The Portland Case Shiller Index continues its upward trajectory. The latest report, March 2013, was released this morning. Portland’s index has climbed to 145.52. That’s a 16 point game from where the index was at this time last year! The rapid increase borders on being a little scary but it also is a huge help to homeowners who have been thinking about selling but have not because they did not have any equity, or enough equity, to meet their goals. Each uptick pulls more owners into the black. This time last year we were at April 2004 index levels, now, the current 145 matches April 2005’s index.
When the Index hits 150, the window of underwater owners drops to less than four years: July 2005 – March 2009. There was close to an eight year window of negative equity owners when the market (appears to have) bottomed out at 129 (July 2004 – March 2012). Keep in mind that these are Metro statistics that span the seven county MSA and not localized. The methodology hasn’t changed so the comparisons over time are valid but what happened in Inner Southeast Portland does not mirror what happened in Skamania County.
As I said above, and previously, rapid increases are a scary. History shows that to be the case. There are lots of factors that make up the increase and we could see any of those change at any time. In fact, interest rates are creeping up- they’re still historically very low but not as low as they were. There are fewer bank owned homes on the market due to the Oregon Supreme Court pending ruling on MERS and the transfer of foreclosed homes.