropolitan Portland has narrowed over the past year.
The inventory of homes for sale in September on the Oregon side of the Portland metro area was just 1.9 percent, marking the seventh consecutive month when the inventory was less than 2 percent. A home that sold in September on the Oregon side of the region had been on the market for just 46 days.
The RMLS report for the Oregon side of the Portland metro area showed a one-year median price increase of just 5 percent, less than half the percentage increase seen in Clark County. In September, Portland metro’s median sale price of $304,700 was 12 percent higher than Clark County’s $272,000 median sales price. In September 2014, the Portland metro median was 18 percent above that of Clark County.
Terry Wollam, managing broker at ReMax Equity Group – Wollam & Associates, said rising rents and high prices in Portland are bringing more people into Clark County’s housing market. Also, qualification standards have loosened and more people have healed their credit that was damaged during the recession, he said.