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Portland Ranks High Globally- But not the Best

The Mercer 2008 Quality of Living Survey was just realesed.

The rankings are based on a point scoring index, which sees Zurich scoring 108, while Baghdad scores 13.5. Cities are compared to New York as the base city, with an index score of 100. The quality of living survey covers 215 cities and is conducted to help governments and major companies place employees on international assignments.

Portland (100.2 score) ranks 48th, down two spots from last year:

Canadian cities dominate the rankings in the Americas. Vancouver (4) has the best quality of living followed by Toronto (15), Ottawa (19) and Montreal (22). In the US, after Honolulu (28) comes San Francisco (29), Boston (37) and Chicago (44). Washington, DC, ranks 44, above New York (49). 

 

 

 

NO US CITY RANKS IN THE TOP 50 FOR SAFETY!!! If you don’t want to cross an ocean, head to Canada where Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver all ties for 22. “Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Lexington, San Francisco and Winston-Salem all share rank 53.”

27 Comments on “Portland Ranks High Globally- But not the Best

  1. I’m not suprised, Canada’s cities and all around culture are miles ahead of us. I would live in Montreal in a heartbeat.

  2. PORTLAND, OREGON REAL ESTATE MARKET VALUES–THE FIX IS IN TO KEEP THE BAD NEWS SECRET???!!!or not…

    see Oregonian headline: PORTLAND MARKET STABILIZES
    Sunday June 15, 2008 on Real Estate Section front page (really?)
    FYI: This Jun15 article is a subtle RETRACTION of a related Jun7 article in the new “Front Porch” column about Portland & national real estate market price declines by Ralph Frank, reporter.

    Dear Oregonian, you can’t handle the TRUTH!!! Can you report the truth about Portland-metro area value declines or would that interfere with the big income stream you get from real estate listings & advertising?
    GO SEE the Oregonian column called the “Front Porch” by Ralph Frank. Published June 8, 2008 on pg B2 the headline–“PORTLAND, BEND MAKE THE MOST OVERVALUED LIST The notion that Portland and Oregon are immune from the national housing slump continues to wilt. Research from Global Insight eported this week that Bend had the nation’s second most overvalued housing market in the first quarter of 2008. Portland was seventh most overvalued and six of the top sixteen most over-valued markets were in Oregon or Southwest Washington. Only eight metro areas in the country were considered severely overvalued. Three were in Oregon or southwest Washington. ….Global Insight predicts those eight markets are in for further price declines of up to 10 percent or greater. (The Portland area has already seen declines of about 4 percent” Is it newsworthy that the 2 articles conttrdict eachother. Probably Mr. Frank was ordered by his managing editors to write the correction on 6/15/08)
    I HOPE it not TRUE that the real estate market is not as bad as Global Insight predicts, but we should be informed by our local news agencies, not given the runaround.
    GO TO globalinsight.com for the full report. Maybe global is right/wrong? need to look into.

  3. Closed sales were up almost 18% from April numbers in May. I think its fair to say things might be stabilizing a little. They’re just commenting on the RMLS data released last week. Not sure theres enough there to start building a conspiracy theory.

  4. And mr. thrifty fails to mention that closed sales are off 33% from last May. The market is in free fall!

    Unless you have capital gains from a previous sale or an urgent emotional need DO NOT BUY A HOME NOW!

  5. I like that phrase. “urgent emotional need”

  6. I’m just pointing out that things are stabilizing a little bit. I’m not sure I’m ready to qualify being down 4% at this stage in the cycle as market free fall. Miami, Vegas, San Francisco, that’s free fall. Nobody’s out here hyping the housing market, or recommending that anyone run out and try to get a no doc mortgage, just trying to put some of the sky is falling rhetoric into perspective.

    Being a total bed wetter about the housing market is just as fatal a flaw as overly enthusiastic.

  7. “things are stabilizing a bit”
    Sales have been consistently off by 33-39% for six months. A slight seasonal uptick in noisy month to month closed sales is NOT stabilization.

    2007 year to date
    Pending: -35%
    Closed: -34%

    May 2008 compared to May 2007
    Pending: -30%.
    Closed: -34%

    The ~35% decline in YOY sales is equivalent to the decline in sales seen in SF, Boston and DC. The current ~300% increase in inventory (from peak) is similar to that seen in SF, Boston and DC. Those markets have lost 25-30% from peak.

    “Being a total bed wetter about the housing market”
    I’d wet my bed if the home I bought lost ~$100,000 in value (~30% of PDX median).

  8. According to Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, which is pretty much the standard the media uses, Portland’s one year change in value is down 4%, while SF is down over 20%, and DC is down 14.7%.

    You don’t seem to understand that the percentage decline in pending sales isnt the same thing as a decline in average price. Housing prices are not down in Portland 30%.

    “Being a total bed wetter about the housing market”
    I’d wet my bed if the home I bought lost ~$100,000 in value (~30% of PDX median).

