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Portland Not as Bad as the Rest

The Standard & Poor’s Case –Shiller report is pretty much what we expected having recently looked at declining prices over the last few months in a previous post. The weight of the recent months has finally brought Portland year over year prices down -.5%. That’s compared to the 20-City Composite Index which dropped 11%. Once again, Charlotte and Seattle join Portland as the top three in the index.

The Oregonian reports that Portland was buoyed by Californian’s moving to the area but, “that’s over now.” Maybe I missed the news of the CA/OR border patrol sending Californians south at the border. My clients yesterday must have slipped through. Their plan is to be here in August in time to put their kids into school. I must have dreamt about coffee with a San Francisco family and the subsequent emails last week. Maybe I have the only two Californians moving here but broad media strokes imply that part of the market is dead are wrong. What we don’t see much of now is the California investor who is selling one property there to buy two or more here anymore though. A good portion of our clients now are moving from out-of-state to Portland. We just had dinner with friends that moved here who felt priced out of the Vancouver, BC market.

It does seem like we are seeing more media balance. Portland Monthly’s “Buy Here Now” edition is on newsstands and unless I heard wrong, I thought KGW’s business piece last night was brighter than they had been reporting in recent months. I think it underscores that there is little agreement and no defined outcome and that “Portland Home Values Take First Dip” might be a little late to the party as a front page headline caption. Most of the real estate blogs have been acknowledging that declines in the most recent data would weigh numbers downwards and that it was a matter of time. As I underscored to both of my recent California clients, you have to look at the whole picture to make your decision. Many think that there is a 20% plus correction coming (the Oregonian posits 15%). I don’t see it being that drastic but in poker parlance, we’re pretty close to being all in.

The Oregonian story ends, “There is an unsustainable army [of contractors, bankers and brokers who depend on housing for a paycheck].” True, very true. Regular readers know that I take a pretty Darwinian stance to the real estate industry: many will leave the business and the strong will survive. In a tougher market, quality and diligence will make a difference for all three industries quoted above.

As I alluded to earlier, we’re on vacation now (this will post from LAX when we land). Our business and clients are well covered while we are gone and we’ll be in contact. I do hope to write a post about Mexican real estate and what it means as an American looking at that market (not that we’re buying). I attended a “seminar” at the Mac Club a few months back that was touted as, “buying and owning land in Mexico” but it was really, “Buy in our resort in Mexico and if you have any questions, contact an attorney or banker.”

58 Comments on “Portland Not as Bad as the Rest

  1. The quickest way to find out how many Californians are moving here is to look at drivers license surrenders. What follows is the 2007 data (2008 not available yet)

    http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/DMV/docs/stats/out_of_state/2007_Out_of_State_Surrendered.pdf

    As you can see, California was number one for in-migration last year with 24,192.

    I think the in-migration is increasing; I see more and more Cali plates on the road and in my neighborhood.

    Don’t fool yourself…they are still coming here.

  2. Well duh. There’s 35 million people there and they’re next door.

    That doesn’t mean they’re going to be able to prop up our RE market. We lost far more in the loss of speculators and flippers, just as Phoenix has. Normal migration isn’t enough to keep the bubble growing. And that’s a good thing. How much more expensive do people want housing to get here?

    And really, even buyers from California don’t want to lose money by buying a declining asset. It’s not like CA is chock full of rich people with money to burn. If the migrants were that well off they’d stay in the Golden State.

    Embrace the decline. It’s good for society.

  3. Even if prices took a 20% haircut, why does it matter to anyone who bought a house here 2003 and prior? You will still have plenty of equity in your home unless you sucked it out already in which case you should worry.

    I think anyone who rues the loss of appreciation so far above and beyond the pace of inflation is just greedy.

  4. Don’t get me wrong Naysayer…I peronally welcome our equity-destroying overlords 😉

    I don’t think Californians in general are rich with money to burn, but I can think of particular demographics that do…

    For example, California Same-Sex Couples with DINK status. Gays LOVE Portland and will pay a premium to live here regardless of which direction home prices are going.

