Portland home sales and values continue to soar in June 2015

Portland OR closed home sales hru 6-2015According to RMLS, the median sales price for homes sold in June rose to $320,000; 2.2% higher than the median price in May 2015.

The continual rise in values is being fueled almost entirely by an almost record low inventory of homes for sale. As of the end of June, there was only a 1.6 month supply of homes listed. This means that at the current rate of consumption, all homes currently on the market will be gone in 1.6 months. This is the lowest inventory level since the peak of the mid 2000s housing boom. (A healthy market has closer to a 6 month supply of homes for sale at any given time.)

Currently a home listed becomes a “closed sale within 45 days! By comparison, last year at this time, it took closer to 60 days for a new listing to close.

On the upside, this year has seen a 5% increase in the number of homes listed, which can be taken as a vote of confidence that demand is very high, so this hot market is likely to continue for a while yet.

Lane County sees record home sales for June 2015

As Portland metro area housing is soaring, more and more buyers are finding themselves being priced out of our market. Never fear, there are other great places to live in Oregon, as home buyers are moving out of the metro area in search of “more bang for their buck.”

According to realtors in Lane County, the market is on fire. Most have never experienced the buyer frenzy that has moved south creating the hottest market Lane County has ever seen since RMLS started keeping records in Lane County in 2001. Like Portland, inventory is down while the median home price has risen dramatically from $210,000 in May 2015 to $229,000 last month.

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Yellen speak points to rate hike at September FOMC meeting

Janet YellenJanet Yellen spent 2 days last week testifying before Congress. There was a lot of discussion about Fed policy, but the big question was…

When should we expect the Feds to raise the over-night rate to banks?

It seems that we have been talking about this rate hike for so long with no action that most people are beginning to doubt that it will ever happen.

Janet Yellen has been in the hot seat numerous times over the last few years. She is more than adept at seeming to answer very direct questions without providing very direct answers. Still, the general take-away last week is that Ms. Yellen suggested that the long awaited and dreaded first rate hike is likely at the September 2015 FOMC meeting.

Yellen noted that all the Fed requirements for the first rate hike are not yet in place and may not be for several years; but holding rates at or near zero must end at some point, and this should probably happen sooner rather than later. Yellen did emphasize though that the Feds will proceed slowly, carefully monitoring the effects of the hike when it happens. She emphasized that at all costs, the Federal Reserve will proceed with caution.

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More Accolades for Portland Oregon

PDX airport

Do we live in a great place or what? We all know that Portland is a great place to live, but year after year, Portland finds itself on more “bests” lists.

Travel and Leisure names PDX best airport in the country

PDX

This is the 3rd year in a row that Portland International was chosen as the best airport in the US. According to Travel Pulse “A number of different factors are used to rank the airports, including location and access; check-in and security; restaurant and food; shopping and design. The scores, which are indexed averages of readers’ responses, are determined based on a questionnaire developed by Travel + Leisure editors that travelers were able to participate in from November 2014 to March 2015.”

Portland farmers marketsWashington Post is conducting a search for the 10 best “foodie” cities in the US. In June 2015, Tom Sietsema, food critic for the Washington Post, visited Portland and wrote a glowing article about Portland and the food scene here.

In the opening lines of his article, Sietsema wrote, “Imagine a city where no one honks their horn and drivers pause mid-block to assure pedestrians safe passage from one sidewalk to another.

Picture an urban landscape painted in rivers, forests and mountains — Frontierland as if created by Alice Waters.

Welcome to Portland, as in Oregon, the land of milk and honey — also coffee, tea, beer, wine, game, berries, crab, salmon, ice cream in flavors lifted from food trucks and olive oil that chefs compare favorably to Italy’s liquid gold.”

Sietsema spent five very full days eating his way around Portland, from food carts to top tier restaurants, and he even visited many Farmers markets too where many restaurants serve some of the same great food you can find in the restaurants and food carts.

Portland was just the fourth of the 10 cities Sietsema will visit. His ranking of the top 10 cities will be released after his 10 month tour is complete later this year.

You might also like to read:

Portland ranks 3rd quirkiest city in the US

Portland Oregon named best city to live in the US

Millenial generation chooses Portland

Portland farmers markets named best in country

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Mortgage rates creeping up

10 year bond yields

10 year bond yields

According to CNBC this morning, the yield on the 10 year Treasury bond moved up dramatically this morning causing some concern that mortgage rates (closely tied to the yield on the 10 year bond) are following. Best mortgage rates quoted this morning are between 4% – 4.53%.**

Last week, we saw the yield on the bond about 10 basis points lower than this morning, and of course, this could be a concern for our very robust housing market here in the Portland metro area.

Why did the 10 year bond yield rise so much this morning? This was mostly driven by international news:

  • The Greek bail out
  • Chinese markets on the rise
  • Iranian nuclear deal looks like it might be a go this time

All of these international crises that have been heavily weighing on US stock markets, look like they might be averted finally. Could this be the combination of events that will lead the Feds (led by Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen) to raise over-night bank rates in their September meeting? This would most certainly be a signal that mortgage rates will move up in tandem.

According to the chart above, we are very near the high yield for the 12 months.

** Best 30 year rates on conventional financing are for those with 740 credit scores and 20% down payments. Rates are similar for FHA financing but also include PMI.

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Portland Oregon named best city to live in U.S.

Portland OR skylinePortland has garnered yet another distinction, but this is perhaps the best one we have won so far. Monacle, a British magazine has just named Portland Oregon the only US city into their top 25 cities to live in the entire world. The only other North American winner is Vancouver, Canada. In fact, the author of the article went on to say that Portland is the “only American liveable city.”

The top 25 cities’ rankings are based on Monacle’s annual qualify of life survey which takes into account factors like crime rates, healthcare, state-funded education, business climate, and public transportation. There is also a “liveability assessment” that considers green space, culture, sunshine, food scene, local businesses, and more. “Portland’s healthy lifestyles and liberal outlooks ‘lend residents a healthy and somewhat self-satisfied glow,” according to Monocle.

San Francisco had been among the top 25 in the past but fell off the list this year; and Seattle, our neighbor to the north did not make the list either. Still Portland ranked only 23rd on the list, while the top 5 cities included Copenhagen at number 1, followed by Tokyo, Melbourne, Stockholm and Helsinki. Most of the top cities were in Europe, but there were a few from Australia and Asia. No South American, Central American or African cities made the list. (Copenhagen reported just one murder last year – a statistic we have a long way to go to match).

Still, this is just one more reason to be proud of our great city and all that it has to offer. After all, where else can one go skiing and surfing on the same day, even during the summer?

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