    Thats just a stupid statement. Even Las Vegas, which has the largest percentage decline in home values nationwide, isn’t down by that much. So either your intentionally using these numbers improperly to support your rant, or you just don’t know what your talking about.

    The YOY decline in pending sales has been steady for months, and this month there was a little good news mixed in with the bad, that qualifies as a bit of stabilization.

  9. Mr. Thrifty,

    Your obfuscation is amusing but you’ll notice that I actually said:

    FROM PEAK” and not YOY.

    The ACTUAL C-S data for those cities shows a 20-29% decline FROM PEAK..

    http://www2.standardandpoors.com/spf/pdf/index/CSHomePrice_History_052703.xls

    “Even Las Vegas, which has the largest percentage decline in home values nationwide, isn’t down by that much. So either your intentionally using these numbers improperly to support your rant, or you just don’t know what your talking about.”

    Las Vegas shows a ~29% decline in prices from its peak in AUGUST 2006. Portland peaked July 2007 and is about 12-14 months behind most bubble markets. The rate of decline in PDX has been very similar. It would take a minor miracle for PDX to escape 20-30% nominal housing declines by mid 2009. What even more frightening is that price declines in other markets have continued to accelerate.

    http://www2.standardandpoors.com/spf/pdf/index/CSHomePrice_History_052703.xls

    http://bp2.blogger.com/_oV8ecn5wrfg/SDy-5TQ3VSI/AAAAAAAAAtk/vqQPFxldDTQ/s1600-h/March+2008+One+year+change.jpg

    “a little good news mixed in with the bad, that qualifies as a bit of stabilization.”

    You are now officially outed as a housing cheerleader.

  10. Oh, I agree the PDX market has stabilized. Stabilized in a bad downward spiral. To think that it has stabilized into recovery is just wishful thinking. It never ceases to amaze me how smoke and mirrors can be used to try and make the real estate market look good. The show must go on.

  11. “”Being a total bed wetter about the housing market”
    I’d wet my bed if the home I bought lost ~$100,000 in value (~30% of PDX median).

    Thats just a stupid statement. Even Las Vegas, which has the largest percentage decline in home values nationwide, isn’t down by that much.””

    From the Contra Costa Times a couple of days ago:

    “The median price paid for a Bay Area home was $517,000 last month, down a record 21.7 percent from $660,000 last year.”

    Down $143,000 in the Bay Area…

  12. “The YOY decline in pending sales has been steady for months, and this month there was a little good news mixed in with the bad, that qualifies as a bit of stabilization.“

    A steady decline of 30% per year in sales is a sign of a stable market? The very fact that the rate of decline is stable tells you that the market is not stable at all. If you kept a 30% YOY decline stable for the next 6 years, the total number of pending sales would be only 10% of what they were this year. How is a 90% loss of sales over 6 years stable?

    Stabilization would be a slowing of the decrease in pending sales to 0%, indicating that the number of pending sales is not changing anymore. If you see pending sales change by 0% YOY, you could reasonably expect prices to stop falling in a few months.

    Most of the good news that is being spun as stabilization just looks like seasonal variation to me. That “spring bounce” (conspicuously absent in the NAR propaganda this year) appears to be just barely big enough to keep pending sales from tanking even further.

  13. OMG, NO, the percentage decrease in pending sales the last few months on a YOY basis has been steady – it hasn’t increased to a larger decline, and last month closed sales improved almost 19%, which is a little better, get it? Its not 30% + 30% +….

    Stablilization means to hold steady, to become firm, to limit fluctuations. A return to par on pending sales would be
    something along the lines of a recovery, no?

    Obviously a 30% decline in sales every year would not be stable, nobody is arguing that.

  14. mr thrify, what is “a return to par?” As it relates to the PDX housing market, what is “par?”

  15. Par in this context means an equality of status, level, or value;an amount taken as an average or normal.

    Thats probably not the best way I could have put that, after all there really is no norm in any market. At the end of the day any assest is really only worth what you can get someone to pay for it. Essentially I was saying that if pending sales for May 08 had returned to the level of pending sales for May 07, I would look at that as recovery, not stabilization.

  16. If at the end of the day any assest (sic) is really only worth what you can get someone to pay for it, then we have a long way to go to get down to par.

  17. “and last month closed sales improved almost 19%”

    Mr. Thrifty, IMO there is a term that precisely defines your thinking on the PDX real estate market:

    Click_here

    4 points:

    1. Closed and pending sales were still dramatically lower than the corresponding month in 2007. This is BY definition not stabilization.

    2. Seasonal variability makes month to month comparisons irrelevant.

    3. Relying on a single monthly data point is not correct. The 3 month and 6 month trends are terrible!

    4. Sales have dropped off so much that there is far more potential for noise in month to month comparisons.

  18. You just don’t seem to be able to grasp what I’m saying, maybe I just didn’t explain myself correctly…whatever.

    Bottom line is I believe that by the end of the summer the bottom will be in and we’ll be scratching and clawing our way higher again. A lot of folks with skin in the game, including our man Charles here, thought May data would produce a nice surprise, and I think they were just a month early.

