Thursday, September 27, 2012

Who are we, anyway?

I succumbed to curiosity and bought that most recent Portland Monthly; the one with the citywide survey.  The cover really does pull one in.

Actually, the full list on the cover has God and Money above Sex and the rest.  So yeah, I made the impulse buy at the checkout stand, just as they hoped I would.  Did you?

While there are many interesting factoids in the survey, the real estate broker in me is most interested in the sections about housing and money.  For instance, while traditionally it is thought one shouldn't spend more than 30% of income on housing, in Portland, "More than a quarter of  PDX residents spend 40% or more of their take-home pay on housing".  That being said, 50% pay 20 percent or less; with the footnote that 18-34 year-olds are most likely to pay 5% or less.  I'm thinking the 18-34 year-olds may have some sort of subsidies, along with living in smaller housing - paying for a room in a house rather than an apartment.

Our thoughts on our jobs and money are interesting also.  The question was asked, " What is the least amount of money you need in the bank to feel rich?".  40% said they would need $10,000 or less in the bank to feel rich. and 28% said $100,000 in the bank would make them feel rich.  There was no discussion in the article what "feeling rich" means to respondents.  On some days, a full tank of gas, $40 in my wallet and yummy leftovers for lunch can make me feel rich. Around income tax time, when I really look at what has passed through my business and personal accounts, I can feel less rich.

And on income, while  Portland ranks 74th in the US for 5-year wage and salary growth"," 43% of us answered yes to "does my company pay me what my skills are worth?".  And lastly, on money, "If you make over $100,000, you likely believe you can make more money in another state".

Okay, a few of those factoids that also led me to make the impulse buy.  87% of us say "pull the plug" when asked, " If you're unable to live without life support instruments, would you want doctors to unplug you?".  It is nice to see this is consistent with Oregon's death with dignity accommodations. And I was very surprised to see 65% of us would put their kids in private and/or religious school if money weren't an issue.  Really?!  But then 57% of us think spanking is an appropriate form of punishment. and yes, that was in the Family section, not the Sex section.

Lots of other interesting stuff in there.  You can pick up a copy at most grocery stores or subscribe or  access some information on line:  Portland Monthly.

Oh, and if you do pick up the magazine, check out the Home Sweet Home postcard we'd make (pg. 128).

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Still looking good

The RMLS just released the statistics for the month of August, and they reflect what we've been seeing in my office. We continue to see pretty big increases in activity; the amount of pending and closed sales.  There were 9.1% more accepted offers in August 2012 than in August 2011, and essentially no change from July 2012.  Similarly, closed sales were up 28% in August 2012 when compared to August 2011, and up 17.1% over July 2012.

Prices continue to show gains.  The median year to date sales price rose 4.5% when comparing July 2012 to July 2011; $230,000 compared with a median year to date sales price of $220,000 in 2011. 

Inventory, the number of homes available on the market fell again  such that we are back to  3.9 months of inventory.  That is, at our current rate of sales, it would take 3.9 months to sell all available properties.  

So far in September, we are seeing a wee bit of  normal seasonal slowing, but expect we'll also see healthy sales activity from mid-September to Thanksgiving.  There are often  pretty good deals to be had in the fall; folks who tried to sell in the spring, but somehow missed out.  Getting a sale closed before the holiday can be sort of a last ditch effort.  Many investors make a habit of buying in the fall.  Similarly, buyers who REALLY want to be in their new homes by Christmas can be pretty motivated buyers. 

I'd be glad to talk with you about what is happening in your neighborhood.  Give me a call at 503-312-8038 or email me at

Read the full RMLS report here.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Hoppin' Belmont

Wow. I recently listed a condominium on upper Belmont; SE 42nd and Belmont, and have had the opportunity to spend some time there.  I must not have been paying attenion, because all of a sudden, in addition to the Red Star Cafe and Movie Madness, all those businesses at SE 43rd and Belmont have popped up. Slappycakes and Mt. Tabor Vet and the yummy sushi place and what looks to be a happenng yoga place.

When did that all happen?  I'm not even talking about the continued popularity of lower Belmont (below SE Cesar Chavez).

Make note, the Belmont Street Fair is tomorrow, September 8.  This is one of the last neighborhood fairs of the season and promises to be a good one.  There will be bands, and food and vendors, and free trolley rides from SE 21st to SE 48th.

The new listing, pictured below, is in the Andria condominiums.  It is a spacious, 1100 square foot condominium, all on one level, on the top floor in the northwest corner. This is the builder's unit and has a variety of upgrades including wood and marble floors, premium fixtures, and lots of custom built-ins.

When holding open houses at condos, it is easiest to have two people; one downstairs to let folks through the security door and one up in the unit to show people around. I have really enjoyed my "street" time as I get to talk with the building residents and other neighborhood folk.  I have been struck by how many dogs the folks at The Andria have!  I swear, just about every one who comes out the door is walking a dog.  This building has a generous dog policy; allowing dogs of up to 50 pounds.  Some buildings don't allow dogs at all, or restrict them to under 20 pounds or some such.

Other good things about  The Andria include the low number of rentals in the building.  No, I'm not anti-rental.  But condominium financing is often restricted to buildings with no more than 50%, or sometimes 30% rental units.  So if the number of rental units pushes above that threshold, there is no conventional financing available.  Yes, there are a number of folks buying with cash these days. But cash as the ONLY way to buy can be a bit challenging.

I also LOVE the storage units at this place.  Not only are they large, but they have these cool roll-up doors, making it much easier to get in and out.  Each unit has its own furnace and hot water heater and pays its own power bills.  Water, sewer and garbage are included in the low monthly HOA fees or just under $300.

And of course, the great space and views aren't bad either.

We'll be holding this open Saturday, September 8, from 1:00 - 3:00 pm, during the Belmont Street Fair.  Come on by, 910 SE 42nd Avenue (at Belmont), #400.