What’s happening with home prices

The Year in Review:

What a wild year it has been in Portland real estate. In popular neighborhoods, we’ve seen multiple offers and many homes selling in a week or less. So many homes sold last year that a shrinking supply of listings led to even more competition among buyers. Sellers thought it was a bad time to sell, so most people held off on listing their homes. Skinny inventory resulted in rising prices.

Have we seen the bottom of the market? It sure looks that way. Especially in the close-in neighborhoods, and many of the popular neighborhoods farther out, too.

On the other hand, despite the rising competition among buyers, some homes stayed on the market a long time, as you may have noticed.


the house didn’t have what most buyers wanted, or
it wasn’t marketed well, or
it wasn’t staged or priced right, or
it had some quirk or oddity or location issue.

For these reasons, it didn’t sell. It stayed on the market for a couple of months or many more, and if the sellers were motivated, they made the necessary adjustments, and they stuck with it until their turn eventually came up.

A divided market. The market this year has been divided into homes that sold almost immediately (quick-sellers), and homes that didn’t sell for months or longer (lingerers). In my 25 years in this business, I’ve seen divided markets before. The good news is, I know quite a few ways to turn a lingerer into a quick-seller.

What’s it been like for buyers? Buyers have had trouble finding homes to look at. There are very few homes for sale. My buyers keep a close watch on the Looking Glass home searches I send them. They are looking day and night. When a house is new on the market, the house show “green” for 24 hours and they jump on those first. When they see something good, guess what? A bunch of other buyers have noticed it too, and we line up with other brokers and their clients waiting to get in for showings. It really is like that. Multiple offers? We are talking 4, 6, even 10 offers if the house looks like a good deal. Of course this drives up the price. It can be a roller coaster for my buyer clients, but more often than not, if my buyers write an offer they get the house.

For sellers? The quick-sellers were of course very pleased and grateful to have a good offer from an earnest buyer, or even multiple offers.

Prices. We are in a rising market. The prices of the quick-selling homes are rising. In fact, it’s important to be careful not to under-price.

For the lingerer houses it’s still been a rough ride. With the right adjustments, those houses have sold in 2012 too. I have outstanding tools to identify the factors that have created a lingering house and turn it into a quick-seller. One difficulty, perhaps not obvious to people outside of the real estate profession, is that homes that stay on the market longer tend to sell for less.  There are many reasons, but a home that sells quickly usually sells for substantially more than a home that is on the market a long time. That’s why we evaluate pricing very carefully. Having the right price encourages buyers to make offers right away.

So there is your (very) short course on the answer to “what’s up with prices?” I’d love to tell you more. Let’s talk about your plans for 2013. Contact me if you’d like to learn more about your home’s value or making a purchase, or any other real estate questions. Happy 2013!