The Regional Multiple Listing Service (RMLS) report, released monthly, is filled with statistics, sometimes a little unclear and only give part of the picture as to what is happening in real estate. Real estate is very local and neighborhood-based, so understanding about different areas helps put the numbers into perspective.
A balanced market is 5-7 months of inventory. The Vancouver/ Clark County area is in a balanced market, holding steady month over month at 6.8 months of inventory on average for June 2010. For this same time last year, in 2009, the average inventory was 7.9 months, and for 2010 so far, the average monthly inventory is 8.6 months.
The biggest news for this month is that the average sold price jumped 9.8% from last month!
Short sale (or pre-foreclosure) properties are still prevalent, however they are starting to be absorbed by banks, lenders and a few cash investors. As the short sales go away, the asking prices of homes listed for sale are going to increase. Some banks list properties over market value and over the life of the listing, chase the market down. Other banks offer homes at 10 to 20% below comparables to dump the properties quickly. Unfortunately banks do not price the homes the same across the board. Some are firm at above market pricing in their "fixer" state - needing roof, siding, flooring, paint, etc., while other banks will dump at deep discounts very nice homes - with granite, hardwood and nine-foot ceilings, when they could easily sell them for at least 20% of a higher price. Banks tend to reduce asking prices by regular amounts every 14, 30 or 60 days until the property sells, to avoid losing money and selling for too low.
Now, let's break it down to specific areas where you live or areas you want to keep a watch on:
Area 11/ Downtown Vancouver: 8.2 months of inventory - up slightly from last month's 6.2 months of inventory, a Buyers' Market.
Area 12/ NW Vancouver Heights: 5.9 months of inventory - up slightly from last month's 5.0 months of inventory, a balanced market. Great close-in location with plentiful affordable housing and high percentage of rental homes that could be attracting a new crop of investors. The total market time (TMT) for this area is just 102 days, about half of Clark County's overall total market time of 126 days. A contributing factor is that the average sold price of these homes is $138,800, which is far below the Clark County average of $249,600.
Area 13/ SW Vancouver Heights: 11.1 months of inventory, significantly down from last month's of 21.8 months of inventory, but it continues to be a strong Buyers' Market. Pending sales are up here 100% from 2009. Close-in location, quick to downtown Portland and Vancouver, an area of many view homes.
Area 14/ Lincoln/ Hazel Dell, an area of Vancouver: 9.4 months of inventory, way up from last month's 5.3 months of inventory - a strong Buyer's Market, close in location, quick to I-5. Area offers larger lots than downtown, yet close to downtown conveniences.
Area 15/ East Hazel Dell/ Minnehaha, an area of Vancouver: 5.1 months of inventory, down from last month's 5.7 months of inventory - a balanced market. This area has seen an influx of new homes during our recent boom years. Most likely a high percentage of the sales were some deeply discounted newer homes that became bank-owned homes and sold for great deals.
Area 20/ NE Vancouver Heights: 5.3 months of inventory, down from last month's 5.8 months of inventory - a balanced market. This area is very close-in in eastern Vancouver close to Mill Plain Boulevard and I-205. Close to shopping corridor and quick access to SE Portland.
Area 21/ Orchards, an area of Vancouver: 8.9 months of inventory, way up from last month's 4.3 months of inventory - a Buyers' Market. This area is mostly comprised of homes built in the 1990's with a few older homes.
Area 22/ Evergreen, an area of Vancouver: 7.3 months of inventory, way up from last month's 4.2 months of inventory - a Buyers' Market. This is one of the largest areas of Vancouver encompassing the popular eastern area and major shopping arteries. We are not surprised by this jump, most likely due to homeowners waiting for school to come to a close before putting their homes on the market. For June, 2010, this area had 66 new listings added, the highest number of homes added to the specific market for all of the areas of Clark County.
Area 23/ East Vancouver Heights: 8.2 months of inventory, way up from last month's 5.0 months of inventory - a Buyers' Market. A similar jump happened the for the previous month, but in the opposite way, most likely due to this being a small area and small changes appear larger. This area consists of mostly older homes, where the original residents of Vancouver lived, close to the Columbia River and the WA-14 freeway. Many bluff homes with attractive views of PDX airport, the Columbia River and Mount Hood.
Area 24/ Cascade Park, an area of Vancouver: 5.2 months of inventory, only slightly down from last month's 5.3 months of inventory - a balanced market. The average sales price for this area is now 5% below the average for Clark County, the first time this year, most likely accounting for more "starter" homes selling than second homes, making the overall prices appear lower. It is a lovely area with homes on larger lots, mature trees and very close to freeway access along with abundant shopping on SE 164th Avenue and Mill Plain Boulevard.
Area 25/ Five Corners, an area of Vancouver: 7.3 months of inventory, up from last month's 5.2 months of inventory - a slight Buyers' Market. The average sales price here is 28% below the average home sales price for Clark County. This is one of the smallest areas of Vancouver along the eastern corridor.
Area 26/ East Orchards, an area of Vancouver: 4.1 months of inventory, down from last month's 5.2 months of inventory - a Sellers' Market. This area is mostly comprised of newer homes built after 2000 with above average amenities and a higher level of fit and finish than much of Vancouver.
