Harbor housing market on a roll

A bustling Grays Harbor County housing market closed out the first quarter of the year on a delightful note for sellers, who cashed in on spiking values amid strong demand and low inventory in the region.

The confluence of factors sent the median price of a single-family home in the Harbor up more than $60,000 to $347,450 in March from $283,250 in March 2021, according to data compiled monthly by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. That marked a gain of 22.67 percent in a tough period for home buyers.

“I find that spring, especially early spring, is really competitive. It’s really hard for buyers,” said Jaime Quigg of Quigg & Co Real Estate in Hoquiam. “A lot of people hold up on listing their homes, so when a few things come on the market there have been buyers waiting.”

Those buyers were battling for homes throughout the Harbor in March with Ocean Shores narrowly besting Aberdeen for total sales.

A total of 30 residences exchanged hands in Ocean Shores, where the median price leaped more than $80,000 to $399,750 in March from $319,000 in March 2021. That marked an increase of 25.31 percent.

Aberdeen was close behind with 29 transactions. That activity helped send the median price of a single-family residence in the old fishing and logging town up more than $70,000 to $253,000 from $180,500 or 40.17 percent in the March-over-March period.

Hoquiam rounded out the top three with 19 home sales in March. At the same time, the median price climbed 30.68 percent to $287,500 from $220,000.

While home sales weren’t nearly as brisk in other housing markets within the Harbor, those places stood out for one big reason — eye-popping median prices that once might have seemed unattainable. On that front, Pacific Beach chimed in with a median price of $1.5 million in March, followed by $622,000 in Grayland and $459,499 in Oakville.

“The prices that are crazy in Grays Harbor are still a heck of a lot better than Tacoma and Seattle,” said David Quigg of Quigg & Co Real Estate in Hoquiam.

Copalis Beach, Elma and McCleary also surpassed the $400,000 mark in March. Copalis Beach notched a median price of $448,500, followed by Elma at $416,500 and McCleary at $404,000.

Looking ahead, the Grays Harbor County housing market should keep its momentum going through spring and into summer although inventory levels (1.37 months at the end of March) and rising mortgage interest rates could impact activity, as it gets more expensive to finance home purchases.

“There is definitely going to be a leveling off,” said Jim Vleming, a regional labor economist with the Washington State Employment Security Department, whose coverage area includes Grays Harbor County and Pacific County.