Clients & Friends,
The real estate markets in our area delivered a very nice Christmas present to us this year. Year-to-year comparisons with 2014 (a decent year of recovery) show dramatic changes for the better. While we have nothing to complain about by comparison with the great famine years which began in 2007, this month’s reports show some disappointment. November showed some weakness even compared with the normal seasonal trend for the end of the year. Why? Perhaps it is this simple: November was a rainy and dark, cloudy month with almost record rainfall. After a year of drought and record high temperatures, this may be welcome but I believe this put a damper on real estate activity. The rainbow? There are still enough pending sales out there to make December a very good month, even though the weather has not improved much. Whatever December holds, it cannot change the facts- 2015 was a full return to normalcy in our local real estate world.
Inventory is also light right now limiting choices for buyers; that alone can slow things down. That will change in two weeks when sellers list their properties for sale and the selling season will take off quickly. Interest rates are still amazingly low right now (under 4% for 30 yr fixed rate, closer to 3.25% for 15 yrs) but everyone seems to be expecting the Federal Reserve to raise the short-term interest rate next week for the first time in a decade. Even though mortgage rates are long-term debt (bonds) the change in direction is expected to become a pattern for mortgage rates to follow in time. Inflation is officially low (sometimes it does not feel like it is low) but our nation’s debt and an improving economy, stagnate for almost a decade, could change that rapidly. Prices are high again in most sectors and expected to continue to rise. In many local markets and segments of the industry, we are at or above the high water mark of 2007. Since Portland is still the lowest priced major urban center on the west coast, prices do not seem to be hitting a ceiling of resistance yet. Portland has been the magnet market for relocation for some time now. Perhaps the rain will limit that???
This year Bella Casa Real Estate Group continued to grow as we have done every year since our inception in 2007. We are grateful for many more clients who entrust their real estate goals and dreams to us as we assist them safely through these increasingly complex processes. We have grown in the number of agents serving our clients and are proud to be colleagues with our areas’ finest brokers. We have expanded our services from all aspects of residential real estate sales to property management to serve our investors better, to commercial sales and leases. This year we tripled the size of our Newberg office and elegantly outfitted it for the finest of services to our communities. We are grateful that we survived the great famine and that we have come out of it all the better for it!
December can be a great month, not necessarily for real estate sales, but because it affords an opportunity to reconnect with family and friends. It is busy but the busy-ness is fresh and different, an enjoyable kind of productivity. The scenery changes and the dark backdrop of winter makes the stars and the lights and the shapes and colors of the season shine gloriously by comparison. People give gifts generously and feast and enjoy the fruits of their work from the past year. We take time to thank each other and show our affection. Hanukkah celebrates God’s providential care and protection of His people and Christmas celebrates the grace of God in providing a Savior for our sins against Him. New Years celebrates a fresh beginning and new hope for a better life and a better world to come.
Merry Christmas next week and a very Happy New Year for you in 2016!
Included in this report is: