Each quarter we pool our knowledge and experience to evaluate the latest real estate market data. We provide our thoughts here to give you an insider’s look at what’s going on in Portland.

The Portland real estate market has been going strong for several years now with home values consistently trending upward. Based on the quarterly market data, the latest data that we have pulled for 2017 so far, and our observation, this will continue to be the case for the near future.

You can see on the “Inventory in Months” chart below that inventory in the Portland area remains low (3-6 months of inventory is considered normal). This, combined with the higher than usual buyer activity so far this year, has put added pressure on the Portland market heading into spring. Because of the low inventory, sellers that list their homes prior to ~ May 1st are the most likely to experience the shortest number of days on the market in 2017.

There has been a consistent trend the past 3 years that you can see on the “Active Residential Listings” graph below. Historically, January and February have some of the lowest inventory available but a decent increase is expected in spring and summer. This same pattern will likely occur in 2017.

 The current data is for the quarterly period ending December 31st, 2016.

The current data is for the quarterly period ending December 31st, 2016.

What’s in store for 2017 and beyond?

There are many factors to consider when trying to anticipate what will happen to the Portland real estate market in 2017 and beyond, especially when trying to predict whether or not there will be any major changes. Two factors to keep an eye on are interest rates and the economy.

Home loan rates did see an increase toward the end of 2016 but remain very low. If the rates rise significantly in 2017, it could affect buyer activity. The economy is always a big factor when it comes to housing. New state and federal policies and policy changes may promote uncertainty. Locally, there is some fear that our strong seller’s market may not be sustainable for much longer.

These and other factors could result in more people deciding that 2017 is the year to list their home(s) for sale. Look for the possibility of 2017 being the year that inventory begins to swing upward. Keep an eye on current inventory by visiting our featured listings page.

Overcoming Obstacles

I work very hard for my clients to make sure each transaction is as stress free as possible. However, things happen that are out of my control, and that was the case when my fantastic first time buyers purchased their home in SE Portland last month.

A Smooth Start

Things started off smoothly – the earnest money deposit was wired to the title company, inspections were scheduled and disclosures were reviewed. Our home inspector called out the roof and we successfully negotiated a credit from the seller to have the roof replaced. So far so good, right?

The Appraiser Throws a Wrench

Enter the appraiser. An appraisal report is not just an opinion on value, it also includes remarks about the property’s condition. In this case, the report included the following verbiage:

“Roof is nearing the end of its economic life with noted composition loss and patched shingles. An extraordinary assumption has been made that the roof has 3 to 5 years of remaining life. If the client has concerns regarding the condition and remaining life of the subject roof, an inspection by a licensed roofing contractor is recommended.”

This threw a wrench in the works. The underwriter would not approve the loan without a certification from a licensed roofer stating that the roof had at least 5 years of life left. Since we were less than a week away from closing, the buyers and I had to scramble to come up with a plan.

Coming Up With a Plan

The first thing I did was to ask the loan officer to push the roof certification condition from a prior-to-doc condition (a condition that has to be satisfied before loan documents are issued) to a prior-to-funding condition (a condition that has to be satisfied prior to the loan funding, which typically happens on the day of closing) to give us more time to get a roof certification issued.

The second thing the buyers and I did was sit down and call every roofing company in the city to see if anyone could come out the next day to review the roof. Our concern was that the roof would not qualify for a roof certificate so we also scheduled roofers to go out there to bid on having the roof replaced. Being that this was 4 days before closing and this was one of the wettest winters on record, we knew that the chances of finding someone who could go out there, bid the job, and get it done in less than a week were slim to none.

The Solution

My buyers reminded me that they had seen a roofing company truck at the neighbors house and said they would go over there to see what that company’s availability was like. Well, fortune favors the brave, as they say, and them going over there to knock on the door turned out to make all the difference. Not only was the company available to provide a bid right there on the spot, they were also able to move some other appointments around to replace the roof on this home and allow us to close on time.

The weather refused to cooperate but the company was still able to replace the roof in pouring down rain and a wind storm. The completion certification was sent to the lender who funded the loan and the transaction closed!

