Portland Monthly: “Buy Here Now”

Pdxmonthly_2April’s Portland Monthly just hit the news stands and mailboxes. Portland Monthly has a history of collecting some of the best data regarding Portland; other annual issues include, schools, doctors, attorneys and this month, real estate. Typically the rankings are available online but the stories aren’t. The website hasn’t been updated yet from the 2007 list or the March issue “on sale now” home page so you’ll have to hit the streets to buy your own copy.

Their top five ‘hoods:
1) Sylvan Highlands- Biggest one year growth
2) Northwest District- Most homes for sale over $500,000
3) Sauvie Island- Best five-year price growth
4) Powellhurst-Gilbert- Most homes for sale under $300,000
6) (tie) Hollywood/Healy Heights- Fewest days on market

The cover caption, “Buy Here Now” is a clear item of contention in the blogsphere and without the articles readily available online it’s going to be hard to discuss or present. If people have copies and want to discuss something out of the magazine, this would be a good place to do it.

32 Comments on “Portland Monthly: “Buy Here Now”

  1. Their tabulation of statistics makes it easy to find info on neighborhoods. They’re using the city defined neighborhoods, not the realtor defined neighborhoods, so outsiders trying to use it will have to realize that Concordia includes “Alberta Arts” and Sunnyside=the Hawthorne.

    It looks like a real estate booster issue, but if you note the humorous cartoon inside the back cover, you’ll note that they at least offered a nod to those among us who interpret the boosters with a cynical eye.

  2. Portland Monthly does provide great data and cross comparison for the neighborhoods. For the high net worth readers they target, this may well be a great time to buy. There are lots of great deals for houses in my close in neighborhood for homes around $600K-$800K. Of course these are 4 bedroom homes with wrap around porches, and all the old time style. Makes the little 2 Bd room a few blocks away listed at $489-$569 appear like a complete rip off.

    Last year Willamette Week did a “No better time to buy than now” and acknowledged many of the staff recently bought, so be prepared for some sour grapes in the writing room. Portland Monthly did not go too over the top and merely reaffirmed why Portland is a good city. However, Portland’s economy is a question mark… and the entire mid section is all RE ads. In the context of the Bend OR reporter controversy, Portland Monthly appears to have made a questionable cover… but its what their readers want. Portland Monthly is cheer leading for the town, RE brokers and their advertising dollars, but in a respectful way.

  3. Are we to conclude then that values will continue to rise making a starter home worth 3 million in a decade?

  4. It’s a great magazine for people from outside of the area. For someone to look at it and get their real estate information is crazy. But people have bought real estate with less information. I personally love the magazine but I also understand that it is a nicely packaged advertisement for the city.

  5. I have to agree with the cover. Portland has changed and will continue to boom in the next 10-20 years. Certain ‘hoods are blue chip investments and others are penny stocks. If one has a long timeframe, now IS a great time to buy, and out of towners are doing just that. I really hope people go back to buying a home because they want to live in it.

  6. Well, seeing as Portland suffered its first year over year median price decline as reported today, I don’t see how this is a good time to buy unless one has to for some reason.

    But I did like that “out of towners” thing. It’s fresh! The old fear tactics were getting kind of stale. You know, the “buy now or be priced out forever”, “they’re not making any more land” stuff.

  7. Did anybody record the KGW story on Portland’s improving real estate market tonight? I walked in the door just as it started at a tv without a recorder.

  8. So do you believe/agree with the KGW story, Charles?

    Is the market improving? You have first hand experience, what are you seeing?

  9. Charles, I thought it was just the station’s attempt to put a good angle on a not so positive story.

    Check out today’s Oregonian. People will be hard pressed to miss the headline on Page 1, “Portland Home Values take first dip”.

  10. 0.5% YoY decrease in today’s market is more positive than negative news. This could just be noise from to auctions etc.

