Clark County real estate market ‘kicks back in’

After a brief slowdown around the holidays, the Vancouver area housing market is gaining momentum

Whipple Creek Village

After taking what Evergreen Home Loans Vancouver Branch Manager Leslie Girard called “a little breath around the holidays,” the housing market in Clark County has already kicked back in.

“Even before the new year, frankly, we saw the market kick back in,” Girard said. “The market was a bit delayed during the holidays and even some people who were in the market took a break themselves during that time. They’re back in the market now.”

According to a recent market report put together by Mike Lamb, a broker at Windermere Stellar in Vancouver, the Clark County real estate market did slow down in December, following the typical seasonal pattern. However, while it was not as good as December 2016 and December 2015, the report states that the market was much better than in any other December since 2005.

Lamb’s report states that new sales activity in December 2017 was down 0.8 percent from December 2016 and down 1.4 percent from December 2015. In comparison, new sales activity in December 2017 was down just 3.3 percent from December 2005.

“Furthermore, that good new sales activity resulted in a healthy backlog of 1,131 sales waiting to close at the end of the month,” Lamb wrote in his report. “At the rate sales closed in December, that represents 1.8 months of closings, ensuring a good start for 2018.”

Lamb’s report also states that average prices continued to push significantly higher in December. Average Sale Price-All MLS was $360,818, up 11.5 percent from December 2016 and up 22.3 percent from December 2015. Similarly, Median Sale Price-Residential was $333,500, up 11.2 percent from December 2016 and up 28.3 percent from the previous high in December 2006 and 2007.

“This was the 31st month in a row that Median Sale Price-Residential has been higher than the previous peak,” Lamb wrote in his report. “As long as the supply of inventory remains so low and demand remains strong, increases like this will continue.”

“We are still really low on inventory,” Girard said. “So, we have a lot of buyers who need to sell and then they’re asking ‘where are we going to go?’ Timing isn’t always so good right now.”

Girard said this market is particularly tough on first-time homebuyers, as inventory remains low and prices continue to push up. She said they work with a lot of people whose budgets are stretched and they’re just barely getting into the house they want with how high some of the prices have become. She also said she’s been seeing more and more clients who are looking into new construction because of the lack of inventory.

“Every market brings its challenges and its opportunities,” Girard said. “It’s just trying to look and see where we are in the market. There are challenges for first-time homebuyers because they might have to step up quite a bit in payment. Then for someone who might be buying their second home, there’s a lot of opportunity. There are a lot of folks sitting on equity.”

Year-to-year changes in the Clark County market

December 2017                                   Change from December 2016

Active listings 1,597                            -6.1 percent
Solds year to date 9.641                      -0.8 percent
New closed residential sales 631           -13.4 percent
New pending residential sales 465         -0.8 percent
Average Days on Market-Res. solds 51   -3.8 percent
Average sale price-All MLS $360,818     11.5 percent
Median sale price-residential $333,500  11.2 percent

Information from Mike Lamb, Windermere Stellar Vancouver, Clark County Market Report



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