Portland-area real estate: 10 places where home prices are falling

By Elliot Njus | The Oregonian/OregonLive | Posted August 09, 2018 at 06:00 AM | Updated August 09, 2018 at 08:19 AM

Posted on August 14, 2018 at 12:00 am
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Portland Area’s Home Prices Climb Slower than Nation’s for First Time Since 2012

Posted on July 3, 2018 at 5:47 pm
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Portland home-sellers must disclose home energy score under new city mandate

A for-sale sign in front of a house in North Portland.

A requirement that Portlanders selling their houses disclose the results of a home energy audit took effect this week, though it appears to be off to an uneven start.

The requirement, approved by the Portland City Council in 2016, is intended to give buyers a better idea of their maintenance costs in the long run. It’s modeled off programs in cities including Austin, Texas; Berkley, California; and Boulder, Colorado.

It requires many homeowners to have their homes scored on a 1 to 10 scale, as well as disclose the estimated annual energy use and cost, before putting it on the market. (The policy applies to single-family houses and any housing unit that occupies the entire space from the foundation to the roof, like townhouses and certain condos.)

That information must be disclosed in listings and the audit results made available at open houses and in-person showings. The city may exempt certain low-income households, as well as households in foreclosure or other financial distress.

The disclosure requirement was off to a slow start after taking effect Monday. Many new online listings within the city limits lacked the home energy score. (Homes on the market before Jan. 1 weren’t required to obtain a score.)

Andria Jacob, the senior manager for energy programs at Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, said the city would be monitoring new listings and contacting brokers when their listings lacked the disclosure.

“We’re expecting it to take a little bit of time,” she said. “Our plan is not to come out swinging a heavy stick right away.” The ordinance allows for fines of up to $500.

The 10-point rating system was developed by the U.S. Department of Energy, with a score of 5 representing the average U.S. home. A house that scores a 1 is estimated to use more energy each year than 85 percent of homes, while one that gets a 10 is expected to use less energy than 90 percent of homes.

The scores are based on a home’s size, its heating and cooling systems and its insulating features.

The city has contracted with Earth Advantage, a Portland nonprofit, to oversee the program. The scores are determined by energy assessors certified by Earth Advantage; many are home inspectors, while others are affiliated with contractors that do energy retrofits.

The Portland Metropolitan Association of Realtors opposed the measure, arguing it would add to a seller’s costs without meaningfully changing buyer behavior. Real estate brokers aren’t totally in agreement about that, however.

“Of course it’s going to be a bargaining chip that will help certain people make a decision,” said Annie Rose Shapero, a broker with Oregon First Realty. “But it’s also going to help those people who are more financially vulnerable make a decision about which probably is going to give them the most security as far as their future utility bills.”

And while homeowners have always considered the potential resale benefits of installing new hardwood floors or updating appliances, the return on energy-efficiency improvements has never been very clear because they’re rarely featured in listings. A required rating could change that.

“We’re helping change the conversation,” said Hilary Bourasa, a principal broker with Meadows Group Inc. Realtors. “It’s taking the focus away from granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances and putting it on housing affordability.”

In the handful of days since the program took effect, some real estate brokers have complained that scores are coming in low, or include inaccurate information.

Mark Wheeler, the owner of Roots Realty in Southeast Portland, said an energy score audit of one client’s house failed to include a high-efficiency furnace. The clients are selling because they can no longer afford the home, he said, and the prospect of spending more money or losing prospective buyers is an added stress.

“If my clients had spent $250 on doing some actual energy improvement on the house I’d feel good about that,” he said. “But they spent $250 on a flawed piece of paper.”

Jacob, the city’s energy programs manager, said Energy Trust would be auditing 5 percent of the completed energy scores to ensure they’re accurate.

