Archive for the ‘General Real Estate News’ Category

Home Ownership at 19 Year Low

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Despite the strong sales we’re seeing here in the Portland real estate market and higher than average appreciation rates combined with interest rates still at historical lows, we’re still seeing an overall decline in the U.S. for home ownership and part of that is due to the fact that 1 in 3 Americans currently has some sort of debt in collections.

There are additional contributing factors, like recent college grads having high school loan debt, housing prices climbing and tighter restrictions on lending. I suspect however there is also some growing concern among potential home buyers about the U.S. economy in general causing them to hold off on owning a home.

It really is a shame to see this as owning a home is by far a more financially stable position to be in, the majority of the time, than renting. With renting, you’re just throwing your money away every month adding to someone else’s investment portfolio rather than your own.


Zillow to Acquire Trulia for $3.5 Billion in Stock

Monday, July 28th, 2014

A few days ago I heard a real estate news blip about Zillow potentially acquiring Trulia, today I received confirmation of it straight from the horses mouth:

Zillow, Inc. (NASDAQ: Z) today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Trulia, Inc. (NYSE: TRLA) for $3.5 billion in a stock-for-stock transaction. The Boards of Directors of both companies have approved the transaction, which is expected to close in 2015.

You can find the full press release here

Per the press release it seems that after the transaction completes in 2015, the two entities will remain separate for the foreseeable future. So although fun to say, will not be part of your future home searches anytime soon.


Clackamas, Milwaukie, Oak Grove & Gladstone Real Estate Market Tracking Data Ready

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

Here’s the report for the Clackamas, Milwaukie, Oak Grove & Gladstone area. Even though Happy Valley and portions of SE Portland are technically the same RMLS “areas” I am doing seperate reports for those, hence they are not included in this report; just FYI.

Here’s the Clackamas, Milwaukie, Oak Grove & Gladstone Market Report.

Your Realtor, Scott McDonald

Everything. Portland. Real Estate. Blog.

Real Estate Tracking Data & Reports: BIG Changes Coming; Area Reports, Pricing & Days on Market in Tow

Friday, March 7th, 2014

I just wanted to get an FYI out to everyone that I am currently working on revamping the tracking report as I get a lot of requests for area specific reports (people asking for my tracking reports for Happy Valley, or Lake Oswego real estate reports etc).

Additionally short sales and foreclosures have been edging ever closer to market pricing these days, often no longer the “steal of a deal” they once were and there are a lot less of them now. So, with that said, I am *considering* ditching that portion of the tracking data in favor of adding new data points like:

  • Median Sale Price Tracking
  • Average Sale Price Tracking
  • Days on Market for Pending Sales
  • Average Price Per Square Foot Tracking
  • (more…)

February 2014 Portland Real Estate Market Month End Numbers

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

So we’re now officially into March and all of the February Portland real estate tracking numbers are in.

Most everything is up across the board, new listings are increasing, however the inventory is staying about the same because pending sales and closed sales are also increasing:


Of course at the end of February we had a very normal large spike in cancelled, withdrawn and expired listings…Again, completely normal for the last day of the month.


High Density Urban Building Practices, Encouraged by Local Governments, Not So Popular

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

This one was posted up back in January by citing a CFM Strategic Communications survey conducted in Portland back in December that shows Portlander’s aren’t real fond of the local governments push for high density construction (essentially, focusing on condos, townhomes and apartments rather than single family residential homes).

A whopping 46% of respondents, which were the overwhelming majority in this section, felt focusing on condos and apartments instead of single family residences (detached residential homes) was the wrong direction for government with the same percent of respondents not agreeing that these high density projects save local governments money in infrastructure costs.

Hmmm…I’m not a huge fan of high density building either, I mean, if that’s your thing and you enjoy close quarters living, be my guest, it’s just not my cup of tea; but to say it doesn’t save money on infrastructure? Seems to me it would? Would it not?


