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Aug. 13, 2020

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Demand for homes exceeds supply in Clark County

April report details price jump in 1 year

By , Columbian Business Editor
Published:
3 Photos
Construction worker Nick Floyd builds a stairway at a new housing development in Felida on Monday. Housing demand in Clark County remains high, with homes on average selling in just 50 days.
Construction worker Nick Floyd builds a stairway at a new housing development in Felida on Monday. Housing demand in Clark County remains high, with homes on average selling in just 50 days. (Natalie Behring/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Homebuyer demand in Clark County continues to outstrip supply, pushing up the median price of homes sold in April by 15.4 percent from one year ago.

The April “Market Action” report for Clark County by RMLS, the regional real estate listing service, is one indicator of a housing market that is making homebuying a tough proposition even with continued low interest rates. The April report for the Portland metro region in Oregon shows a 16.2 percent increase in median sales price and an even tighter inventory of homes for sale than in Clark County. Another respected report, the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, shows an 11.9 percent one-year increase in home prices in the Portland-Vancouver area for February, more than double the national average.

The RMLS report shows that new listings rose in April by 4 percent, to 1,040, compared to April 2015. It was the strongest April for new listings since 2008.

Pending sales, at 898 for the month, rose by 5.2 percent over 12 months and 2.7 percent from March. The 697 closed sales were 3.9 percent higher than a year ago but almost an equal match with March’s sales count. Not since 2005 has the April number for closed sales been higher.

The mismatch between supply and demand is reflected in the inventory of homes as measured by months. In April, the supply of homes on the market, including those proposed and under construction, would meet demand for 1.8 months. That inventory, one of the lowest on record, is virtually unchanged from the previous two months, but well below the 2.4-month inventory recorded in April 2014. For the Portland metro region in Oregon, the inventory in April was a scant 1.4 months.

April’s median sale price was $290,000, up by 1.8 percent for the month and by 15.4 percent from April 2015. The Portland region’s median sale price for the month was $350,000.

Terry Wollam, managing broker at ReMax Equity Group/Wollam & Associates, said the strong price increases in Clark County are due to the extremely short supply of new housing. “New construction is very slowly increasing inventory in the area,” Wollam said by email. “In turn we are seeing new construction continue to make up a greater percentage of the total inventory of homes available on the market.”

Wollam said he expects housing to be in short supply for the next one to three years, which could cause sale prices to rise by 8 to 9 percent a year. Beyond that, Wollam believes the market will find a better balance between supply and demand and that home value appreciation will return to a historical average of 2 to 4 percent.

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