Portland Real Estate Market Action Report – Mar. 2012

Introduction: This post analyzes the RMLS Market Action Report for Metro Portland for March 2012. I use the first two pages because they contain uniform, meaningful information. Below the images are my comments. Click here to view the full MAR March 2012 or to view the Archives.

Narrative: The “March Residential Highlights” section addresses changes between March 2011 and March 2012. Closed sales are up 4.9%, pending sales are up 12.8%, and new listings were reduced by 5.9%. This year’s inventory is 5.3 months (last year was 7.1, last month was 6.5). With closed sales, the year-to-year percentage change saw the Metro Portland market fall 5.1% on average sale price and 6.0% on median sale price.

Comparing first quarter 2012 with first quarter 2011, closed sales increased 12.2%, pending sales were up 18.2%, and new listings were down by 12.0%. In terms of pricing, average sales were down 0.4% from last year’s first quarter while median sales price dropped 1.4%. These signs are encouraging for a rebound in the market.

In the last four months, I have written five offers on several properties with multiple offers. One closed at more than $25,000 above the listing price. It’s not the Wild West days of the mid 2000s, but close-in, well-cared-for properties are going for above asking and often with multiple offers. Owners should be less hesitant to put their homes on the market or to try to refinance.

The inventory absorption figure is 5.0 months, the lowest inventory level since June 2007 and considerably lower than January (7.0) and February (6.5) of this year. A portion of this year’s decrease is the reduction in new listings. Last year, we were at 7.1 months and two years ago it was 7.8 months.

Interest rates again dipped below 4.000% for a 30-year fixed, conforming loan (loan amount under $417,000). Rates fluctuated, in the last month, but are a little lower than last month.

On the second page, some close-in areas are still off on a year-to-year basis. N (area 141), NE (142), and SE Portland (143) are off 0.4% (from 1.8% last month), 4.4% (from 5.7%), and 7.5% (from 7.8%) and market times are 123, 89, and 93 respectively. All three are below the regional average of 135 days.

You can see more activity here than other areas. For example, North Portland had 69 closed sales and 305 active listings (22.6% closed (21.5% last month)). NE was 176/565 (31.2% (27.0% last month)) and SE was 184/804 (22.9% (20.8% last month)).

Other Areas: The West Side (148) includes all NW and SW Portland. It is off 4.4% (4.4% last month) with a market time of 156 (209 last month). Lake Oswego/West Linn (147) appreciated 0.8% (up 0.4% last month) with market times of 160 days (152 last month). The West Side had 173 closings and 932 active listings (18.6% (15.0% last month)), while Lake O had 84/613 (13.7% (10.8% last month)).

Absorption: The absorption rates indicate that N (4.4 months), NE (3.2), and SE (4.4) are all below the Metro average of 5.0 months of inventory. NW/SW (5.4) is above average and Lake O/West Linn (7.3) is about 50% above average.

The data continues to show that Portland Metro’s many areas are performing at different paces. Each of these areas can be broken down into sub-areas (e.g., neighborhoods, zip codes, school districts) that have different pricing, market times, and absorption rates.

Those are my “highlights” and analysis on this month’s report. If you would like a report from another area or if you have questions about this report, please call or e-mail. You can view more information on specific neighborhoods on my BIGHAT homepage or on posts to my neighborhood landing pages for Beaumont, Irvington, Grant Park, Hollywood, Alameda, and Laurelhurst. You can also search all homes for sale in Metro Portland on an Interactive Map.

About the Author | Jack Kearney

Jack Kearney is a principal real estate broker with M Realty. He is a former tax and real estate attorney, who would like to put all of his skills and knowledge to work for you.