Median sales price falls for second month in a row. What happened last time that occurred?

The housing market in Bend, Oregon, tapered slightly in May, as the median sales price fell for the second month in succession and the inventory of homes on the market rose compared with April. Still, the year-to-date median price remained steady at a price that represents a high for the 10-plus years for which we have data.

May’s median sales price was $379,000. That’s 4.1 percent lower than March’s median sales price of $395,000 and 2.8 percent lower than April’s median of $389,950.

If recent history is any indication, this dip could eventually turn into a trampoline. The last time monthly median sales prices declined in consecutive months was in 2016 (when they fell for three months in a row, in fact). That stretch of monthly declines after the median price reached $374,000 in May ended emphatically with a 7.5 percent month-over-month increase from August to September to $385,750 – the calendar-year high for 2016.

Two hundred seventeen homes were sold in May, four fewer than in April. The number of houses whose priced was reduced was 107 — 32 percent. The last time the percentage of active listings with a reduced price was that high was in the three-month stretch in 2016 when the monthly median sales figure dropped. (See the previous paragraph for what happened after that three-month stretch.)

Year over year, May’s median sales price showed a 1.3 percent increase from the corresponding month in 2016. That is the smallest year-over-year increase in a monthly median sales figure since January 2016. That month, the median sales price of $317,450 was 3.7 percent lower than in January 2015.

The 2017 year-to-date median price stayed at $380,000 after taking into account May’s sales. That remains the highest year-to-date median price on record. In fact, each month of 2017 has reset or tied the record for the highest year-to-date median sales price.

High-end homes a big part of inventory

The inventory of homes rose to 3.1 months in May. Inventory — expressed as the time that would be required to sell all homes on the market given the current pace of activity — was 1.7 months in May 2016.

May 2017’s inventory is skewed, however, toward higher-priced homes. Of May’s 337 active listings, 33 percent were priced at more than $725,000 (that percentage was 25 percent in March and 31 percent in April). For homes priced from $225,100 to $625,000, the inventory is in the range of two months. And two months of inventory falls well on the side of being a “seller’s market.”

Tied to the inventory is the volume of homes on the market. Each month this year, the active listings have been the fewest for those respective months in the 10-plus years for which the Skjersaa Group has data. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the quantity of homes priced at $725,000 and less is particularly tight.

Late spring and summer traditionally are the most active months for real estate, and if you’re looking to buy a home or considering putting yours on the market, I can be of help. In my time as a Realtor, I have helped clients achieve their desired results regardless of the time of year and the trend of the market. To learn more about how I can assist you in your real estate transaction, contact me at (541) 383-1426, or visit Bend Property Search to connect with me through my website.

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    By Jason Boone The median price of homes sold in Bend, Oregon, in May was the second-highest in the last 10 years, but there are signs that prices might be nearing or at a peak. At $374,000, the median sales price in May 2016 trailed only that of May 2007…
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Do these 5 things before you move into your newly purchased home

So, you’ve bought a house? Congratulations. Few things in our lives are more momentous.

Before moving into your new home, though, there are some things you might want to consider taking care of. Addressing these items now, before you’re settled, will generally be easier or more beneficial that if you wait to have them done.

1) Cleaning duct work. The duct work in your home is generally out of sight, but don’t let it stay out of mind. Dirt and debris accumulate in your ducting over time and affect the quality of the air you breathe. Even if you’re moving into a new home, there is reason to have your ducts cleaned before moving in. Dust, dirt and construction debris can fall into the ducting of even new homes. When choosing a company to clean your ducts, make sure it operates a truck-mounted system. Anything with less power will likely do no more good than an off-the-shelf shop vacuum.

2) Interior painting. The paint scheme of a house is among those things a buyer can change, unlike its location or the size of its yard. If you’re considering having your interior painted, keep in mind that it’s much more convenient to do it before the house is inhabited. Moving furniture to allow access to walls, and then dancing around that furniture while it’s out of its normal position, can be a headache. An acquaintance of mine said it was much easier putting up with weeks of major renovation in a bathroom than it was to endure the disruptions caused when he had his master bedroom and living room painted.

