Whats happening in Portland Oregon last weekend of April 2017?

Rain or shine, there is always a lot happening in our great state. The forecast as of today is that this weekend will be cloudy with little to possibly no rain and will be in the upper 50s to 60s throughout the weekend. So here are a few activities that you might consider.

Portland Japanese Gardens – 611 SW Kingston Ave, Portland, OR 97205

Portland Japanese gardensIf you haven’t visited the gardens recently you’ll find that there are a lot of changes. According to an article in OregonLive “The gardens have expanded by 3.4 acres and this weekend, the cherry trees should still be blooming. But there’s more…

Thousands of trees and shrubs have been planted along zigzagging paths, and garden curator Sadafumi Uchiyama has designed three distinct, new landscapes: A moss hillside garden, bonsai terrace and chabana (tea flower) garden.

Even more dramatic is the new, hilltop Cultural Crossing Village, three steel-and-glass pavilions linked by a large courtyard near the shuttle stop to the main garden. A 185-foot-long “castle” wall made with 1,000 tons of Baker blue granite from an Eastern Oregon quarry and built using Shogun-period techniques defines the west side of the village. Anchoring another side is a tea cafe, the first food and beverage service available at the 54-year-old garden.”

If you want to add some Japanese flavor to your garden or home, the gift shop has quadrupled in size, so don’t forget to take a look at what is being offered.

Wooden shoe tulip festival – 33814 S Meridian Rd, Woodburn OR
Take in all the tulips still in bloom, learn more about wooden shoes and watch a craftsman create a pair just for you using ancient tools and skills.

tulip festival/muddy paws runAnd Saturday, April 29th, why not join the 2nd Annual Muddy Paws Fun Run/Walk in the same location as the tulip festival from 9:30am – 7pm.  Rain or shine, that should be a fun event to participate in or at least watch from the sidelines.

People’s Climate Movement: Portland Mobilization and March | Dawson Park, Speakers (more info) – just east of Legacy Emmanual Medical Center at N Stanton St and Williams Ave – Saturday April 29, from 12pm – 5pm
Looking for political action this weekend? This is an event for anyone who stands with people of color and low income people to join the movements for racial, social, and economic justice as pathways to climate action.

Gorge Artists Open Studios2017 Gorge Artists Open Studios Tour
April 28-30, 2017   10 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Free

Forty juried artists have been selected to participate in 2017. You’ll see some of the highest quality work available from the region utilizing multiple mediums and styles. According to their website, the tour is free and self-guided, with artists’ studios located throughout the Mid-Columbia from Cascade Locks to The Dalles and from Parkdale, Oregon to Trout Lake, Washington.

Astoria Seafood and Wine FestApril 28-30: Astoria-Warrenton Crab, Seafood & Wine Festival | 175 Vendors, Food, Live Music & More! (Win Tickets, $20)

If you’re looking for great food, entertainment and a great time, why not drive over to Astoria and enjoy the best seafood and wine around while you browse the 175 vendor booths. Take your wallets. There is sure to be something there that you have to take home. Remember Mothers Day, Fathers Day and graduations are just around the corner.

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Mortgage Rates dip again

Mortgage rates have backed off the highs we saw right after the start of the year when the stock market went into overdrive. There were lenders quoting rates at or near 4.5% at that time. The good news is that rates appear to be below 4% again, so if you’re thinking of buying, this is still a good time. Who knows how long this will last? Just a reminder that you need to shop lenders. Rates can vary as much as 1/4% – 1/2% from lender to lender. 
The average home price in the Portland metro area has again topped $400,000. This also means tthat homes priced below $300,000 are becoming harder to find, even when they are fixers, and they sell quickly. Single family detached homes priced below $200,000 have all but disappeared now though there are still condos and town homes available from time to time. With the higher prices, we’re seeing much more home sales activity in outlying areas in NE and SE Portland. According to RMLS statistics neighborhoods east of I-205 are seeing a surge in popularity and in fact a few neighborhoods are reporting more sales in 2017 than some of the very popular close in areas like Multnomah Village, Concordia or Hawthorne. 

For those who are waiting for the inevitable slowdown in housing prices, it is forecast that we are unlikely to see that until 2020 because economists at city planning say that the Portland metro area is currently about 24,000 housing units short of demand and it will take that long for developers to catch up. 
If you are “forced” to buy a home further out from downtown, I wouldn’t fret about it. I doubt it will be long before the bellweathers that forecast that a neighborhood is great, like the opening of a New Seasons or Trader Joes always seem to follow where the population is moving, so watch for news that a new store is opening in outer NE or SE Portland.

By the way, for those of you on the west side, Forest HIlls, Bethany, Beaverton, Tigard, and HIllsboro are still right up there for number of sales as people continue to buy on the west side of town too. In fact, Forest Hills/Bethany had the most sales during the fist quarter of 2017.

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FHA and VA raise loan limits in Oregon

We thought it was never going to happen, but rising home prices and values have finally caught the attention of the powers that be and both the FHA (Federal Housing Administration) and VA (Veterans Administration) have finally increased loan limits to $408,250 in the Portland metro area and in Yamhill County. That’s a pretty decent increase from $368,000. Conventional financing, (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) have also increased loan limits to $424,100.

If you live in other counties in Oregon, please check to find out what your current FHA loan limits are. It appears from a brief check that VA loan limits are the same as the new FHA limits in all Oregon counties.
This is no way keeps pace with the ever higher prices in our area, but it will make purchasing a home easier for many buyers, especially those who are using FHA and VA financing.

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