Inventory of for-sale houses tightens; ‘It’s pretty nuts’
Jason and Michelle Merritt, owners of Hillsboro-based Merritt Realty Group, don’t need the monthly real estate report to know how active the real estate market is. They’re living it.
“It’s pretty nuts,” said Jason Merritt. “Houses that are being well-marketed, we’re seeing them sell immediately.”
Even by Portland-area standards, Hillsboro is hot. The latest report from the Regional Multiple Listing Service shows that the median sales price for Hillsboro-Forest Grove rose 10.9 percent year-over-year in February. The average sales price of Hillsboro-Forest Grove properties last month was $279,800, still below the Portland-area median.
Portland’s market is accelerating into spring. Across the metropolitan area, median sales prices in February rose 2.2 percent above January to $285,000. At the same time, the inventory of available properties tightened again to about a three-month supply, down from January’s 3.4 months, but still not as low as December’s suffocating 2.3 months — a level not plumbed for years. New listings, pending sales and closed sales all rose in February.
Merritt said even houses that are priced a little higher than sellers might expect to receive, if well-prepared for sale, “are getting multiple offers and selling in a day or two.”
The hottest part of the market is being driven by first-time buyers taking advantage of low interest rates to borrow money, he said.
“Money is pretty much free right now,” he said, citing widely available rates of 3.5 to 4.5 percent. “The strings are loosened a little bit.”
— Mike Francis