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  • 25 Apr 2017 6:53 AM | Oregon Mortgage Association (Administrator)

    Though it seemed unlikely, Claire Anderson couldn't shake the notion her real-estate broker had taken her to the scene of some terrible crime. 

    They'd crossed an unkempt yard to enter the rundown Southeast Portland home through a back door. Inside, splotches covered the walls and ceiling. The lights flickered gloomily.

    "It was the creepiest horror scene," the 29-year-old said. But "we still walked around and talked about what we could do to make this horror movie house work." 

    That's because after touring more than a dozen homes and trawling hundreds of others online, she could no longer automatically dismiss a house with an "Enter at your own risk" sign tacked to the front door. Not for her first home, and certainly not one within her price range. 

    The starter home has become an endangered species in Portland's robust real estate market -- even for middle-income earners with decent savings like Anderson.

    Inventory in the ballpark of $300,000 is rapidly disappearing as prices far outpace wages, a scenario exacerbated by the continuing fallout of a homebuilding drought, the region's surging population and the tendency of current homeowners to stay put instead of move up. 

    And rising interest rates threaten to further erode buying power, leaving first-time home buyers with even fewer options.

    Click here for the full article at

  • 08 Sep 2016 10:53 AM | Oregon Mortgage Association (Administrator)

    Seattle and Portland Home Prices Rise At Twice The National Rate

    Home prices in the Northwest continued to climb at a double-digit pace in June compared to a year ago, easily twice the rate for the nation's 20 largest metro areas.

    Seattle home prices rose 11 percent, second only to Portland, where prices rose 12.6 percent, according to the Standard & Poor's CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index, released Tuesday.

    For the top 20 markets, prices increased 5.1 percent in June compared with a year ago. That's down from a 5.3 percent annual gain in May and is the slowest year-over-year pace since last August.

    Portland, Seattle and Denver have topped the list of price gains for the past five months. From May to June, Seattle prices rose 1.4 percent, again trailing only Portland at 1.6 percent.

    Home values have slowed to more sustainable rates elsewhere. In Northeastern cities such as New York and Washington, D.C., they are rising at roughly the rate of inflation, and in Boston, less than 5 percent.

    Still, nationwide prices are increasing more quickly than incomes as buyers compete for the dwindling supply of available homes. That reflects an ongoing imbalance in the housing market that could stifle sales in the coming months.

    "June represents the fifth straight month of flat or decreasing year-over-year price gains, but homebuyers are still being challenged as prices outpace income growth," Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist at real estate data provider Trulia, said.

    Cities in the Midwest were mixed. Over 12 months, home prices in Cleveland and Chicago rose 2.5 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively, while in Minneapolis they climbed 5.1 percent, the same as the nationwide pace.

    Southern cities saw stronger price gains. They rose 8.9 percent in Dallas, 7.9 percent in Tampa, and 5.8 percent in Atlanta.

    "Nationally, home prices have risen at a consistent 4.8 percent annual pace over the last two years without showing any signs of slowing," said David Blitzer, managing director at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

    The 20-city price index plunged after the housing bubble started to burst in 2006, plummeting by more than a third before prices began to rise again in March 2012. In June, they were still 8.1 percent below their peak level.

    The Case-Shiller index covers roughly half of U.S. homes. The index measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average. The June figures are the latest available.

    Click here for more at The Seattle Times.

  • 23 Aug 2016 8:48 AM | Oregon Mortgage Association (Administrator)

    It's almost the end of the spring-summer home buying season.  2016 has been another hot market for Portland.  However, some signs indicate that the Portland housing market may be slowing down.  Some parts of statistics show the market has not been as crazy hot as 2015.  There was about the same number of homes listed this year but the number of homes actually sold were 15% less than 2015 according to RMLS for the Portland metro area.  The twist is, however, homes stay on the market for less days in 2016 than they did in 2015.

    Home prices are still increasing.  Compared to 2015, the median home value has increased about 20% over the past year according to Zillow.  It forecasts the price will increase by 7.4% within the next year.  For your information, the actual increase in Portland market well surpassed its one year forecast in 2015.

    Nationally, some interesting things are happening in real estate markets.  While traditionally unpopular metros areas are gaining traction with a real estate boom, already established markets are showing a slow down.  Case-Schiller indices for May 2016 show that adjusted home prices are falling for two month in a row on the 10- and 20-city indices.

    The biggest gain in the housing market has been in the West, particularly in Portland and Seattle followed by Denver.  Portland's S&P Case-Schiller index monthly change is still increasing at about 1.5% while the 12-month change has been around 13% increase.

    Click here for the full article at PDX Blog.

  • 20 Jan 2016 6:29 AM | Oregon Mortgage Association (Administrator)

    By Jon Bell
    Portland Business Journal 

    Looking to buy a home in Portland's Hawthorne neighborhood? Good luck.

