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Months of inventory

by JOEL MARTIN
Staff Writer | June 3, 2022 1:20 AM

MOSES LAKE — There’s been a lot of talk about the housing market lately: pricing and scarcity, outgrowths of the reliable old Law of Supply and Demand. With real estate, that figure can be measured in months of inventory.

“Months of inventory is an indicator of housing supply,” said Cara McNeil of Washington Realtors. “For example, when someone lists a home, it becomes counted as inventory. There is a formula for calculating months of inventory, but simply put, it refers to how many months it would take for the inventory on the market to sell in the current market. The less inventory we have on the market, the more we see housing prices increase.”

That situation has led to a sellers’ market right now with prices exceeding expectations in many cases and homes selling quickly, said Brian Gentry of Re/Max Northwest Realtors in Othello.

“Right now prices are kind of high,” said Gentry. “If you have two months of inventory, that means there's still plenty of buyers and they're still willing to pay the prices. A year ago if something was priced right, it would be pending in a week or less.”

Nationally, that figure was 2.1 months in April, the last month for which statistics were available, down from 2.3 a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors. Adams County comes pretty close to that at 2.5 months, according to information from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. Grant County, on the other hand, is growing rapidly and has only 0.9 months of inventory available. The even tighter market on the west side skews the average for the whole state even further, to 0.78.

“It's interesting because if something's not priced right, you can tell pretty quickly because it's gonna sit for a while,” said Gentry. “Or when you price it right, there’s gonna be a flurry, there’s gonna be multiple buyers.”

Of course, statistics are useful for looking at market trends as a whole, Gentry pointed out, but that’s not necessarily what buyers are looking at.

“A lot of the buyers right now are gauging those prices based on interest rates and what their monthly payment’s going to be. And for a lot of buyers, they're not as concerned at the actual sale price as they are at the monthly payments. That's really kind of where the rubber meets the road for them. They're trying to figure out exactly how it's going to affect them in their actual budget.”

Joel Martin may be reached via email at jmartin@columbiabasinherald.com.

photo

JOEL MARTIN/COLUMBIA BASIN HERALD

Homes for sale in Grant County, like the two in Moses Lake shown with this story, can expect to stay on the market a little longer than in Seattle or Vancouver, but not as long as a similar home in Adams County.

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