National Index Offers Mixed Results

Case-Shiller August 2008Portland ranks fifth in a 20-city index for smallest year-over-year declines in home values, according to the Case-Shiller index released today.

Nationally, the survey shows a 15.4% one-year decline in home prices, comparing June 2008 to June 2007; Portland registered a -5.8% result in that same period.

“While there is no national turnaround in residential real estate prices, it is possible that we are seeing some regions struggling to come back, which has resulted in some moderation in price declines at the national level” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor’s.

“Depending on where you focus on the details of the report, you can see some different stories on where home prices are headed. Record year-over-year declines were reported in both the 10-City and 20-City Composites in June; however, they are very close to the values reported for May. The rate of home price decline may be slowing.

Nevertheless, not one market is showing a positive return over the past 12 months and seven of the metro areas are reporting declines in excess of 20.0%.”

Charlotte, Boston, Dallas, and Denver top the list as better performers, while Las Vegas, Miami, and Phoenix showed the weakest 1-year performance–all registering declines of 27% or more over the past year.

Google Street View – En Fuego!

Another Google Maps post. I know, I know…enough already. Still…

Here’s a dandy from Google’s Street View. Imagine you’re the driver of the GoogleMobile, happily snapping your panoramic pix by the gigabyte, and you come upon this (double-click on the image to zoom in):

View Larger Map

Sadly, the closeup of this house in Arkansas is no longer available on Street View (try ‘driving’ up the street in the image above), but I grabbed a copy and saved it back when Marlow Harris of Seattle’s 360Digest blog first noted it.

Google Maps house on fire

I’m pretty sure that is a material fact that will need to be noted in the seller’s property disclosures.

Portland Real Estate Results – July 2008 Final

As the peak selling season wanes, the Portland metropolitan real estate market stubbornly holds on to pricing levels as sales levels flatten and inventories increase.

Final results for July 2008 show a familiar pattern to that of June 2008 in terms of pace of sales, as well as median (-0.3%) and average (-2.4%) pricing. Compared to July 2007, median and average are down 3.9% and 3.5% respectively. The median price is now down 4.6% from the peak in August 2007.

  July 2008 June 2008 July 2007
Median Sale Price $288,200 $289,000 $300,000
Average Sale Price $340,500 $348,800 $352,900
Closed Sales 1,831 1,877 2,624
Pending Sales 2,003 1,996 2,579
New Listings 5,237 5,213 5,814
Active Listings 18,219 17,788 14,831
Average Market Time 72 days 76 days 52 days
Inventory (in months) 10.0 9.5 5.0

Here’s how Portland’s various market areas break down, year-to-date:

Area YTD Avg. Sale Price YTD Median Sale Price 12-Mo. Appreciation DOM
Lake Oswego / West Linn $561,200 $455,000 4.8% 69
West Portland $487,200 $399,000 7.1% 77
NW Washington County $402,800 $377,000 1.0% 74
Tigard / Tualatin / Sherwood / Wilsonville $361,400 $329,000 -1.5% 76
Milwaukie / Clackamas $328,800 $292,300 -6.9% 71
Northeast Portland $324,600 $280,000 4.7% 56
Oregon City / Canby $324,300 $288,000 -1.2% 83
Hillsboro / Forest Grove $286,000 $260,000 -1.3% 87
Southeast Portland $282,100 $249,200 0.2% 56
Beaverton / Aloha $280,100 $253,000 0.1% 60
Yamhill County $275,700 $228,500 0.5% 95
North Portland $270,300 $252,800 5.1% 57
Gresham / Troutdale $263,800 $247,000 -3.2% 84
Columbia County $231,200 $218,400 -0.3% 147

Source: RMLS, August 2008.

I Think I Just Threw Up in My Mouth

Normally on Fridays, I like to look for little diversions to post here on re:PDX. And I certainly found one today, but it was a nausea-inducer for me. Welcome to the second season of Bravo TV’s Million Dollar Listing.

Million Dollar Listing promo

“You’ve got to make enemies to make money.” Yeah, that’s my new catch phrase.

Josh vs. Chad promo.

From the New York Times:

Season 2 revolves instead around three agents: Chad Rogers, Josh Flagg and the lone holdover from Season 1, Madison Hildebrand. None of them are over 30, and all are as focused on landing the next deal as they are with themselves. Mr. Rogers spends an inordinate amount of time on his hair and is given to making statements like, “I have a gorgeous girlfriend because image is everything in real estate.”

Apparently, one of the ‘stars’ is under suspicion of thieving expensive artwork from one of his listings. I hate it when that happens.

