The Northwest Multiple Listing Service reports that closed sales on listings in Lewis County jumped from 57 in January of 2019 to 87 in January of 2020. The 52.6 percent increase is the second-highest of any other county in Washington, behind only Douglas.
The median price of a residential property in Lewis County was 13.9 percent higher in January 2020 than in January 2019.
Della Stoddard, an agent with Windermere in Centralia, attributes the climb to the influx of new businesses in Lewis County and a favorable cost of living.
“There’s new businesses moving in, which means more people are moving in,” Stoddard said. “More people are buying and our taxes are lower than adjacent counties and our property prices are cheaper than Thurston and up north, so a lot of the north and south buyers are coming up, because (the county) is centrally located.”
She also looked to the steady-climbing median price on properties around the rest of state.
“The median sale price (in Washington) has gone up considerably, too,” Stoddard said. “From 2017, to today, the median price was about ($320,000) and now it’s ($425,000) and up. That’s over the entire (Northwest Multiple Listing Service), so home prices in general.”
Active residential listings in Lewis County dropped from 217 in January 2019 to 193 in January of 2020. Windermere agent Len Noble cited quick turnaround times from listing to closing as a factor for the drop in time a listing spends on the market.
For reference, Lewis County had 2.22 months worth of inventory last month.
“I probably had eight listings, six months ago. I’m down to one now,” Noble said. “I would say a three bedroom, two bath, just in good condition, livable, nice curb appeal, it would go within a week, but usually about five days, but let’s say a week to be safe. That would be from $225,000 up.”
Stoddard added that without much inventory, prospective buyers are jumping on properties as soon as they come available.
Buyers utilizing online platforms to streamline the search process has also played a role in the active listing drop, according to Noble.
“(Buyers) don’t call up and say ‘can you find me a house?,’” Noble said. “They call up and say ‘could you check out this house?,’ because everybody knows what the house is like before from the computer.”
“Online shopping,” Stoddard added.
While both Stoddard and Noble cited the increasing number of buyers from other counties, Noble also attributes the state of the market to buyers from other states, such as California and even Oklahoma.
“The people down here, they really like (Chehalis),” Noble said. “I had a friend that moved into Chehalis about two months ago from Oklahoma City. They came out here on a vacation, her and her husband, they’ve never been to Washington and they wanted to see the ocean and just drive around.”
Her friend and her husband then knew that they wanted to move to Chehalis.
“Two years they waited, but they knew they had to be here in Chehalis,” Noble said. “Because anything they had seen was just a no. (The realtor) would send them stuff, it was a no, it was funny.”
Noble recalls the same feeling when she drove to Lewis County from California.
“I drove through Chehalis,” Noble said. “I said, ‘I’m going to live in Chehalis,’ I don’t know what it is about it.”
Noble believes Lewis County’s market should remain in its current state until around August. Stoddard’s assessment centered around the businesses that continue to set up shop in Lewis County.
“As long as big companies continue to move down here, like, big warehouses that are creating employment down here, it’s going to push the market even up more because the housing is going to be in a higher demand,” Stoddard said. “They’re going to have to build more homes and there’s going to be a lot more people looking.”