Inventory Levels Increased But Remain Low - Bellingham Is Still A Sellers' Market
Use my Language of Real Estate page to help you understand the market data in the reports below.
Days on market has increased compared to a year ago and percentage of list price is slightly down, but remains at close to list price (98.5%). This is not surprising, considering this is the slow time of the year. But if you compare this data to last year, January of 2022 was not as slow as we typically see - the market was crazy!
On the other hand, the average sales price is up 5% from last year and months supply of inventory, while up significantly from this time last year, is still very low, at just over 1.5%. Remember, a balanced market (neither Sellers' or Buyers' market) is 4-6 months of inventory. If you would like to understand more about what I means by months of inventory, check out my Language of Real Estate page.
Currently on a weekly basis (in Mid-March), I continue to see pending listings exceed new listings by a lot. Wait and see what the busy springs brings - more buyers or more sellers?
Days on market have creeped up and percentage of list price is slightly down. This is not surprising, considering this is the slow time of the year. But if you compare this data to last year, January of 2022 was not as slow as we typically see - the market was crazy!
On the other hand, the average sales price is up 15% from last year and months supply of inventory, while up from last year, is still very low, at below 2%. Remember, a balanced market (neither Sellers' or Buyers' market) is 4-6 months of inventory. If you would like to understand more about what I means by months of inventory, check out my Language of Real Estate page.
In the last month, I've been surprised by the number of homes that have pended, especially considering how few homes have listed (which is typical in December). That feeling has been confirmed by December's market stats. New listings are down 19% from a year ago, and 59% from a month ago.
Because the last 2 years have not experienced typical seasonal slowdowns, I expected pending sales to have dropped more significantly in December. But they were only down 29% from last year. The number of homes that pended in November was 89% of the number of new listings; but more homes pended than were listed in December.
As long as we continue to see demand (reflected by pending sales) exceed new supply, I don't expect to see a major market shift in the near future. At 2 months of inventory, Whatcom County remains firmly in a Sellers' Market territory. Inventory levels have actually dropped compared to August-October! It will be interesting to see how many sellers choose to list their homes this coming Spring, and how listing activity compares to sales activity. Stay tuned!
That feeling you have that there's not a lot going on in real estate? It's for a reason. First, we are heading into the holidays, combined with the typical winter slowdown. If you have only been actively looking at real estate for the last 2 or so years, you might say "what winter slowdown?". The prior 2 years have most definitely been an exception! Real estate sales historically experience a seasonal slowdown in the winter.
Yes, inventory levels have increased, compared to both a month ago and a year ago. But prices are holding steady. I believe the increase in number of homes selling for less than sales price is because homeowners are being unrealistic. Yes, their neighbor's home sold 6 months ago for 10% over asking, but that was because the market was crazy, with bidding wars driving up prices. If you are listing your home for or above that crazy $ your neighbor got, you are likely due for a surprise.
It's hard to pinpoint data for Bellingham's southside, so I focus on zip code 98225, which does include some areas to the North, but also covers all of the southside. Because Bellingham's southside is a desirable area: when I notice a downturn in Whatcom County, I often see different data for Bellingham's southside.
New listings are down nearly 20%, but pending sales are down significantly - 46%. On the other hand, closed sales in October 2022 were 29% higher than in 2021. The median sales price has dropped minimally compared to a year ago (less than 3%). Homes are now selling for less than 100% of list price - 98%. The question remains whether that's because sellers were not adjusting their expectation sufficiently to the new market, where multiple offers are much more rare.
Inventory levels remain steady from September. New listing activity has declined 18% compared to a year ago in October, but pending sales have dropped more significantly, by 38%. Likewise, days on market is up significantly compared to a year ago - 74%.
Inventory levels are double what they were a year ago, but they still are relatively low. The data below is for all Whatcom County - inventory for Bellingham is slightly lower, at 2.2 months. If we compare new listings for the first 6 months of 2022 to the same time period in 2021, there were 3% less listings in 2022. However, if we compare new listing for the last 4 months of 2022 to the same time period of 2021, there were 16% more listings in 2022. This more recent listing activity is having an impact on inventory levels. Homes are selling on average for slightly less than list price - we are no longer seeing multiple over-asking offers on new listings, especially with increased interest rates.
Inventory levels have definitely increased in the last few months, although a buyer's market means 6+ months supply of inventory, so we have a ways to go before we experience a shift. As noted in my August 23 blog post, a lot of this inventory does not have to do with homes lingering on the market (not days on market is averaging 24 days). It has to do with more home owners choosing to their list home for sale that we typically see in the summer: There were 157 new listings in May of 2022, compared to 150 in May of 2021.
There were 213 new listings in June of 2022, compared to 176 in June of 2021.
There were 193 new listings in July of 2022, compared to 154 in July of 2021.
What can I say? NWMLS is having trouble with the data for July - I keep checking back, but it's still not updated!
While home prices continue to climb and homes are selling for over asking, there is evidence of some softening, although not much. Days on market has dropped to an unbelievably low 15 days, but inventory has climbed dramatically in one mouth. This is partly due to closed sales slowing down in June, but mainly because there were so many more homes listed than in both May of 2022 (a month ago) and June of 2021 (a year ago).
New listings continue to climb. Pending sales are the most current reflection of Buyer demand; while they dropped slightly from April, demand remains strong. Home prices are climbing, homes are selling for a remarkable 105% of list price, and days on market took a sharp drop.
New listings are definitely up, which is not surprising, as that is typical in the Spring. Pending sales are the most current reflection of Buyer demand, which appears to remain high. While home prices continue to climb, average days on market have increased slightly. Still a ridiculously low inventory levels.
Woohoo! Our months supply of inventory has increased by 1/10th of 1% from February - it's now .7 months! This is still down 22% from a year ago. If I review the same data for zip code 98225, which covers a lot of Bellingham's southside, the months supply of inventory drops to 4/10ths of a month, which is down 33% from a year ago. No surprise, the median sales price has increased nearly 23% in the past year.
Unbelievably, the months supply of homes continues to dwindle, both in comparison to January and to February of 2021. Prices have jumped 28% in one year! This is bad news for buyers. An increase in interest rates is unlikely to have a significant impact on these numbers, at least for the near future. This is because of the pent-up demand for Buyers.
As we look for new hope that inventory increases will help the imbalance in the real estate market, there is no sign of listing activity increasing. Not surprising, the number of closed sales dropped slightly, compared to a year ago. Also, the percentage of list price increased slightly.
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