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Thurston County housing market continues to slow, data shows

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The Thurston County housing market is moving at a very different pace than it was even six months ago. In December, the number of sales fell, inventories rose, median price appreciation eased and interest rates remained higher than a year ago, according to new data released Friday by Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

How was the housing market before?

Until late last summer, the housing market was booming. There was little inventory, mortgage interest rates were low, and there was plenty of demand, which meant the median price of a home was steadily rising. The median price of a Thurston County home hit an all-time high of $525,000 last June.

How has the market changed?

The most significant change in the housing market was the rise in mortgage interest rates, which cooled demand and dampened price increases. The average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage – the most common type of mortgage – was 6.48% this week, according to Freddie Mac, a government-sponsored firm that provides capital to lenders. mortgages and tracks interest rates. A year ago, the average 30-year mortgage rate was 3.22%, according to Freddie Mac.

Is a Thurston County home more affordable than it used to be?

Yes and no. Higher mortgage interest rates, which push up payments, have encouraged sellers to keep their asking price within their means. The median price of a Thurston County home last month was $497,500, up 3.2% from December 2021 but down from June’s peak of $525,000, the data shows. .

Yet, if you are a buyer in this market, you have to face higher rates.

Inventory was very low. Has he changed?

Yes. There are more homes for sale in Thurston County. In fact, stocks are higher than they have been in a long time. For years, there was less than a month’s supply of homes on the market, and now it’s closer to two months, according to December data.

However, there is still a long way to go. A market that favors neither buyer nor seller is said to have four to six months of inventory.

How can I compete with a cash buyer?

The good news is you probably don’t have to, says Steve Garrett, owner of Windermere Olympia. Higher mortgage interest rates mean housing markets have slowed across the country, including in places like Seattle, Portland and California, where the median price of a home is much higher than in the county. of Thurston.

“There aren’t as many cash buyers as there were six or eight months ago,” Garrett said.

I want to own a house but I can’t afford it here. What are my options?

If you can’t afford a home in Thurston County and don’t mind short trips, there are more affordable options in the area, according to Northwest MLS data.

Median December prices in Grays Harbor, Lewis and Mason counties were $325,000, $375,000 and $365,000, respectively.

What is the outlook for the real estate market?

More hope than you think, as the labor market remains strong. However, this will tend to favor sellers over buyers.

“While mortgage market activity has declined significantly over the past year, inflationary pressures are easing and should lead to lower mortgage rates in 2023,” said Sam Khater, economist at Freddie Mac.

“Homebuyers are waiting for rates to come down more significantly, and when they do, a strong job market and a large demographic tailwind of millennial renters will support the buying market. Additionally, if rates continue to fall, borrowers who bought last year will have the opportunity to refinance at lower rates.

Thurston County data for December

Sales of single-family homes fell 48% to 243 units last month from 467 units in December 2021.

The median price for single-family homes rose 3.2% to $497,500 from $482,000 during the same period.

Single-family pending sales fell 38% to 206 units from 336 units during the same period.

Condominium sales fell from 10 units to two units during the same period.

The median condominium price increased slightly from $312,500 to $317,500 over the same period.

Condominium pending sales fell to eight units from 10 units over the same period.

Source: Northwest MLS.

Profile picture of Rolf Boone

Rolf has worked for The Olympian since August 2005. He covers breaking news, the town of Lacey and business for the newspaper. Rolf graduated from Evergreen State College in 1990.

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