    According to the Seattle real estate brokerage Redfin, the popular Southeast Portland neighborhood was among the most-competitive neighborhoods in the entire nation for homebuyers in 2015.

    On a top 10 ranking of the most competitive home buying neighborhoods in the country, Hawthorne landed at No. 5. Topping out the list was Inman Square in Boston, followed by Overlake in Seattle, Boston's Brighton/Allston neighborhood and Roosevelt in Seattle.

    The remaining neighborhoods on the top 10 were either in Boston, Seattle or San Francisco. In fact, according to Redfin, the 30 most competitive neighborhoods in the nation were located in just those three cities and Portland, a sign that technology hubs are booming at present.

    “These four metro areas have set themselves apart in terms of attracting and creating high-wage jobs in tech, pharma and finance, and that has heated up the local housing market," said Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson, in a release.

    "When a short supply of homes collides with high-income homebuyers, you get this hot, hyper-competitive climate.”

    In its ranking, Redfin analyzed a range of indicators, including the percentage of homes that sold above asking price, how quickly homes went under contract and the percentage of Redfin offers that faced bidding wars. The firm noted that the data came from multiple listing services, public records and proprietary data on Redfin agent and customer activity.

    According to Redfin's data, the median sales price in the Hawthorne neighborhood this year was $521,250, an increase of nearly 19 percent over last year. Fifty-six percent of homes sold in the neighborhood went for above the asking price, and the median number of days on the market for homes was just seven days.

    In addition, Redfin noted that 41 percent of sales in Hawthorne were all cash transactions, and 90 percent of offers involving Redfin agents in the neighborhood went into bidding wars.

    Click here to view the complete article. 
  • 10 Nov 2015 7:25 AM | Oregon Mortgage Association (Administrator)

    Homeowners in the Portland metro region continue to see lower rates of foreclosure than the rest of the nation.

    According to the latest information from CoreLogic, foreclosure activity in the metro region dropped to 1.08 percent in August; the national average was at 1.25 percent in the same month.

    The drop in the metro region was also down about half a percent from the same month last year, when the foreclosure rate was at nearly 1.6 percent.

    CoreLogic also reported that in the Portland, Vancouver and Hillsboro area, the mortgage delinquency rate was on the decline as well. According to the firm's data for August, just under 2.5 percent of mortgage loans were 90 days or more delinquent compared with 3.4 percent for the same period last year, representing a decrease of nearly a full percentage point.

    The declining foreclosure trend is an ongoing one in the Portland region. Data for the prior month (July) also showed a drop of about half a percentage point from the same month in 2014.

  • 03 Nov 2015 10:04 AM | Oregon Mortgage Association (Administrator)

    Portland-area home prices increased 1.1 percent between July and August - more than any other metro area measured by the monthly Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index, released Tuesday.

    Portland home prices also posted annual gains at the third-fastest rate of the 20 metro areas surveyed, at 9.4 percent. Only San Francisco and Denver had bigger year-over-year gains, at 10.7 percent each.

    Nationally, prices increased by 4.7 percent year-over-year and 0.3 percent between July and August.

    Bill Banfield, vice president at mortgage lender Quicken Loans, said in an emailed statement that the "small pool of available homes on the market has continued to push prices higher."

    "Those who are waiting to list may be influenced by this sustained home price growth, giving a boost to home inventory," Banfield said. "An increase in inventory could be exactly what is needed for first-time home buyers to find the home they're waiting for."

    Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow, noticed the national housing market settling "into a nice groove over the past few months with steady appreciation."

    "This relative stability should continue into the foreseeable future," Gudell said in an emailed statement.

    Earlier this month, the local Regional Multiple Listing Service found that the metro area saw 3,010 closed sales in September, the most of any September since 2005. The the same was true for August. In July of this year, the Portland region set a record with 3,452 homes sold.

    Closed sales in September were down 2.8 percent locally compared to August but reflected a 26.6 percent increase over September of last year, the Regional Multiple Listing Service found.

  • 27 Oct 2015 12:39 PM | Oregon Mortgage Association (Administrator)

    Bend was the hottest Oregon market during the mid-2000s, but also crashed the hardest when the recession hit. Homes in Bend lost nearly half of their value between 2006 and 2011, according to real estate website Zillow. In neighboring Redmond, values plummeted by even more, 53 percent.

    Bend's real estate market has continued to experience many highs and lows. In recent years, area prices jumped back on the chairlift and are heading back toward the top. The big run-up in prices - combined with a severe shortage of rental housing - has made Bend all but unaffordable for even middle class residents, turning the city increasingly into a playground for the wealthy.

    Watching the boom-and-bust cycle, some residents are wondering if the overdevelopment, bankruptcies and foreclosures of past downturns are lurking around the corner once again.

    "The pain of the recession is still on the minds of those who felt the biggest impacts of it," said Roger Lee, the executive director at Economic Development for Central Oregon.

