December 2010 RMLS Market Action for the Portland real estate market came out yesterday afternoon. Portland had a rough year but that may have laid the foundation for a stronger 2011. The median sales price is down 2.9% and the average sales price is down 2.7% for the year. Days on market also dropped 6.6% which is a positive.
The report shows that listing inventory in the metro area dropped from 10.2 to 7.9 months. In the last three years inventory got as high as 19.2 months but never lower than 7.0.
In April of this year I started tracking a more local “Portland city” inventory. Whereas RMLS reports inventory for the metro area which includes five counties my breakdown is for each of the five RMLS areas that make up the city of Portland. Since April, Portland city inventory has averaged 1.3 months less than Portland metro inventory. In only four (8%) instances was a local area’s inventory higher than the metro inventory for that month.
The “industry standard” has been that inventory below six months is a “seller’s market” and inventory about six months is a “buyer’s market.” I think we’ll see a new normal where that number is closer to five months but for now Portland city inventory at 6.2 months shows what would be traditionally considered a neutral market. December’s city/metro inventory variance is the largest (1.7 months) we have seen since April.