News & Features

Kelley’s Market Trends: Residential Sales – First Quarter

Home sales for the first quarter of 2016 saw a 7.8 percent overall increase from the first quarter of 2015

Home sales for the first quarter of 2016 have been very good with a 7.8 percent overall increase in the number of sales from the first quarter of 2015. The year started out great with an 18.9 percent increase in January, then followed it up with a 17.6 percent increase in February. In March, the number of sales started to slow with an 8.5 percent decrease from March of 2015, decreasing the overall increase to 7.8 percent. If that overall pace of sales were to continue throughout the entire year, the number of sales would match the high of 1,804 from 2006.

Mortgage interest rates continue at near record lows with the average 15-year rate at around 3.2 percent and the average 30-year rate at around 3.75 percent.

There were 291 residential sales in Flathead County in the first quarter compared to 270 in the first quarter of 2015. In the first quarter, 52 percent of residential sales were on small urban or suburban lots, 20 percent were on half-acre to three-acre lots and 17 percent were on three to 20-acre tracts. There were also nine water front home sales, representing three percent of the market.

The median sales price for the first quarter was $243,000, compared to $235,000 for the first quarter of 2015.

The current overall inventory level continues to be about the same as it was a year ago, however, only 22 percent of the overall inventory is priced below the first quarter’s median of $243,000.

In the first quarter there were 23 bank-owned or distressed sales, compared to 38 in 2015. Non-distressed sales represent 92.1 percent of the market, compared to 86 percent for the same period in 2015.

Overall, 2016 continues at a near record pace for residential home sales, however March has shown that the market is starting to slow. At this time it is still too early to say whether March was just a bump in an improving market or if it is the start of a slowing trend. Only time will tell, so please stay tuned as we continue through 2016.

In 1981, Jim started Kelley Appraisal in Kalispell and has since built an extensive database of economic and real estate-related data on northwestern Montana. Over the last several years, he has published annual reports on the Flathead Real Estate Market and been a guest speaker on numerous occasions for various groups in the Flathead.