    I think fundamentals are still intact and strong for PDX realestate. Seattle with much stronger economy is behind us in YoY numbers. That says a lot.

  11. Wow, those fundamentals sure do get tossed around a lot on these realtor blogs. Can some one please explain our strong fundamentals?

    I noticed a link to Jeff Kempe’s RE blog on Clint’s and he was stating how the fundamentals were intact for a stock market rebound in October 2007. Dang, I think the Dow dropped over 2,000 points since then. So much for fundamentals. A commenter on Jeff’s blog noted Phoenix’s strong fundamentals, ie, great job market, and look at Phoenix’s housing market now!

    I was just in Phoenix and Palm Desert visiting relatives last week. The Phoenix media seemed to note the decline but also stated over 10,000 people move to the county every month, EVERY MONTH! and prices are still declining.

    My cousin is an interior designer in the Phoenix area and said she is being kept busy by the Canadians flocking to Phoenix for the warm winter weather, declining prices, and falling dollar. The $Million$ plus homes are selling but not much else.

    So what’s it going to take, Daycare, before you admit Portland is not so immune? Will you let us know when you wake up from this dream.

  12. Dropping home prices mean LESS hardship for prospective buyers and new families starting out. It means greater affordability which used to be considered a good thing. Lamenting a drop means you only value the people who already own when you should be more concerned with the people who want to buy without putting themselves in financial harm.

    And I don’t understand how Seattle numbers being worse with a stronger economy is good news for Portland.

  13. 0.5% YoY decrease in today’s market is more positive than negative news. This could just be noise from to auctions etc.

    Did you look at the six month declines – something like 6% as I recall. Is that just noise too?

    Seattle with much stronger economy is behind us in YoY numbers. That says a lot.

    Oh, yeah. There’s that economy thing too. So how do we keep up these prices with our less than stellar economy? Trustfund hipsters? “Portland: the choice of the independently wealthy”

  14. Something tells me Daycare will see the positive side of Portland’s 20% depreciation…”I see it as more positive than negative, look at Sacramento’s 30% decline, see we still are special in Portland.”

    Daycare, please elaborate on Portland’s strong fundamentals. I just ain’t seeing it.

  15. Portland Monthly April issue is not at the news stands yet. Was told it will not be out until this Friday.

  16. Certain ‘hoods are blue chip investments and others are penny stocks.

    Okay Frank, you make it seem so easy. Here’re ten PDX ‘hoods. Which are “blue chip investments” for the next ten years, and which are “penny stocks”?

    Concordia/Alberta Arts



    St. Johns

    Ladds Addition


    Arbor Lodge


    Multnomah Village


  17. Pearl and might I add SoWa are like Enron/Bear Stearns stock: Overvalued and soon heavily discounted but most likely converted to apartments.

  18. When ever I think about “the long haul” I get nervous. Look at these desirable ‘hoods like NW 23rd, Ladds, Buckman, Irvington. These homes were built for the well to do of Portland. Then things got ugly and then they improved and then the got ugly and then they improved, etc. I met folks who bought in NW in an attempt to save the hood from the bulldozer in the 70’s. It was drug infested, a complete eyesore and now look at it. My old hood of Buckman was much less than desireable in the early 90’s and look at it now. An old coworker bought in Irvington in the early 80’s and said it was unsafe to walk at night. A woman I met in Ladds who bought when no one would touch a Ladds house in the mid 80’s. Neighborhoods (and economies) come and go in cycles. I would be incredibly nervous about buying in this over priced market because in some ‘hoods you may be lucky to break even in 10 years.

  19. Bearlee – I agree in theory. However, the Fed and the Bushies have made clear through recent actions
    that they are intent on putting a floor of sorts under current housing prices. This entails lowering the funds rate, and welcoming high inflation, which in turn – coupled with continued low interest rates – will keep the real estate market chugging along.