    Let’s put my personal anecdote to the test: Charles, how many same-sex couples have you had as clients?

  5. Affordability in PDX is worse than in the 20 metro (MSA) average. This suggests that 6-12 months from now we could see a 11-15% drop.

    How many recent buyers in PDX have 10% equity?

    KABOOM!

  6. If prices in CA keep falling at the kind rates they’ve been falling over the last year, you’ve gotta figure that the price disparity between there and here will begin to disappear as a driver of inmigration from CA. Not saying we’ll hit price parity per se (unless we just happen to not see any declines here), but a smaller spread between prices. And generally incomes down there are higher than they are here and jobs are more plentiful (this is especially the case in the Bay Area). So at what point do we start seeing people in tech up here start thinking about moving (back) down to the Bay Area where there is more opportunity?

    As someone who is in tech, I know that living down in Silicon Valley for a few years could actually do very good things for my resume – there’s lots more interesting stuff going on down there career-wise than there is up here. If prices keep falling down there at some point I think it could be a good idea to take a look at career opportunities down that way. The problem with our economy here in Oregon is that if you lose your tech job even when things are going reasonably well in the economy it can take many months to find something that’s a good fit for you and the employer. Not so in the Bay Area where you can be in a new position in a few weeks – maybe even with a nice raise.

    Maybe I missed the news of the CA/OR border patrol sending Californians south at the border. My clients yesterday must have slipped through.

    Charles, you didn’t get the memo from Governor McCall? You’re supposed to report those people, not help them buy houses. 😉

  7. Good talent availability, no sales tax, great transportation, great outdoors, lowest housing costs of any major city on west coast; Portland seems to be a good place for many people wanting to retire.

    naysayer, I wonder what makes you so bitter about portland realestate.

  8. Good talent availability, no sales tax, great transportation, great outdoors, lowest housing costs of any major city on west coast; Portland seems to be a good place for many people wanting to retire.

    naysayer, I wonder what makes you so bitter about portland realestate.

  9. Funny, I wonder what makes someone celebrate the increasing un-affordability of shelter, the rapid escalation of assets with no economic basis, the resulting economic fallout when that escalation hits a wall and the loss of probably a trillion dollars from the credit markets due to real estate and wall street greed.

    You sound like an insulated elitist on some very strong form of happy pill.

  10. Good talent availability

    Is that good for the talent or the companies that want to hire the talent? I’d argue that it may not be too good for the talent (worker) if said talent is too readily available. Like I said above, if you lose your tech job here in the PDX area it can take months to find something else that’s a good fit – eventually you’ll probably have to settle for something that may not be a good fit. And that’s if the economy is in pretty good shape. Back in 2002 – 2003 you weren’t likely to find much of anything.

    In the Bay Area there’s plenty of talent and there’s plenty of job opportunities. There’s a reason their Real Estate is much higher priced.

    Portland seems to be a good place for many people wanting to retire.

    If you’re going to retire here, why do you care about the availability of “talent”?

  11. no sales tax… Portland seems to be a good place for many people wanting to retire.

    But we do have a high income tax in Oregon. Wouldn’t a retiree be better off living somewhere with a sales tax but no income tax (like Washington)? Wouldn’t their money go further? Sales taxes almost always exclude the essentials like food and meds. But if you live in Oregon you’re going to be paying 9% income tax on the money you’re pulling out of your retirement accounts. I’m thinking this doesn’t make Oregon a retirement mecca.

  12. With regard to costs between Oregon and metro areas of CA. Costs are comparable, some things like auto insurance are actually higher. Living essentials are no cheaper and because its colder here, utility costs in winter are higher. The no sales tax thing doesn’t really make a difference. And yes, salaries are a lot lower here, even adjusted for somewhat lower housing costs. The only reason to move here is because you like the area, not for economic reasons.

