RMLS Market Action January 2012

RMLS Market Action Inventory Jan 2012RMLS released the latest edition of Market Action yesterday.  The Portland Metro market report shows that inventory bumped up from a month ago.  Closed sales are up but the number of new listings is down.  The 8514 active listings are the fewest in three years.  With more buyers competing for fewer listings we’ve heard some lament that they are not finding what they are looking for because there are too few houses to select from.

Average sales price is $249,100 which is about the same as it was this time last year and at the beginning of 2005.  The question for 2012 is whether prices will follow the same trend as 2011 where there were gains in the first part of the year lost in the second half or do something completely different?  Lower prices and the lowest interest rates in years have pushed Portland’s Affordability Index to the highest level since reporting began in September 2003.

Here are links to all of January’s Market Action Reports.

All Areas (68 pages)Baker CountyColumbia BasinCoos CountyCurry CountyDouglas CountyGrant CountyLane CountyMid-ColumbiaNorth Coastal CountiesPolk & Marion CountiesPortland MetroSW WashingtonUnion CountyWallowa County

Graphs from RMLS.

17 Comments on “RMLS Market Action January 2012

  1. “Closed sales are up but the number of new listings is down.”


    Closed sales are DOWN AND the number of new listings is UP.

  2. First paragraph of first column of Market Action: “Closed sales experienced a 18.3% increase, posting the highest numbers for January since 2007.” Second paragraph of first column of Market Action: “There were 16.5% fewer newly listed residential properties. The combination of higher sales and fewer new listings helped to create a much lower listing inventory for this season than seen in the previous two years.”

  3. I’ll give you the exact numbers from the RMLS reports.

    First your statement: “The Portland Metro market report shows that inventory bumped up from a month ago. Closed sales are up but the number of new listings is down.”

    Closed sales-
    December 2011: 1,612
    January 2012: 1,224

    New Listings-
    December 2011: 1,700
    January 2012: 2,613

    Go ahead and look it up for yourself.

  4. Generally when ‘closed sales are up but the number of new listings is down’ the inventory in months goes down, not up.

  5. Tim’s right, which is why this is an open forum. “Comparing month-to-previous month, closed sales fell 24.1% (1,612 v. 1,224) when compared to December 2011, pending sales increased 26.3% (1,443 v. 1,823) and new listings climbed 53.7% (1,700 v. 2,613).” I mistakenly tied the RMLS text discussing broader trends with the January 2012 inventory level of 7 months which is up from December 2011’s 5.3 months.

  6. Maybe you could explain the significance of comparing the number of new listings in January 2011 versus the number of new listings in January 2012. Other than suggest that at 1,700 December 2011 had the fewest number of new listings for all months in the last 10 years is there any other meaning?

  7. Tim, you are missing a few things.

    Seasonality factors are important. Few people shop for or buy homes between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Those are sales that close in January so January closings are always low. December had more closing because those sales were made in October and early November. January to January comparisons are therefore more telling.

    This seasonality also affects inventory since RMLS calculates it by inventory divided by closings. The low closings skews the number up. If they used “pendings” instead it would be around 4 months.

    If you look at absolute inventory numbers, there were 10,634 properties on the market on January 30th and there were 11,461 in December, a 7.2% decrease in inventory.


  8. Tim, you might also notice that current inventory (10,581) is at mid-2006 levels. When you take into account that probably 25-35% of the active listings are short sales with accepted offers submitted to the bank (so they are not really available) the actual available inventory is at record low levels.

  9. Tim and Steve- thanks for engaging in the conversation.
    Some thoughts:

    Activity slows down considerably around the holidays but we do see a lot of relocation during that period. People are here on vacation, they start work the in the new year etc. Having your home listed during the holidays is a pain in the butt but you also capture buyers who aren’t normally here. A house trimmed for the holidays has a certain amount of additional charm too (or a certain amount of total tackiness). Some are motivated to purchase a home right around the end of the year so they are in place for the holidays or seeking a tax advantage.

    From 2007-2011, December had the lowest number of new listings for that year. The following January, new listings picked up. I didn’t look at reports prior to that. December 2008 became a non-existent real estate month after the snow storms. Inventory for the following January was 19.2 months. That’s not really pertinent to this discussion but a “fun fact.”

    Is there a significance of comparing the number of new listings in 2011 v 2012? I think your implying that there isn’t any significance and I think you may be right. They’re down 16.2%. Does that tell us anything unto itself? By adding the number of closings (up 18.3%) we get to calculate inventory and think we “like” since it is a ratio. At this point in the downturn if you thought we might be at or near the bottom you might be inclined to hang out for a year or two to list. I would recommend taking a longer term view than a year or two if you are hoping for appreciation to make a difference. The nature of a market is that some will continue to list for any number of reasons. We listed our house briefly but took it off when we became eligible to refinance. We needed to sell under the old loan. We don’t now. We’re probably not the only ones.

  10. In 2005 inventory was between 5,230 and 6,430. Since that time inventory went up and prices went down.

    Will this same pattern happen again?

  11. Tim, prices didn’t start going down until 2008 when inventories were double what they are today (20,000 +/-) and triple if you count short sales.

  12. Is it any surprise there were so many wanting to sell when prices were so high?

  13. “inventories were double what they are today (20,000 +/-) and triple if you count short sales.”

    Silly me for thinking there was too many sellers expecting to sell.

  14. By the way, after suggesting “there are just too few buyers,” a friend just reduced his price significantly. What do you think happened? Where were all those buyers yesterday?

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