Report Offers Glimmer of Hope for First Time Home Buyers

First-time home buyers who have long been thwarted from entering the real estate market by rising prices and interest rates may see a little relief in 2019, according to the National Association of Realtors’ annual buyer and seller profile. The survey covers from July 2017 to June 2018.

“Low inventory, rising interest rates, and student loan debt are all factors contributing to the suppression of first-time home buyers,” Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR, said in a statement. “However, existing-home sales data shows inventory has been rising slowly on a year-over-year basis in recent months, which may encourage more would-be buyers who were previously convinced they could not find a home to enter the market.”

But where are buyers going?

Younger buyers are heading into the suburbs, according to Jessica Lautz, NAR’s managing director of survey research and communication. “Many millennials are moving to the suburbs because it’s more affordable, especially in higher-priced markets,” Lautz said.

Rising student loan debt is a major factor keeping them out of the market. “Every year we’ve collected the data, the amount of debt has gone up,” Lautz said. In 2017, 34 percent of buyers were first-timers; this year that figure was 33 percent, according to the report.

Despite the mounting debt, millennials are the largest demographic of home buyers, she said. That number would be higher, she said, but the cost of construction materials and labor are rising, and strict zoning regulations make building housing especially difficult and expensive.

The report found that single female buyers were outpacing their male counterparts.

“For the second year in a row, single female buyers accounted for 18 percent of all buyers,” according to the report. “The group was the second most common household-buyer type behind married couples (63 percent). Single male buyers came in third and accounted for half the number of buyers as their female counterparts (9 percent). However, single males tended to purchase more expensive homes, with a median price of $215,000, compared with single females, at a median price of $189,000 (the lowest of all household buyer types).”

And buyers are putting down bigger down payments. The average buyer put down 13 percent, up from 10 percent last year. Lautz attributed the increase to the growing number of first-time home buyers who received financial help and the number of move-up buyers using equity in their homes.

The competition for those homes may also be a factor.

Historically low inventory is driving prices up, and reasonably priced homes are selling very quickly across the country, according to NAR. You might think that would drive more sellers to try to sell their homes without a real estate agent and pocket the savings, but the opposite is happening.

A record-low 7 percent of sellers sold their homes without a real estate agent last year. This number has been steadily declining since it peaked in 1981, when 15 percent of owners sold their homes themselves, according to the report.

“I think one of the things happening here is the lingering psychological after-effects of the recession,” Lautz said. “Prices have mostly rebounded, and sellers want to be sure they don’t leave money on the table. They know they don’t know how to price and market the home in today’s market. They don’t want to do it alone. They want a professional.”

Posted on November 7, 2018 at 11:05 pm
MJ Steen | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , ,

The Hottest Bars in Portland, October 2018

Eater PDX compiled the Portland hotspots to try right now

1. Anchoi Vietnamese Kitchen + Bar

635 SW College St
Portland, OR 97201

(503) 227-0086

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Portland State University students finally have a viable cocktail bar in the form of Vietnamese restaurant Anchoi. The sleek, modern eatery features Vietnamese staples like pho and bánh mì, as well as an array of tropical-themed cocktails designed by Blair Reynolds of the venerable Hale Pele. It’ll soon get a menu revamp, though some drinks will stick around — thankfully, the Indonesian Arrack-spiked daiquiri, a standout on the menu, isn’t going anywhere.

 

2. Vault Cocktail Lounge

226 NW 12th Ave
Portland, OR 97209
(971) 229-1935

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What was once Vault Martini Bar is now Vault Cocktail Lounge after the space was taken over by the team from the Vintage Cocktail Lounge in Montavilla. Gone is the sprawling list of “martini” variations, replaced with a menu resembling the Vintage’s, full of classic cocktails and modern creations; still, the staff is more than happy to try and replicate anything missed from the old menu. The space itself is easily recognizable from before, though with some changes, like a gorgeous backbar set with elaborate metal tiles.

3. Il Solito

627 SW Washington St
Portland, OR 97205
(503) 228-1515

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Ex-Renata chef Matt Sigler’s downtown Italian restaurant, Il Solito, pairs hearty Italian comfort food with what’s essentially a Portland-Italian cocktail menu. Bar manager Bryan Galligos has designed each drink with at least one ingredient straight from the Bel Paese. The renovated restaurant space is as eclectically sourced as the drink menu, with black-and-white murals on one wall, framed photos on another, tiles, and more, which somehow manages to make a cohesive space.

