From the Bend Bulletin:
The local housing market may be slow, but it’s not stopping the Central Oregon Builders Association from proceeding with its annual Tour of Homes in July.
A showcase of new and often custom-built homes, the 21st annual tour has attracted 30 registrants for the event, to be held July 17-19 and 24-26, according to Mike Jensen, COBA’s director of communications.
That’s down from prior years, but registration is still open and organizers expect more, Jensen said. COBA expects this year’s tour to feature about 50 homes, compared with 53 in 2006, 82 in 2007 and 73 last year, he said.
The show comes after a painfully slow year in the building industry.
“Last year, I was optimistic we were heading toward the end of the downturn in terms of pricing pressure, but I was wrong,” said Cindy O’Neil, who owns and operates SolAire Homebuilders in Bend, which specializes in custom-built green homes. “Now, I definitely think we are scraping the bottom because it’s all anyone talks about. When all you see is how bad this is, I’m pretty sure we’re at the bottom.”
Bend’s median home price is now lower than at any time since 2004, according to the Bratton Report. The report listed Bend’s median price for a single-family home at $215,000 in February.
Further signaling a bottom may be near, a U.S. Commerce Department report released Wednesday showed sales of new homes jumped 4.7 percent in February when compared with January sales.
January 2009 was the worst month on record for new home sales and February 2009 was the second worst on record. CalculatedRisk has more on new homes sales.
“Short of a national disaster, I can’t see any other shoe to drop,” she said. “The bank part is unwinding, the pricing problems with overinflated prices for homes and land in Central Oregon has unwound substantially, so I’m pretty optimistic,” she said. “We’ve been in this downturn for almost three years, and that’s usually how long a down economic cycle lasts. Homebuilders, we’re among the first to get hit, and I think we’ll be among the first out.”