LONG BEACH — Sixty houses and condos were available to buy in Pacific County at the end of May, up from 32 in April but less than half as many as in May 2020, the Northwest Multiple Listing Service recently reported.

As in all of Western Washington, the county’s real estate market remained highly favorable to sellers, with an overall year-over-year price gain of 25%, to a median of $272,000 countywide, up $54,000 in the past year. Median means half sold for more and half for less. The average price countywide was $306,232 in May, a number that is skewed upward by the sale of higher-priced homes.

Looking at just the south region comprised of the peninsula, Chinook and Naselle — which typically accounts for more than 80% of countywide sales — 41 houses sold for a median of $325,000 in May, up 41% and more than $94,000 from a year earlier. Six condos sold for a median price of $219,000, 115% more than the two condos that sold in May 2020.

Elsewhere in the county in May, six houses sold in Raymond for a median of $202,000, compared to 10 at a median of about $209,000 a year earlier, a price decline of around 3.5%. Three South Bend houses sold for a median of $150,000, compared to four at a median of $162,500 in May 2020, a 7.7% lower price. One house sold in Menlo for $217,000 this May, compared to two at a median of $410,000 last May.

Overall, thanks to an influx of home listings in south county, the inventory increased to just over a one-month supply, compared to a little more than two weeks in the NWMLS area as a whole. Multiple Listing Service data do not include some properties, such as those for sale by owner, but offer the most timely snapshot of local real estate conditions.

Despite ongoing supply shortages and price gains, Pacific County remains Western Washington’s most affordable housing market. The median price for all homes in the 26-county NWMLS area, which also includes a few eastern counties, was $585,000 in May and the mean average was $722,900. Pacific was the only western county with an overall median under $300,000.

Looking back at the winter quarter of 2021, the University of Washington Center for Real Estate Research reckons that Pacific County’s median home price was $255,300 in that period, a bit over 20% more than in January, February and March of 2020. The statewide first quarter median was $492,000, the UW center said.

The number of single-family home building permits issued in Pacific County doubled during the winter quarter to 28 compared to the prior year, the UW center said. The permit increase statewide was less than a third that in Pacific.

Looking at longer trends, the number of listings available for sale in the county has steadily declined in winter quarters over the past eight years — from 342 in winter 2014, 275 in 2015, 234 in 2016, 182 in 2017, 177 in 2018, 164 in 2019, 64 in 2020 and 48 in 2021, by the UW center’s count.

Statewide observations

Northwest MLS director Robb Wasser, branch manager at Windermere Real Estate/East in Bellevue, noted in NWMLS’s latest press release that the number of active listings for single-family homes dropped from April to May for the first time in at least 20 years. The month-to-month decline was small (only 83 listings), but compared to 12 months ago, May’s inventory plummeted by 4,824 listings (down 46.6%).

Year-over-year price increases measured by percentages appeared to hit a new high with the median price on last month’s 9,374 closed sales soaring 30% from a year earlier.

A check of Northwest MLS data shows prices on the 8,011 single-family home sales (excluding condos) that closed last month sold for 107.3% of the asking price.

“Everything is about breaking records this past year with record-breaking housing prices, record-breaking low inventory, and record-breaking consumer savings rates during the pandemic,” remarked Meredith Hansen, owner/designated broker at Keller Williams Greater Seattle. “All this equals a very strong, chaotic market that may not slow down for the next year,” added Hansen, who is also a member of the NWMLS board of directors.

“Last month’s listings came in lower than we would normally see due to the month starting on a Saturday and ending with a holiday weekend,” noted J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO at John L. Scott Real Estate. “New resale listings typically go on the market on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday,” he explained, adding, “In today’s instant-response market, new listings often go pending over the weekend or early the next week.”

Scott expects an elevated number of new resale listings for just three more months before the fall housing market. “This time period will be critical for home buyers looking to secure their home of choice while interest rates are at historically low levels.”

“The summer real estate market is upon us with an increased number of new listings giving homebuyers more selection. Record low interest rates and job gains continue to drive the market, along with focused lifestyle changes,” reported Dean Rehhuhn, owner at Village Homes and Properties.

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