Hot real estate market in Grays Harbor!


Thinking about selling your Grays Harbor house? If it has good bones and doesn’t need a lot of repairs, you can likely get top price – and quickly.


We know from our own housing experience, and from talking to three local real estate professionals, that Grays Harbor homes are currently selling as quickly as they ever have, and at the highest prices ever.


“”I’ve never seen anything like the current market,” said David Quigg, who owns Quigg and Co. Real Estate in Hoquiam, along with his wife, Jamie.


“Right now the average time on the market is six days and on average sellers are getting 96 percent of the asking price, which means that a few houses are selling under the asking price and many homes are selling over it,” he said.


Carrie Leinum of Century 21 Northwest says that when so many people began working from home during the coronavirus pandemic, they realized that they don’t necessarily need to be physically near their job anymore.


“A lot of people are moving to outlying areas and so we are seeing an increase in people buying homes here,” she said. “For one thing, Grays Harbor homes are at a price bracket that many first-time homebuyers can afford,” she said.


It’s not just first-time homebuyers who are interested in purchasing homes in Grays Harbor now, it is also older folks looking to downsize and investors, both local and from out of the area, eager to pick up a property, improve it “and still hit that target market that is looking for first-time homes,” Leinum said.


“Even fixer-uppers are selling at two times what they’ve ever sold before!” said Kevin Spivey, owner of Spivey Realty Group. In addition, some people who own rental properties are also using this hot market to sell, he said.


Even though he hasn’t heard of many owners of rental properties who have struggled because of the rent moratorium, Spivey said that folks are selling their rental properties now because “they don’t like that lack of control over their property and they can sell their property at a higher-than-ever price.”


“If you bought your rental property as a long term investment of say 20 years, I’d wait to sell. But if you had planned to sell it in the next three or four years, I don’t know why you’d wait,” Spivey said. “This is a hot market!”

Coronavirus means working at home

During this last year the whole country pivoted to having as many jobs conducted from home as possible. And many businesses and even governmental jobs discovered that telecommuting and conducting Zoom meetings worked just fine! Some have even told their employees that they will have the option to work from home even after the pandemic quarantine is over.


That frees up people to live wherever they want.


“Our homes prices here are still a very good value in comparison to other places,” Quigg said. “And people are attracted to the higher quality of life and the outdoor resources of our community.”


The other realtors agreed. Home has become more important when that’s your whole world and if you can get a bigger, better home in a community that has a lot of beauty, why wouldn’t you?


For a few outlying areas in our county, the lack of a high-speed internet connection has been an issue to buyers, Leinum said. “However, most areas here have good internet and not all jobs need the high-speed internet access,” she said.

Another factor – low interest rates

While they are up slightly now, the interest rates are still very, very low and are another key ingredient to the hot real estate market.


“People are able to buy more home for less money and even upgrade to a home they’ve always dreamed of because of low interest rates,” Quigg said.


With low interest rates, even though the seller is getting the highest price ever, the buyer’s dollar is stretched further so he can buy a bigger, nicer house for the same monthly payment.


Those interest rates are being kept artificially low right now, but may rise soon. No one knows. So although it would appear to be a seller’s market in Grays Harbor now, buyers are still getting more for their money here, which of course, contributes to the low inventory and short-time on the market.


Appraisers are busier than ever

More people are becoming real estate agents in the area and some real estate agents selling houses are also buying fixer-uppers, adding updates and value and “flipping” houses themselves.


In addition, because of the low interest rates, many people are refinancing their current mortgage. To do that an appraiser is used to determine the home’s current value. That’s keeping local lending institutions and appraisers busier than ever!


In fact, “the appraisers are so busy right now that it is pushing closing out about 30 days,” Quigg said.


Solid homes needed for certain loans

While investors can buy fixer-uppers, for homebuyers who plan to use a FHA, VA or USDA loan, it’s critical that the home has no major safety or deferred maintenance issues.


When it comes to getting a loan, a house needing new paint, and fresh flooring is one thing, but a house needing a new foundation or roof or electrical system may not pass inspection for the loan.


However, we at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor may be able to help with that. We offer first mortgage loans with rehab to first-time home buyers. As a non-profit organization, our goal is to promote sustainable home-ownership of safe and affordable housing.


In next week’s blog we’ll talk more about the housing market and explain how our rehab loans work, enabling people to get into houses that need a little more work.

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