    Economists calculate real interest rates by subtracting inflation from nominal interest rates. Today, three-month Treasury bills have a nominal yield of 2.08%. In 2007, inflation ran at 4.10%, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Therefore, real interest rates are -2.02%.

    Negative yields are a big disincentive to saving money… It’s why gold… and real estate… do well when rates are negative. This is the real stimulus plan of the U.S. government.

    – Tom Dyson

  20. So in mid January 2009 when Bush leaves office all hell breaks loose the Democrats get the blame!?!?!

    As I have said many times, Portland prices are unsustainable. Who can afford these homes on our incomes even with low interest rates?
    My prediction:
    40% off condos
    20% off single family dwellings

    Our dollar is shit, we are heading toward a depression (=4 quarters of recession)

    No one, not even Big Ben or the Chinese, can save us:O( Great legacy Bush, thank god the war is escalating so we Americans can take our minds off the sorry state of our economy;O)

  21. The funny thing about capitalism is that you can’t put a floor under anything, particularly if that floor is situated on the ceiling.

    Meddling will just exacerbate the problem.

  22. Tom – I’m not sure that is the case – rampant inflation will drive bonds through the roof and result in higher mortgage rates.

    If you think housing is unaffordable now 12% rates will make your eyes bleed 😉

  23. My lease is up next month so I have been browsing the rental market for a few months and noticed to my pleasant surprise the house rentals in SE really shot up in the past week, not in price, but number of choices. And nice houses, many less than $1500/month! How about this for a market indicator!

  24. Tiffany..to answer your question…in my opinion, and that is all it is, all are “Blue Chip” because they are close in.

  25. If I remember right Phoenix’s prices went up 50% in ONE year. Las Vegas went up either 50% or 100% in ONE year. Florida’s prices went up 50% in ONE year. Will Portland get hit hard? 20% decline, maybe. The point is, these other areas were so overvalued in price appreciation that they are bound to crash and hard. Portland’s prices increased insanely in one year by 16% I believe. I think that will be in my opinion, our correction. Pretty close to Bearlee’s prediction. Now Condo’s were way overpriced. I always felt they should be priced less than a single family house, not equal to one! I think that will be a major correction. 30 % maybe.

  26. As I have said many times, Portland prices are unsustainable. Who can afford these homes on our incomes even with low interest rates?

    Well, obviously some can. And you know it’s not exactly rocket science to say that there will be a correction. Pundits were saying that in 1995 about the stock market.The major correction didn’t come until 2000. If an asset appreciates in a straight line more or less, eventually it will come down, of course. The question is when and how much.

  27. Now Condo’s were way overpriced. I always felt they should be priced less than a single family house, not equal to one! I think that will be a major correction. 30 % maybe.

    Okay, so applying the maximum that all real estate markets are local, maybe such a correction might play out like this:

    – Pearl condos: down 25%
    – Hawthorne detached houses above 400k: down 20%
    – Alberta Arts/Concordia bungalows 300-400k: down 20%
    – Sowa condos: down 35%
    – Kenton: down 5%
    – Mississippi: down 15%

    Will any neighborhoods retain their housing values?

  28. Any neighborhoods hold their value? I will speak for condos in Forest Heights. The condos (approx 10 units)I have been watching over the past year are barely priced over purchase price from the past few years. And they are still sitting unsold. One is in foreclosure and most are ‘motivated’.

    Of course listing price and actualy sales price could vary significantly.

    PS John Ross in SoWa is still 45% unsold after one year. That particular building, I think, will get hard: 40%

  29. Does anyone here know the Concordia/Alberta/Arts neighborhood? Theories about its correction? Concordia was PDX’s “Neighborhood of the Year” in 2007, and if inventory numbers are any indication it is outperforming other neighborhoods in PDX, with only three months of inventory on the market (compared to 10-12 months metro wide). Anything listed under 300k has generally asked for and received listing price so far this year.

  30. Tiffany, how are you tracking actual sales price?

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