3) Carpet cleaning. Unless you’re moving into new construction, it’s safe to assume that the carpet in your home has had its share of traffic and its share of stains. Consider who else might have lived in your home — renters, maybe? — and their possible incentive (or lack of it) to keep the carpet in top shape. Particularly if you have children who presumably will play on the carpet, it’s worth considering getting a professional carpet cleaning.

4) Wall and ceiling fixtures. Related to completing any interior painting before moving in is evaluating fixtures such as lights and ceiling fans. If you’re thinking of replacing them, it’s best to do so before you move in — and before you have any interior painting done. It’s hard to determine, when changing fixtures, how much of a wall or the ceiling a new fixture base will obscure. Changing fixtures could uncover a paint scheme that no longer matches the remainder of the room.

5) A whole-house water filter. This is of concern in areas of hard water or questionable water quality. Hard water can stain appliances and your clothes. A build-up of materials can reduce the effectiveness of appliances and shorten their life expectancy. Installing a whole-house water filter before taking up residence in a new home will prevent the hard water from damaging appliances. Having appliances free of scaling stains will be a benefit should you in turn decide to sell your home. Appliances with hard-water build-up can turn off prospective buyers.

I love seeing people move into new homes. If you’re in the market to buy a home in Bend, Oregon, or if you’re considering selling your home, I’d like to help you. I have experience with and knowledge of the Bend market that will benefit you. To learn more about how I can assist you in your real estate transaction, contact me at (541) 383-1426, or visit Bend Property Search to connect with me through my website.

 

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Solid evidence that we’re not in another housing bubble

As the median sales price of a home in Bend, Oregon, nears the heights reached before the housing market crash, it’s reasonable to wonder if we’re experiencing another bubble.

Although no one can predict the future, there are solid indications that the rise in housing prices is not due to speculation or unsound lending practices. Instead, the evidence supports the theory that supply and demand are driving housing prices.

Interest rates this week hit a calendar-year low, despite recent increases in the Federal Reserve’s benchmark rate. The average of 30-year fixed-rate loans dropped to 3.95 percent (assuming an average of 0.5 point — a fee a borrower pays that corresponds to 1 percent of the loan amount.) Rates such as these — very low from the long-term U.S. housing market perspective — increase the buying power of those looking for homes.

Another piece of evidence is the percentage of mortgage originations with a relatively low credit score. Credit scores of less than 620 drew the largest percentage of mortgage loans in the first quarter of 2007 than at any other time in the last 14 years. In fact, sub-620 credit scores in that quarter had a larger share of the market than credit scores between 620 and 659.

Today, sub-620 credit scores make up a small fraction of mortgage originations — it’s the smallest credit-score segment obtaining mortgages. The conclusion: People who are buying houses have the financial means to do so.

Labor market indicators and the trend in the United States’ gross domestic product also argue against a recession in the near future. In Bend specifically, there are a sizable number of residents whose livelihood does not rely on local economic activity. The diversification that Bend’s abundant home-based workforce adds to the local economy provides a foundation of support to the local real estate market.

Also, as Bill Valentine, of wealth management firm Valentine Ventures has said, there are more people who want to live in Bend than the local housing supply can keep up with. Bend’s population has grown by 5 percent from 2016, according to a U.S. Census Bureau estimate released this week. The Bulletin noted that equates to 12 people moving to Bend every day.

When CoreLogic’s national forecast calls for a 4.9 increase in home prices by March 2018 — and that’s a forecast that encompasses all of the United States, not just a growing city such as Bend — it seems reasonable that prices in Bend could continue to increase — and increase more than the national average.

“If you want to see where we’re headed, look to other exclusive mountain towns,” Valentine said. The median price of a home in Boulder, Colorado, for example, is almost $550,000, about 38 percent higher than in Bend.

