August Update

My son just completed a two week backpacking trip through Olympic National Park, incommunicado except for one phone call when his group resupplied. This was a special kind of agony for his parents. If he only knew how many times he was attacked by bears in my imagination, impaled on the horns of crabby mountain goats and washed over Niagara Falls, which I explained to my imagination is not even in the Olympics. Riley returned to us unharmed. Inspired by his experience, I instigated a day hike in the Olympics last Thursday with Matt and our families. I was reminded what a selling point it is for Tacoma that we live so close to mountains and wilderness on both sides. We climbed from Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center up to and along the Klahhane Ridge. Everyone was exhausted to the core and happy. The view of glaciers atop Mt. Olympus was minty fresh and we had many encounters with mountain goats who, it turns out, were not interested in skewering us.

We are not alone in taking advantage of the good weather. August is historically a month where real estate slows as people travel. The vacation effect combined with a pile of inventory hitting the market really changed the supply/demand picture since June. In June there were 148 homes listed in the north end. Now there are 210. In that same stretch of time, pending sales dropped from 144 to 127. The sales ratio (pending/active listings) went from 103% to 60%. Understand that 60% is not bad—that ratio still favors sellers just slightly, but the interesting thing is how fast this market changed from a radical seller’s market to balanced. Case in point, this is the first month I have been able to write to you since spring. It was just too busy until now. I expect things to pick up again after school starts. Remember, even though rates have inched up into the mid-4s, that is still a mind-blowing rate if you consider the history of interest rates since the 1970s. Personally, I think buying a home today is a very good idea. I’m not just saying that. I put my money where my mouth is and bought my first rental property.

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