Sunday, October 29, 2017

Home Energy Scores...coming soon

The City of Portland is adopting new rules requiring homes listed for sale (not just with Realtors, but in any public way; craig's list, facebook etc) have a Home Energy Score done by a certified provider BEFORE listing.  This will take effect for any new listings starting January 1, 2018.

This is an effort to give houses something similar to the miles per gallon rating we use in evaluating cars.  There is proprietary software using an algorithm somewhat similar to that used by the Department of Energy.  The evaluation is primarily of the building envelope, and does not consider appliances, nor variations in human behavior.  It does look at the efficiency of furnaces and hot water heaters.

The certification for providers is rigorous, with I believe nine providers certified to date, and more in the pipeline.  They'll be busy, getting all those houses rated by January 1, 2018.  Some providers are home inspectors, adding this to their menu of services.  Others are folks who have been doing some sort of energy efficiency work already.  Prices have yet to settle out, though it sounds that most will be charging between $200 and $300. 

Houses will be rated on a scale of one to ten, one being less efficient and ten more efficient.  Houses with scores of five or lower will get recommendations for improving the score, along with an estimate of the new score, should the recommendations be implemented.  The report includes estimates of how much energy the home is likely to use and the annual cost.

Since my husband and I are kind of energy nerds, we've already had a Home Performance study done a few years ago.  This is a more involved process, using a blower door test and other evaluation methods.  For kicks, and so I'll be familiar with the process, I had a Home Energy Score done last week.  Our evaluation was done by PDX Hive.  The process took about an hour, and they needed access to both our crawl space and our attic.

WE GOT A NINE!!!  This was just a draft as the final software product isn't quite finished yet.  Our house is a bit over 2000 square feet, built in 2003, with an average gas furnace and gas hot water heater.  Being built in 2003, we do have plenty of insulation and double paned windows.  In addition, while we have plenty of windows, their placement and size are reasonable.  We do not have air conditioning, and we do have 3.36 kW of solar panels on our roof.  Once the software is ready, PDX Hive will give me an updated score.  I've also asked for what our score would be without the solar panels, as I'm curious.

I'll blog more on this in the near future.  If you are selling your house in the new year, you will need the energy score before listing.  This is not part of the buyer's home inspection process.  Some sellers may choose to complete some of the suggested work to increase their score.  I am hopeful the providers will have an efficient way to complete a re-evaluation quickly and at a reduced cost. 

Contact me for more information, or with questions.  503-312-8038

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A much needed market update!

Despite what your friends and neighbors might be telling you about Portland's active real estate market, it really is slowing down a bit.  Slowing down a bit means, the rate that prices increase is slowing, market time is getting a tad longer, there are slightly fewer sales, and slightly more houses on the market.

Here are a few numbers to help tell the story.  The year to date, median sale price in the Portland metro area is $379,900.  That is up 8.5% from September 2017, and up 10.1% year to date from last year at the same time.  Closed sales are down 3.2% year to date, from the same time last year.  Our market time, year to date this year, is 43 days.  Year to date last year was 41 days.    And inventory, (active residential listings at the end of the month divided by the number of closed sale for that month) is at 2.3 months.  Up from 2.0 months in August, and up from 2.0 months in September of last year.  Right now, prices aren't falling.  The rate of increase is declining.

The other part of the story can be seen in the price reductions on current listings.  From October 1 to October 17, 2017, in the 97202, 97206, 97214 and 97215 zip codes, there were 116 residential properties (detached and attached) that had price reductions.  Does that mean prices are falling?  Not necessarily.  Many sellers have been pricing, shall we say, "aspirationally", and not in relation to the sales data in their neighborhood. 

Anecdotally, we are still seeing a very active market in the more affordable price ranges; under $350,000.  Good houses in this price range are seeing multiple offers, and offers over list price.  In the higher price ranges, buyers have gained a bit of power in the market place.  As we near the holidays, sellers may be more willing to take lower offers, pay some of the buyers closing costs, or take on more issues that come up on an inspection. 

These numbers don't look like a crash, nor a bursting bubble.  They do feel a bit like a reality check; a reminder that buyers won't just pay ANY price. 

Sellers, if you are needing to get your home sold before the end of the year, now is the time to lower that price and get your property noticed by buyers in the market place.  Buyers, if you got tired of losing out in the busy spring, you just might find a decent house to purchase at a reasonable price.

Get in touch of you have questions about your specific property, neighborhood or situation.   503-312-8038.

The RMLS report.