Posted on January 10, 2018 at 11:35 pm
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10 Local Spring Break Ideas Around Portland


by Jamie Hale, The Oregonian | OregonLive

Portlanders don’t need to travel far to get out for spring break – though there are plenty of good day trips around the region. Instead, consider sticking around the city, taking advantage of all Portland has to offer.
With miles of beautiful hiking trails, several top-notch attractions and activities for kids and adults alike, Portland can be a spring break sanctuary, requiring little expense and little trouble getting around: many places on this list are free and several are accessible by public transportation. From spring flowers to LEGO art, here are 10 local excursions for the break.
Randy L. Rasmussen/The Oregonian

1. OMSI
It’s never a bad time to visit the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, but this spring is an especially good time to go. Last month the museum opened its spectacular new LEGO exhibit, “The Art of the Brick.” Featuring large-scale work by acclaimed Oregon-born artist Nathan Sawaya, the exhibit features a 20-foot tyrannosaurus rex skeleton, reproductions of several famous works of art and Sawaya’s famous sculpture “Yellow.”

2. Portland Hikes
When people talk about hiking around Portland they’re not usually talking about the city itself. It’s a shame, because Portland boasts a wide network of incredible hiking trails, from the 30-mile Wildwood Trail in Forest Park to the nine miles of trails atop Powell Butte. Locals might want to visit the lovely Marquam Nature Park in southwest Portland, or tackle the 11-mile Marquam Trail hike from Forest Park to Willamette Park.

3. Oregon Zoo
Even if you’ve spent a lot of time at the zoo, there’s actually a lot that’s new to see at the popular Portland attraction. Last month marked the grand opening of the Oregon Zoo’s new education center, while new polar bear cub Nora is still making a splash. The zoo will also host a spring break day camp from March 27 to 31.

4. Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival
March 24 marks the opening of the always-colorful Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival in 2017, a month-long display of blooming tulips at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in Woodburn. The 40-acre farm lets visitors wander through and take pictures with the flowers, offering wine tastings, cow train rides and fresh-cut flowers to boot.

5. Oregon City
Oregon City isn’t at the top of many travel bucket lists, but it’s a great afternoon trip for Willamette Valley residents or Oregon history buffs. The McLoughlin Promenade walk is a good way to tour the city, going from the lovely main street up the famed Municipal Elevator, past overlooks of Willamette Falls and the Blue Heron Paper Mill, and to the historic McLoughlin House.

6. Fort Vancouver
One of the most popular national park sites in the Pacific Northwest, Fort Vancouver is also by far the most convenient to get to from Portland. Set along the northern shore of the Columbia River, the historic park is a throwback to the pioneer era, complete with blacksmithing demonstrations and reconstructed quarters from the fort’s time of prominence in the Oregon Territory

7. Stiegerwald National Wildlife Refuge
Head across the Columbia River, then drive west past Washougal in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, and you’ll find a wildlife wonderland that’s definitely worth your time. The Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge is home to deer, beavers, turtles, toads and more than 200 species of birds. Bring your binoculars and hit the trail, where the animals aren’t exactly shy.

8. Portland Japanese Garden
It’s an exciting time at the Portland Japanese Garden, which on April 2 will open its new Cultural Crossing expansion, including several new garden spaces, a castle wall, Umami Tea Café and several other buildings for educational and shopping purposes. The old garden area will still offer the same tranquility and beauty as always.

9. Umbrella Festival
Highlighting Portland’s colorful underground circus community, the annual Umbrella Festival will run from March 30 to April 2 at the Alberta Rose Theatre in northeast Portland. Every day offers a different show, ranging from youth-oriented and family-friendly shows to performances aimed at adult audiences only.

10. Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum
Located just southwest of Portland in McMinnville the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum is a great local excursion for all-ages, featuring a hanger full of air and spacecraft, as well as a waterpark, theater and educational events. On March 31, the museum will host a spring break model rocket day camp for kids.

Posted on March 24, 2017 at 8:53 pm
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Rates Likely to Be Left Alone in Uncertain Times

By MARTIN CRUTSINGER The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve is all but sure to leave interest rates alone when it ends a policy meeting Wednesday at a time of steady gains for the U.S. economy but also heightened uncertainty surrounding the new Trump administration.

The Fed will likely signal that it wants further time to monitor the progress of the economy and that it still envisions a gradual pace of rate increases ahead.
“I don’t look for the Fed to do anything this week,” said Sung Won Sohn, an economics professor at the Martin Smith School of Business at California State University. “They are starting to get their ducks in a row for further rate hikes, but it will be too soon to pull the trigger.”

