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Jan. 24, 2022

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Usual winter slump further constricts Clark County housing supply

December pending sales fell 30% from November

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

With winter settling in and fewer people listing their homes for sale, Clark County’s already limited housing supply has shrunk even further, according to the latest report from the Regional Multiple Listing Service.

There were 506 new for-sale listings in December, 45 fewer than December 2020. Compared with just the month before — November 2021 — there was a decline of 31.7 percent, or 235 houses.

“That is really slowing pending sales because there’s not anything to sell,” said Mike Lamb, a broker with Windermere Stellar.

The inventory of houses on the market fell to two weeks’ worth in December. That number includes new houses that are being planned and built. There was just over a week of homes on the market that can be bought and moved into right away. Homes spent, on average, 24 days on the market before being sold — a 10-day decrease from the year before, said Lamb.

“That’s a function of lack of inventory,” he added. “Stuff is selling really quickly.”

Winter is traditionally a slow time for home listings, so it’s no surprise that housing supply decreased; it was at its lowest in December in both 2020 and 2019. Demand, however, remains strong.

“Sales activity was just limited by lack of inventory, more than anything else,” Lamb said.

Pending sales fell by 29.9 percent from the previous month and fell by 8.5 percent from the previous December. Closed sales — when a buyer actually gets the keys and can move into their home — increased to 837, up from 803 in December 2020. It also exceeded the 810 closed sales reported in November 2021.

Even with new homes being built, demand is still elevated.

“I have buyers who’ve been looking for a year,” said Lamb. “We have such a backlog of unsatisfied buyers.

“We can’t build fast enough to meet the demand,” he said.

The report calculated that the average sale price for a home in Clark County rose by 17 percent, from $448,000 to $534,200, from 2020 to 2021. The median sale price also rose, increasing by 15.1 percent from $405,000 to $466,200.

Lamb says homebuyers who want to be successful need to be ready to go in every way, including having financing in order. A big down payment is also necessary. When the only way to get a home is to pay 10 to 12 percent more than the list price, Lamb said, chances are that it won’t appraise at that price. To be competitive, buyers need to have as much cash as possible to offset any appraisal issues.

Lamb put two listings on the market in December. One was on the market for seven days and received 18 offers. The other was a duplex with multiple offers.

“We’ve been kind of living hand to mouth. Listings come on and then we sell them immediately. And that’s why we don’t build inventory. We can’t build inventory. We’re basically absorbing everything,” he said.

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