USDA Areas Zero Down Home Loans to Remain Secure Through 2020

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Recently a farm bill was passed that significantly and positively impacts rural areas; some of which aren’t so rural, in many ways, zero down loans being one of them.

Areas like Sandy, Estacada and Newberg qualify for what are called USDA loans (yes, that’s the US Department of Agriculture) that offer very competitive rates and to many, more importantly, 0% down to buy a home in these areas.

When I was working a large development in Estacada (and another smaller one in Sandy) these USDA loans were making up a large number of buyers home loans in those developments, new home, “in town” (well, Estacada and Sandy anyway), and nothing down. You could even still have the seller cover some closing costs and end up paying very close to nothing to get into a home.


Scott’s Home Buyers Guide, eBook, Sneak Peak

Monday, February 24th, 2014

I’ve begun putting together a short eBook series that at this point in time will consist of the following two eBooks:

“Scott’s Home Buyers Guide” followed by,

“Scott’s Home Sellers Guide”

I should have the first of the two ready and available via Amazon towards the end of March, but it’s shaping up nicely so I thought I would put up a small sample of the book; here goes:

Triggering a Multiple Offer Situation


National Real Estate Number Tracking Vs. Local

Friday, February 21st, 2014

In skimming through some articles in the real estate world today I came across one from the AP syndicated through titled “Portland home prices dip on slower December sales“, so of course being my market I need to check it out.

I didn’t find the slow December sales portion interesting as that’s par for the course this time of year (and apparently the Corelogic data used for the article, doesn’t take seasonal market shifts into consideration anyway), but I did find the numbers provided to be off…The AP / Corelogic data showed December home prices being up 15% from last year, where as RMLS, in their Market Action Report for December, showed 12.9% and the drop AP cites from November to December was 0.2%, but RMLS shows -3% average sale price compared to November and -1% median.

So who’s right?

Now, the numbers are still very similar, but it shows the differences you can end up with depending on how you are looking at a given market.  They just said the “Portland area”…Do they mean city of Portland only? Entire Metro? Do they, on a national level, consider Salem to be a part of that market? Are they looking at residential only as the RMLS Market Action Reports do, or are they looking at everything, residential, commercial etc?


Tax Forgiveness Act; Still Expired…Not Seeing Any Renewal News; Yet…

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Just a quick heads up [that honestly I should have done weeks ago], for anyone looking to short sale their home or are facing a foreclosure. For those not familiar with this act, or maybe not familiar with the need for this act, here’s how it works.

You short sale your home or get foreclosed on. The bank gets say $275,000 for your home (when you sell it on a short sale, or when they resell it as a foreclosure later), but you owed $375,000 on it, leaving a loss to the bank of $100,000.

Now, I know there are many people out there that think that $100,000 would be entirely the banks problem, and while that particular $100k is their problem, you as the seller have a not so new problem that just returned on December 31st due to this 2007 act not being renewed (yet?).


Bankers Committing Suicide? Whats Going on?

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

This is not the usual content for this site and honestly just posting this is tip-toeing in the realm of conspiracy theory, but this is a little too coincidental; is it not?

In the last month eight high level bankers, three of which worked for JP Morgan Chase, have committed suicide or otherwise died in a questionable manner with suicide being the top suspect:

  • William Broeksmit, 58 with Deutsche Bank, found dead from suicide in his home in London, January 26th
  • Karl Slym, 51 with Tata Motors, found dead on January 27th
  • Also on January 27th, Gabriel Magee, 39 with JP Morgan Chase, “fell off the roof” of the JP Morgan Chase European headquarters.
  • Mike Dueker, 50 with US Investment Bank found dead near the Tacoma Narrows bridge in Washington.
  • Richard Talley. 57, founder of American Title Services, dead after SHOOTING HIMSELF WITH A NAILGUN!
  • Tim Dickenson, with Swiss RE AG, also found dead last month
  • Ryan Henry Crane, 37 again, with JP Morgan Chase, died in an “alleged” suicide last month
  • And now yesterday, Li Junjie, 33, another JP Morgan Chase one, jumped from the JP Morgan headquarters in Hong Kong

My condolences to the families.

