Thursday, November 15, 2012

Seasonal Slowing? I don't think so.

Wow, none of that seasonal slowing for Portland real estate.The RMLS just released statistics for the month of October, and the numbers are quite good. We continue to see increases in activity; the amount of pending and closed sales.  There were 15.9% more accepted offers in October 2012 than in October 2011. From September 2012 to October 2012, pending sales increased by 5.8%.   Similarly, closed sales were up 42.9% in October 2012 when compared to October  2011, and up 11.0% from September 2012..

Prices continue to show gains.  The median year to date sales price rose 3.8% when comparing October 2012 to October 2011; $232,500 compared with a median year to date sales price of $221,000 in 2011. 

Inventory, the number of homes available on the market, fell to a new low of 3.8 months.   That is, at our current rate of sales, it would take 3.8 months to sell all available properties.  This is quite low, with a balanced market thought to be somewhere around 6 months. We continue to see multiple offers and very short market times for well priced properties in good condition.

So far in November, we are seeing the some seasonal slowing.  Buyers tiring of fighting for the few good houses on the market are taking some time off for the holidays.  Beleaguered buyers are tiring of multiple offer situations and are resorting to sweetening their offers by waiving inspections, giving earnest money up front directly to the sellers, and of course making cash offers over list price.

Most of my current buyer clients right now are investors. Still reasonable prices, low interest rates, Portland's low vacancy rates and dismal investment returns from other investment vehicles, make buying that rental house or plex kind of attractive.  If you've been thinking of selling, we expect the strong buyer demand to surge at the beginning of the new year.  

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 market report.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

South Waterfront Diverstity...Finally

Wow.  I'm just back from touring Reach Community Development's new building in the South Waterfront; Gray's Landing, named for the recently deceased, and very philanthropic, John Gray.

REACH and I go way back.  I served on the board and as board president back in the mid-1990's.  So I am pre-disposed to the organization and their products.

But wow.  Gray's Landing, known as Block 59 for several years, was first conceived about 10 years ago as the South Waterfront was being developed.  The real estate bust put the project on the back burner and the realities of low income housing development, being done by a for profit developer, made the project less than attractive.  The for profit developer got a ways on the project, including full on plans, before bowing out.  REACH responded to an RFP and was chosen, perhaps in part because REACH was looking for new office space and agreed to lease a fair portion of the ground floor commercial space.

Taking over mid-stream, REACH was able to make a few adjustments to the overall plan, but not a lot.  The courtyard had been primarily for waste water filtering and disposal.  REACH opted for an eco-roof (largest one in the city) which allowed them to make the courtyard available as a community space.

The eco-roof has some growing to do.

REACH also opted for some solar hot water heating, which should heat slightly over 40% of the building's water.  REACH also increased the size of the community room as they value having a space for gathering, exercise classes, cooking demonstrations, financial literacy classes and the like.

A few other cool features of this building include the street car stop right outside. AND, REACH is providing a room for the street car drivers break room as Gray's Landing is at the end of the line.  In turn, Tri-Met passes will be made available at a deeply discounted rate   Tenants will be required to take a "green systems" course teaching them about the building and in exchange, will receive a pass.  Each floor of the building has a laundry room.  There are parking spaces for about 50% of the units, available at no fee on a first come first served basis.

The target population for this building are folks earning at or below 60% of median Family Income ($30,660 for a single person). In addition there are 42 apartments targeted to low income veterans who have been homeless within the past two years.

The thing about REACH is, that in addition to being a provider and developer of low income housing, REACH also provides a variety of support systems and resources to help their tenants weather challenges and make it through tough times.

Oh and did I say the project came in early, and I believe under budget?!  Way to go REACH!