There is a lot of misinformation out there about the real estate market in Olympia, WA that is causing all kinds of problems for both buyers and sellers. Buyers and sellers are asking, is this a good time to buy/sell?
It’s no wonder there is so much confusion. Even today, the real estate headline in our local paper touts how great this “balanced market” is for buyers. Huh? A balanced market? This is just not correct. The Olympia, WA market is squarely in a seller’s market.
If buyers were solely guided by what they read in today’s paper, they would be missing out on homes because they wouldn’t understand the true landscape of the real estate market. They would be writing below-market offers, asking for concessions and would be stunned when the seller rejects their offer. They would be even more shocked to learn they still are competing with other buyers for the same property.
Sellers are being misled, too, with these headlines about a balanced market. Sellers are either underpricing their homes and/or putting off an otherwise desired sale thinking prices have dropped or, in some cases, they are overpricing their homes thinking prices are still skyrocketing at last spring/summer’s rate.
Just in our own office, 49% of our activity in January 2019 was involved in multiple-offer situations. Last January, it was 54% (last year was the market’s best year ever). We are not far off the competitive levels from last year.
January Standing inventory – still low. At these low levels and with high demand from buyers, the market is still deep in a seller’s market (despite media reports to the contrary). See chart below. For January, the standing inventory was 483 homes listed for sale.
New January listings added to the market are down. After rising to historic high levels in the past two years, sellers are starting 2019 at a slower pace. This will be a trend to watch as without more listings coming to the market, the seller’s market condition will persist. See chart below.
January Closed Sales – 3rd highest on record but down from past two years due to slower December pending sales.
January Pending Sales – 2nd highest on record.
Median home prices in Thurston County are up 8.6%.
With absorption rates still favoring sellers (at 1.3 months supply; lowest rate was 1 month supply in December 2017), prices are gaining at a rate much higher than historic average gains but slower than in the spring/summer months of 2018. In the spring/summer of 2018, sellers were seeing gains of 12 percent. As the absorption rate may creep upward this year, we predict that by the end of this year, the annual average price appreciation will settle in at 6 percent. See chart below.
In summary, is it a good time to buy?
Yes. Buyers are enjoying low interest rates. In fact, as of this writing in February 2019, rates have reached a 12-month low at 4.37% for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage.
The market has more to give and prices are still going up. Buyers who buy now are not buying “at the top of the market.” But real estate is still a long-term investment.
Is it a good time to sell?
Yes. With fewer homes on the market for buyers to choose from, there is greater demand for priced-right listings. There is no need to wait for the traditional spring market. Buyers are out there now looking for homes.
Want the facts? Call me as your local REALTOR® to discuss your home buying and/or selling goals. I will provide you with the facts of your market and will offer my straight-forward advice to best guide you in reaching your goals.