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Clark County housing market sees normal November cooling

Decline in sales fits with typical seasonal trends

By , Columbian business reporter
Published:
2 Photos
These homes along Northeast 110th Street in Vancouver are listed in the $480,000 price range. November’s Regional Multiple Listing Service report shows slowing real estate sales in Clark County, although that is typical this time of year.
These homes along Northeast 110th Street in Vancouver are listed in the $480,000 price range. November’s Regional Multiple Listing Service report shows slowing real estate sales in Clark County, although that is typical this time of year. Photo Gallery

Clark County real estate activity slowed down in November, according to the latest numbers from the Regional Multiple Listing Service’s Market Action report. New listings, pending sales and closed sales all dropped slightly from October.

“Not surprisingly, the slower new sales activity caused the backlog of pending sales to shrink 12.5 percent from October, to 1,021,” local real estate broker Mike Lamb of Windermere Stellar wrote in his monthly analysis.

Average and median home sale prices both declined as well, down to $386,200 for the average and $344,900 for the median — although both numbers were higher than in November 2017. The pricing declines were likely driven by the decrease in sales activity, Lamb said.

Sales numbers dropped a bit more this November than they did last November and November 2016, he added, but that’s because 2016 and 2017 both saw historically high numbers of November sales. This November’s sales numbers were still higher than those of every other year since 2005.

Although new listings did decline from October, they were still 13.6 percent higher than in November 2017 and 23.8 percent higher than in November 2016, according to Lamb, which resulted in a higher number of active listings at the end of the month than in any of the previous three years.

“Listing activity also slowed in November, but not as much as is typical for this time of year,” Lamb wrote. “In fact this was the best listing activity in November this decade.”

In the year-to-date summary, the Regional Multiple Listing Service report says new listings are up 6 percent for Clark County while closed sales are down 1.7 percent and pending sales are down 2.8 percent.

The inventory in months — a measurement of how much time it would take to clear the existing backlog of property listings — grew to 2.9 in November, tying September 2018 for the largest reported number since the start of 2016.

Overall, Clark County in 2018 has seen an 8.3 percent rise in average sale prices and a 9.2 percent rise in median sale prices compared to the first 11 months of 2017.

The cooling off of most market numbers in November was in keeping with typical seasonal patterns that often cause markets to slow down at the end of the year, Lamb said. He added that some real estate agents have expressed concerns that the decline might go beyond typical seasonal changes.

“The contrast from the frenetic pace of last spring appears to have led some to fear we may be seeing a more significant shift (in the market),” he wrote.

In his own assessment, Lamb said that it’s too soon to know whether the November declines point to a more dramatic shift in the market, but he characterized the increase in inventory and decrease in pricing as good news, allowing home buyers to find more options which should eventually stimulate more sales.

“So while we may not have gotten everything we wanted for Christmas,” he wrote, “at least we didn’t get a lump of coal.”

Columbian business reporter

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