There was speculation back in November/December that the real estate market would get a serious kickstart as soon as the holidays were over — that buyers and sellers would re-enter the market in January and the rush that normally begins with warmer spring weather would actually start a couple months early.
I can’t speak for the rest of the country, but that didn’t happen here in the Tri-Cities!
Sellers didn’t re-enter the market; instead, our inventory of homes for sale hit a 5-month low. Buyers didn’t re-enter the market; instead, only 267 homes closed last month. That’s the lowest number of sold homes since March 2019! A year ago, in January 2021, 427 homes closed. That means closings last month were down 37% year-over-year.
It was a pretty quiet month overall.
New Record Home Prices
Fewer homes sold last month, but the ones that did were on the expensive side. We set a new Tri-Cities record with a median price of $420,000, besting the previous record of $400,000. We also saw record-high home prices in Kennewick and Richland at $407,500 and $499,900, respectively. If you’re looking at that Richland median price and wondering if we’ve ever had a month where median prices hit $500K, the answer is no. Nowhere in the Tri-Cities has ever had a half-million-dollars median home price. But we came about as close as you could in Richland last month!
Inventory Drops Again
Those 309 homes on the market when we did our snapshot on Feb. 7 are the lowest we’ve seen since last September, when there were 293 available homes. Let’s break down the inventory numbers a little more so you can see what’s going on.
- Of the 309 available homes, 198 are new construction and 111 are existing homes.
- The available new construction homes have a median list price of $560,765. Only eight are listed for less than $400,000.
- The available existing homes have a median list price of $415,000 — much closer to the actual median price of sold homes. Fifty-three of these homes are listed at less than $400,000, 31 are listed below $300,000, and 21 are below $250,000.
A year ago, inventory declined every month all the way to June. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen again this year. If you’re thinking about selling, it might be smart to do it sooner rather than later; you may not want to wait for mortgage rates to rise again, knocking more buyers out of the market.
As always, please drop us a note if you ever have questions about the housing market here in the Tri-Cities, or even in your specific neighborhood/town/city.
(*Remember that days on market can sometimes be skewed by how new construction homes are processed in the MLS.)