 New roof being installed New roof being installed  Roof Before Roof Before  New roof being installed New roof being installed  Roof After Roof After

-Calle Holmgren

The Oregon Energy Fund: Neighbors Helping Neighbors

We recently chatted with Brian Allbritton, the executive director at the Oregon Energy Fund. This is a local non-profit we definitely stand behind because it is a way for neighbors to assist their neighborhood. Here’s a little more about the history of the organization, how it works day to day, and how you can help – it’s easy!

History of the Oregon Energy Fund

The Oregon Energy Fund started in 1989 and has been helping people for nearly three decades. Though it wasn’t always called the Oregon Energy Fund (it was most recently called HEAT Oregon), it has been dedicated to what the organization stands for since the beginning: helping people in crisis pay their utility bills.

Former governor Victor Atiyeh recognized there was a problem in Oregon: there were too many people that needed help that had no recourse. In these cases, people were financially stable enough in good times to make them ineligible to receive federal or state assistance in bad times. Even a minor crisis easily kept them from paying their utility bills.

Mr. Atiyeh, along with several other politicians and energy executives, got together to figure out how to address this need. Now present in each and every Oregon county, the statewide non-profit has been operating without a single government dollar ever since.

Need for the Fund

There are many residents that receive no form of government assistance but would require help should an emergency arise. Emergencies such as big snowstorms, car accidents, or bad illnesses can mean a change in income and even unexpected bills. Fines on unpaid utility bills and reconnection fees for shut-off utilities compound the problem.

The need for emergency utility assistance has only grown since the fund began. Rent increases continue in much of the state, especially Portland, and wages are not keeping up with the cost of living. This is why the Oregon Energy Fund helps roughly 10,000 of our neighbors each year.

How People Get Assistance

The Oregon Energy Fund partners with organizations in each county. These are often community action agencies but are sometimes social services organizations. The organizations are there for the community — they meet with applicants, review needs, and determine eligibility.

Residents receive a one-time grant which the Oregon Energy Fund uses to directly pay the vendors, relieving those in need. The Oregon Energy Fund takes the weight of unpaid bills off the shoulders of people in crisis.

How You Can Help

The Oregon Energy Fund accepts donations and offers an option for recurring donations. You can visit their website to set it up. If you’re looking for a way to help your neighbors that has a very real and significant impact, this is a great and easy way to do it!

By partnering with highly effective agencies in each county, the Oregon Energy Fund can assure you that your money is being used in the most efficient way possible to help those around you.

Your donation ensures that Oregonians have somewhere to turn for help when they need it. Facing a change or cancellation to your utilities is a personal and detrimental problem. Together, we can work to solve it!

Adam, Cole, & Will’s Exciting Journey!

When I first met Adam, Cole, and their adorable 10-month old son Will, they told me their exciting story. After having spent a decade living in NYC moving from neighborhood to neighborhood in search of their dream place, the idea that one day they would find a home, a place they could set down roots and raise a family, started to seem like an ever elusive dream. They had to make a difficult decision – leaving NYC. They realized they had to leave; their home was not in the big city.

From there, they spent months on the road, driving from town to town with the hope that one would feel right to them, but it wasn’t until they came to Portland, walking through Mt. Tabor Park, that they finally felt it- they were home.

During their first eighteen months in the City of Roses, Adam, Nicole, their son Will, and their four legged friend Vera spent every day falling more and more in love with the city. The dream of homeownership started to feel more like a reality.

When the charming blue house with the orange door came on the market in Brentwood-Darlington they had a feeling and knew they had to go see it. Their plan was not to look at houses so close to the holidays, but this one had something special. Had they found their perfect niche within the city? From the moment they turned onto the street, spotting the orange door, they knew. They could so easily see themselves walking their little boy to and from Woodmere Elementary, gardening in the beautiful backyard, and taking loops around the neighborhood with their sweet dog.

Once inside the house, the feeling was solidified – this could be their forever home.

The house felt warm and welcoming. Adam & Nicole pictured themselves cooking family meals in the adorable kitchen and eating together with their friends in the backyard around a fire.

Adam and Nicole beat out several other buyers and landed the winning offer on the home. After inspections, repair negotiations and a somewhat stressful loan process, the home was finally theirs! The dream of homeownership was no longer elusive – it was real. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your exciting journey!

Calle Holmgren