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Inventory is up, Home Sales are Down

The big story this month is a double-digit increase in inventory over December 2017. Active listings are up 11

percent from 2,479 in December 2017 to 2,740 listings last month. That’s a big deal. Months of inventory was

also up nearly 13 percent year over year. It’s still coming in at just 2.77 months, which is still well below a

balanced market, and slightly down from last month. However, we should note that this time of year listings

are usually less robust.

Nationally, home sales were unusually low, with a 6.4 percent drop in December across the country. Being in

a hotter market, it would be hard to pick up on this stat locally, but some experts are baffled because it wasn’t

accompanied by a change in policy. Other market analysts are chalking the slowdown up to a decrease in

consumer confidence, or sharp home price gains coupled with an increase in mortgage rates.

What Do Buyers and Sellers Need to Know?

Buyers should be aware that market volatility is actually good for them—when markets are volatile, people

are more likely to stay put, and that means fewer homebuyers taking a risk in buying a home. That said, you

need to know exactly what you can afford in the long term and plan for contingencies. Make sure you’re

contributing as much as you can to the down payment while keeping some savings liquid for emergencies.

Don’t make any purchases that involve the need to sell or refinance in the short term, because in a volatile

climate, we just don’t know what the future holds.

If you’re planning to use any kind of federal assistance for a home purchase, be advised that the current

shutdown may impact your closing. Work with your lender to see what non-government options are available

if possible, and if not, you may need to include some contingencies in your offer based on your financing


Uncertainty in the market doesn’t impact sellers as much, but you will want to look at mortgage rates before

you decide to sell.

Key Salem Housing Market Statistics

Here are a few other key stats from the Willamette Valley Multiple Listing Service housing report for

December 2018:

Average Price for Single-Family Home Salem – $308,480

Average Number of Days on the Market Salem – 76

Average Price for Single-Family Home Keizer - $300,836

Average Number of Days on the Market Willamette Valley– 76

Single-Family Homes Sold Willamette Valley – 830

Total Dollar Volume of Homes Sold in Willamette Valley -- $3,449,545,495

Months of Housing Inventory Available in Willamette Valley – 2.77

Total Pending Sales Willamette Valley – 897

Active Listings Willamette Valley – 2,740

Active Listings Salem – 345

Active Listings Keizer – 44