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Aug. 1, 2021

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Clark County housing market stays hot in May

Prices climb as supply struggles to meet demand

By , Columbian business reporter
Published:

Clark County’s housing market saw another month of intense activity in May, according to the latest report from the Regional Multiple Listing Service, with high sales outpacing new listings and keeping the market constrained at a near-record low supply.

“May epitomized the hot spring in the 2021 Clark County real estate market,” Mike Lamb, a broker at Windermere Stellar in Vancouver, wrote in his own monthly analysis.

Pending sales were reported at 1,039, an increase of 13.4 percent from April’s 916 and 16.5 percent from the 892 in May 2020. Closed sales, at 832, climbed 0.7 percent from the 826 in April and 44.2 percent from the 577 in May of the prior year.

Lamb noted that “it was not hard for this May to be better than May 2020” because real estate activity saw a significant short-term drop when the initial round of COVID-19 pandemic lockdown measures went into effect, but May 2021 was still very good even outside of that comparison — “this was easily the best May for sales activity since 2005,” he wrote.

The 1,055 new listings for May marked a 6.1 percent decrease from the 1,123 in April and an 8.7 percent increase from the 971 in May 2020. May’s new listing numbers were actually fairly high by historical standards, Lamb noted — the problem was simply that demand was even higher.

“In the last 10 years, only 2019 and 2018 had more listings year-to-date than we have had so far in 2021,” he wrote.

The region’s inventory in months, a measure of how long it would take to sell through the existing backlog of listings, held steady at 0.6 from April to May. That’s a near-record low for the Southwest Washington market — the only month to see a smaller inventory was March, with 0.5.

Sale prices saw significant jumps, with the average sale price rising from $501,100 in April to $520,600 in May and the median price climbing from $445,000 in April to $465,000 in May.

“The significant price increases in May were the result of record demand that significantly exceeded supply,” Lamb wrote. “But that was not because there was no supply. New listings were just being absorbed as fast as they came on the market.”

Compared with the same five-month period in 2020, the average sale price for 2021 so far has increased 18.2 percent, and the median has increased 14.1 percent. New listings are up 12.4 percent, but pending sales are up 25.7 percent and closed sales are up 29.1 percent.

The local office of John L. Scott real estate released its own analysis of the numbers including a breakdown by price range, showing dramatic shortages in all brackets up to $1 million.

Homes priced at $350,000 to $500,000 had an estimated 0.2 month of supply remaining, and homes priced from $500,000 to $750,000 had 0.3. Those two brackets are the largest by far in terms of sales activity, together accounting for roughly 74 percent of the region’s new listings and 77 percent of sales in May.

Lower and higher brackets are also facing supply constraints, according to Scott’s analysis — only the $1 million-and-up bracket had more than a month of supply.

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