Monday, August 18, 2014

I'm loving this stagnant, flat market!

I've always been a bit puzzled by the mentality that things must always be growing and improving.  Bigger, better, more isn't always best, at least in my mind. 

Portland's real estate market, of the last months, has been a healthy one. Sales have been brisk, inventory low but present, and interest rates low.  So while our numbers haven't changed much month to month, we're in a healthy place.  Its like the Dr. saying your health is stagnant and flat because your cholesterol has stayed low, blood pressure has stayed steady and you've maintained a healthy weight.

Hooray for the stagnant and flat. 

 At our current rate of sales, it will take 2.9 months to sell all the properties on the market, that is after three months with inventory at 2.8 months. 

Pending sales were up 2.3% from July 2013 and fell 5.5% from June 2014.   Closed sales rose 2.3% from June 2014, but are down 3.2%  from  July 2013.  Summer of 2013 was a kickass market.   So being "flat" compared to last year is fine by me.

Our market time got a tad shorter; 57 days in July 2014 vs. 59 days in June.  July 2013 had a market time of 63 days.

The median year to date sales price is $284,900, up 9.2% from the median year to date sales price in July  2013 of  $261,000.

So, prices continue to increase, we've had a slight increase in the number of houses on the market, but the pace of sales and number of active buyers make for a busy real estate industry.  There is still a lot of cash in the market, making it harder for first time buyers, with low down payments, to compete.

We tend to see a bit if a flurry in the market in September and October as both buyers and sellers rush to get transactions completed before the holidays.  Frustrated buyers, I expect to see an increase of new listings in early and mid-September. 

Sellers, there is still time to get your place on the market if you've been thinking of selling. Give me a call. 503-312-8038. 

read the full Portland area report here

Monday, August 11, 2014

What the heck is a diamond in the rough, anyway?

The standards have gone way up on how much spiffing the market expects when a home goes on the market.  Homeowners can work for weeks or even months prepping their home for sale. We aren't talking major remodel. But packing up and storing lots of stuff, moving furniture to a storage unit, tending to small fix it items identified by their realtor, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide monitors, digging up paperwork for past work such as oil tank decommissions and sewer replacements.  Spiffing the yard, touch up painting where needed and so on.

But sometimes, circumstances are such that sellers just don't have that kind of time and money.  A job relocation with a short timeline, divorce and health issues can all contribute to sellers just needing to get it sold.

I had a listing earlier in the summer, where my clients were moving out of state, and on a short timeline. They have two busy boys, two dogs and had lived in the house for 17 years.  In that time, they had done lots of very valuable upgrades to the house; earthquake retro-fitting, Pella double paned argon filled windows, new water and sewer lines, high efficiency furnace, gas hot water heater, wood stove inserts into both fireplaces, whole house water filter and more.  Where necessary, they  had building permits.

The house had many of the features today's buyers are looking for;  it is  a classic Tudor, has hardwood floors, fireplaces, built-ins, leaded glass accents, roomy kitchen floor plan, mature landscape.  But...the kitchen and baths were kinda tired, and the sellers didn't have the time or energy to do a bunch of prepping. So when the house was shown, prospective buyers had to look past the kids' Lego figures all over the fireplace mantle, the dishes in the kitchen sink, the landscape hadn't been trimmed back and the deck hadn't been pressure washed.

That, my friends, was a diamond in the rough.  Its was a great house in a fab location with good systems.  Just needed a tad of vision and some kitchen and bath work.

A diamond in the rough, is NOT a non-descript house with three layers of carpet and linoleum, old leaky windows, electric baseboard heat and an aging sewer line.  That's just rough.  There needs to be some diamond under the rough.