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RMLS Market Action March

Rmls_inv_marLet’s dive right into it. Nothing shocking here regarding inventory. Still high overall but down from the previous month. That follows the history of the previous two years.

When comparing March to February 2008, closed sales were up 22.2% (1,691 v. 1,384) while pending sales also increased 5.5% (1,938 v. 1,837).

On the other hand, comparing March 2008 with March 2007, closed sales were down 39.1% and pending sales decreased 36.9%. New listings also dropped a slight 1.8%.

Rmls_mar

Appreciation

A comparison of the 12 months ending in March 2008 with the 12 prior shows that the average sale price appreciated 4.9% ($344,700 v. $328,700). Using the same formula, the median sale price appreciated 5.1% $290,000 v. $276,000).

I’m having a hard time putting that quote into context with the graphics. This graphic has me equally confounded. Maybe I just need to spend more time studying it but I have to head out now or sit in traffic later:

Rmls_mar_condo

18 Comments on “RMLS Market Action March

  1. Charles, I appreciate your blog. My home is currently for sale and I enjoy getting another realtor’s perspective of the market (instead of just my agent’s opinion). But, question for you about the condo appreciation. What’s with such the large increase? I thought condo prices were flat or basically going down? The thought of buying a condo (when/if my home sells) is really attractive to me but I wasn’t seriously considering due to the market (which I thought condos were struggling considering the speculative buyers and all the new buildings…more supply). Can you provide some of your insight on the Portland condo market? Thanks so much. I’d be looking near PGE Park, or NW 23rd. For some reason the Pearl is just too fake for me!

  2. My agent told me condos are selling like hotcakes. Apparently foreign buyers are snapping up multiple properties in NW.

  3. Dan,

    I can’t explain the numbers RMLS is reporting on condos. My guess is that in each year, say three condos sell. The first year A, B, & C, the next XYZ, the next maybe ABZ. If the average ownership is 4 years (a number I just picked), maybe we are seeing a proliferation of higher priced units selling for the first time while the lower priced units are still being held. ABXY may not come to the market for years. It may be the Fruit Price Increase Theory. ACB are apples, XYZ are oranges, both are fruit but very different when you try to compare them. Just a theory.

    I think there are some great buys in condos right now because there are so many on the market. The deals may get better. The buyer really is in the driver’s seat. My offer may not be great but there are lots of other condos just like this one that I can move onto if you don’t accept my offer. If you are a seller, it HAS to be priced at or below today’s market to sell quickly. If you get in the pool with all the others, your gonna get water logged before you get out.

  4. Since the Casey seems to be the only building selling well (according to recent report in the O) and with the average price around $1 million($)for the Casey I think we might see the numbers skewed!

  5. Charles

    I would also like to hear you expound a little on why the condo market seems to have Increased at such a disproportinate rate. I’m considering making an offer on a duplex. The county assed the value at 190k eight months ago. The list price is currently at 243k. That seems like a pretty large disparity but maybe based on the market you are describing the price isn’t that far out of line?

  6. Why are condos appreciating again?

    Ryan Frank reported in the Oregonian that insiders are snapping up properties in close-in neighborhoods.

    Other realtors believe that a new bubble is in the offing:

    New housing bubble inflating in PDX

    I think we are at or very near the bottom. Buy now or be priced out in 2009!

  7. Tyler, did you read my comment above? I haven’t got much more than that!

    Kindercare’s link is interesting, a good read. Does it imply that any market that is increasing is forming a bubble?

    We have seen homes which are priced correctly upon initial listing and those where owners have taken extreme care to pay attention to curb appeal and interior appeal to be selling well, added Taylor.

    Hallelujah!

  8. “Ryan Frank reported in the Oregonian that insiders are snapping up properties in close-in neighborhoods.

    Other realtors believe that a new bubble is in the offing:

    New housing bubble inflating in PDX

    I think we are at or very near the bottom. Buy now or be priced out in 2009!”

    Come on guys, that’s a good read? I debunked that thinly disguised advertisement yesterday.

    The cliff notes version: Wishing won’t start another bubble, real buyers with real money might.

  9. I’m fairly certain that RMLS will issue a retraction of their calculation of Condo appreciation. I see this as a miscalculation. Note that $336,700 was the average sales price for the entire market in March. Their home sales report shows and average condo price of $264,300 for the period. I am guessing somebody messed up.

