Has the change in market conditions changed what is selling in the Portland housing market?  I thought we’d take a look this morning at four price ranges from this year and last year.  I used January of this and last year as our time frame.  I searched RMLS areas for North, Northeast, Southeast and West Portland.  The “total” in the graph is the total residential sales for those areas, not the entire RMLS market.

We see that closed sales are down across the board but that the lower price ranges have done “better.”

Closed Sales Jan- 08 % of 2008
Jan- 09 % of 2009
20009 drop in
sold sales
$200k-$400k 290 67% 163 77% -44%
$400-$600 66 15% 29 14% -56%
$600k-$800k 66 15% 17 8% -74%
Over $1M 12 3% 4 2% -67%
Total 434 213 -51%


Two articles in the last coupe of days worth noting about the national and local real estate markets.  The first, Realty Times is very BUY NOW.  I’ve said it before so will say it again, “buy now” campaigns don’t make me happy.  The decision to buy is personal and individual.

Get off that Fence! by Denise Lones

I’ve been saying it for months, and I’ll say it again.

NOW is the time to get off the fence and buy!

And you’re doing a huge disservice to your clients if you don’t make sure they hear that message loud and clear!

Why am I so convinced that the time is now?

Well, it’s a combination of things. Regardless of whether you’re building a new deck, or whipping up a batch of cupcakes, you need the right ingredients in order to ensure success. For the buyer considering a purchase, the right ingredients are at hand.

She lists of her reason (low mortgage rates, the bottom of the market may be near, the First Time Buyer Tax Credit, seller’s are motivated). Realty Times is an industry media outlet. (more…)

I spent the night on the sofa.  I didn’t do anything.  I’m not in trouble.  Regular readers know that we’ve moved out of our nearly 5000 SQFT historic home for a 1054 SQFT apartment.  It’s a six month experiment that came about in an unsolicited manner; our house is a corporate rental, fully furnished through June. We’ve been here for about a month now.

My parents are visiting for three nights so now its four adults, one toddler and one dog in less square footage than one of the floors of our house.  One of the things that I find hard to believe is that we left a fully furnished house behind.  We’ve brought with us and purchased a minimal amount of furniture and the condo does not feel under-appointed.  We would need very little of the furniture that remains in our house if we were doing this “forever.” (more…)

Case Shiller was released this morning for December 2008. Portland continued its decline to 158.5, down 13.1% from this time December 2007.  That’s down 15% from the peak in July of 2007.  The 158 figure drops Portland to September 2005 levels.  The Dow Jones closed yesterday at 1997 levels yesterday. (more…)

According to Hillsboro police, a Realtor was arrested last week after using his ActiveKey to gain access to homes listed for sale.  One seller came home to find the Realtor in his living room having a cocktail!

The ActiveKey is a coded cellular device issued to each Realtor (for a fee).  By entering a personal code, the lockbox will open.  It immediately sends out a message that the lockbox has been opened notifying the listing agent of the time and person opening the box.  There are pretty heavy fines for “loaning” your key out and it would almost surely cost the Realtor his/her license too. (more…)

I just received and email suggesting that the Craigslist posting advertising our property for rent is a scam.  They are right.  There is an individual using the email address solomonandy18@(deleted).com as their reply.  A Google search of the email  address reveals two other Craigslist ads with the same reply email (one in Stockton and the other in Kansas City).  It’s not clear how the scam works  but I have heard that similar postings get the victim to send a deposit to hold the house. (more…)

The Obama’s stimulus package has altered the the First Time Buyer Credit to
be a true credit and not a loan that must be repaid.  The two images here show
how the IRS defines who is and is not qualified to take the credit in 2008 and
are taken directly from IRS Form 5045
ASK A TAX PROFESSIONAL.  This post is not tax advice. (more…)

Just after 8 o’clock yesterday I received and email from a past client that started like this: “Well, this mornings article in the Oregonian was terrifying.” He knows there is an oil tank on his property that has not been decommissioned because it was tested when he bought it but as it is hard to access the test results we only parital.  Good reason to be scared after reading the article titled New EPA and Oregon rules double costs for home oil tank cleanup.  The headline is really quite alarming.  It’s accurate too but the headline is blanket statement but the quote below in the story qualifies: (more…)

RMLS Market Action reported the highest level of inventory in recorded history this month.  Inventory is calculated by taking the current number of active listings and dividing it by the number of closed sales (14,006 listings/732 closed sales).  In January 2006, there were 6.2 months of inventory.  Between March and September of 2005 inventory never got above two months.

If you are a seller, the competition is plentiful.  Buyers have lots of options when looking at property and as there are fewer buyers in general they can be picky.  Nobody’s perfect, we had an agent that couldn’t get the door open at our property this week, we’re having the lock worked on tomorrow.  It’s not broken but nor is it easy to open (mortise locks are counter intuitive to start with). (more…)

RMLS-MARKET-ACTION-Inventor While the snow fell, inventory soared to a record 19.2 months.  The total number of active listings appears to be about the same as it was in January 2008 but the slow in sales (732 in 2009 compared to 1085 in 2008) means the listing will take longer to sell in this market.  The 732 closings was the lowest since records started being kept in 1992.

How bad was December for real estate?  January’s pending sales increased 52% from the previous month. (more…)