Lewis County Home Prices See Small Year-Over-Year Decline as Home Listings Increase


Western Washington home prices fell slightly year-over-year from February 2022 to February 2023, according to new data released by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

“It’s a very interesting market, comprised of primarily serious buyers and sellers,” Northwest MLS board member Mike Larson, managing broker at Compass Tacoma, said in a statement released by Northwest MLS. “Rates and inflation appear to be under control, giving buyers a window of opportunity before things possibly get crazy again.”

From February 2022 to February 2023, home prices declined by an average of $10,000, falling from $585,000 to $575,000. During that time, the total number of listings in Western Washington has increased significantly, rising 109.01% from 3,461 in February 2022 to 7,234 in February 2023. But while inventory increased over the past year, the number of listings is down by nearly 1,000 homes from January. 

“Low inventory is once again creating multiple offers where good inventory is absorbed quickly. As we move into the spring market, more competition tends to drive pricing down slightly. Sellers getting into the market now have less competition,” said John Deely, executive vice president of operations at Coldwell Banker Bain. 

In Lewis County, the real estate market saw a slight decline between January and February, as home prices dropped by an average of $7,500 from $390,000 to $382,500. 

Year-over-year, Lewis County saw a small change in home prices, with the median home price dropping 0.65% from $385,000 to $382,500 between February 2022 and February 2023. The decline was smaller than the fall in home prices in Grays Harbor (-15.14%), Pacific (-11.94%), Thurston (-4.79%) and Cowlitz (-4.21%) counties. Statewide, home prices declined by 1.71% in the past year.

A large increase in the number of homes listed for sale may be contributing to the small decline in home prices. Washington saw a 109.01% increase in the number of homes listed for sale, with the total number of listings rising from 3,461 in February 2022 to 7,234 in February 2023. During that period, the number of active listings increased by 94.38% in Lewis County, where the number of homes listed on the market increased from 89 to 173 year-over-year. Large increases in the number of listings were also seen in other Southwest Washington counties, including increases of 70.44% in Grays Harbor County, 101.82% in Pacific County, 114.97% in Thurston County and 182.14% in Cowlitz County. 

However, while listings are up year-over-year, the number of homes on the market declined statewide between January and February. In Western Washington, Lewis, Grays Harbor, Cowlitz and Thurston counties all saw declines in the number of homes listed for sale. Only Pacific County saw an increase in listings, rising by five homes, from 106 to 111 homes. 

According to Eren Millam, a Lewis County real estate agent for Premiere Property Group LLC, new listings have been increasing since December. It’s an increase in line with historic seasonal trends, though the total number of listings remain below the levels seen at this time last year. Millam added he expects an increase in listings as spring approaches. 

“Even with all the homes coming on the market, inventory is still going down,” he said. “Closed sales are much lower now than at this time last year. It’s going to pick up this spring as the buyers come back from their winter hibernation.”

According to Millam, while prices may have declined slightly in the past month, the 12-month rolling average shows an almost consistent movement upwards for home prices. He also noted pending sales are up since the start of the year, and he expects them to increase despite a slight recent decrease.

“The price and demand is still there,” Millam said. 

Millam also pointed to data showing that homes are being sold for prices closer to their original listing price.

“I think they listened to me,” Millam said, alluding to his previous comments to The Chronicle in February in which he said sellers were settling for lower prices than they could hold out for.

According to Millam, buyers have also gained leverage in the housing market recently. Millam specifically mentioned sellers improving their homes before selling them as being increasingly important.

“It’s really important that your home is as move-in ready as possible,” Millam said. “Selling as is is not a thing anymore and it will hurt you financially trying to do that.”

Millam said the improvement in the market for home buyers is at least partly a result of increases in interest rates, which he said have pushed inventory back to where it was in 2019. 

But while he says interest rate increases may have resulted in some improvements in the position of homebuyers, Millam also offered a warning. According to Millam, because of interest rate increases, the housing market is back to where it was around the time it “started getting crazy.”

“I’m not saying that’s where it’s going to be, but that looks like where it's headed barring another interest rate increase,” Millam said. “Something I’ve been saying all along is the market is not crashing. If you're not planning to buy right now, you’re going to get left behind.”