With that said, what the heck is going on? Why would this be happening?


Fannie Mae’s 3.5% First Look Program is Available

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Just got a reminder email from Fannie Mae that their 3.5% closing costs program is available again and thought it could be of interest to potential buyers out there. This is a program that offers 3.5% in closing costs assistance towards the purchase of a fannie mae foreclosed home for owner occupant buyers. I looked up how many qualifying fannie mae properties there are currently in the city of Portland alone and found 65 currently available, so once you take into consideration surrounding suburbs we’re likely in the realm of around 200 or so in the area that are eligible for this program.

You can find the programs details here, could be worth a look!

Scott McDonald


New Creative Financing for Short Sellers and Foreclosure”e”‘s (I know, not a word)

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Typically I don’t post on hearsay or other “through the grapevine” type stuff but this one peeked my interest as I have a number of clients currently waiting for short sales or foreclosures on their record to “time out” before they can buy a home again and this; if it becomes reality, could really help them get into a home sooner.

Essentially the deal is this company buys the house for them, they pay 8% down,  make monthly payments and it’s their home, they can remodel it, add a pool; whatever…with the option to buy it later from said company that bought it for them with a 2%/year appreciation; which isn’t bad at all assuming the market isn’t going down.

The details are still a big unknown, however the National Real Estate Post (which I obviously frequently check into) has the warm and fuzzies in regard to this as of yet unknown company…Could be great? Could be…nothing…Keep an eye out for it though; once i hear anything more concrete on it I’ll post it up here.


Don’t Be Surprised If Your Realtor Refuses to Show You a Specific Home!

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

When ever I’m showing property to a new buyer and meeting them for the first time I always try to find similar properties in the area so if the home I’m showing them doesn’t work out for them, I have something else to show them.

Today I was putting together that list of “similar homes” for showings I have this afternoon when I came across a listing specifically stating in the agent only remarks to “enter at your own risk” due to squatters on the premises that have been asked to leave by police, but are apparently still living there.

Not sure I myself would want to enter that home; if the people there are brazen enough to take up residence and refuse to leave who knows what they could/would do to a Realtor with clients in tow trying to see the home?


Target Security Breach and How it Could Affect Lending Soon

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock for the last few months you’ve heard of the Target security breach that’s effected a whopping 1 in 5 people. Well an interesting question has been raised recently and that is how this breach will affect lending and the housing market in general when loan approvals start becoming loan denials due to some guy buying a new $3,000 4K flat screen on your card as a result of that breach.

The National Real Estate Post put up a video on this topic yesterday that I’d recommend taking a look at:

Your Realtor, Scott McDonald
Everything. Portland. Real Estate. Blog.

Widespread Growth Expected for 2014; Some Thoughts on the Current Portland Real Estate Market

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

RealtorMag from (National Association of Realtors) expects to see a good 2014 across the board in the U.S.

In many cities around the country even ones with a 5.2% decrease in economic growth in 2013 (Shreveport LA) are expecting a 1.6% growth rate for 2014. Other areas around the country are in the same situation in terms of their expected growth; that is 1-2% however even that in the market(s) we’ve been seeing recently is a fantastic sign of the current turnaround we’re in.

Here in the Portland market we’ve been not just in recovery, but strong recovery, since early-mid 2012 with multiple offers becoming the norm for a home priced at market value. In recent years I almost never called a listing agent before showing a home to see if there were offers already on the table (didn’t need to, there almost never were); now I’m having to do that with most homes I’m showing and I’m finding around half of them DO have offers on them when I call. In addition when I see a home was just listed a few days ago, that’s become a red flag to call the agent to check on the current offer status.

