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Janeese Jackson's Blog

By Janeese Jackson | Broker in Portland, OR

December 2012 Portland Metro Real Estate Update!

Prince, Michael Jackson and James Brown - Concert 1983


Season's Greetings everyone!!  I hope you are surviving the revelry, the shopping as well as the recent tragedies that have affected our immediate area and nation!!  But, as life goes on, so does real estate and there is more good news in that arena at least!  Remember when Prince (or the artist formerly known as) sang "let's party like it's 1999"??  Well, the Portland Metro area is "buying and selling real estate like it's 2006-2007"!!  Our market continues to show growth in pending and closed sales.  Comparing November 2012 to November 2011, pending sales were up 2.7% and closed sales were 13.9% higher.  Low inventory persists and at this rate our active inventory would be exhausted in 4.2 months (up from 3.8 months last month, but that's typical during the busy holiday season).  The average sales price is 3.9% higher than the same period of last year and median sales price is 5.4% higher.  The average total market time is down from 143 days to 112 days.  The big news on interest rates came out of the Fed meeting on Wednesday when they announced that they would keep mortgage interest rates at these super low levels as long as unemployment stays above 6.5%.  Most economists seem to thing that will take awhile!!  The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) stats show that housing markets are improving nationwide and construction spending is up.  The Wall St Journal reported that new household formations are at the highest rate in six years.  In general the Consumer Confidence Index is UP!!
BUYERS:  What does this mean for buyers?  No need to panic it appears, prices are slowly repairing and interest rates will eventually go up but both seem to be happening incrementally!  However, if you are ready, willing and able…what are you waiting for??  (Check out rent-vs-own).  The inventory is low enough that it's really never too early to begin the search (at least looking online and watching homes that fit your search criteria).  Mortgage lending is still tight and demanding, so get your pre-approval right away.  And, if the down-payment is the issue, get creative! (Remember FHA financing allows for as low as 3.5% down)
SELLERS:  What does this mean for sellers?  Buyers are out there and there's not an abundance of inventory.  However, I still see good houses just "sit" on the market if they are not priced right!!  I know that seems odd considering our increasing local zeal for real estate, but buyers did learn from the recession and want value.  Even the bank-owned properties and short-sales are not "steals" any more.  The lending institutions are recognizing the recovering market and pricing accordingly!  Pricing correctly can be the biggest challenge, however!  
INVESTORS:  What does this mean for investors?  The shortage of inventory and mortgage restrictions are the only things hampering this segment of the market. Small, well-maintained plexes and suitable single-family get snapped up quickly.  Again pricing is paramount as the numbers must work for the new investor!  As an investor/possible seller, one of the most important issues (besides maintenance) is keeping your rents up to reflect market conditions.  It's much easier to sell a rental property where the rental income represents current market rents.  The rental housing market is tight and you should re-analyze your rents annually.  As an investor/possible buyer having your financing "ready to rumble" will give you an edge!  Owning investment real estate has a lot of potential to contribute to your plan for building wealth and stability!
Let's enjoy the holidays and be nice to one another….jj
Janeese Jackson
Selected by Portland Magazine as a 2011 and 2012 Five Star Realtor

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