It is common knowledge that a large number of homes sell during the spring-buying season. For that reason, many homeowners hold off on putting their homes on the market until then. The question is whether or not that will be a good strategy this year. The other listings that do come out in the spring will represent increased competition to any seller. Do a greater number of homes actually come to the market in the spring, as compared to the rest of the year? The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently revealed the months in which most people listed their homes for sale in 2016. Here is a graphic showing the results: The three months in the second quarter of the year (represented in red) are consistently the most popular months for sellers to list their homes on the market. Last year, the number of homes available for sale in January was 1,820,000.
That number spiked to 2,140,000 by May!
What does this mean to you?
With the national job situation improving, and mortgage interest rates projected to rise later in the year, buyers are not waiting until the spring; they are out looking for a home right now. If you are looking to sell this year, waiting until the spring to list your home means you will have the greatest competition for a buyer.
It may make sense to beat the rush of housing inventory that will enter the market in the spring and list your home as soon as possible. We would love to come and take a walk through with you to help with items to spiff it up for sale. Call us any time!
The Gypsy bar and restaurant on the corner of NW 21st and Irving closed in 2014, and as of this week the building is officially being torn down to make room for a new 4-story, 57-unit apartment building. In addition to the residential space, there will be 10,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground level and a 62-space underground parking garage.
Here is a look at the demolition, as seen on my walk to coffee recently:
Now it’s just a huge hole in the ground.
And here are the mockups of the new building
It fits in the neighborhood beautifully, though it’s going to put a dent into my commute through the winter!
1) Our River Is About to Get the Most Extreme Makeover Ever.
By the end of 2016, after decades of discussion, plans will take shape for a massive, federally mandated cleanup of the Willamette River. Portland’s waterway is currently awash with industrial PCBs, heavy metals, dioxin, and other contaminants. It’s likely the cleanup (shorthand: Superfund) will take decades, with cost estimates running as high as $2.5 billion. (Figuring out which of about 150 companies and government entities historically responsible for the pollution still exist, and who will pay what to fund the cleanup, is a major challenge.) The mandatory monitoring will continue for … oh, 100 years. At stake in a process that will run beyond 2116? “The river is a major economic engine,” says Michael Jordan (not that one), director of the city’s Bureau of Environmental Services. “To meet our population and employment projections, thousands of jobs need to be produced around the river. Add in risks to the environment and human health, and this is significant.”
2) Portland Is About to Rewrite Its Own Blueprint.
As the Portland City Council readies to vote on a new “Comprehensive Plan” to guide development of the entire city, relish the differences, in specifics and zeitgeist, between the new plan and its predecessor, adopted 36 years ago.
Pages Then: 34
Pages Now: (draft) 270
Then: “Portland is more than a geographic area—it is a way of life.”
Now:“Portland is a prosperous, healthy, equitable and resilient city where everyone has access to opportunity and is engaged in shaping decisions that affect their lives.” (Subtext: Portlandia: it’s really a sequel.)
Now: Population: About 610,000 Projected 20-year growth: 260,000 (Subtext: Squeeze in. The elevator’s going up!)
Then: What glossary?
Now: 152 words or phrases defined, from “mode split” to “Portlander” (Sample: “Continue—Persist in an activity or process.”)
Then:162 words. Sample: “Encourage citizen involvement in land use planning projects by actively coordinating the planning process with relevant community organizations.”
Now:2,554 words Sample: “Maintain partnerships and coordinate land use engagement with: individual community members; communities of color, low income populations, Limited English Proficient (LEP) communities, Native American communities, and other under-served and under-represented communities … ” (It keeps going. And going.)
Then: “Nodes and Noodles”
Now: “Centers and Corridors” (Our old plans were funnier.)
3) Affordable Housing’s secret? Trust.
Searing-hot home and rental markets can look pretty doomy to housing advocates, not to mention low-income Portlanders looking for places to, y’know, live. But some strategies have already proven themselves.
