Here’s the TL;DR version of this month’s market update: Active listings down, but just a bit. Median home prices down, but not an unusual amount. Sold homes is where we’re seeing the biggest impact from COVID-19 and the state going under quarantine.
Longer version? Read on!
We’ve pulled our monthly numbers for the Tri-Cities and immediate surrounding communities, and overall the Tri-Cities housing market seems to be holding up pretty well in spite of the health crisis. Let’s break down the three data points I mentioned above. (NOTE: Remember that we only analyze the six towns you see on the graphic above. Later this month when local media report on data from the Tri-Cities Assn. of Realtors, that data will include outlying areas like Connell, Basin City, Plymouth and several others.)
Active listings: When we looked at numbers on May 5, we had 514 active listings. As you can see, that’s down 5 percent from a month ago. And at this time of year, when real estate activity typically starts to increase, it’s definitely unusual for this number to be lower.
One year ago, in May 2019, active listings were up 3.6% over the previous month. If we’d seen that same increase this year, we’d see 558 active listings right now, not 514. So you could argue that we’re about 44 homes below “normal.” All things considered, with what’s going on around us and how it’s impacting so many aspects of our daily lives, that drop doesn’t seem too significant.
And here’s an interesting comparison: We have 514 active listings this month. One year ago, in May 2019, we had 515 active listings.
Homes sold: This is where we see the biggest impact. Last month, 316 homes closed, a 16% drop from a month before that. Again, this is the time of year when that number should be rising. A year ago, we saw a 14 percent rise in homes sold — quite different from a 16% decline this year. If we apply last year’s growth rate to this year, we would’ve seen 429 homes sold … but we saw 316.
We can probably attribute the drop to some buyers putting their home search on hold, and sellers taking their homes off the market due to the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.
Median sales price: The price of homes in the Tri-Cities was down last month, but the drop really wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. A month ago, the median price hit an all-time high of $317,548. This month it dropped 2.4 percent to $309,950. According to our data, that’s still the 5th-highest median sales price we’ve ever seen in the Tri-Cities. And for comparison, in between January and February of this year, the median price dropped 3.4 percent, from $310,300 to $299,900. Even though our home prices have risen steadily for several years, it’s not at all unusual to see the median price drop by $10K or so a few times a year.
Most of the homes that sold in April would’ve gone under contract in March, so it’s possible we’re too soon to say what impact the pandemic is having on local home prices. But as we mentioned a couple of days ago, there’s a lot of evidence that home prices are generally holding pretty steady even as other market data changes.
Days on market*: Homes are still selling quickly. For the “Area Total” above, as well as for Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland, days on market was either down or the same last month. For the “area total,” DOM was 11 a month ago and down to 9 this month.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on how the market is performing and share what we see with you right here on our blog, and/or on our social media channels. Get in touch if you ever have questions about the housing market here in the Tri-Cities, or even in your specific neighborhood.
(*Remember that days on market can sometimes be skewed by how new construction homes are processed in the MLS.)