Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Portland RMLS Market Action Report – August 2009

The Regional Multiple Listing Service released the Market Action Report last week and the median sale price for August 2009 was $249,900; this is a 10.8% decrease from the median sale price for August 2008.

The Portland residential real estate market peaked in August 2007 with a median sale price of $302,000. Prices have now fallen 17.3% from that peak.

Months of supply (total inventory/monthly sales) sits at 7.8 months compared to the 9.9 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 14,360 homes for sale; this is a decrease of 18.1% from the same month the year before.

The third chart shows closed sales by month. There were 1,841 closed sales during the month; an increase of 4.0% from the same month the year before.

The fourth chart shows new listings by month. There were 3,780 new listings during the month; a decrease of 14.1% 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.

I’ve talked with a few buyers and realtors this month and here is what I’ve put together.

The main driver on the buy-side are people trying to take advantage of the $8,000 tax credit for buying a home. You only get the tax credit if you close by December 1st which means you really need to be making an offer by November 1st at the latest. Most short sales, third-party approval, and bank owned real estate don’t meet this accelerated timeline because of the long approval time.

Basically this means the pool of inventory available to the homebuyers is fairly small when compared to the RMLS number above which leads to some bidding wars. The good news out of this is that sellers who aren’t underwater have some buyers.

I don’t see the positive news continuing when the subsidy ends but the NAR is trying to extend the tax credit.

From the New York Times:
The real estate industry, including the powerful 1.1 million-member National Association of Realtors, wants Congress to extend the credit at least through next summer. The group hopes to expand the program to $15,000 and to allow all buyers, not just those who have been out of the market for at least three years, to qualify. The price tag on that plan: $50 billion to $100 billion.
Don’t get upset over the price tag because we’re not paying for this…our kids will.