- Portland-area real estate market’s hot streak slows in September
- Government shutdown: Homebuyers may see mortgage processing delays
- CoreLogic: Home price gains in August tempered by mortgage rates, seasonal slowdown
- New-home sales bounce back in August despite higher mortgage rates
- This Old House names St. Johns a top neighborhood
Portland is easing into the real estate market’s slower months, and prices and sales volume are falling as a result. But they still remain well above levels seen a year ago.
The Regional Multiple Listing Service’s monthly homes sales report showed 2,158 homes sold in September, an increase of 13.9 percent from a year earlier but a 1.4 percent slowdown compared with August.
Charts: Portland-area real estate trends visualized.
The median price for homes that sold in September was $275,000, up 15.4 percent from a year ago but down 0.7 percent from August. Prices, like sales, typically fall in the latter half of the year as demand wanes.
Economists and real estate brokers expect the double-digit annual gains seen in recent months to slow as prices rise and interest rates tick up (though the Federal Reserve has said it won’t yet end its stimulus efforts that have kept those rates low).
“The first half of the year was such an active market that I’m not sure we could have continued on that trajectory,” said Jason Waugh, president of Prudential Northwest Properties. “You’re talking double-digit appreciation in every category across the board. Quite frankly, that’s what happened in ‘03, ‘04, and ‘05, and look at what happened.”
Prices have been driven higher by competition between buyers for a relatively small number of homes on the market.
At September’s sales rate, it would take 3.7 months to sell all the homes currently listed for sale. The inventory in months is a measure of supply and demand, with anything below 6 months representing a market where demand outpaces supply.
“This shows some normality and balance, which creates a comfortable experience for both buyers and sellers,” said Dustin Miller, a broker with Realty Trust Group in Lake Oswego. “Everyone has the opportunity to take their own time when buying or selling.”
That seller’s market has been firmly entrenched since February 2012, when RMLS reported a 6.5-month supply.
Another 2,219 homes went under contract in deals that may close in coming months. A larger-than-normal share of those deals may fall through, though, because the partial federal shutdown has complicated financing for some buyers. Approval for government-backed loans has slowed, and income verification through the Internal Revenue Service isn’t unavailable during the shutdown.
The shutdown didn’t take effect until Oct. 1, so it’s too early to see its impact on the housing market – either the effect on lending or the harder-to-measure impact on the psyche of buyers and sellers. But brokers say they’re already seeing it.
“When you’re looking at 11 days in a row of nothing but shutdown talk, that just doesn’t build a lot of confidence,” Waugh said. “For the average consumer, it has a psychological impact on their willingness to buy or sell.”
Homes that sold in September spent an average of 72 days on the market from listing to closing.