Monday, April 16, 2018

New heights of energy nerdism

My husband told me the other day, he tries to limit the number of times he opens the refrigerator, in an effort to preserve the cold air.  There is a bit of context...a glimpse into my world.

I'm driving an electric car these days, and we REALLY wanted it to be truly powered by the sun.  In 2010, we installed a system with 10 solar panels, that generated about 80% of our electricity.  The electric load in our house, is plugs, lights, fridge, washer and small appliances (toaster, coffee pot) and the electricity needed to power the electronic parts of the stove and dryer.  And now, the car charger.

ImagineEnergy, who did our original system, helped with the upgrade.  We removed the old panels and inverter (and sold them to a friend), and had 30 new panels (more efficient) installed.  The panel technology has improved so much, merely upgrading the 10 existing panels would have given us a nice bump.  The load of the electric car can be hefty and the panel upgrade alone wouldn't generated enough to power the house and the car.

With the 30 panels and new inverter, we also get a fancy web interface through which to monitor our system.  The monitoring system just got turned on in late March, so we don't have a bunch of data yet, and we've not even gone a full billing cycle since installing the new panels.  But we are excited and optimistic!

The monitoring system is by Solar Edge.  I can see, today, we have generated 33.71 kWh, so far. I can see today's weather, along with the forecast. Switching to a different screen, I can see a physical layout of the panels, and which panels have produced how much power today, or this week, or month, or year. And once we have more data, there's a plethora of reports to be run. 

Portland's Home Energy Score requirement is driving more awareness of energy efficiency into the market.  Portland was one of a handful of cities benefiting from an in depth study of the value of solar power in certain markets.  In that 2015 study, solar panels were seen to add a premium of 1.97% - 3.25% (median and mean) to the price of a house.  The sales in that study were from 2012 and 2013.  I'd guess that premium, as a percentage of price, has increased since then.

If you have questions about navigating solar systems (ha ha), I'd be glad to chat.  You can reach me at 503-312-8038 or

Friday, April 13, 2018

A look at Q1 2018 in Portland real estate

We receive monthly market statistics from the multiple listing service.  Looking at those numbers, a month a time, doesn't necessarily give the full picture.  Now that we've got three months of statistics, let's take a look.

In my annual report, I predicted an increase in the median price of around 8%.  Right now, looking at the percentage change of the 12 month sale price with the previous 12 months, the median price has increased 8.8% from $353,800 to $385,000 (this is metro-area wide).  I expect to see this come down a bit as the year progresses.

We are seeing the number of new listings creep up a bit.  Our inventory in months, calculated by dividing the active residential listings at the end of the month by the number of closed sales that month, has been (averaged for Q!) 1.9.  In 2016 and 2017, that three month average was 1.63.

On a similar trend, year to date listings are 3.8% higher than the same period in 2017, and closed sales are down 3.8%.  And market time, measured in days has increased 3.1% from 59 to 61 days.  Keep in mind, real estate always has a bit of a slow start in January, as many buyers and sellers are not focused on real estate through the holidays. 

While the general Portland market is slowing a tad, and prices are not increasing as quickly as in recent years, some neighborhoods remain hot.  Properties are still receiving multiple offers, and selling for well above asking price.  Anecdotally, it seems well priced properties are drawing lots of attention (as it should be), along with properties that have been well taken care of and prepped for sale.  Sellers wanting top dollar are best to put a lot of effort into preparing their property for sale, AND price properly.  An overpriced property, sitting for weeks or months will not bring top dollar.

From here, I expect we'll continue to see more properties on the market, a decline in the rate of price increase and a bit saner market for all.  Buyers, there are lots of good properties on the market in most neighborhoods and price points.  While you aren't in the driver's seat, you may be less disadvantaged than you've been in recent months. Sellers, you still have a desirable product, but you'll need to pay attention to condition and price. 

RMLS report

Get in touch if you have questions or would like additional information.  Leslie Jones 503-312-8038.