The nonprofit Proud Ground, for example, has used a property structure called a community land trust to make about 260 metro-area homes “permanently affordable.” Typically, the organization—in partnership with governments, other nonprofits, or both—buys an existing home as it comes on the market. After any necessary repairs, the home is sold to a low-income buyer, with as little as $500 down and a fixed mortgage. (Median monthly payment: $1,037.) The trust structure allows the buyer to build equity—$60,000 over 10 years on average, the organization estimates. But Proud Ground also shares the equity, an arrangement which allows the home to be sold at below market rates when the original owner is ready to move on.
“The housing stock is out there,” says Diane Linn, Proud Ground’s executive director. “We’re going to advocate at every level of government and use every tool we can to add properties to our portfolio.” The aspirational goal: 400 homes by 2020.
4) The Edge Will Be the Center.
In Portland’s development boom, former fringe zones will become hotbeds of action.
THE WAY IT WAS The Southeast neighborhood oft derided as “Felony Flats,” long a go-to example of revitalization dreams deferred
CHANGE AGENTS In 2014, the Portland Development Commission jump-started lumbering renewal with a capital-letter-optimized “Five-Year Action Plan.”
THE VISION“I think we’re cementing this as a vibrant neighborhood,” says outgoing PDC director Patrick Quinton. “Now we need to think about how to execute our plans while maintaining the character of the community.”
BIG MOVES Coming to SE 91st and Foster: the 34,200-square-foot Asian Health and Service Center, with design by Holst Architecture; a trio of mixed residential and commercial buildings involving veteran developers Williams/Dame and Palindrome and respected architecture firms Hacker and Ankrom-Moison.
Downtown’s Southern Edge
THE WAY IT WASA sleepy village around Portland State, girdled by a highway, enlivened only by a Cheerful Tortoise (the 64-year-old, just-off-campus sports bar)
CHANGE AGENTS PSU is renovating and building like mad, and MAX, streetcar, and bus lines have made this the city’s busiest transit hub.
THE VISION “Ten years from now,” says Portland State spokesman Scott Gallagher, “it will be hard to distinguish between the core of downtown and the south end.”
BIG MOVES The $60 million renovation of PSU’s business school will turn a bunker-like building into an airy sustainability showcase by 2017. That same fall, the retrofitted Viking Pavilion will reopen as a 5,500-max-capacity arts and sports venue. Buildable lots at PSU’s eastern edge—like SW Fourth and Harrison—will sprout mixed-use density.
The Broadway Corridor
THE WAY IT WAS The Northwest Portland seam between the Pearl District and Old Town, rendered comatose by the hulking, 14-plus-acre US Postal Service headquarters complex
CHANGE AGENTS After years of trying, PDC is finalizing an $88 million deal for the Postal Service site.
THE VISIONA dense neighborhood that knits the Pearl to the Rose Quarter. “You can reweave sites that have been islands in the city,” Quinton says.
BIG MOVESWhile design details are very much TBD, the agency envisions the USPS land as high-rise developments, extended North Park Blocks, and a huge batch of new housing, designed to complement Union Station and kick-start vacant lots on either side of Broadway.
5) OneTemple’s Doom Signals a Battle Over History.
Late last year, the circa-1892 Ancient Order of United Workmen Temple—an imposing brick hulk in the Richardsonian Romanesque style at SW Third and Taylor—became the latest in a string of historic local icons (including Centennial Mills, the Portland Building, and Veterans Memorial Coliseum) threatened with demolition. The tipoff came when the temple’s new owner, development firm T&T, had the building removed from the city’s Historic Resource Inventory—a list of buildings that, in theory, can’t be demolished until after a stipulated 120-day waiting period.
