Tuesday, March 21, 2023
March 21, 2023

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Clark County housing market cools in February

New listings drop 45% over last year; prices see slight dip

By , Columbian staff reporter

Like the weather, housing inventory cooled in Clark County in February, according to a monthly report by the Regional Multiple Listing Service.

Despite the new year seeing a jump in new listings following the holidays, potential buyers were met with fewer homes to choose from last month. Compared with last February, there were almost half the number of listings on the market in February 2023. There were 461 new listings, down more than 45 percent from the same month one year earlier, when there were 842 up for grabs.

“The biggest thing is that a year ago you could buy a house where interest rates were in the 3 percent, and today they are in the 6 percent range. The (decrease in listings) has absolutely caused the affordability to go up tremendously just because the rate has been doubled,” said Living Room Realty broker Scott Cotrell.

Southwest Washington’s housing market also saw a 13.8 percent decrease from the 535 listings available in January. Cotrell found last month’s reduction of listings “surprising,” but he said weather probably played a role, and the area should see more available homes once the weather starts to warm.

“I think a lot has to do with the weather because people are waiting for the springtime to start listing their homes,” he said. “We should see an increase in listings in the spring because we naturally always do — even in a slow market.”

Inventory in the area also fell 0.7 percent to 1.8 months in February, meaning it would take that long for all houses on the market to sell if no more were added.

The market time for houses increased to 72 days. This low inventory is also partly due to seasonal market trends. Cotrell doesn’t find these numbers surprising.

“When a market changes and we go through a slowdown or change, it’s very typical that a person listing their home or a Realtor will try and chase the market,” he said. “The house is not worth as much as it was a year ago because of interest rates. So, you have to find that balance and make sure that the home is priced right, and you don’t miss the best time on the market.”

Clark County house prices dipped slightly in February compared with the previous year. The average sale price has decreased by 1.5 percent, from $560,200 to $552,000. In the same comparison, the median sales price has fallen 1.2 percent from $506,000 to $499,900. For first-time homebuyers who are searching in the market, Cotrell recommends that if they can afford a house, they should buy it.

“What happens is you’re going to get a 30-year fixed mortgage, you’re going to know where your monthly payment for that mortgage is going to go. With rents, you can’t predict that, because historically, rents are just going to continue to rise,” Cotrell said. “This is still a good time to jump in and buy.”

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This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.