Area 27/ Fisher's Landing, an area Vancouver: 6.5 months of inventory, way up from April and May's 4.5 months of inventory - a balanced market. This area is the home of Fisher's Landing Elementary, which is consistently achieves top scores, usually in the top 10 of elementary schools for Washington State. People who work in Portland often choose this area for this specific reason, also it is quick to the freeway and takes about 17 minutes to get to downtown Portland. Most homes here are built from the late 1980's to 2010. Property values here tend to be higher than other areas of Vancouver as well, because of the schools. The average sold price this month was 5.24% above Clark County's average and TMT was just 77 days vs. 126 days for Clark County.
Area 31/ SE Clark County, unincorporated area of Clark County: 21 months of inventory, way up from last month's 8 months of inventory - a Buyers' Market. This area consists mostly of acreage properties, which have a historically higher time on the market, because there are less buyers and sellers tend to be firmer on their prices. The average sold price is maintaining 30% above the average sold home price in Clark County, from last month.
Area 32/ Camas, Washington: 4.5 months of inventory, almost the same as last month's 4.6 months of inventory - a good Sellers' Market. Camas is an area of nicer homes, many with territorial, Lacamas Lake, Mount Hood, Columbia River or Portland International Airport (PDX) views due to hilly nature of the topography. Close to freeway access and about 23 minutes to downtown Portland. Many people choose to live here for the schools: Camas High School achieves high marks as does Prune Hill Elementary School, both of which are in Camas, Washington.
Area 33/ Washougal, Washington: 8.8 months of inventory, down from last month's 9.7 months of inventory - a Buyers' Market. Washougal was hit hard by the real estate bust, because a vast majority of the homes in Washougal were built in the past 5 years. Many builders went out of business and there are still a few very luxurious homes for deeply discounted prices available in Washougal.
Area 41/ North Hazel Dell, an area of Vancouver: 5.5 months of inventory, the significantly down from last month's 8.1 months inventory - a balanced' market. This area has home sales prices 19% above the average prices in Clark County. This area maintains its popularity due to quick access to I-5 and its great westside location.
Area 42/ South Salmon Creek, an area of Vancouver: 5.1 months of inventory, up from last month's 4.3 months of inventory - a slight seller's market. This area rests in the "triangle of Vancouver" sandwiched between three of the four major freeways - east of I-5, west of I-205 and north of WA-500. Last month we predicted that this area would be interesting to watch for this month and it has been: One of the best deals was recently purchased in area 42, a former model home, now bank owned, with over 3,400 square feet for just $269,000 - these are the type of deals that are rarely seen, but we always tell our clients about! The average sales prices are 21% less this month, more than last month's 10% under average Clark County pricing! Buyers and real estate investors are picking up some great deals in this area.
Area 43/ North Felida, an area of Vancouver: 6.5 months of inventory, significantly down from last month's 8.7 months of inventory - a balanced market. This is one of the rare areas of Vancouver, where the average sales price went up 1.3% since this time last year.
Area 44/ North Salmon Creek, an area including Vancouver and Ridgefield: 4.5 months of inventory, way down from last month's 6.2 months of inventory, it is one of the rare areas that continues to drop in inventory and is now a Sellers' Market. This is a great sign for property owners in this area. Washington State University at Vancouver is located in this area, along with the beautiful Mount Vista - a neighborhood of estate-sized lots, with most homes having mountain views.
Area 50/ Ridgefield, Washington: 6.2 months of inventory, significantly down from last month's 7.9 months of inventory, is another area with the inventory continuing to drop, going from a strong Buyers' Market in April to a balanced market in June, 2010. This shift is showing that less builders are building, and the existing inventory is getting absorbed, a good sign for Ridgefield. Like Washougal, Washington (Area 33), this area saw a huge influx of new home development over the last 5 years.
Area 61/ Battle Ground, Washington: 8.4 months of inventory, way up from last month's 6.5 months of inventory - a Buyers' Market. Battle Ground saw a huge influx of new property listings this month (48), which would have had an impact on the inventory as well. Many buyers prefer this Battle Ground for the schools and small community feel, although it is farther away from freeways. It has more of a country feel, but with city conveniences of ample shopping and restaurants.
Area 62/ Brush Prairie, Washington: 5.1 months of inventory, way down from last month's 10.3 months of inventory - a balanced' market. The average sold price here was 14% above the average sold price for Clark County this month. Brush Prairie mostly consists of acreage properties, which tend to sell for higher prices. People like it because it is a shorter drive to Vancouver than Battle Ground and is fairly close to shopping.
Area 66/ Yacolt, Washington: 17.6 months of inventory, way up from last month's 9.8 months of inventory - a strong buyers' market. Yacolt is also mostly acreage properties, with many manufactured homes as well.
Area 70/ La Center, Washington: 27.5 months of inventory, almost the same as last month's 7.5 months of inventory - a strong Buyers' Market. Pending sales are up 50% from 2009. People like La Center because it is closer to I-5, yet has a country feel and most properties rest on acreage plots of land.
- Areas 80 & 81 Woodland, Washington (City and Area): 11.2 months of inventory, a Buyers' Market.
For the Portland Metro area, the inventory is in a balanced market with 7.3 months of inventory, up from 7.0 months in May, 2010 and 19.2 months in the all-time highest inventory, in January, 2009.