The Fed’s two-day meeting will end with a policy statement that will be studied for any signals of its outlook or intentions. At the moment, most economists foresee no rate increase even at the Fed’s next meeting in March, especially given the unknowns about how President Donald Trump’s ambitious agenda will fare or whether his drive to cancel or rewrite trade deals will slow the economy or unsettle investors.

The statement will not be accompanied by updates to the Fed’s economic forecasts or by a news conference with Chair Janet Yellen, both of which occur four times a year .

Last month, the Fed modestly raised its benchmark short-term rate for the first time since December 2015, when it had raised it after keeping the rate at a record low near zero for seven years. The Fed had driven down its key rate to help rescue the banking system and energize the economy after the 2008 financial crisis and the Great Recession.

When it raised rates last month, the Fed indicated that it expected to do so three more times in 2017. Yet confusion and a lack of details over what exactly Trump’s stimulus program will look like, whether he will succeed in getting it through Congress and what impact it might have on the economy have muddied the outlook.

And while Trump’s tax and spending plans are raising hopes for faster growth, his proposals to impose tariffs on such countries as China and Mexico to correct trade imbalances could slow the economy if U.S. trading partners retaliate and collectively impede the flow of imports and exports.

“The Fed is unlikely to signal intentions to raise rates as early as March given the heightened uncertainty about the timing and scope of fiscal and protectionist policies,” said Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets.

Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Markit, predicts that the economy will grow a modest 2 percent to 2.5 percent this year, before accelerating next year to 2.6 percent to 2.7 percent on the assumption that Trump’s policy proposals will have begun to take full effect by then.

The outlook for both years would mark an improvement over the economy’s lackluster growth of 1.6 percent in 2016, its weakest performance since 2011.

Even though economic growth, as measured by the gross domestic product, was underwhelming last year, the job market appears close to full health. Hiring was consistently solid in 2016, and the unemployment rate ended the year at 4.7 percent, just below the 4.8 percent level the Fed has identified as representing full employment.

And inflation, by the Fed’s preferred measure, rose 1.6 percent in the 12 months that ended in December, moving closer to the Fed’s 2 percent goal.

Posted on February 15, 2017 at 12:57 am
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More People Are Arriving: Oregon Remains a Top Relocation Spot, Study Finds

Janet Eastman | The Oregonian/OregonLive By Janet Eastman
on January 03, 2017 at 11:00 AM, updated January 03, 2017 at 8:58 PM
Moving vans are on the roll and many continue to head to Oregon, according to a migration study released by Atlas Van Lines.

The moving company found that Oregon continues to be a top relocation spot, ranking second in inbound moves, percentage-wise.

That’s no surprise to the people already living here. After topping 4 million people for the first time in 2015, new residents have been arriving at a rate not seen since the 1990s.

Last month, the Census Bureau reported that Oregon had grown by 1.71 percent in the past year, making it the sixth-fastest-growing state by percentage. Its 69,000 new residents also make it the ninth-fastest-growing state in absolute numbers.

Most of the state’s population growth came from migration, which tends to follow the health of the economy. Oregon’s job market has been growing faster than the nation overall.

Each January, moving companies Atlas and United Van Lines reveal the percentage of inbound and outbound moves in each state to define trends in nationwide migration, which has slowed slightly, according to Atlas.

Oregon has been classified since 2012 as an inbound state, that is, more out-of-staters are renting moving vans to come here than residents leaving, according to Atlas.

In 2016, 62 percent of Oregon’s moves were into the state, according to Atlas’ latest findings. In 2015, Atlas found that 64 percent of moves in Oregon were inbound, propelling it to the top moving destination.

United Van Lines’ 40th Annual National Movers Study, which also tracks customers’ state-to-state migration patterns over the past year, found South Dakota narrowly overtook Oregon, which held the top spot for the previous three years as the nation’s Top Moving Destination. Vermont holds the second position, with Oregon rounding out the top three.