After an appeal by the preservationist group Restore Oregon, developers agreed to wait out the 120 days before dismantling the building to clear the way for a hotel and offices. According to T&T’s Jeff Arthur, salvation just won’t pencil out. “It’s one of the tallest unreinforced masonry buildings in the city. ‘Seismic’ wasn’t a word when they built this,” Arthur says. “We’re still continuing to evaluate, but we’re definitely leaning at this point toward taking it down.”
For preservationists, Workmen Temple’s demolition may be a call to action. Jillian Detweiler, a spokeswoman for Mayor Charlie Hales, says the city intends to close the loophole that allows owners to remove buildings from the Historic Resource Inventory. And Restore Oregon’s Peggy Moretti argues the state needs “more carrots and more sticks” to make historic preservation feasible. “In every other state, local jurisdictions have a say in designating what’s historic,” she says. “And other states would have more financial incentives at their disposal.” But moves to constrain developers could be a tough sell: legislation backed by Restore Oregon, which would have provided incentives to renovate historic commercial buildings, failed last year. Meanwhile, it’s likely that by this summer, the onetime fraternal clubhouse will literally become history.
This article appeared in the April 2016 issue of Portland Monthly.
Every year at this time, many homeowners decide to wait until after the holidays to put their home on the market for the first time. Others who already have their home on the market decide to take it off the market until after the holidays. Here are six great reasons not to wait: 1. Relocation buyers are out there. Companies are not concerned with holiday time and if the buyers have kids, they want them to get into school after the holidays. 2. Purchasers that are looking for a home during the holidays are serious buyers and are ready to buy. 3. You can restrict the showings on your home to the times you want it shown. You will remain in control. 4. Homes show better when decorated for the holidays. 5. There is less competition for you as a seller right now. Let’s take a look at listing inventory as compared to the same time last year:
6. The supply of listings increases substantially after the holidays. Also, in many parts of the country, new construction will make a comeback in 2016. This will lessen the demand for your house.
Waiting until after the holidays to sell your home may cause you to miss a very good selling opportunity!
Please call me if you'd like me to walk through your home with suggestions on how to position it in the marketplace for top dollar!
The St. Jack spin-off La Moule; (look at the wallpaper!) 2100 SE Clinton
The new restaurant from former Little Bird executive chef Erik Van Kley, Taylor Railworks;
andThe Zipper, a buzzing complex of micro-eateries.
The Oregonian says, "Dubbed "The Zipper," the former used car lot will be home to four micro-restaurants, a TBD bar, a "punk rock" nail salon, coffee shop and common dining room for more than 60 people by mid-March. During the warmer months, the dining area will open onto an outdoor patio with fire pits, bike parking and more.
Tenants for the space include Rua, the Vietnamese food cart in downtown Portland; Slice Pizza Company, a New York-style pizza restaurant from Randy Swerdlick, the former owner of Manhattan Pizza Co.; a to-be-named Middle Eastern food cart going brick and mortar; Bywater Grocery, a New Orleans-style sandwich shop serving a menu of overstuffed po-boys and cooked-to-order fried seafood; Seven Virtues Coffee Roasters, offering a menu of espresso drinks and grab-n-go breakfast options; and BANG!, a "Bishops meets CBGBs" nail salon. "
I'm super interested in Shift Drinks (a professional drinking establishment) at 1200 SW Morrison –There's a "nerdy" wine list, craft cocktails, and refined snacks from chef Anne Garcia.
Bit House Saloon – Its historic architecture and veteran staff crossed with cutting-edge mixology and booze-sourcing know-how represents a new era in Portland: that of the gourmet gastropub. Swooning over the ancient brick, cozy booths and the thought of a formidable burger followed by an adult version of the Otter Pop.
Happy Dining! I know where I'll be meeting my clients and friends for our next night out!
Thinking about waiting till Spring to sell? Capitalizing on the shortage of homes for sale in the market now, will translate into a better pricing situation than waiting until Spring.
