Friday, August 21, 2009

Portland RMLS Market Action Report – July 2009

The Regional Multiple Listing Service released the Market Action Report last week and the median sale price for July 2009 was $250,000; this is a 13.3% decrease from the median sale price for July 2008.

The Portland residential real estate market peaked in August 2007 with a median sale price of $302,000. Prices have now fallen 17.2% from that peak.

Months of supply (total inventory/monthly sales) sits at 7.3 months compared to the 10.0 months of supply for the same month last year. A balanced market has about 7 months of supply.

The first graph compares the median and average sale price with the months of supply. Click on any graph for a sharper image.

The second graph shows the total supply of homes available for sale. This is simply a calculation of the months closed sales multiplied by the months of supply. There are currently 14,512 homes for sale; this is a decrease of 20.7% from the same month the year before.

The third chart shows closed sales by month. There were 1,988 closed sales during the month; an increase of 8.6% from the same month the year before.

The fourth chart shows new listings by month. There were 3,907 new listings during the month; a decrease of 25.4% from the same month the year before.

The final graph shows how affordable the median priced home is for a family of four. History indicates the ratio is usually between 2.5 and 3.0. Prices would have to fall 19.0% from the current median for the ratio to reach 3.0.

A few comments:
The increase in sales is great news for the industry, the last time sales increased when compared to the same month the year before was in late 2005. This is obviously due to the $8,000 first time homebuyers’ tax credit so the enthusiasm will be short lived when the program ends in the next few months and sales continue their slide in the winter months.

Inventory continues to churn. In the first seven months of this year 27,000 new listings entered the RMLS system and only 9,200 exited via closed sales. Inventory only increased by 500 homes during this time period so that leaves 17,300 new listings unaccounted for. Since I am not a realtor I do not know how many of these are duplicate listings but it is very clear that the hidden inventory continues to grow.

Personal note:
I’m sure you’ve noticed my absence from the blog lately. The truth is I am burnt out and tired of all the bad news. The readers come and go from the blog when they want but I feel an obligation to keep blogging because I want to call the bottom of the market. The market will bottom and buying a home will be a great experience but it is still a few years away.

You should expect fewer posts from me going forward, maybe one or two a week. When the market bottoms and we start buying homes I imagine the posts will pick up again, until then I need a little break.