LONG BEACH — Pacific County house prices soared above the $300,000 threshold in August.

The 45 houses that sold countywide in August went for a median of $340,000, up $100,000 from August 2020 and up $40,500 from this July, according to data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

“Median” means half sold for more and half for less. Multiple Listing Service numbers do not include some properties, such as those for sale by owner, but offer the most-timely snapshot of local real estate conditions.

As August ended, there were 94 active single-family house listings in the county, about the same as in August 2020. This translates into an available housing inventory of just over two months, up from 1.33 months in July and 0.97 months in June. This means that at the current rate of sales, all listings would be gone in a little more than eight weeks unless others were added.

Commenting on inventory, James Young, director of the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington, said total active inventory in several counties is mostly consistent with patterns observed all year, notably in the suburbs, the seaside, and the Olympic Peninsula. “It is not just a return to the suburbs, it is a continued return to the country as people continue to work from home.”

Community details

South county — consisting mostly of the peninsula’s large number of homes plus Naselle and Chinook — recorded 39 completed house sales in August for a median price of $349,000, up 37% or $94,500 since August 2020.

South county’s August supply of 68 houses — exactly as many as in August 2020 — represented 1.74 months of inventory. Sixty-three listings were added in August, up from 45 a year before. Fifty-nine sales were pending at the end of the month, down 17% compared to August 2020.

In addition, seven south county condos sold in August for a median of $269,000, up $146,100 from the median a year earlier. There has been a sharp reduction in the number of available condos during the pandemic, with six active listings remaining this August compared to 19 last August.

Raymond and South Bend — the county’s second and third largest housing markets — each also experienced sharp median price gains on their relatively small numbers of August transactions.

Two Raymond houses sold last month, down from six a year earlier, but they went for a median of $305,500 — a 68% year-over-year gain. Raymond’s 16 active listings as the month ended equal eight months-worth of inventory, by far the most in the county.

South Bend also recorded two completed sales last month, for a median of $262,000. One house sold in August 2020 for $125,000. Five listings were still available, up from four the prior year.

The story was about the same in Tokeland, where there were two August sales for a median of $204,305. In contrast, one house sold there a year earlier for $485,000.

Lumping together all the county’s communities for both houses and condos, the overall August median was $337,000 — up $105,000 compared to 12 months earlier. There were 100 remaining active listings, a decline of 11%. Seventy-five sales were pending as the month ended, down from 108 the previous August.

Despite the county’s home-price escalation, it remains a bargain compared to the entire 26-county NWMLS area, which had an August median of $579,000 for houses and condos combined. In Western Washington, only Grays Harbor was less expensive than Pacific, with a median of $331,750.

In percentage terms, Pacific County’s 45.26% year-over-year median price increase in August was two and a half times more than the 18.6% in the entire NWMLS area. Only Ferry County — where a few sales in a far smaller real estate market skewed the results — had a bigger percentage increase.

Looking back at spring

The UW real estate research center recently reported its statistical analysis of statewide housing trends in the April-June quarter. It said Pacific County’s spring median was $285,400, a 25% year-over-year increase — somewhat less than the 31.7% statewide gain. The median statewide price was $570,800 this spring, with a range of $889,600 in the San Juans to $176,300 in remote eastern Lincoln County.

The county’s pace of home sales was brisk in the spring, increasing about 21% year-over-year, compared to 12.2% statewide. Only three of Washington’s 39 counties recorded sharper spring sales gains.

UW reported a big increase in residential building permits in the county, to 32 for the quarter — 129% more than in the spring of 2020. The state as a whole saw a 14.6% increase in home building permits this spring.

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