Tuesday, January 15, 2019

2018 Year end market stats

Our multiple listing service just released the market information for 2018.  Here are a few highlights.

The year to date median sale price was $400,000;  a 5.3% increase over 2017.  December's median sale price was $390,000, so that $400,00 clearly had some lift from earlier in the year. 

While the year to date market time for a listing was 48 days, year to date market time for 2017 was 45 days, so not much of a difference.

2018 saw more new listings hit the market, and the number of closed sales decreased by 5.9%.  Consistent with this,  the inventory calculated in months was higher every month in 2018 than the corresponding months in 2017.

This means, buyers have more houses from which to choose.  Houses are staying on the market a bit longer, perhaps giving buyers more than a millisecond to make a buying decision.  Sellers have more competition, with more houses on the market.

Looking at the change in average sale price, there are some suburban areas seeing higher than average increase.  Gresham/Troutdale saw an increase in the average sale price for 2018 of 7.7%.  Oregon City/Canby increased at 7.1% in 2018, and Beaverton/Aloha increased at 8.6%.  Oh, and West Linn/Lake Oswego, increased by 0.6%. 

If you are thinking of making areal estate move, get in touch.  I'd love to help.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Things I learned from animal trainers

Most of you know, I'm quite the animal nut.  Over the years, I've had the opportunity to attend training presentations, watch trainers in action and have used a few trainers with my own dogs.  Dog training can be a bit like parenting, but that is a different blog.

I've been struck, a few times, at how training theories or methods can be used other places in life.  Here are a few.

Train with an open hand.  Keeping a tight leash (or rein) on an animal doesn't allow them the room to grow, nor the space to learn to make their own good choices.  To reward the good choice, there needs to have been a good choice made.  And many animals will react negatively to force, restriction or confinement. 

In human life, I do believe too tight of control (on others, on projects, on goals) will have similar ill effects.  I have a bit of a rebel in me, so try to control me too tightly and I will react strongly against you.

 Living with an open hand can also seen in being giving with kindness and the benefit of the doubt.

Always keep the goal in mind.  This is more subtle than always moving toward the goal (which is  good too).  We adopted a dog who was pretty much feral.  She hadn't been properly socialized with people, and was quite fearful  (some of you will remember Dutchy).  We really couldn't, especially early on, always move toward the goal.  But we could sure keep the goal in mind.  When she first came to us, she was very afraid of Don (men).  The goal was for him to be able to touch her, and approach her.  To get there, we started with him lying down on the floor bed, or couch. So she could safely approach him.  In time she approached him, then he could pet her once she approached him, then he could lean on one arm, later, sit up and so on.  Over time she became quite comfortable with him, and loved to snuggle with him.  But we couldn't have gotten there(I don't think) if we'd just started with him approaching her. 

Sometimes there are steps we must take to prepare, that don't look like the goal at all.  Ground work and preparation often don't feel like you are approaching the goal, and can feel like a waste of time, and even humbling.  But...plenty of people can hide behind "getting ready" forever.  Always keep the goal in mind, even if you aren't moving straight toward it.

Use the power of distraction or re-direction. There are lots of reactive dogs out there; barking at other dogs on the walk, at the door bell, at the mail man and so on.  One method is to distract them from the event, so they don't react. And then, over time, use distraction less and less, so that they are tolerating the stimulus, without overly reacting.  And, for instance, if they get enough treats during the "event", they may even look forward to the event.  I used this method with a food motivated cat too.  Eva wanted to kill Clyde when we first adopted him. So I'd let her be around him for a short while, and would give her treats while he was in her presence.  Over time, she cared less about his presence, even with treats, and as they treats went away, she was still fine with him.  Over the years, she came to like him, would sleep by him and groomed him.

Isn't this kind of like finding something fun to do, that happens to be exercise?  You don't notice you are exercising, because you are having fun.

Do you notice any "life lessons" in other places in your life?

I'm not an animal trainer, and have NO education or training as such.  I've undoubtedly bastardized some tried and true training theories and methods.  These are just my thoughts and musings.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Leslie's 2018 year-end report

 In December 2017, I said we’d see a bit of easing in the market, with the median sale price increasing around 8%.  I said we’d see some agents leaving the business, and some consolidation of real estate companies as the market slows. 

I was right, kinda.  Our market as eased considerably.  We are still seeing some multiple offers; though only on properties that have been very well prepped for sale, priced properly and in desirable locations.  The year to date median price has increased at 5.3%, so I was wrong about the 8%.    That 5.3% is much closer to wage growth of 3.1% (national, local is assumed to be higher).  When housing and wages grow at similar rates, we have a much more sustainable housing market. 

We did see the introduction of the Home Energy Scores, required by the City of Portland, on homes being marketed for sale.  The price of these quickly came down from $300ish to $150 or so.  As often happens with new programs, there have been some bumps and of course, resistance.  Portland’s housing stock is pretty idiosyncratic, making standardized evaluation a challenge.  Nevertheless, buyers do now have more information about the energy efficiency of the homes they are considering.  I expect we’ll see some fine tuning to the program and over time, buyers placing more value on energy efficiency.

Voters approved a hefty housing bond for Metro ($652.8 million), in addition to funds already at play from the 2016 City of Portland housing bond ($258.4 million).  The housing crises continues, especially for those with very low incomes.  Opinions vary greatly on how to best address the houseless population with regard to how resources should be spent and what kind of housing or shelters is best.  It seems we need all the help we can get, from temporary shelters to transitional housing, construction of energy efficient permanent housing, resource centers with support services, laundry and showers and so on. I do hope we can find a path that makes a difference.  An aside, I’ve noticed lots of successful programs in Clackamas County of late…

Interest rates have crept up.  Earlier this fall, rates were over 5%.  Rising rates are a sign of a healthy economy; remember, the government was keeping rates artificially low to stimulate the housing market.  Expect more rate increases; maybe two increases by the FED in 2019.   Rates probably won’t get above 5.5%, and may dip below 5% now and then.  But remember, we had a housing boom with rates over 5%.

Buyers have more power in this market, than they have in a few years.  This might only mean they can actually get an offer accepted.  Or, they’ll be able to negotiate for more inspection repairs than in the recent past.  Along these same lines, we are seeing more “contingent offers”, where a buyer has to sell their home in order to purchase a new home.  If you’ve been sitting on the sidelines waiting for a bit more buyer friendly market, we may be there.

I am often asked what the “hot” spots are these days.  We’re seeing lots of activity in St. John’s, Gresham, Milwaukie and out by the tech companies on the west side.  These areas have desirable housing stock, and tend to be more affordable.  Certainly, Portland’s close-in neighborhoods remain desirable…if buyers can afford them.

So, for 2019; slightly slower market, with market times closer to 60 days (currently 53).  Buyers will have a bit more power, and more houses from which to choose.  The median home price in the Portland area will rise 5%.  The Portland area will continue to be a desirable place, with folks moving here from out of state.  The volatility in the stock market, and slower growth in the global market will cut reduce the number of cash sales.

I remain honored to help folks with some of the biggest decisions in their lives, and humbles by the trust that is put in me.  My business is based on referrals.  I will always take good care of anyone you send my way.  Be it selling, buying, or just curious, I’m always here to help.