In school we all learned the Theory of Supply and Demand. When the demand for an item is greater than the supply of that item, the price will rise.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently reported that the inventory of homes for sale stands at a 4.8-month supply. (it's more like 3 months in the Portland region) This is significantly lower than the 6 months inventory necessary for a normal market. We are currently experienceing a seller's market.
Every month NAR reports on the amount of buyers that are actually out in the market looking for homes, or foot traffic. As seen in the graph below, buyer demand this year has significantly surpassed the levels reached in 2014.
Many buyers are being confronted with a very competitive market in which they must compete with other buyers for their dream home (if they even are able to find a home they wish to purchase).
Listing your house for sale now will allow you to capitalize on the shortage of homes for sale in the market, which will translate into a better pricing situation.
Many homeowners underestimate the amount of equity they currently have in their home. According to a recent Fannie Mae study, 37% of homeowners believe that they have more than 20% equity in their home. In reality69% of homeowners actually do!
Many homeowners who are undervaluing their home equity may feel trapped in their current home, which may be contributing to the lack of inventory in the market.
If you are debating selling your home this year, let's get together to evaluate the equity you have in your home and the opportunities available in our market. Buyers are lining up for homes in Portland.
It's finally here – the day I can share pictures of our new kitchen. We've been working on it since October, and the lights finally went in yesterday, so I can post a pic!
I'm happy to talk about kitchens with you all day long! We're in love with it, and are so glad we finally pulled the trigger. Problem is, kitchens are expensive, and it's hard to dump money into your house unless you know you're either going to live there a long time and enjoy it, OR you can count on recovering your expenses.
In comes the Cost-vs-Value Report to help you decide how much to spend, and how much you'll recover.
Our kitchen remodel was mid-range, so it looks like we should recover 81.1% (if we were to sell now) and I've already enjoyed 19% worth, so I could sell now without wringing my hands.
Please enjoy my photos and call me any time to talk about your future remodeling plans, and how they will impact the sale of your home. (Sometimes it's just to talk color, finishes, or what's new in the marketplace) I can't wait to talk kitchens with you!
The camillias are in already bloom & the daffodils and primroses are popping up in my front yard – my first sign that spring is already on its way. After a long, dark winter, spring's bright sun and warm winds are a breath of fresh air. The only downside? All that sunshine spotlights your leaf-filled gutters, cracked sidewalks and the dead plants in last year's flower beds.
Dwight Barnett, a certified master inspector with the American Society of Home Inspectors, shared this checklist to help you target the areas that need maintenance so you can get your chores done quickly, leaving you time to go outside and play in the sunshine.
Check for loose or leaky gutters. Improper drainage can lead to water in the basement or crawl space. Make sure downspouts drain away from the foundation and are clear and free of debris.
Low areas in the yard or next to the foundation should be filled with compacted soil. Spring rains can cause yard flooding, which can lead to foundation flooding and damage. Also, when water pools in these low areas in summer, it creates a breeding ground for insects.
Use a screwdriver to probe the wood trim around windows, doors, railings and decks. Make repairs now before the spring rains do more damage to the exposed wood.
From the ground, examine roof shingles to see if any were lost or damaged during winter. If your home has an older roof covering, you may want to start a budget for replacement. The summer sun can really damage roof shingles. Shingles that are cracked, buckled or loose or are missing granules need to be replaced. Flashing around plumbing vents, skylights and chimneys need to be checked and repaired by a qualified roofer.
Examine the exterior of the chimney for signs of damage. Have the flue cleaned and inspected by a certified chimney sweep.
Inspect concrete slabs for signs of cracks or movement. All exterior slabs except pool decks should drain away from the home's foundation. Fill cracks with a concrete crack filler or silicone caulk. When weather permits, power-wash and then seal the concrete.
Remove firewood stored near the home. Firewood should be stored at least 18 inches off the ground at least 2 feet from the structure.
