This is the latest in a series of “city guides” we’ve created to give home buyers across Washington some insight into current housing market conditions. Today, we will examine some of the most important trends you should know about when buying a house in Vancouver, Washington in 2018.
Overview: Buying a Home in Vancouver in 2018
At the start of 2018, the Vancouver real estate market could be summed up as follows:
- Houses in the area are more expensive than they were last year.
- Home prices are expected to continue rising over the coming months.
- Low housing inventory is boosting competition among buyers.
Those are three of the most important things to know when buying a house in Vancouver in 2018. There is also an inventory shortage happening in this and most other cities across Washington. So let’s take a closer look at these real estate market trends that can affect Vancouver home buyers in 2018.
1. Home values rose significantly over the last year.
According to the latest data from Zillow, the median home value for Vancouver, Washington rose to around $294,000 as of January 2018. Other sources put the median sales price at around $320,000, as of January 2018. These figures give you some idea of where the market is right now, in terms of pricing.
The bigger story here is annual home-price appreciation. According to several sources, the median home value in Vancouver rose somewhere between 7% and 9% over the last year alone. That is quite a bit higher than the historical average for annual appreciation, going back several decades.
2. Prices are expected to continue climbing in 2018.
Most market analysts expect home prices in Vancouver (and most other Washington cities) to continue rising throughout 2018 due to strong demand and limited inventory. But the latest forecasts suggest that we could see smaller gains over the coming months, compared to those that occurred over the last couple of years.
The research team at Zillow, for example, expects the median house value in Vancouver to climb by another 5.2% over the next 12 months (as reported in February 2018). That’s a stronger forecast than the one they issued for the nation as a whole, covering the same timeframe.
3. Tight inventory is driving competition among Vancouver home buyers.
These latest home-price trends and forecasts are largely shaped by the current imbalance between supply and demand. This is true for many cities across the country, but it is especially pronounced within the Washington State housing market.
In Vancouver and other major cities across the state, there just aren’t enough homes listed for sale to satisfy the current level of demand from buyers.
According to economists and housing experts, a balanced real estate market has somewhere around five to six months worth of supply. (That’s the length of time it would theoretically take to sell all homes currently listed for sale, if no new properties came onto the market in the meantime.)
- When inventory rises above that level, you have a surplus that tends to create seller’s-market conditions.
- When inventory drops well below that range, you have a constrained market that tends to favor the seller over the buyer.
As of January 2018, Vancouver had roughly a 1.5-month supply of homes for sale. So it could still be considered a seller’s market, at least where inventory is concerned.
The inventory situation will affect anyone who is thinking about buying a home in Vancouver in 2018. In a tight real estate market, home buyers need to bring their ‘A’ game. This means having your financing arranged before entering the market, and having a realistic sense of what you can afford. This will make you a more efficient and competitive home buyer.
4. Mortgage rates rose at the start of 2018.
Mortgage rates have been in the news a lot lately, and this is another important subject for anyone planning to buy a home in Vancouver, Washington in 2018.
The big story here is that the average rate for a 30-year home loan rose above 4% at the start of the year — for the first time in months. And it has climbed even higher over the last few weeks.
According to the long-running industry survey conducted by Freddie Mac, the average rate for a 30-year fixed home loan rose to 4.38% during the week ending February 15, 2018. That’s was the highest it had been since April 2014.
This trend has captured the attention of home buyers and mortgage shoppers in Washington and elsewhere across the country. It could create a sense of urgency among home buyers in Vancouver and elsewhere.
Disclaimer: This article includes real estate data and forecasts from third parties not associated with our company. We have presented them here as a service to our readers.