Fannie Mae downgraded their outlook for 2014 after home sales were below last year for the first half of 2014. The latest Snapshot Report from Pacific Appraisals also shows home sales running below last year in the Wenatchee Market.
By number of transactions, the sales of homes and condos are down 8% in the Wenatchee market for the year. Pricing has held firm, or even increased somewhat, as the dollar volume of all sales are only down by 2% for the year through July in the Wenatchee market.
The long term outlook is not encouraging either. Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist notes the performance so far this year: “In the first six months of the year, total sales have run below last year’s pace.” He goes on further by saying “on the demand side, there appears to be a conservatism among consumers and their willingness to take on big-ticket purchases, such as homes.”
Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research Group believe 2014 will finish below last year in total sales. They expect 2015 to be have higher sales volumes than either 2014 or 2013, but still not a breakout year for home sales. Remember, this is the same group that is downgrading their expectations for this year.
The Wenatchee housing market is still showing weak demand in the over $500k price range, where inventory soars to over 1 year and there is only .67 homes per month sell in the price range of $500k to $550k.
The Chelan market reports have been somewhat devastated by the MLS changeover. However, looking at sold homes, condominiums and manufactured homes from January through July of this year shows 95 transactions. For the same time period last year, the volume was 96 transactions. So, sales have been basically the same.
One difference in the Lake Chelan area is that the sales levels of existing homes have fallen more significantly. There are new homes being built on speculation and pre-sales that have landed a bigger share of home sales than in previous years. New construction sales through July in 2014 count for 11 sales versus only 4 for the same period in 2013. For those trying to sell their existing home, the market is noticeably below 2013.
In spite of the Federal Reserve keeping interest rates at what are historically unsustainable rates, they have not been able to stimulate consumers back to housing market in droves, or even to the levels they expected. We do live in interesting times.