The influx of new residents has been one factor in rising home values and low vacancy rates among rentals. Prices in the Portland metro area grew 10.3 percent year over year, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index. The city saw the second-largest increase among the 20 metro areas included in the index, following Seattle’s 10.9 percent jump.

Nationwide in 2016, the total number of interstate and interprovincial moves by Atlas Van Lines reached 75,427, down from 77,705 in 2015. For the fifth consecutive year, the states with the highest number of total moves were California (14,995), Texas (11,973) and Florida (10,231).

“We are cautiously optimistic that we will see an uptick in 2017 for all types of moves, but we are aware of the economic headwinds that lie ahead of us,” said Jack Griffin, CEO and Vice Chairman of Atlas World Group, in a news release. The company has conducted the migration study since 1993.

Here are the 10 states with the highest percentage of inbound moves and outbound moves as reflected in moves handled by Atlas. This is the first year Idaho has been the study’s inbound leader. Wyoming topped the outbound list back in 2012 as well.

Top inbound states:

Idaho (63 percent)
Oregon (62 percent)
North Carolina (61 percent)
Tennessee (60 percent)
Alaska (59 percent)
Washington (58 percent)
Michigan (57.2 percent)
Washington D.C. (57.1 percent)
Florida (56 percent)
New Hampshire (55.1 percent)
Top outbound states:

Wyoming (63 percent)
Nebraska (61 percent)
Illinois (60 percent)
Delaware (59.5 percent)
Louisiana (59 percent)
Connecticut (58.9 percent)
New York (58.7 percent)
West Virginia (58.6 percent)
Indiana (58 percent)
South Dakota (57.6 percent)
View the full results of the 2016 migration patterns, along with a nationwide map and annual histories for each state.

– Janet Eastman

jeastman@oregonian.com
503-799-8739
@janeteastman

Posted on January 10, 2017 at 10:43 pm
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Is Your House Special? The Latest Oregon Listings on the National Register of Historic Places

By Janet Eastman, The Oregonian / Oregonlive

So far this year, eight Oregon residential properties have been listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Is your house a candidate? It may qualify if it's an important part of American history, architecture, archaeology or engineering, and at least 50 years old, although there are exceptions.

"The National Register recognizes buildings, sites and other properties significant to our past for their design, their importance in our history, and/or their association with historical figures," says Diana J Painter, an architectural historian with the State Historic Preservation Office, which administers the federal Register program in Oregon.

There are 2,030 individually listed Oregon buildings in the National Register, not counting historic districts. Of those, 1,031 were originally domestic spaces of some type and 794 are or were single family dwellings, says Painter.

History of your house
Want to learn how to research the history of your house? The Architectural Heritage Center offers a class on Sept. 19 ($20, www.visitahc.org).

Once a house is approved, homeowners can hang up a plaque announcing that their house is on the National Register. But there are also financial perks and local regulations for having a house listed.

Restrictions vary by local county or city governments. Check with your local planning department to determine the level of regulation in your community.

Benefits include tax credits, grants and certain building code leniency.

A federal tax credit program can save owners 20 percent of qualifying costs of rehabilitating income-producing  building. Owners with a preservation plan can apply to freeze the assessed value of the property for a 10-year period. And owners can apply for Preserving Oregon grants, which are in limited.

The property may also be eligible for waivers of certain code requirements in the 
interest of preserving its integrity.

Here are the houses that have been listed in the National Register of Historic Places so far in 2015, which were built a century apart and range in style from classic to modern:

Circa 1857-1866 Hannah and Eliza Gorman House in Corvallis was listed on Feb. 24: The simple wood house is one of the rare settlement-era dwellings remaining in the Willamette Valley, and one of even fewer buildings left in Oregon that are associated with African American pioneers. Mother and daughter, Hannah and Eliza Gorman, were former slaves who immigrated from Missouri to Oregon over the Oregon Trail in 1844. They worked as a laundress and seamstress, purchased the property and built their house when Oregon's exclusion laws prohibited African Americans from owning property. Eliza Gorman died in 1869 and Hannah moved to Portland and in 1875 she sold the house and property in Corvallis.