  13. With regard to costs between Oregon and metro areas of CA. Costs are comparable

    What?

    Living essentials are no cheaper

    Patently untrue. CA cities’ 8.5% tax sees to that, plus all essentials have a 15-30% premium over Oregon prices.

    because its colder here, utility costs in winter are higher.

    Heh. Heating costs don’t begin to touch the cost of cooling, which a decent California home must have.

    The no sales tax thing doesn’t really make a difference.

    Who do you think you’re kidding? Nine cents added to every dollar you spend on food, clothing, and even more added to fuel doesn’t make a difference?

    And yes, salaries are a lot lower here, even adjusted for somewhat lower housing costs.

    I thought “costs are comparable”?

  14. Cost debate: Food costs about comparable. Except strawberries and lettuce cost more. You don’t pay tax on food in CA. Liquor costs: There are no sales or discount places to buy liquor and you have to make a special trip to the state-run liquor store. Tax savings offset by higher prices. So skip the marguerita. Wine and beer: Cost slightly more (no offset for sales tax). Restaurants the same (except Mexican food is bland).

    Telephone and internet access: pay roughly 5% more for land line and DSL. Health insurance: admittedly cheaper (about 20%) Car insurance: 10% more. This is with a spotless driving record coming from the Bay Area. I shopped around. Auto repair: comparable. Clothing: comparable

    Sales tax savings: it’s only a big savings if you’re a big consumer or buying big ticket items. I guess if I’m buying a new car or furniture, it will count. We don’t buy a lot of taxable items routinely, so the savings is negligible.

    On housing. Rent is cheaper, but when we were looking for apartments we didn’t find the land of milk and honey. A nice two bedroom in lower-crime neighborhood still cost at least $1,000 a month. That may be changing from a year ago.

    CNN had a salary comparison tool on their web site. I tested it before I came. The only factor that was cheaper than the Bay Area was housing. Admittedly that is a big portion of living expenses. But when you also consider that Portland ranked as one of the most overpriced housing markets in the nation, you have to consider that “cheaper” with a grain of salt. Too many Californians just see the fact that they can buy a house, not considering that the price may be overinflated. They’re willingness to buy has helped to drive up the price of housing for the locals who always lived here. Ironic that I’m saying it but true.

    That said, Portland’s still a nice place. And housing prices are declining.

  15. Regarding tax on food, it’s actually food bought in a store that is not taxable. But food bought in a restaurant is taxable.

  16. Portland and Seattle falling faster than SanDiego?

    Well, not currently, but according to Case-Shiller PDX is in it’s 6th month of declines since the peak last summer. If you compare that with where SanDiego was at when it was in it’s 6th month of declines after peak we’re falling faster than they were then. Only Miami fell faster and it looks like Seattle is duplicating the Miami experience.

    This roller coaster ride is just starting to get interesting.

  17. Tip, I thought it was different here in Portland? Or was I just thinking about today’s weather?

  18. Let me do my own Cali to Portland price comparison:

    FOOD:

    California. Grocery stores expensive to VERY expensive. We were near lots of little produce marts that had super cheap produce of average quality. In a restaurant, we had trouble paying less then $30 for breakfast for two, and for a big celebration dinner, it was hard to get under $100. Ethnic food is very very cheap.

    Portland. I am close to a produce mart that has average priced produce of high quality. Regular “Fred Meyer” kind of groceries are cheaper then SF. Quality restaurants are about 50% cheaper in Portland. We can get out of Lovely Hula Hands for about $70. $120 easy for that quality in SF.

    ADVANTAGE PORTLAND.

    TRANSPORTATION: A parking spot in SF cost about the same as my car payment here. Monthly pass in SF cheaper, but bus service is horrible.

    ADVANTAGE PORTLAND. By a long shot.

