RMLS Market Action Recap – October 2009

RMLS Market Action Recap – October 2009

Same-month sales up nearly across the board in Oregon & Southern Washington

Sales activity continued to outpace levels from the same month last year in the latest RMLS™ Market Action report. Inventory was also down in several areas, including Lane County, Portland and Clark County.

Sales Activity:
Both pending and closed sales increased in 9 out of 10 of the regions that we cover when compared to the same month in 2008. The Portland metro area saw its largest increase in closed sales since January 2005 , which was also the highest total of closed sales since August 2007. Clark County set a record for pending sales, with an increase of 56.9% compared to last October. Here’s a recap of each region’s same-month sales activity:

It will be interesting to see if this trend of increased sales activity will continue this fall and winter season. The percentage increases were not surprising this month, given the recent strength in sales and considering that last year we saw sales begin to drop in October, kicking off a stretch of slow sales activity that would extend into the first quarter of 2009.

Housing inventory levels dropped in several key areas, including Lane County (6.2 months), Portland (6.5 months, lowest since August 2007) and Clark County (6.4 months, lowest since September 2006). This is somewhat counterintuitive, as inventory levels have often increased as we head into the slower fall and winter seasons. But, considering the following factors, it’s no surprise:

  • Low interest rates
  • New listings continue to drop in most areas, reducing the supply of homes available
  • The perceived tax credit deadline (which has since been extended)
  • Lower home prices

What do you think?
Realtors – what do you think? Where do you see the market heading? Have you heard increased interest from buyers and sellers since the tax credit extension/expansion? Comment below!

Portland Metro Sales by Price Range – September 2009

Homes below $400k make up 85% of sales in September

I recently read that in Phoenix,  93% of September Home Sales were below $400k.  The author says that Phoenix is essentially a “tale of two markets”, one where homes in the lower priced spectrum are selling & where high-end homes are sitting.

We’ve looked at similar numbers before to see how the homebuyer tax credit was effecting the Portland market, so I figured it was time to take a look at these numbers again & see how we compare to the Phoenix sales by price range – here’s what I found:

% of Portland Home Sales by Price Range (September 2009)

Sept. 2009 % of Sales Sept. 2008 % of Sales
$0-$150k 190 10.4% 115 6.6%
$150-$200k 383 20.9% 235 13.6%
$200k-$250k 416 22.7% 420 24.3%
$250k-$400k 569 31.0% 633 36.6%
$400k-$500k 142 7.7% 170 9.8%
$500k-$750k 96 5.2% 114 6.6%
$750k – $1 million + 38 2.1% 44 2.5%

% of Sales by Price Range, Combined (September 2009)

Sept. 09 Sept. 08
Below $250k 53.9% 44.5%
Below $400k 85.0% 81.1%
Above $500k 7.3% 9.1%

As you can see, not quite as high as Phoenix, but still 85% of sales in Portland were below $400k, which is up about 4% from last September.

Also note that sales below $250k are up 9.4% from last September. I suspect a lot of those sales can be attributed to the $8,000 tax credit (although some investors may also be cashing in on some lower priced homes as well).

The tax credit is set to expire on November 30, and the debate rages on in Washington over its extension. It seems to have given the market here a boost, so it will be interesting to see how the market fares if/when it expires.

If the tax credit does indeed expire, it would still take a lot for things to get worse this winter compared to last year. Last January we saw sales activity drag to the lowest total in the Portland metro area that we had seen since RMLS™ began keeping records in 1992.

What do you think? Did the tax credit help? Should it be extended? Leave a comment, we’d love to hear your opinion!

HOWNW.com Adds Section on Avoiding Foreclosure and Fraud

HOWNW.com Adds Section on Avoiding Foreclosure and Fraud

PMAR’s public service website, HOWNW.com (Home Ownership Opportunities Northwest) has a new section that offers consumers information from reliable sources such as the National Association of Realtors®, the Federal Trade Commission, Fannie Mae and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency about how to avoid foreclosure and fraud.

To explore these useful new resources, visit: http://hownw.com/consumer/avoidingforeclosure.asp

The $8K Tax Credit and its Effect on Portland Metro Real Estate

There’s been some encouraging news lately in the RMLS™ market areas. The number of sales and pending sales are finally outpacing the totals from the same month in 2008.  How much of it might be a result of the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit, though?

I recently put together some statistics for the Oregonian on the Portland metro area, and thought I would share them with you.

There is no question that home sales in the lower-end of the market have seen a big jump this year. In 2007, homes priced between $0 and $249,999 only made up 35% of all sales in the Portland metro area. In 2009 so far, they make up 49.6% of the market. 

As you’d expect, coinciding with the increase in lower-end homes is a drop in high-end homes. Homes priced $500,000 or above have dropped from 13.5% of the market in 2007, to just 8.2% of the market this year.

The question is: what will happen when the $8,000 tax credit expires on December 1?

I know the tax credit definitely got me off the fence & I can literally think of 15 of my friends and acquaintances (off the top of my head) who have bought or are actively looking to buy. 

So in my humble opinion, there’s little doubt that the tax credit spurred people to buy. But as the deadline for the credit approaches, it should be interesting to see where sales go.