Sponsored by Oregon Business

Home sales cool but the value holds steady

| Print |  Email
Saturday, September 01, 2007


STATEWIDE Summer, thy name was volatile. The stock market, the subprime mortgage industry, the national housing market — the “v” word was the one-size-fits-all way to describe the downs and, well, downs that touched nearly every corner of the U.S. economy. But in Oregon’s real-estate market, that interaction comes in a surprising way.

It’s no secret home sales are shrinking. In the Willamette Valley, sales are down by 2.3% from last year; in Central Oregon, they’re down a fanny-spanking 40.2%. In mid-August, the National Association of Realtors hemmed and hawed and then lowered its projections for 2007 home sales for the eighth time this year — as of this last estimate it’s a 6.8% drop compared to last year.

But here’s the surprise: Oregon, and especially the Portland region, is one of the few places in the nation where homes are bucking the median-sale-price depreciation trend. By the beginning of summer, the national median price had fallen 1.8% compared to last year. Not the Portland region. There it was up 9.3%. Eugene, Roseburg and other cities had similar increases.

Why is this happening? The answers really aren’t that shocking. Gerard Mildner, director of Portland State University’s Center for Real Estate, points to several major contributors: an economy that’s driven by exports, whether ag or high tech; regional job growth that’s outstripped the national economy in each of the last three years; land-use laws that prevent over-building and thereby increase the price of developable land.

In other words, Oregon’s a desirable place. And in a national housing market that is — here’s that word again — volatile, steady appreciation makes the state very hot, says national real estate analyst Mike Colpitts.

Colpitts and a team of economists with the independent company Housingpredictor.com regularly crunch the numbers for 250 local markets around the nation. For all of 2007, Portland has made their top 10 buyers’ markets.

“[That appreciation] says a lot for your long-term growth. That’s why Oregon has so many Californians up there now,” he says, laughing.

This is not to say that the Oregon real estate world is a completely happy place these days. Mildner thinks that in Bend — where single-family home construction dropped by 45% — the real-estate boom is kaput. And how long will home sales in other places continue to drop? The only consensus is that it’ll last to the end of the year.

In the meantime, Natalie Middleton with the Regional Multiple Listing Service in Portland says she’s keeping her eye one thing: that appreciation rate.

“We’re holding our breath wondering if we’ll see that begin to change,” she says.                     


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


More Articles

Adjusting to the New Economy

October 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015

A conversation with Jonathan Bennett, managing partner at law firm Dunn Carney Allen Higgins & Tongue.


OEN takes Portlandia route in new video

The Latest
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 3.27.58 PMBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Several Portland entrepreneurs make appearance in patently silly "The Dream of the Startup is Alive in Oregon" promo.


Insurance pulse: health care and Export-Import banks

Linda Baker
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
111715-healthcarelindathumbBY LINDA BAKER

The past month has been marked by upheaval in the health insurance markets. I also check in on clients of the Export-Import bank, a federal credit agency that subsidizes, and insures, foreign exports.


The Shift to Community Health Care

November/December 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A conversation with Patrick Curran, CEO of CareOregon.


The God complex

Linda Baker
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
093015-zydellren-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR

The media coverage about Pope Francis must have put me in a Biblical frame of mind. Because after touring the latest phase of the South Waterfront development, a mind boggling 1.5 million square feet of office and retail space that will spring up north of the aerial tram over the next few years, I couldn’t stop thinking about the massive project as a modern day creation story.


Where Do We Go from Here?

Guest Blog
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
102115-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | CFA

Volatility reigned supreme over the summer. The old Wall Street adage of, “Sell in May and go away,” was prophetic in 2015.


The Cover Story

The Latest
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
100515-cover1015-news-thumbBY CHRIS NOBLE

As we worked on the October cover, it became evident that Nick Symmonds is a hard man to catch — even when he’s not hotfooting it around a track.

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02