July closings posted highest in history
Like most major cities, the Portland real estate market has remained strong through the end of summer. The real estate industry was extremely busy in July and August, with a total of 3,452 closings for the metro area in July. To put that into perspective, that’s 28.9% higher than last July, and represents the most closings for the month of July in the history of the RMLS.
With all the action, Realtors scrambled to find available contractors to complete repairs on their listings, and lenders struggled to find appraisers to complete appraisal reports. As a result, many closing deadline extensions have been negotiated in order to keep deals together. Nonetheless, of all the problems we can have in the real estate industry, being busy isn’t one to complain about.
According to the RMLS, residential housing inventory has hovered around 1.7 months and has not exceeded 4 months of inventory since Jan.1, 2014. The average sale price is more than 6% higher year-to-date, and the median sale price rose 7%. Total market time has increased slightly but still remains historically low at 45 days.
Areas closest to Portland’s city center continue to stand out as hot spots. The appreciation in north Portland and southeast Portland is 12.3% and 10.4% respectively. It’s common to have dozens of showings at a new listing within the first 48 hours in those areas, often resulting in multiple competitive offers. With that said, buyers still expect the homes to show well and be priced realistically. Sellers who price the home too aggressively can expect minimal showing traffic and long market times. For agents, it’s an important balance to strike.
While metro areas are seeing the fastest appreciation, Portland’s suburbs are enjoying the greatest median sales price. The area encompassing West Linn and Lake Oswego leads the way with a median sales price of $464,000. Because the price of vacant land is relatively high, new-construction homes in this area commonly sell for $1 million or more.
With summer unfortunately in the rear view, I expect the fall selling season to see the typical seasonal slowdown, as pending sales are off by 3.1%. However, it doesn’t make me lose any sleep knowing that the 3,605 accepted offers surpassed the July 2014 numbers by 24.7%.
What this means for you
It’s important to remember that people aren’t moving to Portland just for a solid real estate market. The city has much to offer in terms of lifestyle, outdoors, and personality. As long as Portland maintains its strict urban growth boundary rules and the economy remains stable, the Portland real estate market is expected continue its upward trends.