Clark County real estate market continues the ‘red-hot pace’ that started in June
Editor’s note: Information in this report was first published by the Vancouver Business Journal and is published here with permission of and full attribution to the Vancouver Business Journal and Editor Joanna Yorke.
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 percent 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 percent from October 2019, up 43.2 percent from October 2018 and up 28.4 percent from October 2015, which until now had been the best October since 2005. New pending sales were up 19.3 percent 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 percent from the September total, up 43.4 percent from October 2019 and is the “largest October backlog in at least 20 years.”
Nathan Cano, owner/broker of Cano Real Estate in Vancouver (https://www.canorealestate.com), offered six reasons for the positive news in the October market report:
• 1. Low interest rates have made housing much more affordable even with the rising prices.
• 2. People have discovered the beauty of the Pacific Northwest and are flocking to our market.
• 3. Tax incentives such as no state income tax, and in many cases lower property taxes, are bringing people here from out of state.
• 4. Low housing supply combined with high demand is causing bidding wars and creating additional urgency from buyers.
• 5. Remote working conditions are allowing people to work from anywhere and many are choosing to relocate to more affordable markets without a reduction of income. When you look at the map, it’s tough to find a better place to settle than right here in Clark County.
• 6. Several major employers have relocated their companies to our market and brought their employees with them. In addition, they have been able to offer many of our residents higher paying jobs which have created more home buyers.
In his market report, Lamb wrote that closing activity also set new records in October, reflected by the 956 New Closed Residential Sales reports. That was up 1.7 percent from September, up 37.6 percent from October 2019 and up 22.1 percent from October 2015, which until now had been the best October for closings since 2005. Closed sales in October were up 20.0 percent 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 percent from October 2019. That was a significant improvement from last year considering there was a 4.5 percent deficit in August and a 6.0 percent 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 percent from September, up 25.1 percent from October 2019 and up 19.9 percent 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 percent from September and down 54.9 percent 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 were just 1.03 new residential listings 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 percent from September and up 9.4 percent from October 2019. Median Sale Price-Residential was $425,000, up 1.2 percent from September, up 13.3 percent from October 2019 and up 18.1 percent from October 2018. That was also up 63.5 percent from the previous high in October 2006 and up 138.9 percent from the October 2011 low during the downturn. And the average residential sale price was $468,400, up 1.1 percent from September, up 13.6 percent from October 2019 and up 19.1 percent 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 Market Report written by Mike Lamb, broker at Windermere Stellar in Vancouver.