Friends and Clients,
We are nearing the end of the seasonal spike in sales. August is always a slower month as everyone in Oregon seems to take their vacation in this very dependable month. September will also be slower as people return to normalcy and enter a very busy month with schools starting, a surge of community events and activities, harvests, and final vacation travel plans before the rains threaten again.
In the greater Portland metro area, the housing recovery seems to have spent its pent-up demand and is clearly leveling out and functioning like a normal real estate market. The numbers are way down but not negative (except for modest and seasonal declines). Amazingly, the average and median pricing is very close to where it was at the top of the market in the summer of 2007! Inventory remains low and has remained stable for months being fed by more listings but also selling them off a similar pace. In urban Portland and close-in suburbs, it remains a seller’s market and all price ranges are selling well. In the farther out areas like Yamhill County, we have a balanced market for buyers and sellers to face off. Recovery in our area remains steady but we still have a ways to go. We continue to lag Portland averages by about 1.5 years and many of our numbers have more in common with Portland 2 years ago than now.
Challenges remain at luxury level
Who can complain about the market place right now compared to anything we experienced for the past 7 years? Yet, the marketplace in our area remains frustrating for many. The recovery is good overall but there are pockets of resistance and significant challenge in various price ranges and throughout this very large county. We have watched the market systematically expand to include higher price ranges, but the reality remains that we do not have a lot of buyers in the higher ranges and they are rare at the luxury home level. We have had only 5 sales above $1 million in 2014. The recovery has reached all of Yamhill County now but our rural property sales remain anemic compared to in-town sales. Our year to date rural inventory number for YC for 2+ acres is an astonishing 13.8 months at the current rate of sales! We are averaging just 14 sales per month. Where are our out of state buyers??? New construction is awake again and on its feet but the builders will tell you that it remains scary and tentative with fits and starts. Interest rates remain low. Inventory is good for buyers. Lenders are lending. The USDA now covers all of Yamhill County with 100% loans. This is particularly driving starter and lower tier home buyers from our small towns into McMinnville, most notably, which was excluded before the changes. This is good for Mac but damaging to Amity, Lafayette, and Yamhill among other towns.
Pricing & competition
It is the season for price adjustments and reviewing strategies. Our prices are best in the spring and as inventory rises and competition increases, sellers get more nervous and drop their prices. That coupled with the fear of carrying their home through another winter makes sellers even more motivated by this time in the year. More importantly, if a seller does not keep a finger on the pulse of the market things can change quickly and soon their property is not at all competitive. We continuously monitor and re-evaluate our listings for necessary, or strategic, changes that are beneficial. Our clients can ask for an update anytime and we happily meet with our clients at their request to provide the best information for you in making wise decisions for your property.
It has been a very busy summer and we hope you have found rest and refreshment. We wish we had more leisure to spend more time with our clients who often become our friends. Please know, in spite of the intensity of our work right now, we are always and ever only a phone call away, day or night, weekends and holidays. We trust that by next Labor Day, we will have achieved a normal lifestyle and that our clients will be more satisfied with the market conditions and their goals. Remember in the meantime that we never let down from the commitments we make to you from the beginning. We will remain faithful until we get the job completed for you. We do not control the markets and we do not create buyers, but we can choose how we work for you to help you achieve your goals. We strive diligently to be the very best in our industry and provide the best services. We never stop improving for you!
Randy McCreith, Principal Broker