Portland’s Case Shiller report for January 2012 looks like deja vu all over again. The Index dropped 2% from December, mirroring the start to 2011. In 2011 the Index posted losses for the first three months of the year followed by six straight months of gains. The small gains fueled a lot of optimism and talk of “we’ve reached the bottom” but the last quarter of 2011 gave all of the gains back with three consecutive down months. At today’s 129.96 the Portland real estate market is close to July 2004 prices and a new low since July 2007’s peak.
A couple of weeks ago when RMLS Market Action for February was released most of the metrics were positive. Case Schiller looks at a seven county MSA versus and has a sixty day lag versus RMLS’s “Portland Metro” which is a five county area and reported on two weeks after the end of the previous month. They also have different methodologies so making direct comparisons is difficult.
You’re going to have to make you own determination as to whether “Now is a Great Time to Buy” or whether we’re yet to see the bottom. While Portland has suffered, a quick look down the list shows a lot of markets have experienced a lot worse. Las Vegas peaked at 234. The Index was set to 100 for all markets January 2000. Washington DC has remained the strongest of the bunch. When were there in 2010 a local said its because, “politicians arrive when they are elected but then they never leave: they become lobbyists.”