May 2010 Clark County Washington Market Statistics

Posted by on Wednesday, June 16th, 2010 at 2:36pm.

The Regional Multiple Listing Service's Market Action Report for May 2010 was just released. 

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The RMLS report 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 neighborhood-based, so understanding about different areas helps put the numbers into perspective.

A balanced market is 5-7 months of inventory. There still is a little while to go and depending on how this first time home buyer's tax credit and the vacation home buyer's tax credit plays out, with closings that we will see in the end of June, 2010. 

The Vancouver/ Clark County area is in a balanced market, holding steady month over month at 6.6 months of inventory on average for May 2010.  For this same time last year, in 2009, the average inventory was 11.1 months, and for 2010 so far, the average monthly inventory is 8.9 months.  Real estate sales typically are at their highest in the spring and summer months, so the trend should continue through August, 2010.  Inventory should stay low through this year, as prices are down and sellers who want to sell for top dollar will most likely wait until next spring.
 
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 25% 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, while other banks will dump at deep discounts very nice homes, 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 to 30 days or so until the property sells, to avoid losing money and selling for too low.

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Now, let's break it down to specific areas where you live or areas you want to keep a watch on:


Pending sales are down 18.3% since this same time last year, while average sales prices are down 9.4%.

  • Area 11/ Downtown Vancouver: 6.2 months of inventory - up slightly from last month's 5.9 months of inventory, a balanced market, perhaps due to affordable pricing, and good proximity to Portland.
  • Area 12/ NW Vancouver Heights: 5.0 months of inventory - up slightly from last month's 4.3 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 61 days, about half of Clark County's overall total market time of 122 days.  This is probably because the average sold price of these homes is $107,200, less than half of the Clark County average of $227,300.
  • Area 13/ SW Vancouver Heights: 21.8 months of inventory, up from last month's of 17 months of inventory and it continues to be a strong buyers' market.  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: 5.7 months of inventory, up from last month's 4.1 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: 5.8 months of inventory, up from last month's 5.4 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: 4.3 months of inventory, way down from last month's 6.6 months of inventory - a sellers' market.  This area is mostly comprised of homes built in the 1990's with a few older homes.  A suburb of Vancouver.
  • Area 22/ Evergreen, an area of Vancouver: 5.2 months of inventory, up from last month's 4.2 months of inventory - a balanced market.  This is one of the largest areas of Vancouver encompassing the popular eastern area and major shopping arteries. 
  • Area 23/ East Vancouver Heights: 5 months of inventory, way down from last month's 7.4 months of inventory - a balanced market.  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: 5.3 months of inventory, way down from last month's 8.7 months of inventory - a balanced market.  TMT is also below average at 85 days.  Average sales prices continue to be above Clark County averages.  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: 5.2 months of inventory, up slightly from last month's 4.9 months of inventory - a balanced market.  Like Cascade Park, the TMT here is only 85 days, most likely due to the average selling price being 26% 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: 5.2 months of inventory, down from last month's 7.0 months of inventory - a balanced 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: 4.5 months of inventory, the same as April, 2010 - a slight seller's market.  This area is the home of Fisher's Landing Elementary, which is consistently achieves top scores, always in the top 5 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.
  • Area 31/ SE Clark County, unincorporated area of Clark County: 8 months of inventory, down from last month's 10.5 months of inventory - a buyer's 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 TMT here is 188% higher than the average for Clark County.  The average sold price is 30% above the average home price in Clark County, Washington, however the overall price change is down 33% from 2009.
  • Area 32/ Camas, Washington: 4.6 months of inventory, down from last month's 6.8 months of inventory - a good sellers' market.  Area of nicer homes, many with territorial, Lacamas Lake, Mount Hood, Columbia River or PDX views due to hilly nature of the topography.  Close to freeway access and about 23 minutes to downtown Portland.
  • Area 33/ Washougal, Washington: 9.7 months of inventory, up from last month's 8.6 months of inventory - a buyer's market.  Washougal was hit hard by the real estate bust, because a vast majority of the homes in Washougal were built in the last 5 years.  Many builders went out of business and there are still a few very nice homes for deeply discounted prices.  Total market time is one of the highest in Washougal
  • Area 41/ North Hazel Dell, an area of Vancouver: 8.1 months of inventory, the same as last month's inventory - a buyers' market.  This area has home sales prices 6.6% above the average prices in Clark County, along with l market time that is 13% lower than the rest of 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: 4.3 months of inventory, slightly down from last month's 4.5 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.  There were some excellent bank-owned deals in there, which buyers were able to capture.  The TMT at 84 days is about 32% lower than the rest of Clark County and the average sales prices are about 10% less this month, too.  This illustrates that buyers are picking up some great deals in this area.  This is an interesting area to watch on the inventory and pricing horizon for June 2010.
  • 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: 6.2 months of inventory, down from last month's 7.8 months of inventory - a balanced market.  This is a good sign for this area, as the average sold price in this area is $317,700, 39% above the average sold price for Clark County.  Most likely there was an influx of new custom homes selling, which tend to sell for higher prices than older homes.
  • Area 50/ Ridgefield, Washington: 7.9 months of inventory, significantly down from last month's 12.4 months of inventory - a buyers' market.  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: 6.5 months of inventory, down from last month's 7.3 months of inventory - a balanced market.  TMT is 13% greater than the rest of Clark County.  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: 10.3 months of inventory, way up from last month's 7.1 months of inventory - a strong buyers' market.  Pending sales are up 24% from 2009, while total market time is 47% lower than the rest of Clark County.  Brush Prairie mostly consists of acreage properties.  People like it because it is a shorter drive to Vancouver than Battle Ground and is fairly close to shopping. 
  • Area 66/ Yacolt, Washington: 9.8 months of inventory, down slightly from last month's 10.6 months of inventory - a strong buyers' market.  Pending sales are up 150% since 2009.  This area has mostly acreage properties.  The TMT is 240% higher than the rest of Clark County and the average price is 6.5% lower than the rest of Clark County, which illustrates that there are simply very few buyers actively searching in Yacolt in May, 2010.
  • Area 70/ La Center, Washington: 7.5 months of inventory, almost the same as last month's 7.4 months of inventory - a slight 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.