    Granted, home values aren't yet at pre-recession levels. And the number of single-family housing permits issued by the city in the last couple of years has been nowhere near the trend seen between 2004 and 2006. Post-crash federal regulations have also restricted lenders from handing out houses to those who are unlikely to repay their mortgages.

    Prices in Bend and Redmond, according to Zillow, have again increased faster than in any other cities in Oregon since bottoming out in the recession. Bend values have surged by 58 percent, to a median price of $321,500. In Redmond - long Bend's more affordable neighbor - values have skyrocketed 77 percent.

    At the same time, Bend's population is growing faster, at more than 3 percent annually, than any other of Oregon's eight largest cities, a recently released Census Bureau report showed.

  • 22 Oct 2015 10:24 AM | Oregon Mortgage Association (Administrator)

    By the Associated Press 

    The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index climbed 5 percent in July from a year earlier. That's up from a 4.9 percent annual pace in June.

    Home prices rose in all 20 cities over the past 12 months. San Francisco posted the biggest gain of 10.4 percent, followed by Denver with 10.3 percent. Portland came in at 8.5 percent. 

    Steady job growth and an economic recovery in its seventh year have encouraged more Americans to buy homes. That lifted sales to an eight-year high in July. Yet those buyers have bid up prices in many areas because the number of homes for sale remains limited.

    The current housing inventory is equal to 5.2 months of sales, below the six months that is typical in a balanced housing market.

    Price gains were much smaller in many Eastern and Midwestern cities. Home prices were just 1.7 percent higher in Washington, D.C. compared with 12 months earlier, only 1.8 percent higher in Chicago, and up just 1.9 percent in New York.

    Svenja Gudell, chief economist at real estate data firm Zillow, said the housing market is continuing to improve despite some conflicting trends. New home sales jumped to a seven-year high in August even as existing home sales slipped. Mortgage rates remain low, though it can be difficult for first-time buyers to qualify for a loan.

    Click here to learn more about rising home prices on OregonLive. 
  • 29 Sep 2015 9:44 AM | Oregon Mortgage Association (Administrator)

    The Portland Housing Bureau said late last week while it's boosting the number of affordable units available in the city, several findings suggest that Portland's housing picture is "dire."

    The city's "State of Housing in Portland 2015 Report" reveals that while the city is "meeting or exceeding affordable housing set-aside funding levels across the board ... overall success in production and program implementation varied by district and, frequently, by the resources available there."

    "There is no more pressing issue facing our city right now than affordable housing," Commissioner Dan Saltzman, the city's housing commissioner, said in a release. "We must work to ensure that Portland's families can afford to live and succeed here."

    Click here to read more on the Portland Business Journal.

  • 22 Sep 2015 7:22 AM | Oregon Mortgage Association (Administrator)

    Tech companies had an outsized impact on the market for Portland office space in 2014, accounting for more than a third of the top leasing transactions, according to a report released Wednesday by the commercial real estate brokerage CBRE.

    Demand for office space is so strong, the report says, that speculative construction is on the rise for the first time since the Great Recession. Two recent examples are the nine-story Pearl West building under construction now (and whose tenants will include Japanese digital graphics company Wacom ) and a proposed 20-story tower on Southwest Broadway, both developed by BPM Real Estate Group.

    Oregon has become "an appealing alternative" for tech companies looking to relocate from significantly more expensive markets like San Francisco, CBRE researchers found.

    But "Portland's secret is becoming harder to keep," said Ajay Malhotra, a CBRE vice president who leads the company's local tech and media practice group, in a press release. The price of renting office space in the Rose City grew by 10.7 percent between 2013 and 2015, outpacing Seattle, Los Angeles and Salt Lake City.

    Tech companies had an outsized impact on the market for Portland office space in 2014, accounting for more than a third of the top leasing transactions, according to a report released Wednesday by the commercial real estate brokerage CBRE.

    The average asking annual rent in Portland's office market was $23.36 per square foot in the second quarter of this year, the report found. In the central business districk, rents averaged $26.88 and there was a 9.9 percent vacancy rate.

    "We continue to attract world-class talent and employers alike – from emerging startups to established technology giants who find Portland's tech savvy, quality of life and affordability very compelling," Malhotra said.

    Portland's 16.1 percent job growth in the tech sector was good for 11th in the nation between 2012 and 2014, a marked improvement over the 12.3 percent growth between 2011 and 2013. The industry accounted for 24,497 jobs here in 2014 and 10.5 percent of office jobs.

    "More companies are starting to look north to Portland," said Jason Green, managing director of CBRE's Portland office, in the release. "This increased demand has directly affected office rents as developers and owners move to meet the needs of the market."

    Nationally, the report found an aggregate rent premium of 11 percent across the nation's top 30 tech markets.

    -- Luke Hammill 

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