Portland-area home prices push higher

By Elliot Njus | The Oregonian/OregonLive
on March 28, 2017 at 8:31 AM, updated March 28, 2017 at 11:48 AM

Home prices in the Portland area, already at record levels, pushed higher in January.

Prices climbed 0.1 percent during what is usually a seasonally slow month, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index, reaching a level 9.7 percent higher than a year earlier.

That’s second only to Seattle’s 11.3 percent increase, year over year, in the 20-city index.

The median home price in Portland was $350,000 in January, according to the Regional Multiple Listing Service. It climbed to $353,400 in February.

The limited supply of homes on the market has helped push prices higher. In Portland, the end of February saw just 3,109 homes on the market, according to RMLS.

Prices are rising fastest among the lowest-priced homes, where first-time homebuyers and investors are competing for deals, but middle- and high-priced homes are seeing similar increases.

Climbing prices continue to take a toll on affordability. Mortgage rates have stayed relatively low, helping would-be homeowners maintain their buying power.

Future increases, however, could put a damper on homebuying, said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee.

“At some point, this process will force prices to level off and decline,” he said in a statement. “However, we don’t appear to be there yet.”

Despite the eye-popping annual increases, there are signs that Portland-area home prices are losing steam.

For six months, monthly home-price growth on a percentage basis has hovered near the national average.

Portland area puts brakes on rapidly rising home prices

Rapid increases in Portland metro home prices may have run out of steam in the second half of 2016.

— Elliot Njus

 

Posted on April 10, 2017 at 7:31 pm
MJ Steen | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

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
MJ Steen | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Portland Housing: Red-Hot Market Continues in February

View Mt Hood and Big Pink at twilight GOOD

By Luke Hammill | The Oregonian/OregonLive 
Email the author | Follow on Twitter 
on March 14, 2016 at 7:00 AM, updated March 14, 2016 at 7:01 AM

PORTLAND HOUSING

After a record-setting start to 2016, the region's housing market cooled slightly last month, but – in what by now sounds like a familiar story – the Portland area posted more closed sales than in any February since before the recession, according to the most recent report from the Regional Multiple Listing Service.

The 1,813 closed sales marked a 2.5 percent monthly decline, but they were still 10 percent higher than February of last year. It was the most active February since 2007, the report found.

Inventory didn't budge from the 1.8 months posted in January. The figure estimates how long it would take for all current homes on the market to sell at the current pace. It's only a slight increase over the exceptionally low 1.2 months the region saw in December.

"We're in for another crazy spring real estate market in Portland," said Lennox Scott, chief executive at John L. Scott Real Estate, in an email. "Six months ago, we predicted the major decline in inventory throughout the winter months that would create the intense market we are currently experiencing. It's like déjà vu all over again. We've seen this pattern for the last two years, but the lack of inventory is taking its toll; we are facing the most intense market yet."

In addition to January, December and July of last year also set records for closed sales, and the months in between posted the highest numbers the area has seen since red-hot 2005.

"This is starting to feel a little like a bubble," said real estate broker Dustin Miller.

The average price of a home rose 7.1 percent year-over-year in February, from $333,700 to $357,500. The median price increased by 7.8 percent over the same period, from $287,500 to $310,000.

Dustin Miller, a broker with Realty Trust Group, suggested in an email that there might be cause for concern in the housing market.

"This is starting to feel a little like a bubble, which I know many have hinted on," Miller said. "The key is a long-term hold. If you bought your house in early 2007, it is still worth more than it was when you bought at that height, in general, and that is pretty amazing for the ride we have been on for the past 10 years."

Southeast Portland was again the most active area tracked by the listing service, with 215 closed sales in February. Other hot areas were Beaverton/Aloha (174 closed sales), West Portland (165) and Milwaukie/Clackamas (163).

— Luke Hammill 
lhammill@oregonian.com 
503-294-4029 
@lucashammill

Posted on March 21, 2016 at 6:22 pm
MJ Steen | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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
MJ Steen | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,