Clearly Bend’s is a dynamic housing market. Whether you’re looking to buy a home or considering selling, I can use my background and experience to help guide you through the process. To learn more about how I can assist you in your real estate transaction, contact me at (541) 383-1426, or visit Bend Property Search to connect with me through my website.

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Median price drops in April, as does inventory of homes for sale

The median sales price of a home in Bend, Oregon, dropped in April compared with the month before, but the inventory of homes for sale fell for the third month in a row, leaving the tightest supply in more than 10 years.

The median sales price in April was $389,950. That’s 1.3 percent lower than March’s median of $395,000. The average sales price to list price of homes that sold in April was 97 percent, down from 101 percent the month prior.

On a year-over-year basis, April’s median sales price was 7.2 percent higher than April 2016’s figures. And the 2017 year-to-date median sales price rose to $380,000, $5,000 more than one month earlier and $40,000 more than the year-to-date median price through April 2016.

Despite the decline in price, April’s figure was the third-highest median sales price in the period for which the Skjersaa Group has data, which dates to the start of 2007.

Even with the decrease from March’s median sale price, April’s sales figures indicate the Bend housing market isn’t slackening. The inventory of homes — the time it would take for all homes on the market to sell, given the current pace of sales — is 1.4 months. And the average days on the market for homes sold in April was 96 days. Both of those numbers are the lowest for the time covered by our dataset.

The percentage of homes priced $625,100 and up made up 15 percent of the sales in April — the highest proportion of one month’s sales for homes of that price this calendar year.

Two hundred twenty homes were sold in April, the highest for that month in our dataset. Although that figure might reflect activity that was bottled up during our snowed-in winter, the unprecedented low average days on market would indicate that buyers are pouncing quickly.

There were 324 active listings in April, matching February for the fewest in a month this calendar year and the lowest for any April since at least 2007. May began with 389 active listings.

Now more than ever, a trustworthy, experienced Realtor is essential if you’re in the real estate market. on your side. Whether you’re considering selling your home or in the market for a new home, my insight and assistance will produce an optimal outcome. To learn more about how I can assist you, contact me at (541) 383-1426, or visit Bend Property Search to connect with me through my website.

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What are a buyer’s options after receiving a home inspection report?

After having your offer on a home accepted, a common next step is to have a home inspection. Rare is the home that will yield an inspection report that doesn’t call for attention to at least some non-trivial matters.

A buyer has two primary ways to respond to an inspection report. One is to submit an addendum to the sales agreement specifying that the seller will remedy items identified on the inspection report, employing qualified tradespeople and providing proof of completed work. Another option is to have the buyer receive a credit for closing costs and prepaid expenses, to cover the cost of the buyer having the issues addressed.

With Option A, the buyer has the peace of mind that an expert will have fixed a component of the house identified as requiring attention — furnace, water heater, etc. — and completed necessary repairs before he moves in.

It’s important to do a final walk-through before closing to make sure that issues buyer and seller have agreed will be fixed by the seller truly have been addressed. Naturally, you will want to obtain and keep proof that such work was completed. If something goes wrong during the period covered by the tradesperson’s warranty, having documentation will make it easier to get the problem resolved.

Option B might be preferred by some sellers. There is a school of thought that sellers should not examine any part of a buyer’s inspection report. Instead, this line of thinking goes, a seller should provide a credit for the costs of repairs and have the buyer take care of getting issues identified in the inspection addressed.

More responsibility falls to the buyer under Option B. Rather than having the seller arrange and pay for repairs, this buyer has to obtain estimates for the necessary work to receive a sufficient credit to cover repairs he will have done. Keep in mind that an estimate of the costs for a repair can be superseded once the work is done.

There are other options, of course, in working toward a compromise — such as using a combination of Option A and Option B to address whatever the home inspection report shows as needing attention.

Working with an experienced Realtor can help make the post-offer, pre-closing process go smoother for you. If you’re a buyer, I can help you decode a home inspection report while keeping the deal on track.

If you’re thinking of selling your home, I can help you negotiate a fair agreement arising from a home report. Whatever your status, I can assist you in your real estate transaction. Please contact me at (541) 383-1426, or visit Bend Property Search to connect with me through my website.

