I specialize in Portland Waterfront properties.
I don't mean to be coy, but the answer is a bit more complicated than a simple yes or no. It all depends on how aggressively you bargain, the specific property you're interested in (Meriwether, John Ross, etc...), the views and upgrades, etc. I'm happy to walk you through the pros and cons if you'd like... but in general, there are some very big bets being placed on the future of the South Waterfront by the City of Portland, City of Lake Oswego (because of the street car connection between Portland and L.O.) OHSU and Oregon's higher ed system, some huge biotech companies, Umpqua Bank, large developers, etc... A five year time horizon is *probably* sufficient to ensure that the overall South Waterfront District will have a fighting chance.
Call or drop me a note if you'd like to discuss further.
Kathy Quick, Principal Broker
Quick & Associates Real Estate
Tom Inglesby, Broker
RE/MAX Equity Group
When the California real estate market dropped following the savings and loan failures in the early 1990s, it took years to come back. That could easily happen here.
Pearl District condos in buildings that are 60% or more occupied are looking good to me. Also, look at the edges of the NW 23rd area. If you look hard, you might find something interesting (be really careful of conversions). Those areas remind me of some of the neighborhoods in San Francisco (I used to live there), where values don't fall that much even in slow times.
I agree with Dirk Knudsen below. It is risky. But that same risk can provide some interesting opportunities, such is the nature of risk & return. If you are interested in a more controversial look at the South Waterfront, that embraces risk, take a look at this recent posting on my blog: http://agent503.com/2008/07/02/the-pressure-is-on-at-the-joh
I'm an Exclusive Buyers Agent working in the Metro Portland area. I've sold in the Pearl, South Waterfront, someof the re-habbed older buildings, etc. (as well as working the entire Metro PDX area). But for the sake of your question, there are buyers who bought at the height of the market, where waiting lists were the norm PRIOR to ground being broken. No one questioned if anything would go "off" kilter on that . . . i.e., the bottom dropping off. Same thing for homes, single family detached in the "burbs." I always tell people that I really don't have a crystal ball, but the main objective in buying is to know what you can afford, where you want to live, how long you are going to hold on to the property. If you buy what you can afford, then the down-turns will be already factored in and considered. If you buy where you want to live, you'll be happy in your HOME and not want to look for anything for a while . . . you're happy living there! The longer you live in a property -- any property -- the better off you'll be. The NAR states that property values double ever 10 years. The unfortunate side to the current market is that I see some sellers who just purchased, or maybe purchased in '05. Their values aren't nearly what they would have liked to have realized. But these are "homes" and if people continue to want to play "stock market" or "personal piggy banks" then sometimes there are more risks involved -- I knew one seller who had THREE mortgages on his place!! Talk about being 'top heavy."
Personally, I like the South Waterfront area. And since it's not far from the Pearl, it's really a matter of a 10 minute trolley ride to the nice restaurants,or shopping at the Pearl. Many of my clients like the water front, and the views on some of the units are truly unique.
The plus to having units that aren't selling is the old motto: Buy low, sell high. Hey, if you can find a great deal, and it works for you . . . then you're already ahead of the game.
You can check out my website for home buyer tips, http://www.EBAPortland.com and I've added the South Water Front site, just in case you haven't seen that link. I've been to a few of their association meetings, and I really think that most of the owners are there for the long haul, love where they're living and have a "hands on" approach to their association. Which is a good thing
Carla Muss-Jacobs, ABR, CEBA, e-PRO
EBA Porltand, LLC
Gor my money I would go Pearl District. There are some great values and it is hard to argue that the Heart of the city is not better than a converted ship yard in the South Waterfront.
Best Wishes to you Pam.
Call me if I can get you a daily list of the best deals in both markets.
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