Harbor real estate market looking good

The Grays Harbor County real estate market got off to a great start this year! In the first quarter, it took the top spot for the annual percentage change in the number of home sales of the 15 Western Washington counties.

Encouraging home ownership is one of the goals of NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor, so from time to time we like to share information about what’s happening in the local real estate market. Also, with the spring and summer being popular times to buy and sell houses, we thought we’d give you an idea of the current real estate climate.

Compared to the first three months of 2018, all of the 15 counties were down in sales, but Grays Harbor was by far the smallest decrease at 2.6 percent down. (For comparison, Mason County was down 10.3 percent, King County down 10.6 percent, Thurston County down 12.2 percent, Pierce County down 14 percent and San Juan County down a whopping 32.3 percent.)

There is some speculation that very poor weather in February impacted the market the first few months, according to Matthew Gardner, the chief economist for Windermere Real Estate. Gardner analyzes and interprets economic data and its impact on the real estate market and publishes the quarterly “Gardner Report.”

The report said that 13,292 homes were sold in these counties during the first quarter of 2019. That is down 12.3 percent from the same quarter in 2018.

However, “the decline in interest rates during the first two months of the quarter nudged many home buyers off the fence. I believe this will cause a significant bump in sales activity in the second quarter numbers,” Gardner says in the report.

During the same period, home prices were higher in every county except Clallam, with home prices in Grays Harbor County increasing by 8.7 percent from the same time last year.

“While the growth of prices is slowing, the strong local economy, combined with lower interest rates, will cause home prices to continue rising through 2019,” according to the report.

“As I have said for quite some time now, there must always be a relationship between incomes and home prices, and many areas around Western Washington are testing this ceiling. That said, the region’s economy continues to perform well and incomes are rising, which, in concert with low interest rates, will allow prices to continue to rise but at a significantly slower pace,” according to Gardner.

DAYS ON THE MARKET UP

One of the benchmarks in the real estate business is the average number of days it takes to sell a home. By this measure across Western Washington, that number was the same as it was the year before.

Across the entire region, it took an average of 61 days to sell a home in the first quarter of 2019. This matches the level seen a year ago, but is up by 10 days compared to the fourth quarter of 2018.

“In the last two Gardner Reports, I suggest that we should be prepared for days-on-market to increase, and that is now occurring. Given projected increases in inventory, this trend will continue, but this is typical of a regional market that is moving back toward balance,” Gardner said.

The average number of days on the market in Grays Harbor was 76. This compares to Pierce County at 40, Thurston County at 41, King County at 44, Mason at 59 and Lewis at 76 and San Juan County at 128.

Gardner concludes this report saying that he doesn’t see any clouds on the horizon that suggest a coming downturn in sales activity in 2019.

“That said, this will be the year we move closer to balance. Buyers who were sidelined by the significant increase in listings in the second half of 2018 are starting to get off the fence as mortgage rates drop. I foresee a buoyant spring market ahead.”

The numbers for the second quarter should be compiled soon!

CONTEMPLATING BUYING

A HOUSE SOON?

Are you considering buying a house this summer? Remember, we at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor, are here to help you become a successful home owner.

We can help you establish good credit, find financing and even show you how to pre-qualify for a loan. Give us a call at (360) 533-7828 Monday through Thursday, or e-mail our counselor at jgalligan@aberdeen-nhs.com

In addition, check out our website at www.nwghc.org. We’d also love to communicate with you through Facebook – NeighborWorks Grays Harbor. We’d love to have you follow us!

NEED TO FIX UP

HOUSE YOU’RE IN?

Perhaps a new house isn’t in your future. If your attention is turning to maintaining the house you’re in, we want you to know about our 3-percent loans that are available for income-qualified homeowners for siding, painting and roofing needs. If you are income-qualified and live in the house (owner-occupied), these loans might just be the ticket for you to get a jump on giving your home a facelift this summer.

The 3-percent loans are for up to 20 years and can help you replace your siding, including a new paint job and/or replace your roof. The maximum loan amount is $25,000. Call our housing counselor, Julie, at (360) 533-7828 for an appointment to get started.

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