Portland Metro/Tigard Real Estate News

In this forum we will offer discussions on a wide variety of subjects, but focus on Portland Metro and real estate. Hopefully our insights and experiences will inform, educate, challenge and entertain our readers week after week.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

March Market Report

March Residential Highlights
Market activity in March showed forward progress for month-to-month comparisons, but remains slow compared with the level of activity a year ago.
When comparing March to February 2008, closed sales were up 22.2% (1,691 v. 1,384) while pending sales also increased 5.5% (1,938 v. 1,837).
On the other hand, comparing March 2008 with March 2007, closed sales were down 39.1% and pending sales decreased 36.9%. New listings also dropped a slight 1.8%.
Also notable in March was a decrease in the level of inventory from February. At the March rate of sales, the 15,412 active residential properties would last 9.1 months.

First Quarter/Year-to-Date
Comparing market activity through March 2008 to the same period in 2007, the first quarter also shows slowing in the number of transactions. New listings grew 7.3% (14,695 v. 13,697).
However, closed sales dropped 32.6% (4,285 v. 6,359) and pending sales were down 35.6% (5,282 v. 8,204).

A comparison of the 12 months ending in March 2008 with the 12 prior shows that the average sale price appreciated 4.9% ($344,700 v. $328,700). Using the same formula, the median sale price appreciated 5.1% ($290,000 v. $276,000).

& OUR NEW PORTLAND METRO BLOG AT www.TonyandLibby.blogspot.com (make sure you leave comments)

*The information above is from the monthly market action report produced by RMLS and used by permission of RMLS. This information is copyrighted by RMLS, All Rights Reserved.

How to Improve Your Listings Appeal

1. Increase curb appeal. It's nothing new. HGTV has a whole show devoted to curb appeal. It is quite easy to over look the outside of the house but you can't forget that not only is it the first impression but you need people to want to come in. Perhaps try driving around and take note of what attracts you to other homes and try to include that in your own listing. Look at the landscaping, paint, roof, shutters, front door, knocker, windows, house number, and even how window treatments look from the outside. You need your listing to stand out from those around it.

2. Punch up color. Paint is the biggest bang for your buck when trying to alter a rooms atmosphere. People are moving away from the boring white and you should too. That doesn't mean suggesting to your sellers anything like fuchsia or bright turquoise but neutral based colors are very attractive. Recommend to them soft colors that say “welcome,” and flatter skin tones. Think soft yellows and pale greens. Ceilings should be a lighter shade to make the room feel open.

3. Upgrades in the kitchen and bathroom. These make-or-break rooms can spur a sale. But besides making each squeaky clean and clutter-free, update the pulls, sinks, and faucets. In a kitchen, add one cool appliance, such as an espresso maker. In the bathroom, hang a flat-screen TV to mimic a hotel. Room service, anyone?

4. Bring back the detail. Try some crown molding which is proportional to the room’s size, and architecturally compatible. Try keeping in mind the year the home was built if it is an older home. As long as it's visually interesting and not overwhelming, buyers are really coming back to architectural detail.

5. Touch up hardwood floors. Buyers favor wood over carpet, but refinishing is not always an option and also not necessary. Screening is a light sanding, not a full stripping of color or polyurethane, then a coat of finish. This simple effort can have a big impact.

6. Organize closets. Get sorting—organize your piles into “don’t need,” “haven’t worn,” and “keep.” Buyers are discouraged by closets that are stuffed full because they think it won't hold all their stuff either. You want the closet to be about half full for showings. This really helps buyers visualize.

7. New window treatments. Buyers don't want fancy-schmancy drapes that darken. You might use your window treatments to keep light out in order to sleep in or watch movies but buyers like light and bright. Consider energy-efficient shades and blinds or just some fabric that is more sheer and light diffusing instead of light blocking while showing the home.

8. Get a home inspection. Be proactive. Any buyer that isn't looking for a fixer-upper is going to want a move in ready situation. If you get the minor issues taken care of ahead of time and have the receipts to prove it, buyers should be impressed.



Thursday, April 10, 2008

Floor Plan Trends

Builders now-a-days are trying their hardest to appeal to what they believe truly attracts today's buyer. There are different ideas of what people want which gives the consumer a nice variety of home types that fit their personal needs. Here are four builders and a look at each of their strategies.

Arbor Custom Homes. Arbor's latest and greatest creation is the bungalow style that has been interpreted rather broadly that appeals to first-time buyers and borrows from multiple architectural styles. Although they have a variety of floor plans to choose from, there are some common elements that Arbor feels are key. First they have their master bedroom on the main floor, either that or a den on the main that could be a bedroom. This is very popular right now because buyers either like the convenience for themselves or elderly members of their family. The den option is also important because of the number of people who work out of their homes today. Computers have become a part of everyday life and every member of the family uses one so Arbor includes at least three areas in every floor plan that is suitable for a computer setup.

Centex Homes. It used to be that every room had its specific function and they were all closed off from each other. It is now desirable for everyone to be able to hang out together, even if they are not all doing the same thing. That is why Centex focus is on open floor plans and traffic flow. Also included are formal dining rooms which, like formal living rooms, had been falling out of favor for quite sometime.

Renaissance Homes. The favorite of all the Renaissance floor plans has become Belissimo. What makes Belissimo so special is what they call a "brain space". This is a little pocket or miniature office on the stairway landing which is open and available to all family members, makes it easy to keep an eye on kids while the parent is on the computer and makes it easy to keep an eye on kids while they are on the computer. This home also features a master suite with an adorable seating area and separate sink areas in the master bathroom.

Pacific Lifestyle Homes. Master suite, or any bedroom on the main floor seems to be a huge draw for buyers today. Pacific Lifestyle Homes has their Rainier floor plan which includes just that and it sold like crazy. It was so popular that they introduced four more plans with main floor bedrooms. Some of the other plans might not have a "bedroom" on the main but will have a bonus room or den that are large enough to be a bedroom and have an adjacent half-bath. These plans offer a full bath conversion is the purchaser knows it is going to be used as a bedroom.

The big idea here is that what the buyer wants, the buyer gets!

New Home Monthly (a special publication of the advertising department of the Oregonian) - Saturday Feburary 16th, 2008 - Volume 6, Issue 12, Page 6