Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Regional Multiple Listing Service released stats for April, and yes, the market is certainly active. 

More rising prices; median price for the first four months of this year is up  is up 15.6% over the same period in 2012 to $250,000.  The median price for April 2013, alone, is $257,000.

We have more pending and closed sales and inventory remains low with 3.1 months of inventory city wide; pending sales increased 11.9% from March 2013 and 24.4% from April 2012.  Closed sales are up 9.8% over March 2013 and 16.1 % over April 2012.

And our average market time remains low at 91 days city wide.  This is an average, so imagine how quickly the good ones are actually selling.

The real estate conversation is all about inventory.  There are plenty of buyers in the marketplace right now, hoping to get in before prices and interest rates rise.  But...there aren't so many houses to choose from, making multiple offers and bidding wars commonplace.    Low appraisals are a risk as prices are driven higher, so cash offers become quite appealing.  We are even seeing multiple cash offers; in some cases buyers needing to buy using financing  need not even submit offers.

The conversation is also about sustainability; can this market continue?  I don't think so. An amount of the pricing increase is being driven up by emotional decisions; winning the bidding war.  As prices rise, and more people can afford to sell, we'll see more houses come on the market, which will ease the inventory shortage.  And while I don't relish a return to the stagnant market of 2008-2011, a bit more balanced market would be welcome. 

So if you've been thinking of selling, now is a pretty good time.  Interest rates remain reasonably low such that more buyers can afford to buy at a certain price range.  As both interest rates and prices rise, the pool of buyers for any given price range will decrease.

See the full report.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Traffic + Construction = Progress

I'm lucky to live in Portland's close-in eastside, between SE Division and SE Powell.  The neighborhood has much to offer, with several new improvements coming soon.  Work on the new light rail line is in full swing, especially as seen from lower Division, SE Powell and SE17th and of course long SE 17th.  In addition, the city is about to undertake the Division Streetscape work; from SE Cesar Chavez to SE 11th. This project combines sewer work with a variety of street improvements including better ADA ramps at intersections, bike boxes at intersections, curbs, sidewalks and so on.  Work on the Division project begins this coming Monday, 5.6.2013.

The City of Portland's Bureau of Transportation some nice webtools, including a project overview and block by block project maps.  Below is the map of SE 21st and Division:

You can get a good look at your favorite intersections, and what all will be involved in the construction.

There is also a nice site tracking the progress and effects of the Portland-Milwaukie light rail project, offering surprisingly up to date route and traffic information.  I'm amazed at the wide swath being cleared through the inner east-side. 

These two projects adjoin each other in the Clinton - 11th - Division - 12th blocks, making for an already congested area.  Monday's start of the Division Streetscape project could make things interesting.  I'll be investigating some alternative commute routes; Powell to 99E?  Staying east and cutting down at Hawthorne?

How about you?