Hello to all my clients and friends!
2019 was a year that saw some serious changes. For me, that included: moving brokerages (and joining The Bungalow Guy team); working together with friends and partners to start a coffee roaster (https://daytripcoffeeroasters.com); volunteering as Treasurer of the Cottonwood School Board and on the committee tasked with finding a new building; serving a great many new clients; and finding new strategies to handle everything. To keep up with everything, I have been profoundly lucky to have the support of family, friends, and my new team to keep up with everything. Thanks to all of you!
The past year in Portland real estate
The year started off fairly slow all over, but we ended with a ton of transactions. Mortgage rates declined steadily from November 2018 (the highest peak for 7 years, at the time) to September of 2018, and they have stayed low. At the same time, there have been more houses for sale in Portland than in recent years- this has driven a mild surge of activity in sales, and a large number of mortgage refinances. Business has been steady almost through the holiday, without nearly as much of a seasonal slow-down as we have seen in past years. It has kept me happily busy over the last 5 months, thanks to my fantastic clients! I have had the privilege to work with dozens of buyers and sellers from five states this year.
The market right now is fairly competitive, with attractive houses seeing buyer competition in the first week, and multiple bids. Even “fixers” and the more dated homes are selling for healthy prices. I have seen (more than once) buyers offer on a home that has been on the market for months, only to have another party lurking to put in a competitive bid at the last minute. That said, we have a fair amount of inventory on the market right now, but much of it is overpriced or unattractive to buyers.
In the short term, I am expecting a lot of sellers to jump in and list their homes in the next couple of months. Buyers and sellers both seem to be full of optimism, and people aren’t waiting around for prices to go up. I expect lower-priced homes to see more competition, and the prices of these smaller places to accelerate more than mid-range homes from $400,000-$650,000.
Many industry forecasts, including Freddie Mac, the Mortgage Bankers Association, First American and Redfin are forecasting 30-year fixed mortgage rates to stay low, in the 3.5% to 3.9% range for 2020. This should allow homebuyers to continue to drive more sales and keep prices up, especially in the lower end of the market.
Zillow’s price forecast for Portland, as an example, changed a few months ago. They had been predicting a 1-3% drop in prices in several close in N and NE ZIP codes, from St. John’s to Rose City Park. Currently, their price predictions for one year from now stand in the plus 2%-4% range.
It could be a great time to downsize into a less expensive home, if you’ve been considering that option, as smaller and more affordable homes are gaining value much more steadily than those that are larger or in more expensive neighborhoods.
I hope you all have a fantastic 2020 and that the new decade brings great things to you and your loved ones!