Residential Review: 
October Residential Highlights

The Portland real estate market continues on a strong upward swing. Both pending and closed sales posted the best October numbers since 2006. The number of closed sales was 42.7% higher than October 2011 and 11.0% higher than last month. There was also a 15.9% increase in accepted offers (pending sales) compared to a year ago, and a 5.8% gain since last month. 

Prices continue to move upward as well. The average sale price so far in 2012 is $273,400, 3.7% higher than the average price of $263,700 one year ago. The 2012 year-to-date median of $232,500 is 5.2% higher than the median of $221,000 last year. Total market time (the average amount of time a home spends on the market) has dropped 21.0% from 144 days on market last year to 102 days for the first ten months of 2012. This means homes are selling much faster than they were. The current low interest rates have no doubt been a strong factor in the increase in sales. 

New listings held steady at 2,414, less than one percent off the pace of last October and 1.5% less than September listings. The spike in sales and flat listing activity has created a new low in “months of inventory” this year. The 7,981 active residential listings would be exhausted in 3.8 months at the October rate of sales. 

Year-To-Date Trends

The upswing in the Portland Market is evident in the overall year-to-date statistics. In the first ten months of 2012, there were 29,246 new listings, 21,091 accepted offers, and 19,716 closed sales. Compared to the same period last year, new listings are down by 3.3%; but pending sales are up 17.6% from last year and closed sales are up 20.4%.

For the Portland area, the bottom of the housing market appears to have come and gone. However, interest rates are at record lows – almost half as much as they were at the height of the housing bubble in 2006. In fact, buying a home is now is more affordable than it’s been in the last two decades! (see article below). To view the entire report with more long term data, Click Here 

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you have regarding the current market. And remember, I can show you any home that’s listed in the Portland Metro area, even if you see it on another website or if you’re out driving around and see a for sale sign on a house.
Statistical information courtesy of RMLS. Figures are released on a monthly basis, usually around the 15th of the month, and cover the previous full month. For instance, a report issued on June 15th would have the statistics for the month of May.

7 Metros With Largest Median Price Gains 

Daily Real Estate News | Monday, June 04, 2012
By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine Daily News

Several metro areas are seeing home prices rebounding in the last year. According to data of 146 housing markets in April, the following markets have seen the largest increases in median list prices year-over-year (April 2011 to April 2012):

1. Phoenix-Mesa, AZ  Increase: 25.01%, Median list price: $184,900
2. Miami, Fl  Increase: 15.06%, Median list price: $275,000
3. Boise City, Idaho Increase: 12.05%, Median list price: $162,374
4. Washington, D.C./Md/Va/W Va. Increase: 9.76%, Median list price: $279,888
5. Santa Barbara/Santa Maria/Lompoc, CA Increase: 9.38%, Median list: $545,000
6. Portland OR/Vancouver WA. Increase: 8.84%, Median list price: $244,900
7. Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN/Wis. Increase: 7.01%, Median list price: $199,500

30 Year Mortgage Rate Hits Another Record Low

NEW YORK(CNNMoney) -- Buying a home got even cheaper this week as interest rates on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage set a record low for the fourth week in a row.

The 30-year fixed mortgage, the most popular mortgage product, dipped slightly to 3.78% from 3.79% last week, according to a weekly survey by Freddie Mac. Last year, 30-year loans averaged 4.60%. The new low can save borrowers $48 a month for every $100,000 borrowed. Over a 30-year term, that comes to $17,217 compared to last year.

The 15-year fixed mortgage, which is popular among those looking to refinance, held steady at 3.04%, according to Freddie Mac's survey. That's down from 3.78% a year ago.

Affordable mortgages, combined with much lower home prices, should help to bolster the housing market, according to Freddie Mac's chief economist, Frank Nothaft.

"Mortgage rates were virtually unchanged this week with fixed-rate loans remaining at record lows and helping to drive homebuyer affordability," he said.

In fact, buying a home has reached its most affordable level in more than two decades, according to a recent report from the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo.

Rates are almost half what they were at the peak of the housing bubble in mid-2006. At the time, the median price of aU.S.home was about $250,000, according to the National Association of Home Builders, and the average interest rate was about 6.75% for a 30-year loan.

A person who bought a home in 2006 with 20% down would have made payments of $1,300 a month. Today, a person who buys a median price home of about $162,000, would pay less than half that amount, about $600 a month. 

By Les Christie and Jessica Dickler