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Mortgage rates falling despite Fed’s increase

When the Federal Reserve Board raised its benchmark interest rate by a quarter of a point in mid-March, the consensus prediction was that mortgage rates would rise as well.

Instead, the interest rate on the popular 30-year mortgage last week fell for the fourth week in a row. It was 4.08 percent last week, Freddie Mac data showed, the lowest rate for this calendar year.

The Fed’s decision to raise its benchmark rate affects the price banks have to pay to borrow from one another. The decline in interest rates illustrates the importance to the housing market of the 10-year Treasury bond, whose ups and downs more closely prompt changes in mortgage interest rates.

Whereas the Fed’s decision to raise rates was regarded as a vote of confidence in the U.S. economy, the decline in the yield of the 10-year Treasury bond reflects an increased appetite for safety among investors.

The U.S.-backed Treasury note is viewed as among the safest investments in the world. In the face of recent international uncertainty, investors have ratcheted up their demand for these instruments. The higher demand has sent the interest rate, or yield, on these bonds lower, as the government doesn’t have to offer as attractive an interest rate to snag investors’ money.

In November, the rate on 10-year Treasury notes went from 1.77 percent before the election to 2.3%, an increase of a magnitude that had occurred only three times in the last decade. That rise was a reaction to projections about how the new president’s policies might affect the economy.

A few months after the inauguration, though, it’s clear that those policies might not be implemented as quickly or as easily as some imagined.

The 10-year Treasury yield is about 2.23 percent, Realtor Mag notes. It was about 2.62 percent a month ago.

The declining mortgage rates are a welcome development to potential home buyers. Lower rates translate to greater buying power — a point of interest in all markets, but especially one as robust as Bend’s.

If you’re in the market to buy a home, I can put you in touch with a lender who will prepare a package that’s right for you. If you already have financing — or if you’re considering putting your home on the market — I can also help ensure an optimal outcome. I will bring my knowledge of the Bend market to bear for your benefit.  To learn more about how I can assist you, contact me at (541) 383-1426, or visit Bend Property Search to connect with me through my website.

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Sales prices approach highest on record

March homes sales in Bend, Oregon, picked up compared with the previous month and registered the second-highest median sales price in the last 10 years.

The median price climbed to $395,000 in March. The only month in our data set (dating to the start of 2007) that figure has been higher has been May 2007, when it was $396,250.

March’s median sales price was 11.3 percent higher than February’s mark of $354,853. Year over year, March’s median represented a 14.2 percent increase.

The 11.3 percent monthly increase in March was the largest in Bend since January 2015 had a 13.7 percent increase from the month prior.

Can anything be learned from January 2015 that can be applied to the future of the current Bend market?

That can’t be answered. But it is worth pointing out that January 2015’s median sales price of $329,700 turned out to be greater than the year-end median sales price for the entirety of 2015 ($327,500).

And January 2015 represented the fifth-highest month for sales price in that year, whereas January usually is among the lowest months for median sales price.

Returning to the present year, remember that typically, March’s median sales price represents a “support” level, or a springboard, for prices for the remainder of the calendar year. In each of the last six calendar years, the month with the highest median sales price has been September or August. So it would be unusual for March’s median sales prices not to be exceeded in the coming months.

Other information in the March sales data support the position that Bend remains strongly a seller’s market.

For one, the inventory of homes on the market was 2.0 months. Inventory represents the amount of time it would take for all homes on the market to sell, given the current pace of sales. There is some debate about the boundary between a buyer’s and a seller’s market (with figures ranging from three to six months), but there’s no debating that March’s inventory was the third-lowest for the time span the Skjersaa Group has data and the lowest for any March in that period.

The average days on the market in March was 112 days. That is 24 fewer days than in February (a halt to our record-breaking winter weather undoubtedly helped), and, perhaps more significant, 18 days fewer than in March 2016. The average days on market for the entirety of calendar year 2016 was 118 days.