    HOUSING:

    Cali: We paid $1000 a month for a mold infested 3 room apartment (we were lucky, the landlord could have gotten $1500) Picked up a case of asthsma. Poor insulation lead to high heating bills.

    Portland: We are paying $1300 a month to live in a house we own in a great neighborhood.

    ADVANTAGE PORTLAND, by a long shot.

    SALARY: ADVANTAGE SF. By about 20-30%.

    Factor all that together, and its surprisingly close. But still, goes to Portland.

  19. Portland: We are paying $1300 a month to live in a house we own in a great neighborhood.

    Just curious, George: Interest Only loan? Pay Option ARM? Or did you buy it four years ago or more? Or perhaps you had a big downpayment? Otherwise I can’t get the “great neighborood” and $1300/month numbers to work out.

  20. So where is this blogger get together Charles is going on about and why was I not invited?

    You guys are L-A-M-E

  21. Obviously, “great neighborhood” is subjective. I live the Mississippi hood.

    I purchased my home in the summer of 2006. Conventional loan with 20% down. Not a particularly good rate… 6.5%. You can do that math to figure out how much I spent.

    To live in my hood today, one would have to pay more. But then again, its “better” then in 2006. Less crime, more services, new parks, fewer distressed properties, etc.

    I think today the equivalent would be to buy a home in Kenton. Lots of great houses right around $200k.

  22. I searched Craigslist for Kenton real estate and came up with 20 properties only two of which were under 250K. They were 550 and 732 sf. Most were nearer 300K. The two cheapies were nightmares of blandness. A ways short of “great”.

    Craigslist doesn’t embody the whole market but is indicative of what’s out there.

  23. “Great” is subjective as well. I assume that someone with your nom de plume is going to be harder to please then average.

  24. I searched RMLS for houses with Peninsula as the elementary, 9 came up under 205K with I think 7 as fixers, one of which said tear down.

  25. Just expanded the search to include houses under 205K w/ Rossevelt HS. About 35 homes, most under 1000 square feet and many fixers. Interesting to look at though, one 840 square foot house had 3 BR!

  26. Here’s one for 189K:

    With 20% down (36K), that baby will cost around $1200 a month or more. Such a deal for 750 sf! And look how convenient, right there on the road. Mmmmmm.

  27. For a first time home buyer, if you go with an Oregon Bond loan, depending on taxes insurance, $190k with 20% down is pretty close to $1k a month.

    For lots of people, 750 sf with a yard is a huge step up from their current situation. Even at $1k a month in rent.

    However, I with a little searching around, I think for that kind of money, or a little bit more you can do better.

    I think the key to Kenton is getting close to the MAX line. If someone works downtown, its an insanely fast commute. You can easily become a single/no car family without a loss of quality of life.

  28. Not to be argumentative (but if you know me you’d think differently!) but if that situation is a step up in life, where’s the $36,000 down payment coming from? And the “depending on taxes & insurance” caveat could be $300-400 a month.

    The prices make no sense. I rent in a far safer, cleaner and more upscale part of Portland for $750/month for around the same size dwelling.

    That’s why I think prices have a long way to go down before this is all over.

  29. One thing I noticed about living in Portland is that rent doubles about every 10 years. So a $500.00 rent in ten years becomes $1,000. There is a note that comes once a year that says “due to the increase in cost of everything, I am forced to raise your rent XX number of dollars. If a new owner buys the building then the rents go up even more, like mine did by $150.00 monthly. That is when I decided to buy a house.

  30. The rent vs mortgage is complicated by the tax savings from interest on mortgage which I miss but the thought of losing 20-30k due to depreciation over the next 2 years makes the answer simple: RENT! Even at an extra $200/month that is only $4,800 over two years which is much easier to stomach than the 20-30K lost in equity.

  31. My rent in the West Hills has increased by $30 in the past 9 years. It dropped from the first to second year by 10% then stayed there until last year and now this year it goes up a bit again to bring within $30 of when I moved in.