4. Sweet Nothing

4330 N Mississippi Ave
Portland, OR 97217
(503) 841-8345

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Formerly a colorful little cafe, Sweet Nothing kept the leafy wallpaper and leaned into it hard, landing on a Floridian theme with bright colors, live plants, Cuban food, and playful drinks. The cocktails are rooted in the unorthodox fashion of the ‘80s and ‘90s, but even using ingredients like Midori and Hpnotiq, cocktails are well-balanced and not overly sweet. The space is snug, with seats for only 14 or so, but its position just off of the main Mississippi strip means it’s usually not overcrowded.

5. No Vacancy Lounge

235 SW 1st Ave
Portland, OR 97204

Portland isn’t exactly known as a “clubbing” city, and the clubs we do have aren’t really cocktail destinations, either. Enter No Vacancy, which fills that vacancy by offering moderately priced, well-made drinks (including a stunning daiquiri made with three rums and allspice dram). It’s all served in an art deco/futurist space, with DJs on the weekends and live jazz and swing during the week.

6. Kachinka

720 SE Grand Ave
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 235-0059

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Kachka has vacated the space on Grand for a larger, full service location, leaving little Kachinka in its stead. The space doesn’t look any different, with its narrow hallway seating, Eastern European wallpaper, and rustic wooden tables, but the more casual cocktail-and-snacks vibe fits it well. Grab a Moscow mule and a Russian dog, infused vodka and pelmeni, or any of the other amazing Russian fare here.

7. Keys Lounge

533 NE Killingsworth St
Portland, OR 97211
(503) 719-7409

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Keys Lounge feels a lot like your coolest friend’s basement bar in the 1970s. A spacious room lined with vintage records and vinyl booths, the retro bar boasts a nice patio perfect for warm-ish summer nights. The menu includes a fun tiki selection as well as a “boozy” section of high-proof cocktails, with prices hovering around the $9 mark; stop in for happy hour from 3 to 7 p.m. and again from 11 to close for $5 daiquiris and champagne cocktails.

8. Canard

734 E Burnside St
Portland, OR 97214
(971) 279-2356

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Canard is the third venture from legendary Portland chef and restaurateur Gabriel Rucker and his wine director, Andy Fortgang, next door to their flagship restaurant restaurant Le Pigeon. Stepping into it is like walking into a cafe of the Belle Époque, with a small wrapped marble bartop and an array of high tables, but the food and drinks are anything but old-fashioned. Fortgang has brought in a killer wine list, helpfully detailed with anecdotes about the wines and their makers, while classic cocktails with a modern touch dominate the drink menu. Try the Foie Turn, a cocktail with foie gras washed bourbon, along with the transcendent foie gras dumplings for a truly indulgent experience.

9. Palomar

959 SE Division St
Portland, OR 97214

Owned and operated by Portland bartending icon Ricky Gomez (Teardrop Lounge), Palomar serves a variety of daiquiris, some blended, others not, as well as drinks like an amazing piña colada and a stellar old-fashioned with rum and coconut; plus, each drink can get an absinthe upgrade for just 25 cents. Palomar also continues Portland’s current, welcome trend of vivid, colorful bars (see: Capitol) rather than dark, industrial spots.

10. Deadshot

2133 SE 11th Ave
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 504-9448

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Fans of bartender Adam Robinson’s pop-up cocktail bar Deadshot are likely thrilled that the formerly once-a-week bar is now open seven days a week, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. In this dark, black-and-gray-accented bar, you can find Robinson’s innovative drinks, like the Diplomatic Prince, a cabbage-infused aquavit drink, or the Who Is Jack Nance, a holdover from the former location with whiskey, sesame, mustard, and sherry that works shockingly well. À la carte bar snacks from Holdfast’s kitchen are there too, including the addictive pig ear nachos with pork confit, Brussels sprouts, and kimchi.

11. Enoteca Nostrana

1401 SE Morrison St ste 105
Portland, OR 97214

(503) 236-7006

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Inspired by the Memphis Group, an Italian design style rooted in modernist aesthetics and strong geometric shapes, Enoteca Nostrana is a bold, stylish space, a two-story bar filled with a massive, double-decker, illuminated wine cabinet. The bar offers a more casual version of Nostrana’s menu, with some basic pasta options, salads, and the like, plus bar snacks that pair well with both wine and cocktails — try the seared albacore tuna tataki with a white or rosé wine for a delectable treat.

12. OK Omens

1758 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 231-9959

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The most recent in the wave of high-end wine bar openings, OK Omens replaced Cafe Castagna with an upgraded space: Brighter, lighter, and less cavernous, a banquette now takes up the center of the room, offering a more comfortable and casual arena for wines by the glass and bites by James-Beard-nom Justin Woodward. The cocktails here fit the wine theme with vermouth and sherry based drinks, but the real star is the ridiculously affordable and geeky-yet-accessible wines by the glass and bottle.