Check outside hose faucets for freeze damage. Turn the water on and place your thumb or finger over the opening. If you can stop the flow of water, it is likely the pipe inside the home is damaged and will need to be replaced. While you're at it, check the garden hose for dry rot.
Have a qualified heating and cooling contractor clean and service the outside unit of the air conditioning system. Clean coils operate more efficiently, and an annual service call will keep the system working at peak performance levels. Change interior filters on a regular basis.
Check your gas- and battery-powered lawn equipment to make sure it is ready for summer use. Clean equipment and sharp cutting blades will make yardwork easier.
I heard an interesting story yesterday about Chinese real estate purchases in the USA. Sure, I had talked about it recently at a friend's house over dinner with a business partner who mentioned his Chinese clients were dropping a million on a house every time they came to the US. But I hadn't really focused on the extent of this movement until I heard an article on NPR yesterday.
The news? Zillow has begun publishing its entire U.S. real estate property database in Mandarin on the biggest real estate Web site in China. This means Chinese buyers can use Zillow to find properties near family and friends in their price range. “The fact that Zillow is going there is huge,” says Hall Willkie, president of New York real estate firm Brown Harris Stevens Residential Sales. “The Chinese may just overwhelm the United States with purchases.”
The Chinese are on the move. In 2014, a record number of Chinese, 100 million, are expected to travel abroad, an army roughly as big as Mexico’s population. They have money in their wallets, an appetite for the good life and ants in their pants.
You can’t blame them for feeling unsettled at home. Beijing’s aggressive anti-corruption sweep has netted thousands of big fish, and more confiscations are on the way. Pollution has created an asthma epidemic, food safety scares are commonplace, and China’s economic pace ebbs. There is still no true dissent or freedom of expression allowed. So the country’s wealthiest are on the move and want a better life for themselves or their children.
Some 9.3 million Chinese have immigrated in recent years, and 64 percent of the country’s remaining rich households — a category that includes a few million people — want to leave or are in the process of doing so.
The United States is their preferred destination, and American real estate is becoming their new T-bills, a safe-haven asset. Like bullion, it’s an asset class denominated in U.S. dollars, safe from confiscation and, when necessary, bought anonymously to hide wealth from governments or creditors or ex-partners. But unlike bullion, U.S. real estate can earn income, provide a roof and help obtain a visa.
This month, U.S. real estate Web site Zillow begins publishing its entire U.S. real estate property database in Mandarin on the biggest real estate Web site in China. This means Chinese buyers can surf the Net to find properties near family and friends in their price range. “The fact that Zillow is going there is huge,” says Hall Willkie, president of New York real estate firm Brown Harris Stevens Residential Sales. “The Chinese may just overwhelm the United States with purchases.”
A buyout is already underway. In 2013, Chinese buyers snapped up $11 billion worth of properties in the United States, capturing second place (at 12 percent of all foreign buying) behind Canadians for the first time, according to the National Association of Realtors’ Profile of International Home Buying Activity.
Willkie notes a spike in terms of interest in the past 18 months: “In New York, we’ve noticed Chinese buying very large, very expensive apartments, homes. But there are also many buying smaller apartments, $1.5 to $3 million, for their children going to school here. The parents are buying them.”
In 2013, for instance, a Hong Kong woman paid $6.5 million for a two-bedroom in the tallest residence in New York, One57, for her daughter so she’ll have somewhere to live when she gets into Columbia, Harvard or NYU, she told her agent. The daughter, currently, is 2 years old. Another Chinese woman bought four $20 million units there for family members.
The desire to get money out of China for whatever reason, added to Zillow’s foray into China’s living rooms, will only enhance enthusiasm. China’s biggest exports to the United States may end up being capital and people. Look out for its biggest winners in a neighborhood near you.
Of course, your property listings with me are already advertised on Zillow, so no worries about having Portland representation on China's computer screens. When talking with a client, Brian, last night, we decided it's the new GODZILLOW!