We’re now in a completely different market and I’ve actually on occasion thought of it as another bubble. Now, don’t let that panic you. In my opinion, we are in a bit of a bubble in the Portland market but it seems to be a buying/activity bubble not a home value bubble (the latter of which would be a problem). Buyers are just ready to go and they are moving, but I’m not seeing that increasing home values outside of any norms (currently around 5% for the entire Portland metro area); they are also ignoring overpriced homes completely but jumping on market priced homes; fast!


Politically Correct Real Estate; It’s Very Real

Friday, January 31st, 2014

I’ve come across this article a few times in the past few days, and I suppose now I’ve seen enough references to it that I should get it up here.

We live in what many would consider to be an overly politically correct society and it’s becoming more so every day. It was many years ago when I heard another Realtor (a relative) tell me about the whole “master bedroom” thing. I hadn’t heard too much about it since, but have myself been very aware of how I word things when speaking with someone or writing here on the blog or in email.

Seems that’s par for the course as real estate ad’s around the country are becoming increasingly politically correct as well.

To many peoples surprise however, the “safe neighborhood” referenced in this article is actually very strictly against licensing regulations here in Oregon and many other states. As a Realtor I cannot (and will not; no one transaction is worth risking my license) tell a client “this is a safe neighborhood” (or “not” a safe neighborhood) as Realtors can fairly easily destroy an areas property values if we went around telling people what areas are safe, not safe etc. In this instance it’s not just political correctness, it’s the potential for very real financial damages to entire neighborhoods.


Accepting Bitcoins For Real Estate Transactions; A New Trend, or “What Are Bitcoins?”

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Anyone following tech these days, as I do, knows what Bitcoins are and knows there is certainly potential there. Even so, being a completely new currency there’s obviously some risks, though currently the most significant issue I’ve seen with it was the guy that lost $7.5 million in Bitcoins...that’s right, $7.5 million in US Dollars worth of Bicoins (Ouch!).

We’ve been seeing them enter the market place mostly via online stores that accept them, but now we’re seeing them enter the real estate market with the firm Bond New York now accepting Bitcoins for real estate transactions.

I’m not entirely sure how that would work, I mean, I know what Bitcoins are, but how the heck would a real estate firm use them in real estate transactions? There are of course currency exchanges; but for Bitcoins?


Nationally Foreclosures at Their Lowest Level Since 2007

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

CNN Money posted up an article recently showing the lowest level of foreclosures since 2007; great news for a market still trying to find it’s feet! Foreclosures were down 26% from 2012 alone; another outstanding stat.

At the top of the foreclosure filing nightmare foreclosures affected 2.23% of all homes, while in a “normal” pre-bubble burst market is normally less than 1% and right now, nationally, we’re seeing 1.04% so we’re still up from normal, but way down from the distressed market we’ve been in for the last 6-7 years.

As a Realtor in the Portland market I can attest to the low number of foreclosures currently available. Just a few short years ago a massive percentage of my business consisted of foreclosures and the dreaded (and I do mean dreaded in regards to short sales) short sales; now it’s become pretty rare to work with either of them. Thing is, one would think after a few years of lots of short sales that they would become easier to work with; that hasn’t been the case in my experience; they seem to have become even more difficult (from a buyers perspective anyway). Previously they could be closed with relative ease (and lots of nagging) but these days seems the few I deal with go no where, and fast. With that said, I’m very happy to see the reduction.

And don’t forget, if you are interested in foreclosures I still track and post them every day on the site and in the blog; get your daily Portland Foreclosure list now!


Oregon is THE Top Moving Destination for 2013

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

United Van Lines does an annual migration study which for 2013 showed Oregon as the #1 state for migration into the state with 61% of all Oregon moves being inbound moves. Michigan apparently continually made the top ten for outbound migration in previous years and for the first time was not on the outbound top ten list for 2013.

Honestly, I’m surprised California isn’t on the outbound list as well (being a California transplant myself)

as I do a good deal of business with Californians’ moving to Oregon.