OK Omens’ wine selection
 Dina Avila/EPDX

13. Blackheart

2411 SE Belmont St
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 954-1541

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Filling the space that was once home to Wild AbandonBlackheart harkens back to the punk rock days of SE Portland, serving breakfast all evening in a laid-back space. A collection of vintage lamps give a soft light to the room full of leather booths, high-backed stools, and clunky mirrors, while tattooed bartenders sling cocktails and cheap drink specials like Jack Daniels and tallboy combos. Eventually it’ll add some karaoke, but for now come in for the affordable drinks, eclectic artwork, and ‘80s New Wave playing on the speakers.

Teote Mezcaleria

14. Teote Mezcaleria

2700 NE Alberta St
Portland, OR 97211

Portland has gone mezcal crazy; we can’t get enough of the smoky, earthy agave spirit. Nowhere is that more evidenced than at Teote Areparia’s new sister bar Teote Mezcaleria, which it says has the largest selection of mezcal on the West Coast. Besides the bounty of mezcals available as shots and flights, the new Teote also offers cocktails, including a surprising amount not made with mezcal, but with rum, bourbon, gin, and everything else expected at a cocktail bar. Like its sister store, the mezcaleria offers a covered, heated patio for an evening cocktail al fresco.

15. The Cavern

4601 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland, OR 97215

Joining the historic upper Hawthorne district is Cavern, slipping in like it’s been there for a decade. A cross between an old-school Portland dive and a cocktail lounge, the bar is appropriately named, a dark and cozy watering hole with a focus on whiskey and other dark spirits. Bar stools and a few booths are the only seats available, so don’t bring a huge party.

Posted on October 12, 2018 at 7:48 am
MJ Steen | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

A Vibrant Place to Live | $850,000

Posted on September 10, 2018 at 11:05 pm
MJ Steen | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

4047 SW 58th | Bridlemile Newer Construction

Posted on June 13, 2018 at 7:16 pm
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Best Spots for Spring Flowers

Admire beautiful blooms at these Portland parks and gardens.

K. Kendall cherries crop
Spring brings beautiful cherry blossoms to downtown Waterfront Park.

One of the region’s earliest blooming native flowers, trilliums are a common sight in Pacific Northwest forests. These small, white flowers are abundant in Portland’s only state park, Tryon Creek — so abundant, in fact, that the park hosts an annual Trillium Festival each April. If you miss the festivities, you can still find the flowers yourself and enjoy Tryon’s hiking, biking and horse trails all season long.

Trilliums also bloom along many trails in Northwest Portland’s Forest Park, which sprawls over more than 5,000 wooded acres (2,023 hectares) and boasts 70 miles (113 km) of paths filled with fascinating flora and fauna.

From Forest Park, follow the Beech Trail to Hoyt Arboretum in Washington Park. Home to nearly 1,000 species of shrubs and trees — more than any other arboretum in the nation — Hoyt has plenty to offer all year-round. Spring highlights include bell-shaped Oregon plum flowers, magnolias, blooming dogwood and cherry blossoms.

Speaking of cherry blossoms, stroll through downtown’s Waterfront Park in late March or early April to find a breathtaking sight: 100 Akebono cherry trees popping with pink and white petals. (Fun fact: The trees were given to Portland in 1990 by a group of businessmen from the Japanese Grain Importers Association.)

For cherry trees in a more traditional setting, visit the Portland Japanese Garden, heralded as one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan itself. And while you’re exploring authentic Asian gardens, don’t miss downtown’s Lan Su Chinese Garden; in spring, fragrant scents of daphne and Edgeworthia enhance this Ming Dynasty-style garden.

Visit Southeast Portland’s Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden in April or May to catch its collection of rare rhododendrons, azaleas and hybrids in full bloom. The garden boasts 7 idyllic acres (2.8 hectares), including three waterfalls, two picturesque bridges and tranquil Crystal Springs Lake, where nearly 100 species of birds feed and nest. For an extra treat, visit on either the first weekend of April or Mother’s Day weekend, when the garden hosts its annual flower shows and sales.

A 45-minute journey south of Portland delivers you to Woodburn’s Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm, home to 40 acres of colorful tulips. The annual Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival, held each April, also offers wine tasting, wagon rides, children’s activities, a food court and a marketplace offering freshly-picked tulips and bulbs for fall planting.

No flora-viewing adventure would be complete without the City of Roses’ namesake flowers. Both Peninsula Park in North Portland and the International Rose Test Garden boast thousands upon thousands of rare and beautiful rose bushes, which typically begin to bud in early April. To catch them at their peak, visit in early June and don’t miss the Grand Floral Parade at the annual Portland Rose Festival!

Posted on March 28, 2018 at 6:24 pm
MJ Steen | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

7785 SW Fairmoor | Broadmoor Mid-Century

Posted on February 5, 2018 at 10:33 pm
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