1708 SW Hawthorne Terrace | $1,595,000

Posted on February 5, 2018 at 10:16 pm
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1221 SW 10th Avenue #1705 | Live a Vibrant Life at the Eliot

Posted on January 30, 2018 at 12:57 am
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Here Are Portland’s 25 Hottest Neighborhoods for Home Sales in 2017

By Andy Giegerich, Portland Business Journal

Could this be the end of Portland’s so-called hot housing market?

Indeed, the total number of sold listings — 31,718 — in RMLS’ Portland region dropped by 3.6 percent between 2016 and 2017. That figure follows a 1.1 percent drop the previous year.

Yet the data, which we used to calculate four Hottest ‘Hoods categories (we’ll roll them out throughout the week), might not be as bad as it seems: The tallies posted in 2015 were a peak year for Rose City-area home sales.

The Hottest ‘Hoods full-year data for 2017 covers overall home sales (which we’re releasing today), the areas where homes sell the fastest and the highest average home sales prices in 25 neighborhoods.

Among the findings:

  • The top overall neighborhood in terms of total home sales logged nearly 50 percent more sales than its closest competitor.
  • Neighborhoods west of the Willamette River commanded seven of the top 10 home sales slots.
  • Among the top 25 ZIP codes for 2017, home sales only dipped -2.2 percent
  • Just one zip code, 97035 in Lake Oswego, dropped out of the overall sales list. It was replaced by Lents, or 97266.
  • The biggest year-over-year climbers in the top 25 were St. Johns and neighborhoods in Wilsonville and Sherwood.
  • Portland contributed just over half — 13 — of the top 25 home sale ZIP codes among the region’s top 25 neighborhoods.

Click through on the picture above to learn which neighborhoods logged the most residential deals in 2017. And check later this week for more stories detailing exactly how well Portland’s real estate market fared during the past year.

Posted on January 24, 2018 at 9:00 pm
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Home Equity Hits Record High, and Here’s How Homeowners are Spending It

Home equity hits record high, and here’s how homeowners are spending it

  • Remodeling spending topped $152 billion in 2017, and is forecast to increase in 2018.
  • Homeowners are using home equity cash to pay down other debt in order to lower monthly payments.
  • But homeowners are increasingly taking the cash out to make more cash.

An aerial view of a retirement community in Central Florida

Home equity hits record high  

Homeowners are racking up record amounts of home equity, thanks to fast-rising values in today’s competitive housing market. No surprise, more people are now starting to tap that cash. What are they spending it on? Mostly making their homes even more valuable.

Renovation spending is soaring, and 80 percent of borrowers taking out home equity lines of credit say they would consider using that money to renovate, according to a survey released in December by TD Bank.

“We’re not only seeing more requests for proposals, but more committed projects from home owners,” said Steve Cunningham, a remodeler from Williamsburg, Virginia, in a report from the National Association of Home Builders. “In addition to regular updates and repairs, there’s been an uptick in more ambitious large remodel requests.”

Remodeling spending topped $152 billion in 2017, and renovations for owner-occupied single-family homes will increase 4.9 percent in 2018 over 2017, according to the NAHB. That does not include remodeling done by investors looking to flip or rent properties, both of which are increasing as well.

A home improvement contractor works on a house in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Suzanne Kreiter | The Boston Globe | Getty Images
A home improvement contractor works on a house in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“Below-normal rates of home building are creating an aging housing stock,” said Paul Emrath, vice president of survey and housing policy research at the NAHB. “Factors inhibiting stronger growth include the ongoing labor shortage and rising material prices.”

An older housing stock, combined with not enough new homes being built, means more people will choose to renovate.

Homeowners are also using home equity cash for education expenses and to pay down other debt in order to lower monthly payments, but there is a new and increasingly popular use: taking the cash out to make more cash.

“Essentially there is a confidence from some homeowners in the overall market that indicates to them that they can generate a return on their money at a rate greater than the cost of borrowing it,” said Matthew Weaver, vice president of sales at Finance of America Mortgage.

He also said there is now a strong confidence among borrowers that home values will continue to rise, making it less likely that borrowing against their homes even more will not end up putting them underwater on their mortgages in the future.

For some that means investing in the stock market. For others it is buying more real estate. Rental demand is still very high, especially for single-family homes, and a new breed of rental management and investment company is making it much easier to become a landlord.

And of course, “Some are looking to profit from the popularity of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin,” added Weaver.

Posted on January 17, 2018 at 7:08 pm
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NEW LISTING | The Elizabeth Condo #1307

Posted on January 12, 2018 at 6:12 pm
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Open this Saturday and Sunday 12 PM – 2 PM | 1708 SW Hawthorne Terrace

Posted on January 12, 2018 at 6:10 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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720 NW Warrenton Terrace | NW Sophisticate

Posted on December 26, 2017 at 10:10 am
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5535 SW Hewett Blvd | Portland Estate

Posted on December 13, 2017 at 12:01 am
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2970 NW Circle A

Posted on December 12, 2017 at 11:54 pm
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