Friday, April 07, 2006

Housing Inventory Shows Signs of Weakening Housing Market

The Southwest Washington housing inventory is at its highest point in two years, possibly signaling a weakening market, according to Regional Multiple Listing Service data for January issued this week.

There was a 5.4-month inventory in January, the agency reported, the highest since a 5.2-month supply reported in January 2004.

The 5.4-month figure in January compares with 3.3 months in December and 3.5 in January 2005. Last year, the inventory was as low as 1.8 months -- in June -- and never higher than 3.7 -- in November.

Although new listings increased 9.6 percent, from 1,085 in January 2004 to 1,189 in January 2005, closed sales decreased by nearly 12 percent and pending sales also dropped, by nearly 8 percent.

"The market has eased off a bit," said David "Sandy" Hendrick, association executive with the Clark County Association of Realtors. "It's still a good market, but the inventory has crept up. That's probably in reaction to (increasing) interest rates."

Still, the median sale price was $238,500 in January, a nearly 22 percent increase over the $196,000 median in January 2005. The median is the point at which half of the sales are higher and half are lower and is considered a more accurate gauge of sales prices than the average.


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