Cash Buyers Bumping First Time Home Buyers Out

Friday, January 24th, 2014

This morning during my usual check in’s to news and blog sites it was hard to miss this front page main article on about all cash buyers pushing first time home buyers out of the market.

Interesting to see it as a front page article and a decent read; check it out. Indeed this is something I’ve seen many, MANY times myself; buyer has seen everything on the market and is waiting for new listings, one pops up, we check it out and there’s already an offer or two on the table. We put our highest and best in (often OVER asking price and get beat on “terms” (i.e. the winning offer was likely cash).

Scott McDonald


On the verge of another real estate boom? The numbers we’re seeing are suggesting it’s possible

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

The National Association of Realtors (NAR), just released an article detailing some of the numbers for the national 2012 real estate market and they are very encouraging. First off, total home sales in 2012 were the highest we’ve seen in 5 years, and the annual rise in home prices was the highest since 2005 (that’s right, the height of the previous boom). Completed transactions were 12.8% higher for December 2012 than December 2011 and the annual total for 2012 was 9.2% higher for the year than 2011 representing the highest volume since 2007 and strongest increase since 2004. 

It seems on the road to recovery we’re actually seeing a new mini-boom at the moment. Local Realtor’s, like myself, in the Portland metro area can attest to that as we are regularly seeing multiple offer situations and homes that, when looking at the comparables seem overpriced, yet they get scooped up anyway and often at close to asking price. Inventory is low, rates are low so buyers are scrambling trying to find something while prices are still relatively low which is putting sellers in the drivers seat in the current market.

Scott McDonald – Realtor & Principal Broker


Positive signs on housing market everywhere, even in my daily Google alerts

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

I have various Google alerts setup for keywords like housing market, sellers market, buyers market (and a lot more) specifically looking for news articles related to the real estate market, using Google alerts just saves me a bunch of time as I don’t have to go find the articles, they come to me.

Normally each alert that I receive daily has a handful of articles in it, 3-5 or so and usually mixed with some relevant, some not relevant. A recent one that I received though for the search term “housing market” caught my attention as it was article after article of optimism and good news for the housing market, so I thought I would post it here:



Portland sees big jump in real estate home sales for 2012, RMLS Market Action Report for December 2012

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

RMLS just released the end of year December 2012 Market Action Report and it confirms everything we’ve been talking about in terms of the real estate recovery happening here in Portland Oregon.

Homes sales in Portland Oregon jumped 19% in 2012 compared to 2011, from a total of $5.2 billion in sales in 2011 to $6.45 billion in 2012, that’s huge! Prices have also reversed their downward trek, officially and consistently heading the other direction and gaining ground as appreciation rates are almost entirely out of negative territory.

Additionally as we’ve been seeing in the market, inventory is very low right now and there are still a lot of buyers looking to take advantage of the low mortgage rates available today, as a result, it’s no longer a buyers market, it’s absolutely a sellers market now.


As the economy picks up mortgage rates will begin climbing

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Mortgage rates are still low compared to last year, however with the economy beginning to recover they are starting to climb again and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. As cited by Inman News rates last week were 3.34% for a 30 year fixed mortgage and are now at 3.4% – not a huge jump, but tack on a few weeks/months and we’ll easily be back up over 4%.

Even though rates are climbing and will continue to do so, they are still at historical lows and they are not here to stay folks; we will get back to 5-7% rates within the next few years.

To give you an idea of how much of a difference rates make in what you can afford, at today’ current rate of 3.4% on a 30 year fixed, assuming $3,000/year for property taxes and $500/year for home owners insurance (both low estimates mind you) the payment on a $300,000 loan would be $1,622.11. That same scenario at 5.5% brings your payment to $1,995.03, an increase of $372.92 a month! Additionally, 5.5% sounds like a huge percentage rate these days, but consider, that’s actually a fairly reasonable rate historically and we are heading back to that soon.