For the Portland Metro area, the inventory is in a balanced market with 7 months of inventory, down from 7.3 months in April, 2010 and 19.2 months in the all-time highest inventory, in January, 2009.  

Thank you for keeping Realty Team in mind for your real estate business. 

We're never to busy for your referrals of friends, family and neighbors.
Marjie Van Der Laan, 4th Generation Realtor (soon to be Broker!) 360.314.7647
Michael Zaviska, Partner and Expert Negotiator  503.504.1774

3 Responses to "May 2010 Clark County Washington Market Statistics"

Alex at Maui Real Estate wrote:
Marjie, did your market experience much activity by way of the tax credit expiration? To what else do you account the decrease in numbers from year to year? What percentage of the inventory is distressed properties and what percentage of closed transactions come from those? Sorry for all the questions, just trying to get a better sense of the state of the Clark county real estate market.

Posted on Sunday, June 20th, 2010 at 2:05am.

Marjie wrote:
To answer Alex's questions:

Marjie, did your market experience much activity by way of the tax credit expiration? The interesting thing here was that the market activity seemed to really peak for the first time home buyer market. Where people would maybe prefer to rent or buy a home to fix up but could not afford to fix it up in the way they would want and know they would get some help from the government. After the tax credit expired (for mutually agreed upon offers), I noticed an influx in movement on homes priced above the normal "tax credit price", which is about 10% below the average priced home around here.

To what else do you account the decrease in numbers from year to year? The decrease in numbers has come for a large part from builders realizing that there was too much inventory and stopped building McDonald's style homes. - Remember back to the 1980's when you would order a Big Mac and the cashier would turn around and pull one off the heating "lane" - well that is what was going on here - many ready built/ standing inventory homes but not enough buyers. The homes were sitting there and getting cold. Many builders went out of business or bankrupt in the process.

What percentage of the inventory is distressed properties and what percentage of closed transactions come from those? For the month of May, 2010, there were 538 closed transactions in Clark County. Of those 75 were short sales and 92 were bank owned, which makes the overall percentage of distressed closed transactions 31%.

Sorry for all the questions, just trying to get a better sense of the state of the Clark county real estate market.

Thank you Alex!

Posted on Sunday, June 20th, 2010 at 10:14pm.

Alex wrote:
Marjie, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. I will definitely be subscribing to your blog (my wife is originally from Portland and wants to stay updated on the market there).

Posted on Sunday, June 20th, 2010 at 10:24pm.



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