  10. I sure wish I could see the actual data to determine for myself how they’re getting these numbers.

    I don’t mean to sound like a noob or anything, but does something like this exist? Specifically, I’m thinking of a chronological public list of sold properties w/ sale price.

  11. Trusting NAR’s housing stats is like trusting RJ Reynolds for stats linking cigarettes to cancer.

    Except for RJ Reynolds is more ethical than NAR.

  12. I think we can safely say that these stats are, uh, a mistake at best and a blatant lie at best. Nothing matches up. Where is the raw data? Where is the transparency in NAR stats? NAR is worse than the Bush-Cheney White House.

  13. I was working on a comment but it is becoming a thread of its own providing the system I am using doesn’t crash. It has been thinking for about an hour. When I post it, the comments are going to be closed because I want the conversation to continue here because all the previous comments above will still be pertinent.

  14. Housing tracker has data going back (2) years clearly showing:

    1) A decline in *asking price* for 25th, 50th, and 75th percentile homes.

    2) An overall increase in inventory with seasonal decreases during the winter.

    In contrast, NAR stats show months of inventory *decreasing* and median *selling price* increasing.

    If the median is increasing, then asking prices should be increasing (i.e. prices are going up, so people can ask more for their homes).

    If months of inventory is decreasing, then overall inventory should decrease.

    This tells me there is serious “data massaging” occurring and/or the application of complex mathematical formulas that will produce the desired result — that being prices are going up and inventory is going down.

  15. Sure seems like something is fishy here. I feel like everyone has different numbers… I don’t see why it’s so difficult to release a public list of sales and grab the percentages from there. Maybe the reason is b/c the intent is to protect sales data in order to manipulate it. Who knows…

    If this were one of my applications (I’m a programmer), I’d certainly feel the need to step through the code line-by-line, as the result does not seem to match the data.

  16. I just assumed the run-up in condo prices was all the well-heeled New Yorkers and Europeans moving here now that the Californians have no $$$.

    Just last weekend I was sitting at a trendy little breakfast spot in the Pearl and overheard 4 women from New York City talking about their recent move to Portland. They were amazed at the low prices for condos even with the recent rapid appreciation! Their names were Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha. They said all their friends were moving here from the Big Apple- Big, Aidan, Steve, Richard, Smith.

    The only complaint I heard was from one woman lamenting that their weren’t enough high end shoe stores in Portland that carried Manolo Blahnik’s.

  17. “I sure wish I could see the actual data to determine for myself how they’re getting these numbers.

    I don’t mean to sound like a noob or anything, but does something like this exist? Specifically, I’m thinking of a chronological public list of sold properties w/ sale price. ”

    Don’t we all man, don’t we all. The NAR or RMLS need to keep this data close to the vest, or they lose a key reason why you hire a real estate agent.

    Chris and I have tried to open the tent a little bit, take a look: http://portlandrealestateoutsider.blogspot.com/2008/04/march-rmls-data-and-analysis.html

  18. “Housing tracker has data going back (2) years clearly showing:

    1) A decline in *asking price* for 25th, 50th, and 75th percentile homes.

    2) An overall increase in inventory with seasonal decreases during the winter.

    In contrast, NAR stats show months of inventory *decreasing* and median *selling price* increasing.

    If the median is increasing, then asking prices should be increasing (i.e. prices are going up, so people can ask more for their homes).

    If months of inventory is decreasing, then overall inventory should decrease.

    This tells me there is serious “data massaging” occurring and/or the application of complex mathematical formulas that will produce the desired result — that being prices are going up and inventory is going down.”

    Actually it is possible, and I don’t think RMLS is massaging the data as much as spinning it.

    Asking prices can vary widely from selling prices. If asking prices are coming down, but sales prices are going up, then the spread is likely decreasing. They aren’t directly correlated.

    Regarding inventory, Housing Tracker shows raw inventory (number of units for sale) which is different from months of inventory. Months of inventory is calculated by taking raw inventory at the end of the month and dividing it by the sales for that month. So even if inventory increase, but sales increase faster, months of inventory will decrease. Which is what typically happens every spring, but the NAR neglects to mention this when they talk about inventory dropping.

    Fun with statistics!

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