I haven’t seen an episode myself, but I know that this show will be viewed as a ‘guilty pleasure’ for some. Like watching Springer or COPS. I wonder how this plays with NAR‘s goal of raising popularity ratings of REALTORS to levels above used car salesmen and telemarketers.

Anyway, if you’ll excuse me, apparently I need to go work on my hair.

(Hat tip to Trevor Smith @ Blue Collar Agents)

Craigslist Shakes Up Real Estate for Sale Section

Craigslist Real Estate for Sale sectionCasual users of Craigslist may not have noticed a change last week to the Real Estate for Sale section. Recently, my bookmark for that section suddenly started showing fewer and fewer listings.

Around August 4, it appears the ‘real estate for sale’ category was split into ‘for sale by broker‘ and ‘for sale by owner‘ buckets. Fortunately, the company kept the ALL category alive, but is now addressed as (instead of /rfs).

I saw complaints about the previous real estate for sale section, like, “Why do brokers put their listings here (multiple times), when there is already an MLS?” The new categorization solves that issue if you just want to see owner listings. But when I looked in the ‘by owner’ section today, it seemed rife with spam, foreclosure ‘help’ ads, and other money schemes. Some policing will be needed.

Another thought, with the split, is Craigslist prepping to charge Portland brokers to advertise their listings like they do in NYC? We shall see.

Early Returns – July 2008 Portland Real Estate Results

While ‘official’ results are over a week away, a review of Portland’s real estate activity for July shows a consistent pattern from previous months.

  July 2008 June 2008 July 2007
Median Sale Price $288,500 $289,000 $295,000
Average Sale Price $341,400 $348,800 $352,400
Closed Sales 1,790 1,877 2,731

While the numbers from RMLS will be slightly different as sale information trickles in over the next few days, it’s clear that the market has settled into a Groundhog Day-like 30-35% decline in units sold each month and softly declining median and average prices. For example, the median price across the Portland metro area for July (flat vs. last month) is down 4.5% from the peak in August 2007, and off 2.3% from July of 2007.

I haven’t looked at pending sales or accumulated inventory, but Jeff Kempe suggests that inventory will be the same as last month (~9.5 months) and pending sales are showing accelerated price declines that may be reflected in August’s results.

The RMLS report should be out by August 15.

Timeshares in the Pearl?

Wyndham TimeshareBuried in the Oregonian today is news that a Pearl District hotel project may likely be marketed as a timeshare — perhaps the city’s first.

Opus Northwest is hoping to complete the project, located at NW 14 & Irving, in two years. From the city’s Design Commission docket for August 7, 2008:

The building is U-shaped, pulling back on its south façade to form a private ground floor courtyard distinguished from the Irving St walkway by a fence and landscaped planter. Active ground floor uses form the NW 14th Ave frontage, with a hotel lobby, hotel services and a sales room facing the street. The ground floor of the NW 15th Ave façade is characterized by vehicular uses, with a structured loading bay, and the entrance to two floors of below-grade parking incorporating 109 parking stalls. Three hotel units form the ground-floor of the southwestern corner of the building with outdoor patio spaces facing the Irving St walkway. The upper floors include of a total of 114 hotel units of varying sizes.

The building design is by SERA Architects. The Oregonian reports the client is Wyndham Worldwide, a timeshare operator.

In a soft condo market, I think the idea could have some momentum — serving the occasional to frequent Portland visitor. It would provide an alternative to the pied-a-terre model of a small, temporary-stay second home. Often, the burden of homeowner association fees and insurance make pied-a-terres overly expensive for the less-than-frequent visitor. Fractional ownership usually offers clients some flexibility to travel to other resort locations, too.

The Portland Design Commission is holding a public hearing on Opus Northwest’s (the developer) design advice request at 1:30 p.m., Aug. 7, in Room 2500A at 1900 S.W. Fourth Ave.

No word yet on how excruciating the sales presentations will be :)

Yar! Hand Over Yer Junque!

Cruising through Craigslist this weekend and ran across these scurvy dogs:

Junk Pirates

Here’s their Craigslist pitch:

Shake your booty. (All Over)

Shake it like it was LA!
Lose it sister. Get rid of it brother.
You don’t need that stuff. It’s no good.
And someday someone somewhere will find a way to link it to cancer.

PREPARE YOURSELF (<– scare tactic)

By calling the Junk Pirates today!
1-888-47-BOOTY (that’s 1-888-472-6689)
Follow Fritz:

Now, from a branding perspective, I think this kills. Most cleanup crews have non-descript business names with no hook to remember them by or reason to refer them to anyone.

But you’d probably remember the Junk Pirates. At least I will. Heck, they even have a vanity 800 number.

Note: This is an unsolicited review. I have not used them or referred them to anyone.