    To make any money in real estate you have to be able to get past the shrill frothy mouthed vitriol of the people who hate housing, mostly I believe because they don’t have the capital to participate in a substantial way, and felt overwhelming amounts of anger torwards people who made out during the housing boom.

  19. mr thrifty – great post. This is exactly the frustation I had when dealing with nagativity on this forum.

    There are people here whose day time job is to insult anyone who has bought or wants to buy a house. They are simply doing this because they are not in a position to buy realestate and want to give themselves assurance as to why their situation is so great and their intelligence so high.

    There are many here who equate buying a house as only an investment that they should be able to make a great profit out of immediately. With such a mindset, they are beyond repair and honestly have they made this forum very useless. Sorry Charles but I have stopped looking here for any useful guidance.

  20. “OMG, NO, the percentage decrease in pending sales the last few months on a YOY basis has been steady – it hasn’t increased to a larger decline, and last month closed sales improved almost 19%, which is a little better, get it? Its not 30% + 30% +….”

    I don’t understand what you’re trying to say.

    YOY pending sales have decreased by 30% for the past three months straight, we agree on that, right? *IF* this percentage remains stable, then we’ll indeed get fewer and fewer sales every year, so if current trends continue, it WILL be -30%, -30%, -30%, year after year, and we’ll end up down 90% over 6 years.

    Now, I don’t actually believe that YOY change in pending sales will remain stable at -30% for the next six years. At some point, the percentage decrease will become smaller and begin to trend towards zero, meaning that the number of sales is bcoming more constant from year to year. However, currently, the YOY change in pending sales is NOT trending towards zero, but remaining stable at 30%. So the pending sales indicator is currently not trending towards a more stable market.

    Regarding closed sales, those are up 18% from April (1863 vs. 1582), but they are DOWN 34% from last May (1863 vs.2802). YOY closed sales have also been down by ~30% for the last three months straight. You may choose to read something into the fact that YOY closed sales were down 39% for March and April, but only down 34% for May. But it’s far from obvious that this portends a real trend to zero.

    “To make any money in real estate you have to be able to get past the shrill frothy mouthed vitriol of the people who hate housing,”

    To some extent that’s probably true. However, the converse is also true: In order to avoid losing your shirt in real estate, you have to be able to get past the shrill frothy mouthed delusions of the people who love housing because they’re not making any more land, renting is throwing money out the window, urban growth boundary, baby boomers, etc. All things considered, I think Portland is still dominated by rather bullish sentiment on housing.

  21. Actually, I think this thread is quite indicative of our market: not everybody agrees and stats can be used to make just about any point appear valid.

    We’ve established:
    1) That not everyone should by now or sell.
    2) The bottom of the market will only be seen looking at it after the fact.
    3) A house has different uses for different people: shelter, investment etc.
    4) People are very passionate about their view.

    There is an unfortunate lack of tolerance for the other view. I think it should be clear that I fall somewhere in the middle. My job isn’t predicated on appreciation, it is predicated on the fact that the housing market won’t stop. I’ve told potential clients that they should rent their property rather than sell within the last couple of months. I don’t have to cheer lead “buy now” or “sell now” as universal themes. Each situation is different.

  22. JHC daycare, I am sitting on a healthy down payment. I am ready and waiting to buy. Remember, I bought in ’99 and sold in ’07?!?!

    If you can explain why unaffordable housing for the 80% of the population is healthy then have at it. But what I see happening is people are getting in over their heads and neglecting to save for retirement, rainy days, repairs, etc.

    I am tired of overhearing peoples’financial problems…just last week at Laurelhurst Park swingsets I overheard a guy in his late 30’s with a 3 and 1 y.o. tell his buddy that he just cashed out an IRA and c/o the 40% hit and his buddy was saying he had to do it and not to worry about the tax hit. That was his RETIREMENT!

    Let’s just wait and see what happens when all these ARM’s, Option ARM’s and IO loans come due in the next 6 months.

    What are your thoughts on our foreclosure rate these past 8 months. Why is this happening? With our strong fundamentals and all…

  23. “To make any money in real estate you have to be able to get past the shrill frothy mouthed vitriol of the people who hate housing, mostly I believe because they don’t have the capital to participate in a substantial way”

    *SNORT*

    I am not making money IN real estate I am making money betting AGAINST real estate.

    “Bottom line is I believe that by the end of the summer the bottom will be in”

    *blink*

    *blink*

    I feel bad for you. Some of you made real money and are going to lose most of it. I can empathize…2002 was a brutal year for me.

    A tip:

    Start DCAing GXC and FXI over the next few weeks.
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    “I think Portland is still dominated by rather bullish sentiment on housing.”

    Ya think…

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