Clark County Market Report: New sales were the best on record for October

In October, the Clark County real estate market continued the ‘red-hot pace’ that started in June

VBJ file photo

In a Clark County Market Report recently released by Mike Lamb, a broker at Windermere Stellar in Vancouver, he described the changes in the housing market this year as “dramatic, and unlike any we have seen in at least 40 years.”

According to the report, in October the Clark County real estate market “continued the red-hot pace that started in June.” Lamb noted that while new sales activity slowed 3.4% from September, reflecting typical seasonal slowing, new sales were the best on record for October. According to the market report, there were 982 New Pending Residential Sales reported to RMLS. That was up 30.4% from October 2019, up 43.2% from October 2018 and up 28.4% from October 2015, which until now had been the best October since 2005. New pending sales were up 19.3% from the October 2005 record.

Lamb also noted that despite record closing activity in October, at the end of the month there were still 2,017 pending sales waiting to close, which was up .4% from the September total, up 43.4% from October 2019 and is the “largest October backlog in at least 20 years.”

In his market report, Lamb wrote that closing activity also set new records in October, reflected by the 956 New Closed Residential Sales reported. That was up 1.7% from September, up 37.6% from October 2019 and up 22.1% from October 2015, which until now had been the best October for closings since 2005. Closed sales in October were up 20.0% from October 2005’s record. Lamb noted that at the end of October there had been 8,129 Solds Year To Date reported, up 1.8% from October 2019. That was a significant improvement from last year considering there was a 4.5% deficit in August and a 6.0% deficit in July. That total was also better than 2018’s total and down just 0.17 from October 2017, which recorded the best total sales since 2005.

“With the very large backlog of pending sales waiting to close, 2020 will likely be the best year for total sales since 2005,” Lamb wrote in his report.

Surprisingly, according to Lamb’s report, listing activity in October picked up dramatically, contrary to the typical seasonal pattern. That was reflected in the 1,011 new residential listings submitted, up 9.2% from September, up 25.1% from October 2019 and up 19.9% from October 2018. Yet despite that, with the strong demand the number of Active Listings fell to 1,027 at the end of October. That was down 18% from September and down 54.9% from October 2019. Lamb noted that this was, in fact, by far the smallest number of Active Listings since he started writing this report in 1991. More significantly, there was just 1.03 new residential listing for each new pending residential sale. And based on the number of closed residential sales in October, there was just 0.52 months of standing residential inventory available.

Unsurprisingly, Lamb noted that hot demand and limited inventory pushed average prices significantly higher in October. You could see that in the Average Sale Price-All MLS, which was $439,326, up 1.3% from September and up 9.4% from October 2019. Median Sale Price-Residential was $425,000, up 1.2% from September, up 13.3% from October 2019 and up 18.1% from October 2018. That was also up 63.5% from the previous high in October 2006 and up 138.9% from the October 2011 low during the downturn. And the average residential sale price was $468,400, up 1.1% from September, up 13.6% from October 2019 and up 19.1% from October 2018.

Lamb concluded his latest market report by noting: “The changes in the market this year have been dramatic, and unlike any we have seen in at least 40 years (the length of the author’s real estate career). Who expected to see shutdowns? And then to see the market recover so quickly once the shutdowns eased? It was surprising to see sales activity spool up to reach record levels in July, and then break 2005’s records for four months in a row. That was even more surprising considering the limited inventory. And then, listing activity ramped up dramatically in October. Who expected that? Even though those listings were absorbed, that was really encouraging. Still, we need a lot more listings.”

*This information was provided in a November 2020 Clark County Marker Report written by Mike Lamb, broker at Windermere Stellar in Vancouver.

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Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start ClarkCountyToday.com.