It’s a strong seller’s market for homes on Grays Harbor

Nailing It Down

By Dave Murnen and Pat Beaty

Do you happen to have a three-bedroom, two-bath house in excellent condition that you want to sell in Grays Harbor County?

If it’s priced right, local real estate agents say it’s likely you’ll have multiple offers — maybe even a bidding war.

Grays Harbor houses are in demand, with many more buyers looking than sellers ready to put their houses on the market.

“It’s a great time to sell, but not a great time to buy, just because there isn’t much to buy,” said broker Jill Warne of Century 21 Real Estate, whose office is in Elma.

“The market is actually kind of stuck because sellers don’t want to be homeless,” she said.

Jason Atwood, the owner/broker of Oly Pen Real Estate in Montesano, agrees. “We are seeing lots of creativity of homeowners who are selling then moving in with their parents for a while or making other arrangements as they look for a house to buy or wait to move in.”

“The demand in Central Park and Montesano is crazy. A house in Montesano can be sold in three or four days if it’s priced right, probably with multiple offers,” Atwood said. “A few years ago, multiple offers were once in a blue moon. Now, it’s wild out here.”

In Montesano, the average buyer right now is looking at a house between $250,000 and $300,000 on a good-sized lot with three bedrooms and two or more bathrooms, Atwood said.

“If it has room to build a shop, that’s even better. A frequent request is to have neighbors, but not too close by,” he said. “People want clean, move-in ready houses that don’t have super small bedrooms.”

Travis Jelovich, owner/broker of Windermere Real Estate in Aberdeen, agrees that more houses on the market would be great for the area. In Aberdeen, he is seeing a lot of demand for three-bedroom, two-bath houses in the $185,000 to $235,000 price range.

“We are still seeing low inventory here. It’s a seller’s market in most price ranges,” Jelovich said. “We are seeing a lot of out-of-town buyers coming from all over from up north as well as from out of state.

“While local people think that prices here are crazy-high right now, out-of-towners see them as a deal,” he said.

“We are seeing an influx of buyers from California as well as retirees from the Seattle area. In addition, the ramp-up of real estate prices in 2015-17 because of Amazon’s influence in Seattle has finally begun to affect us,” Atwood observed. “Some Seattle buyers moved to Tacoma as housing prices escalated in Seattle. Then, as the demand for houses in Tacoma increased the prices there, some Tacoma-area employees started buying in the Olympia area. Now, some of those Olympia-area people are buying homes in Grays Harbor.”

For many people, the 30- to 40-minute low-traffic commute to the Olympia area from Grays Harbor is well worth the lower housing prices, Atwood said.

Warne said that while many people are coming from out of the area and commuting to work, others have been brought to Grays Harbor by new jobs.

“Summit Pacific Medical Center has been expanding and bringing people here, and Overstock at the Satsop Business Park now has some 350 employees,” she said. “A lot of stuff is happening here, plus there is a housing shortage all over the state and the interest rates are at record lows and the economy is booming.”

Jelovich agreed. ”If you are looking to sell your house in Grays Harbor, now’s the time. Interest rates are low and buyers are plentiful,” he said. “If you are ready to move on, it’s time to go for houses in most every price range.”

Next week

We will continue our discussion of the Grays Harbor real estate market in next week’s column. In addition, we’ll pass along some advice for both buyers and sellers.

Dave Murnen and Pat Beaty are construction specialists at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor County, where Murnen is executive director. This is a nonprofit organization committed to creating safe and affordable housing for all residents of Grays Harbor County. For questions about home repair, renting, remodeling or buying, call 360-533-7828 or visit 710 E. Market St. in Aberdeen. Our office is fully ADA-compliant.