LONG BEACH — Pacific County saw a seasonally adjusted 11.5% gain in home sales and a 18.7% increase in median sales price in the spring of 2019, according a just-released analysis by the authoritative Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington.
These strong local results came during a quarter of the year when the hot real estate elsewhere in the state had somewhat cooled. Statewide home sales declined 6% compared to a year earlier, while the median sales price increased 10%.
Although the center’s deep dive into real estate numbers takes several weeks to compile after the end of each three-month period, it is the most thorough available look at this crucial set of assets.
Despite robust gains, Pacific County remains the second most-affordable housing market in Western Washington and 10th most affordable statewide. The median selling price of a Pacific County house was $216,700 this spring, with only Grays Harbor being less on the west side at $211,400. The median price statewide was $410,600. Pacific County’s median home price has more than doubled since 2012, when it was $102,300. (Median means half the sales were for more and half for less.)
Housing affordability continues to erode in both the state and county. That index — where 100 means a middle-income family can just qualify for a median-priced home, given a 20 percent down payment and a 30-year fixed mortgage rate at prevailing rates — was 98.4 statewide, down from 109.5 two years earlier. This suggests that, given the same down payment and mortgage, a middle-income family could afford a home selling just below the statewide median price.
Second-quarter affordability in Pacific County was based on these assumptions: A median home price of $216,700, mortgage rate of 4.07%, household income of $46,926, monthly payment of $834 for experienced homeowners and $822 for first-time buyers.
In Pacific County, this index was 118, meaning at least in theory that a typical middle-income family could afford to buy a house 18 percent more than the median home-selling price in the county. The longer-term trend for this index shows the county is becoming less affordable. The index was 127.3 one year earlier and 142 two years earlier.
Statewide in Washington, the first-time buyer index decreased to 69.9. This index assumes a less expensive home, lower down payment and lower income. This means that a household earning 70 percent of the median household income — as may be true of first-time buyers — had only 70 percent of the income required to purchase a typical starter home statewide.
In Pacific County, the first-time buyer index was 83.8 this spring, compared to 90.5 a year earlier and 100.8 two years earlier.
As of June 30, 7.8% of Pacific County homes were priced under $80,000, compared to 1% statewide; 23.8% were priced under $160,000, compared to 4.6% statewide; 51% were under $250,000, compared to 12.6% statewide; and 87.4% were under $500,000, compared to 52% statewide.
The number of listings for sales has dramatically declined in Pacific County to 183 as of June 30, down 23.1% from a year before. Five years before, there were 434 listings as of June 30, 2014. As of this June 30 there was a 3.9-month supply of houses in the county, which was down 20.4% form a year before. Statewide, there was a two-month supply, which was unchanged compared to a year earlier.