We entered April with 273 pending sales, a number that promises another busy month.

As the real estate market gears up, it’s as important as ever to have a trusted, experienced Realtor on your side. Whether you’re looking to sell your home or considering buying, I can provide guidance and advice to ensure an optimal outcome for you.  To learn more about how I can assist you, contact me at (541) 383-1426, or visit Bend Property Search to connect with me through my website.

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Housing market continues to rise from depths of foreclosure crisis

More than 7.75 million homes went through foreclosure in the 10 years ending with the close of 2016, but recent employment and economic trends in the United States show the potential to drive the future number of foreclosures to below the pre-housing crisis levels.

A report by CoreLogic, a California company that provides financial and consumer information, shows that in terms of the number of foreclosures, 2016 was the best year since the onset of the housing crisis in 2007. What’s more, CoreLogic’s report indicates we are likely to see foreclosure numbers fall further.

CoreLogic reports that there were 7,783,000 foreclosures from 2007 to the end of 2016. January 2011 was the worst month, with an inventory of 1,563,000 homes in foreclosure in the United States.

That high-volume mark corresponds with the low point for the median sales price for homes in Bend, Oregon, in the last 10 years. The median sales price in Bend in January 2011 was $170,000. One month earlier, it was $169,000, the lowest median sales price in the 10 years for which the Skjersaa Group has data.

Nationwide, the low point for home prices was March 2011, according to the CoreLogic report. Since then, we’ve seen mortgage interest rates fall to a record low of 3.31 percent in November 2012, a 10 percent year-over-year increase in home prices in March 2013 and what CoreLogic calls the serious delinquency rate decline in March 2015 to the lowest level since before the start of the housing crisis. All of those developments strengthened the housing market and made foreclosure less of a likelihood.

Also since the start of the housing crisis, lending regulations have stiffened. The employment picture has strengthened considerably across the United States, and consumer confidence surveys are firmly in positive territory.

The Bend market has been part of the changing tide since the worst of the housing crisis. The end-of-year median home sales price has risen for five years running, inventory of homes for sale remains low, and the city remains an attractive place to live.

Although fewer and fewer homes are moving into foreclosure, buying or selling a home remains a stressful, taxing process. I can put my knowledge and expertise to work for you, wherever you are in the real estate process. To learn more about how I can assist you in your real estate transaction, contact me at (541) 383-1426, or visit Bend Property Search to connect with me through my website.

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How to find a lender that’s right for you

mortgage-lendersIf you’re in the market to buy a home, you’re probably in the market for a mortgage, as well. Here are some suggestions on choosing a lender.

Know your options for obtaining a mortgage. You’re not limited to a bank with nationwide branches or one of the big online lenders. Credit unions and regional banks offer home loans, as do mortgage brokers. Armed with connections to multiple lenders, mortgage brokers might offer a lower interest rate and better overall terms than banks and online lending institutions.

A borrower will be best-served by a lender who offers a product that aligns with the borrower’s needs — and those needs might not be apparent even to the borrower unless the lender asks the right questions. A first-time buyer might assume mortgages are one-size-fits-all and inquire about a 30-year fixed-rate loan because … because … because that’s what his or her parents had. Choose a lender who can identify a loan program that works for your budget, financial picture and objectives. Not all lenders provide this insight. Many just tell you what you qualify for and let you choose from a menu.

Understand the total costs of the mortgage each prospective lender is offering. Shopping lenders based upon an advertised interest rate is a fallacy. There’s a lot more than that rate that goes into the cost of a mortgage, and not all parts are equal from one lender to the next. Different lenders might have different names and charges for similar line items.

Choose a lender who “feels” right. Does the lender embrace your unique situation, or does he read off a script every time you have a question? If you’re a first-time borrower, is the lender willing to explain every line item on your paperwork? Conversely, if you’re an experienced borrower, does the lender realize he doesn’t need to tell you what points are?

