Is now a good time to buy or sell in Olympia, WA for January 2019?

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Olympia WA

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.    

Posted by


Francine Viola, Realtor
In Tune with your Real Estate Needs


Serving Buyers and Sellers in Olympia, Tumwater, Lacey and DuPont, WA

Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Inc.  |  Olympia, WA


Cell:      (360) 359-0689







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Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team

Now is a great time to buy and/or sell in Olympia Washington....and the only agent to call for guidance is Francine Viola ....

Feb 15, 2019 11:38 AM #1
Sally Crane
WMS - Unity, WI
Woodland appraisal support.

Thanks for the update, all the best to you as you get many of these properties listed and sold.

Feb 15, 2019 08:50 PM #2
Steffy Hristova
HomeSmart Elite Group Tempe AZ Tel: 480-966-9353 - Tempe, AZ
Tempe AZ Realtor - Your Home Close to Your Work!

Francine, Buyers and Sellers in Olympia WA are lucky to have this in-depth analysis of the market - with facts and recent infomation about multiple offers. They would be wise to connect with you in person and discuss the specifics of neighborhoods where they would like to live.

Feb 16, 2019 02:43 PM #3
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Oh, the talking heads drive me crazy too, Francine! We have to be the educators and you've done just that with your wonderful report. Also, 49% in January were involved in bidding wars? WOW! That is an incredible number, certainly not indicative of any market NEAR a neutral one.

Also, great data to support the FACTS you provided and the real state of the Olympia WA market. You are certainly THE one to call if anyone is thinking of buying or selling in your area - hands down!

Feb 18, 2019 07:31 PM #4
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

This is great stuff for buyers and sellers in the Olympia WA area, Francine. The media reports can really drive you nuts AND stear you in the wrong direction, and wrong decision, if you pay attention. Clearly buyers and sellers need to be in touch with you for the truth and facts about the market.


Feb 20, 2019 06:27 PM #5
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Francine Viola

REALTOR®, In Tune with your Real Estate Needs
Let me help you find the perfect home in Olympia WA!
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