Prices surge as Yakima County housing shortage continues into 2017

YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. -- For many people, the new year brings new goals and new resolutions.

However, if becoming a homeowner is on your list, you might be disappointed. Supply is still low for single-family homes in Yakima County.

Though keys to a new home is often considered the American dream, local 'For Sale' signs have been few and far between.

“You've got a lot of buyers right now that would love to buy something, but there's nothing for them to buy,” said Yakima Association of Realtors President Lisa Angell.

Though realtors said it's a seller's market, it doesn't meet local demand.

Realtors said 103 homes were built in 2016. And even though 2,234 homes were put on the market and sold last year, it’s a five percent increase from 2015.

“I would say that what we've had for probably about a year-and-a-half is an inventory shortage,” said Angell.

Active home listings are down nine percent from 2016. With 326 current active listings and 204 pending, that's about 1.6 month's worth of inventory to start the year.

However, new construction in West Valley, Terrace Heights, Moxee, and Selah is expected.

“For 2016, we had 278 new single family permits pulled versus the prior year for 2015, which was 236,” said Central Washington Homebuilders Association Executive Director Carly Faul. “So we’re starting to see growth in that new family construction market.”

Still, homes have been selling quickly, and at higher prices.

“People are wanting sort of what you would think of as the basics - you want three bedroom at least and two bathrooms,” said Angell.

A year ago the average single-family home sold for $175,000 in Yakima County. Now, you can expect to shell out $200,000.

A statewide jump, home prices have increased 10 percent in Washington over the past year, ranking second-highest in the country behind Oregon. Meanwhile, the national increase was seven percent.

“It is a reflection of demand, and just your basic supply and demand,” said Angell. “We don't have much supply.”

Realtors said a slow recovery from the recession also remains a factor. Home interest rates have also increased for 2017, averaging 3.7 percent, according to realtors. The average was 3.5 percent in 2016.

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