“You want to sit down with two or three lenders to make sure you find one who’s a good fit, the right match for you as a borrower rather than a product pusher,” Michael Jablonski, executive vice president and retail production manager for BB&T Home Mortgage, said in a Bankrate.com article. “Mortgage lending should be a collaborative process.”

Ask prospective lenders to explain the timeline of a loan and what happens if speed bumps arise. Get an estimate for how long an appraisal, underwriting and closing will take. Ask what would happen if the appraised value doesn’t support the value of the loan, or if a family emergency before closing makes buying a home impossible. Ideally, surprises won’t arise, but it’s better to anticipate the unexpected than to be blindsided.

Choosing a lender is a crucial part of buying a home. It’s important to select a lender who can help the buyer understand the full matrix of elements that make up a loan program — someone with integrity and someone who has the ability to follow through on the representations that he or she makes. A lender local to the region you’re looking to buy in is important, too.

Integrity is vital in the Realtor you choose, also. Whether you’re buying a home or considering putting  your home on the market, I promise I will work in your best interests to obtain the best deal possible for you. To learn more about how I can assist you in your real estate transaction, contact me at (541) 383-1426, or visit Bend Property Search to connect with me through my website.

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4 tips to make sure you’re happy with home you buy

I love it when a client of mine buys a home. It is the culmination of a process that can be exciting but exasperating, rewarding and enriching — in ways even an appreciating asset like a home in Bend can’t touch.

Most important, though, I want all homebuyers — not just my clients — to be happy with the homes they buy. To try to produce that type of an outcome, I have these tips to consider before you decide you have found the perfect home:

  • Ask your best friend to look at the home. Sometimes, a buyer is dazzled by one or two features of a home and blind to its faults. Someone who knows you through and through will be able to tell if the house fits you. And by best friend, I don’t mean your spouse or partner (who might be tempted to be agreeable). I mean that someone who is your go-to person when you need honesty, that someone who isn’t afraid to say, “What the heck?” when something just feels wrong. Having a soulmate look at your prospective home with a critical eye will give you a valued third-party perspective about this huge step you’re considering.
  • Don’t make up your mind too soon. If you’re eager to buy a house, it’s easy to fall for one of the first properties you see and close your mind to anything that follows. Your desire to ditch apartment life or finally to have separate bedrooms for the kids can influence your decision-making in a negative way. If you have appointments to look at a certain number of homes, see them through — even if you are convinced the first or second of eight showings on a weekend was just made for you.
  • Understand a home’s hidden characteristics. It’s perfectly fine to want to buy a house with a fabulous bathroom. But be careful you’re not buying a home because of a fabulous bathroom. Just about anything about a home that you can see can be changed to fit your tastes. What you can’t see — the foundation, the plumbing and electrical systems — and what you can’t change — location, lot size, neighborhood traffic — are more difficult (or impossible) to alter and might have more effect on your long-term satisfaction with a home.
  • Ask your Realtor to offer reasons maybe you shouldn’t buy the house. Much like your best friend (see tip No. 1), your Realtor can see potential drawbacks about a house that you might miss. Your best friend will see how the house fits you; the Realtor will see how the house fits everyone. If you’re “eco-conscious,” you’ll want the Realtor to note how much water the huge lawn will require and the inefficiency of the aging furnace. Your Realtor will note that a home near a school means not only slow traffic in the area but also considerable congestion twice a day and on any nights school activities are scheduled. If the house is right for you, you’ll appreciate knowing about these caveats your Realtor throws at you.

As a Realtor, I don’t want to just complete a deal for my clients. I want to complete the right deal for my clients. For the best result in a real estate transaction, you’ll want a Realtor who puts your best interests first. If you list your home with me or you are buying with me as your Realtor, I will use my experience and knowledge to your benefit. To learn more about how I can assist you in your real estate transaction, contact me at (541) 383-1426, or visit Bend Property Search to connect with me through my website.

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Jason Boone | Principal Broker, CRIS | Duke Warner Realty | Skjersaa Group
Oregon Real Estate Licensee | 1033 NW Newport Ave Bend, Oregon