    Unless the area has gentrified greatly where a crummy area becomes yuppified or they improved the place a WHOLE lot, rents have been stagnant in Portland.

    Don’t use tall tales to justify buying a house.

  32. When I owned, the mortgage deduction didn’t amount to much. The standard deduction is already very large.

    So you spend $10,000 in interest payments to get an extra $1000 back on your taxes by deducting mortgage interest. Meanwhile, that house payment makes it almost impossible to afford eating. Makes perfect sense to me.

  33. hi, all,

    This is off the topic but I wish Charles could open up a thread on how to make an offer in current market. Since I am a first-home buyer, I want some margin of safty if I were to make an offer now. What I have come up with are:

    (1) list price with 20% off.
    (2) an offer of equivalent resale price in 2004-2005 (which is about the time when Portland started to gone crazy).
    (3) an offer based on 2000 or earlier year resale price of the same house, adjusted with 5% annual appreciation.

    Final offer = min(1, 2, 3)

    Any thoughts? Is it realistic to do now or shall wait longer? Will a realtor be willing to present such offer? thanks.

  34. We live close to 14th & Belmont SE in a 785 sf apartment for which we pay $700/mo. Our rent has a ways to go before it approaches price-level of a mortgage for the same amount of space in this location.

    We have opted to estimate the delta between our rent and put that amount away for a future downpayment. We will keep saving until the rent and mortgage payment converge.

  35. Naysayer,

    I don’t think anybody is telling you to leave your rental and buy a house in Kenton.

    Just saying that there are lots of great houses there and that its a really great hood. YOU may not like it. But lots of people do.

    I am sure I could find lots of people that would prefer living in a funny little 50’s ranch in Kenton to renting in your neighborhood in a similar place.

    On the other hand, I am sure I could find lots of people that would take one look at the Dancin Bare and declare that they would NEVER live in Kenton.

  36. lowball_buyer,

    I think you might want to add a few more variables to your formula. Right off the top of my head, I can think of some properties that I WOULD NOT recommend you buy that fit your guidelines.

    1. An overpriced house that is…
    2. located in a stagnant/declining neighborhood and has some deferred maintenance and/or new structural problems that…
    3. someone had recently paid too much for.

  37. I like Kenton. The houses there are great. I love funky 50s ranch houses. I just can’t see paying 250K to live in one.

    I was just taking issue with there being a slew of affordable, LIVABLE houses in Kenton and pointing out that the area is grossly overpriced. I mean, that’s my thing here.

    And PDX Renter, there are many (particularly the ones who have bought in the last 5 years) who will tell you that putting off buying means having to move away from Portland if you want to own someday. In the span of a decade, houses anywhere near Portland will be selling for $700-1.5 mill. At least that’s what the prevailing mindset has become.

  38. Sorry, 190K for 900 square feet in Kenton…aint going there. Please list some MLS #s for the great houses you are referring to because I do not see them on rmls.com.

  39. Bearlee, you’re being too charitable. The 190K gets you 750sf, not 900.

  40. It’s a fixer! Even saw “tear down” in some of the descriptions….saw 190K for the lot and, what, 20K to pay someone to tear it down?!?!

  41. 1978 paid $200 for 1 bedroom in NW Portland
    1988 paid $450 for 1 bedroom in NW Portland
    1999 paid $750 for 1 bedroom in NW Portland
    2000 moved to SE and paid $475 for 2 bedroom (killer rent!)
    2004 apartment building sold to new owners and rent increased to $600 Decided to buy a house.

    Don’t accuse people of telling tales. This is my experience and no need to be rude. Usual yearly rent increases in apt buildings is $25.00 yearly… minimum. Usually the new renters get charged more than the old renters when the new renter moves in.

  42. meme, why didn’t you buy in the mid 90’s when houses were more affordable/reasonable and interest rates were still relatively? 1995 the prices really started to take off. It just seems that you bought near the peak.

    $600 is CHEAP! How much did you pay for your house?

