Oregonian First-time Buyer Story

The Oregonian is publishing a new section each Thursday called inPORTLAND. Today’s cover story is called “Chasing the Portland Dream” by Scott Learn. It details the experience of a young couple and their search for a home under $200,000 in a close-in neighborhood. Long story short: it is not easy.

Quoting the article: “Assume, for a moment, that you’re a typical first-time Portland home buyer. You’re not a trust-fund baby, with Mommy and Daddy coughing up your 10 percent down. You’re not a California refugee with $100,000 clear on the sale of your cookie-cutter condo in Walnut Creek…

…Forget about the Hawthorne area and Clinton Street and Alberta Arts. In general, nix the west side. Scratch Overlook, Beaumont and Rose City. Maybe you’ll get lucky and find a dollhouse in Boise-Eliot, a cute-enough place in Kenton, Piedmont or Woodlawn, or a sparkling cottage on a together block in St. Johns, Cully, Foster-Powell or Woodstock.

But you better hope it’s not a fixer, because investors with cash are snapping those up, and you’re carrying an interest-only loan and no down payment. You can bank on offering well above the asking price. You can also count on multiple bids for anything worth buying.

You’re hoping this city is still the place where you can get a close-in old bungalow with nice trim, a porch and wood floors in decent shape. You’d like a short drive or bus ride to work and a short walk to shops. You’d prefer a neighborhood with some trees and character.

You’re chasing the Portland dream, and hoping it hasn’t turned to vapor, too.”

The full story is on oregonlive.com .

Tour of Sales Offices

I spent a part of the day yesterday with a client visiting the sales offices and construction sites of some of the new developments in town. Each one is unique and comes down to personal preference.

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The Strand- Prices and Floorplans Released

Reservations for the Strand begin on March 28th. The prices and floorplans for the units are now available. There will be three towers. The East Tower will be completed in the summer of next year. The North Tower in will be completed in the fall and the West Tower Spring 2007. Construction is under way. Read More

NW 23rd Uptown Condo Project Requires Redesign

According to tonight’s KGW news story, the city council meeting pitting the neighborhood against the developer resulted in a win for the neighborhood. The Uptown Shopping Center, recently home to Elephant’s Deli and current home to Ben & Jerry’s, Uptown Hardware and a host of others is slated to have the complex built behind it. The proposed plan had a 14 story condo tower and a 4.5 story townhouse complex on the current site. Read More

Contingent Offers and Avoiding Being Homeless

You’ve made the decision to sell one home and move into another. You need the money from the sale of your old home to complete the purchase of your new home. You face two challenges. First, making an offer contingent on the sale of an existing property is considered a weak offer and if you are competing with other buyers you are going lose out. Also, expect to pay more than you would for a non-contingent offer. Second, you want to move from one place to the other without being homeless.

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The Strand at Riverplace Goes on Sale March 28th

Current word is that the Strand by Riverplace will start taking reservations on March 28th. Preliminary marketing materials, not the final thing, will be available on the 21st. We are not the listing agents for the property but work as buyers agents. The Portland Streetcar began running to Riverplace on March 11th. Read More

Portland Monthly Real Estate Guide

Portland monthly just published their new Real Estate Guide.
Their Top 20 Neighborhoods article from 2004 is also great. Download The Portland Top 20 (17mb!)
Overall Portland metro appreciation for 2004 was 11%! That’s the highest it has been in years. Read More

John Ross Approved

The John Ross building in the South River Blocks has been approved by the city council. I’ll post more info when it becomes available! Read More

The Vaux in Northwest Portland

Construction at The Vaux on NW 24th is moving at an amazing pace. Not long ago, vacant buildings stood there, now a large hole has been dug that will presumably be below-street parking. Read More

Loft Living Considerations

Question:

Can you tell me everything you would tell a friend who was thinking of buying a loft in Portland?
Question submitted by a client relocating from out-of-state.

Answer:

First you have the real estate adage of location, location, location. Not only do we need to look at the physical address but we also need to look at the height of the unit in the building and the direction it face. In the Pearl, Mt. Hood facing views are generally considered more desirable than city facing views. You will always trade location for price. In the Pinnacle Condominiums, unit 407 was listed for $274,000 and unit 707 for $287,000. Both units are 865sqft with the only difference being height in the building. Per square foot, downtown real estate is the most expensive in Oregon. Expect to pay $300-$350+/sqft.

As of right now, there are 10 listings in the Pearl District priced under $300,000. The lowest priced is $239,900; average price per square foot is $322 and average size 802 sqft. There are lower priced units at both the Uptown Condos and McCormick Pier condo conversions but they are outside of the Pearl.

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