Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Posted December 19, 2022 in Real Estate Trends

Scott Hogan, Clark County WA real estate agent

Last year at this time, I predicted, “Interest rates are expected to rise a little to combat inflation.” Genius, right? I admit I cannot take much credit for my Real Estate 101-level crystal ball. In fact, I greatly underestimated the interest rate hikes, which turned out to be a record seven increases in one year and the highest rates in 15 years.

These rate hikes, at least in local real estate, did just what the Fed said they wanted to do: cool down the economy. How cool? In November of 2021, there were 1094 sales in our county. In November of 2022, just 594-a drop of 54%. Interest rates caused this year-end to be a lot slower than any recent years since we bounced back from the last cool period of 2008-2010.

We enjoyed the brisk pace of transactions over the last 12 years but, as anyone who has watched the real estate market (and the broader economy) knows, there are cycles of ups and downs. By ups and downs, I’m referring to the number of transactions, not the value of homes. So far, at least, most home values appear to be holding steady. Demand remains high, but there are fewer buyers chasing available homes, resulting in fewer frustrated buyers. Anecdotally, though starter and mid-level homes have been the mainstay of Clark County residential real estate for decades, we’ve also been closing some of the most-expensive residential properties ever sold in our county. In other words, Clark County is still a desirable place to live and buy for first-time and luxury homebuyers alike.

For next year, the Fed says they will continue to tamp down inflation with more rate hikes. I liken it to the motto on my joke office plaque: “The beatings will continue until morale improves.” As a result, there’s no bright sunshine in my 2023 forecast. Instead, it seems like we’re headed into a year of slow but steady real estate activity. People always need to buy and sell for various reasons and, when putting today’s rates into historical perspective, one realizes that we’ve seen much worse interest-rate environments.

Clark County Title is ready to help, whatever you are doing in real estate: buying, selling, or refinancing. Our staff is the best in the business, having mastered title and escrow since our start in 1980. We’re grateful for the continued patronage of the best Realtors and lenders in Clark County as referral sources.

Clark County Title wants to be part of your real estate success. We sincerely thank the many people that have entrusted us with their transactions this year and wish you and yours a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year!

From your friends at Clark County Title,