  43. Just a quick note on lowball’s comment. In my opinion, listing price has nothing to do with market price. We lost a listing that hit the market at $775,000 when we recommended $675,000. That’s 13% before anything else occurs. It is still on the market.

    Also what happens to a listing that hits the market and all the feedback comes back, “replace and fix the flooring”? $20,000 later, the listing price doesn’t change but money has gone ito the house.

    Guess my point is that beware of using the listing price as an sort of anchor to your home purchase. An over priced house is over priced in any market.

  44. meme, you rented for nearly 30 years. What else went into your decision in taking on a 30(?)yr mortgage this late in life? Curious. I hope it doesn’t sound condescending.

  45. George – Kenton is an overlooked pearl of a neighborhood, and probably the only “affordable” PDX neighborhood left (keeping in mind, of course, the irony of that word).

    – The downtown is being revamped and now includes a Cup N Saucer, Pizza Fino, Thai restaurant, coffee shops, funkabilly music venues like The Kenton Club etc.. More restaurants slated.

    – A library branch is coming to downtown Kenton.

    – Proximity to Max, Fred Meyer, and New Seasons.

    – Next to the Max.

    – I-5 access.

    – 22 minute bike ride to downtown, straight down Interstate and across the Broadway Bridge.

    – Close to great N/NE hoods including Mississippi, Alberta Arts, Overlook, etc.

    – Has its own post office.

    – And: PDX’s next mayor, Sam Adams, lives in Kenton. Ka-ching.

    It is, in short, the unadulterated PDX schanizzle of a ‘hood. More potential than Alberta because of its access to highways and public transportation

  46. Just a quick note on lowball’s comment. In my opinion, listing price has nothing to do with market price. We lost a listing that hit the market at $775,000 when we recommended $675,000. That’s 13% before anything else occurs. It is still on the market.

    Hi, Charles, thanks for the inputs.

    The question is how to judge overprice. In your example, I probably think the $675K comp is still overpriced, given what the price was in 2004 and a 5% normal appreciation. That’s why I put two other criteria and took the minimum of the three. I am also looking for any other factors to consider, as George added some earlier. Maybe you can open up a new thread re “how to determine if a listing is overpriced”…

    In my opinion, Portland housing price will reverse to normal (which is a good healthy thing for everybody). But now probably most sellers won’t face up this unavoidable reality now. Do you see any lowball offers being made and accepted recently? thanks.

  47. 1978 paid $200 for 1 bedroom in NW Portland
    1988 paid $450 for 1 bedroom in NW Portland
    1999 paid $750 for 1 bedroom in NW Portland
    2000 moved to SE and paid $475 for 2 bedroom (killer rent!)
    2004 apartment building sold to new owners and rent increased to $600 Decided to buy a house.

    1978 to 1988- huge inflation. You probably also got 8-10% raises in salary a year.
    1988-1999 – NW Portland goes from a slum to yuppieville.
    2000 – move to an up-n-coming area, get cheap rent
    2004 – area is now much hipper and cleaner, area commands more rent w/$600 still very reasonable.

    PS. $25 a year won’t double the rent in 10 years using the math I was taught as a kid.

    Bottom line: Rents are flat in Portland.

  48. Lowball,

    Why would a realtor advocate lowball offers? Why would a realtor want to advise you on paying less for a house? There is no incentive unless losing income is an incentive. Getting a realtor in Portland to agree that Portland prices are too high is not a realistic goal.

