The tight inventory I wrote about last week has translated into a perk for sellers as prices continue to feel upward pressure with more buyers than sellers. Lending is still tight so the buyers are not always the strongest and sellers should be advised to look deeper than price on each offer. As I have said time and again the best offer may not be the highest offer.
All of that said, here is the data for the first quarter of 2015. The Regional Multiple Listing Service says that Clark County Washington has 3.2 months of inventory. That is indeed tight. The median price was $255,000 over the first three months of the year. That is $10,000 higher than the same three months last year. Days on market are getting shorter and shorter as supply continues to shrink against a steady stream of ready buyers. As we move into May we might see a surge in inventory that will slow down the price frenzy.
Lending is tight and that is making it tough on the first time home buyers facing higher prices and onery lenders. The robust activity in 2013 and 14 on the entry level homes has in fact provided a nudge up for the middle market sellers. Top of the line properties are seeing some much needed sales as well.
The fly in the ointment is this tight lending situation. Regulators had a field day after the crash in '09 and that is having a negative impact on the market as buyers find difficult guidelines and tougher mandates to get a loan processed and funded. Although many of the changes to the banking regulatory and lending practices have had positive results, in typical government fashion they have gone over board and may lead to worsening conditions.
Let's hope not. Buyers are well advised to act swiftly when the see a house they like and if it looks like a sharp price, it probably is. Don't try to haggle the seller down, he probably has three offers to look at. There are still some sellers that have overpriced listings and these sellers will find the market to be cruel. Buyers will bid up good values but they won't bit on that hydrogen filled, puffed up price that some sellers think they can float into the market.
Things are good out there folks, but things are tight also. You may want to get while the getting is good, as they say.