The Olympia, Lacey and Tumwater, WA Housing Market Update for December 2018
Olympia, WA is the capital city of Washington State and is located in Thurston County with the other major cities of Lacey and Tumwater, WA.
The December 2018 Highlights:
Overall the market in 2018 was very good for Olympia, Lacey, and Tumwater WA home buyers and sellers. Some sellers did see multiple offers on their homes while buyers were very savvy in their negotiations to successfully become homeowners.
- Increased inventory means more choices for buyers.
- Year-to-Date sales are down however December 2018 was still the 3rd highest December ever for closed sales.
- Sellers are still seeing face-paced sales with the average days on market at 17 days for homes priced right.
- Sellers are still firmly seated in a seller’s market with 1.3 months of supply.
- Median home prices are up 10.4% from last December.
Thurston County is the most affordable county in Western Washington in major employments centers along the I-5 corridor. (In the chart below, Thurston County is represented by the bold orange line.)
This index by the University of Washington Center for Real Estate Research measures the ability of a middle-income family to carry the mortgage payments on a median-priced home. Counties in the blue band in the chart below are in the affordable range. King County (where Seattle is located) has the lowest affordability factor.
What is in store for buyers and sellers in 2019?
More to come on this topic as we are only two weeks into the new year but we are expecting the same market environment for 2019 as in 2018 but on a slightly calmer scale. Home prices are still expected to rise but not at such a frenzied pace. As mentioned, from December 2017 to December 2018, the median home value rose over 10 percent. This year, we may see those gains be closer to the historical norm of 5 to 6 percent.
Trends to monitor in 2019
The two major trends to monitor in the Thurston County WA real estate market are the unemployment rate and the borrowing rate. Right now, Thurston County has a very low 4.6 percent unemployment rate. The Olympia area’s major employers are city, state and federal government entities, medical and military personnel. The job market has the greatest impact on homes sales, but interest rates impact affordability.
Borrowing rates went up in the fall and now are coming down. As of this writing, rates are hovering around 4.5%. This is still a very low rate for buyers and this is still a rate that can stretch buying power.
If selling or buying a home in the Thurston County WA area is in your plans for 2019, please contact me for a detailed discussion about your particular needs. Happy 2019!