  49. bearlee, my decision to purchase was I wanted a place to call home. After my building being sold I felt like I would be more in control of my finances and living situation by buying. I had noted rent had increased and double several times in the last 30 years. Figured it would only keep increasing. (The apt is now renting for $700.00 in SE… four years later and $25 each year for an increase). I also like to garden and wanted the feeling of being able to plant a tree on my property and be able to tend to it over the next 30 years. I bought in a neighborhood I could afford and paid $170K I just never thought prices would go so high, so kept putting off buying a house. I felt like a slave to my landlords price increases. I know to rent would be less for the next 10 years, but I wanted to know the place was mine and no one could tell me what I could do with it (within reason). I had a friend that had rented a house from his sister for 10 years, put a lot of time into the yard and fixing up the house. Sis came back from Florida and told him he and his girlfriend had to move. They were only paying $500 monthly rent and he was heartbroken. He purchased his own home after his sis came back about 6 months before me. It was one of the reasons also that I purchased. I have followed housing prices since I bought out of curiosity. For your information there are 10 houses in Kenton under $200K. Five that are ok/decent houses. Five that are major fixers or tear downs. I just took a quick look at them, so that is why I put ok/decent houses. I have no idea if the ok houses are on busy roads, etc. This was just a quick look for your information.

  50. In my opinion, Portland housing price will reverse to normal (which is a good healthy thing for everybody). But now probably most sellers won’t face up this unavoidable reality now. Do you see any lowball offers being made and accepted recently? thanks.

    But your theory completely ignores the fact that Portland has become a media darling in the last five years, gracing the cover of national magazines and publications such as the New York Times. It’s become a restaurant mecca, a a destination for the creative class, and a haven from ballooning housing prices for beat up Californians. Are you suggesting that Portland’s image will “revert to normal”?

    Regarding your lowball question, I recently made two lowball offers, one a 250 offer on a 275 one-bedroom house in inner SE (you read that right, a one-bedroom). I doubt the listing agent even showed it to the owner, though he said he did. The other was a 260k offer on a 280k Alberta bungalow. Both were strong offers (50 percent down, almost perfect credit score, no contingencies, etc.). One is still on the market and the Alberta house was gone the first week.

  51. Have patience Tiffany. Prices have only begun to fall. Go read about how far housing dropped in Japan after their bubble burst. It’s not like Tokyo isn’t a mecca and it too dropped far.

    All the trendy press about Portland is not going to turn it into Paris. And read the Willy Week for a peek at what the overpriced restaurants have in store.

    The federal government doesn’t have to power to prop housing prices up either. Economics will overcome them.

  52. Have patience Tiffany. Prices have only begun to fall. Go read about how far housing dropped in Japan after their bubble burst. It’s not like Tokyo isn’t a mecca and it too dropped far.

    You’re comparing apples and oranges, Naysayer. The U.S. housing bubble isn’t anywhere near as high as Japan’s was, when square footage approached $140,000 a square foot in Tokyo. Compare that to $400 a sf for Pearl condos, or $200-300 a sf for close in bungalows. Not comparable.

    Plus Japan also had a stock market bubble at the same time (Nikkei topping out at 38,000 in ’89; it’s now about 13,000).

  53. “But your theory completely ignores the fact that Portland has become a media darling in the last five years, gracing the cover of national magazines and publications such as the New York Times. It’s become a restaurant mecca, a a destination for the creative class, and a haven from ballooning housing prices for beat up Californians. Are you suggesting that Portland’s image will “revert to normal”?”

    Tiffany –

    The media crap can get Portland high but won’t keep it there.

    As Naysayer pointed out, just be patient. Time and economics will work things out. If somebody accept my lowball offer, he is smart and I am lucky. If not, I’d just wait. The rent in Portland is still cheap compared to the house price, why the rush to own now…?

  54. The rent in Portland is still cheap compared to the house price, why the rush to own now…?

    No rush. I’m lowballing as well, if you read my post.

  55. Tiffany,

    Yeah, I know you were lowballing. Don’t feel frustrated if your offer is not accepted. Better deal will come later.

    Actually, I don’t think there are many buyers who can put down as much as 130K cash as you do. You deserve better. So just wait it to come…

  56. What a rude person. (Naysayer) I will not post further to this forum.

  57. Oh c’mon. I wasn’t that rude. It’s called disagreement, arguing, debate.

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