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Housing market rebounds in March in Clark County

After February’s weather-related doldrums, new listings hit 11-year high

By Anthony Macuk, Columbian business reporter
Published: April 17, 2019, 5:16pm

Following a lackluster February performance that local real estate professionals attributed in part to a late spate of winter weather, Clark County’s housing market rebounded in March, with new listings jumping up to the highest levels seen in March since 2008.

That’s the latest news from the Regional Multiple Listing Service, which tracks residential retail data in its monthly Market Action report.

“(It) confirmed what we’ve been seeing, but (we’re) definitely pleasantly surprised,” said Terry Wollam, a broker with Re/Max in Vancouver.

The Southwest Washington region saw 1,028 new listings in March, representing a jump of 40.4 percent over February’s 732 new listings, as well as a 3.9 percent increase over the 989 new listings in March 2018.

Pending sales from February to March jumped 33.4 percent to 846, as well as 1.7 percent year-over-year. That’s the highest number since March 2016, which saw 874 pending sales.

Some of the gains were to be expected; local Realtor Mike Lamb said last month that the February snowstorms came at a time when the market would normally tend to see a rise in listings. The weather likely pushed some of the sales activity back by a few weeks, he said, setting the region up for a strong March.

Wollam said he was surprised to see a year-over-year increase in sales, and said the rise was likely due to factors that have created a more affordable market environment for buyers.

“Interest rates have come down a bit,” he noted. A 30-year, fixed mortgage is 4.12 percent, according to Freddie Mac. A year ago this week it was 4.42 percent.

Closed sales rose 28.4 percent to 639, although they fell 4.8 percent short of the 671 recorded in March 2018.

The Clark County market also appears to have performed better that the Portland metro market, which saw similar gains across the board compared to February, but also saw all of its numbers decline year-over-year.

Clark County’s inventory in months, a measurement of the time that it would take to sell through all of the market’s current listings, fell from 2.9 in February to 2.4 in March. That drop mirrors similar changes that were seen in March 2017 and March 2018, although the 2.4 reported in March 2018 is higher than the 1.6 reported in both of the previous two Marches.

The average sale price for homes in Clark County dropped by $100 in March, to $397,100. But the median price rose from $359,500 to $367,000, and the average price of homes sold in the past 12 months was reported at $396,700, a 7.1 percent increase over the $370,500 reported for the 12 months ending in March 2018.

Median 12-month prices climbed by 7.1 percent as well, from $334,900 for the 12 months ending in March 2018 to $358,700 for the 12 months ending in March 2019.

Columbian business reporter