Sequim home sales have been challenging to analyze and interpret this year, and for good reasons. The market has not been a typical market for Sequim home sales, and I’ll explain why and then show you the sales chart from January through September 23 (yesterday) of this year.
First, we just came through what I call the 10-year recession, and that impacted us dramatically. Existings homes for sale were 30% or more less than the cost of building a new home, so no one was building for nearly 10 years. Builders went out of business, land sales went to zero, but retirees kept slowly buying homes. Since new homes were not coming on the market, and the best homes were being picked up slowly by retirees over the years, the inventory eventually reached the low crisis point it is today. Remember in Sequim retirees don’t sell every 5 years like other parts of the country. In Sequim retirees stay put in their homes for 15 to 20 years as a general rule. So new listings are not coming on the market as much as you might think.
Second, supply and demand drove prices up over the past three years by about 30%, and homes in some hot markets elsewhere were selling at higher prices (like the Bay area in California a couple of years ago), and when people sell their homes for more in other states, the are able to pay more in Sequim. That happened here and contributed to pushing prices upward, too.
Third, and a little more complicated and subjective is what I’ve observed in buyers coming from around the country this year that is a nuance from previous years. Sequim is a small market with a small inventory and a small number of retirees coming throughout the year, so any changes in the behavior of buyers dramatically impacts Sequim home sales numbers and prices.
Buyers coming to Sequim are well educated, successful, typically married for a long time and stable, conservative financially, and mature. This means they read the news, they understand financial markets, and they want to make wise decisions for their retirement years. So they are careful. In years like this where uncertainty is registered at record levels in the areas of politics, economics, financial markets, natural disasters, climate changes, retirement issues, and the future costs and availability of healthcare, not to mention real estate markets nationwide, retirees have found themselves challenged to make big moves. When there is uncertainty on major issues in life, the default decision is to do nothing. All of these uncertainties, which are perhaps at record levels in the United States in these past couple of years, have caused some indecision and some postponements as far as retirees selling their homes elsewhere and buying a permanent home in Sequim. This could account for the “sporadic” buying we have seen this year.
Now let’s look closer at the actual sales numbers for this year.
To say the obvious, the biggest sales numbers are in the $300,000 to $400,000 price range where 97 homes sold so far this year (Jan 1 to Sept 23, 2019). The second best selling price range is $400,000 to $500,000 where 77 homes sold. In the lowest price range of $200,000 to $300,000 69 homes sold, and 37 and 23 in the upper prices, respectively.
Which months are the best selling months? That will vary from year to year and month to month, because retirees are not waiting for the school year to start or end in the spring or fall before they move. They typically move throughout the year, but summer months do still play a role in timing.
In the lowest price range July is the month for buying, but that changes above $300,000, so that May, June, July, and August were all big buying months. If you’re wanting to list and sell your home, you may still sell it in any month of the year, including November or December, but for buyers the big moves have been made from May through August of this year.
I hope you find this Sequim home sales report beneficial.
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