1896 Peter John Lindberg House in Port Orford was listed on Jan. 7: The Queen Anne-style residence was designed and constructed between 1892 and 1896. Notable architectural details include decorative unpainted wood shingles laid in complex patterns, a distinctive two-story tower and a prominent bay window. Businessman and community leader Peter J. Lindberg arrived in Port Orford in 1882 with his wife and family. Though lacking formal training, Lindberg constructed many buildings in the community, including the National Register-listed 1898 Patrick and Jane Hughes farm house. The remaining homes built by Lindberg exhibit fine craftsmanship and embody the key features of the Queen Anne-style, including a complex shape and ornate decoration. His personal home is the best example of his work.

1907 DeGuire-Ludowitzki House in Silverton was listed on March 3: The Colonial Revival-style house is a classic foursquare. It is two stories tall with four relatively equally-sized rooms on each floor arranged around an entry and stair. Flexible foursquare floor plans could be in a number of styles, including Colonial Revival, which drew inspiration from classical architecture. This house exhibits the style though the symmetrical placement of windows and doors with decorative trim, round wood Doric columns supporting the wrap-around porch, corner boards and wide fascia at the roofline. Charles Francis DeGuire, who was the son of one of Silverton's established families, constructed the home. He later sold the residence to German immigrant and local builder John Ludowitzki and his wife Mary. The house remained in the Ludowitzki family after their death until 1938.

1911 C. Hunt Lewis and Gertrude McClintock House in Portland's Dunthorpe suburb was listed March 3: The Jacobean-Tudor Revival-style house is a combination of English Tudor and Elizabethan architecture. Cicero Hunt Lewis, Jr. worked for his family-owned Security Savings and Trust Co. and wholesale grocery business, and owned orchards in Medford. He commissioned his brother, accomplished architect David C. Lewis, to design a residence with an asymmetrical floor plan, steep roof lines, multiple chimneys, half-timbering exterior wall surfaces and multiple-light windows.

1912 Malcolm McDonald House in the Orenco neighborhood of Hillsboro was listed on Jan. 14: The house, now owned by the City of Hillsboro, is a large, stately, Arts and Crafts residence built for Malcolm McDonald, one of the two men responsible for expanding the Oregon Nursery Co. and founding the community of Orenco. The house was built in the same style as the nearby residence of his business partner Archibald McGill and the office of the Oregon Nursery Co., which became the largest nursery on the West Coast.

1924 Louise Adams House in Silverton was listed on March 3: The Craftsman-style house has a characteristic low-pitch roof, broad roof overhangs, decorative bracing with exposed rafter ends, multi-light windows and an open interior floor plan. The octagonal porch, however, sets it apart from other Craftsmans. Prominent lawyer, businessman and politician Louis J. Adams had the building and another on an adjacent lot, which he gifted to his daughter, Louise. She was a bookkeeper at the Coolidge & McClaine Bank then moved when she married newspaper lithographer Timothy Brownhill in 1933. She  returned after her divorce in 1954 to live in the house until her death in 1988.

1951 William J. and Sarah Wagner Lippincott House outside Williams was listed on May 18: (See photos and longer story) The modern house built with Douglas fir and Arizona sandstone was designed by University of California, Berkeley architect Winfield Scott Welington. The Lippincotts, who were archaeologists, owned a trading post in the Southwest and promoted the arts of the Navajo Indians before they purchased this 800-acre ranch in 1948. The property was owned by Steve Miller of the Steve Miller band from 1976 to 1986, who built a recording studio here. Today the 400-acre property is owned by Pacifica: A Garden in the Siskiyous, a nonprofit foundation that operates the property as a nature center, community center and events center.

1952 David and Marianne Ott House in Gresham was listed on April 20: The house was designed in the Northwest Regional style by architect John W. Storrs, who also designed the Portland Garden Club, Salishan Lodge in Gleneden Beach and the Western Forestry Center in Portland's Washington Park. Storrs knew Marianne Ott's parents, Walter H. and Florence Holmes Gerke, who were prominent landscape architects in the Portland area. The Ott House has retained its historic character and its a semi-rural location. Marianne Ott still lives in the house.

 

Posted on July 17, 2015 at 9:26 am
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