Bend Real Estate Blog
We provide you with the latest Bend Oregon Real Estate updates as well as general information on Bend and other real estate in Central Oregon.
Buying Bend Oregon Real EstateI'm Jim Johnson, owner and broker of Bend Oregon real estate expert. I've been helping buyers like you find the perfect home in Bend since 1981. There are many steps involved in finding a home, making an offer and closing the transaction. First I can help you determine the best neighborhood to fit your needs. I've lived in Bend for over 34 years and know all the neighborhoods. Once we've determined the location, price range, square footage and number of bedrooms and baths, we can look at homes until you find the best home to fit your needs. After you've found the perfect home then it's time for me to go to work and help you negotiate the best price and terms possible. Buying a home is most likely to be the largest investment you'll ever make. Let me put me experience to work for you. I've been writing real estate contacts for or 39 years. My many years of real estate experience can save you thousands of dollars and I'm with you every step of the way! I'm always available to answer your questions about contracts, CC&Rs, construction, financing, appraisals, inspections, title insurance and anything relating to the purchase of your new home. My services are free to you because the seller pays my commission. Please call, text or email me today and let's talk. I hope to hear from you soon! Jim Johnson Owner, 541-389-4511
Real Estate Statics
Pending Bend Oregon real estate sales continue a steady pace while nationally, pending home sales declined in October but remained at a healthy level of activity and are above year-over-year levels for the second straight month, according to the National Association of Realtors.
The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, decreased 1.1 percent to 104.1 in October from an upwardly-revised 105.3 in September, but is 2.2 percent higher than October 2013 (101.9). The index is above 100—considered an average level of contract activity—for the sixth consecutive month.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says despite October's modest decline, contract signings have remained at a healthy pace now for six straight months. "In addition to low interest rates, buyers entering the market this autumn are being lured by the increase in homes for sale and less competition from investors paying in cash," he said. "Demand is holding steady but would be more robust if it weren't for lagging wage growth and tight credit conditions that continue to hamper those individuals looking for relief from rising rents."
The median existing-home price for all housing types in October was $208,300, which is 5.5 percent above October 2013. Monthly median price growth has averaged 5.8 percent in 2014 (through October) after averaging 11.5 percent last year.
"The increase in median prices for existing-homes has leveled off, representing a healthier pace that has kept affordability in-check for buyers in many parts of the country while giving more previously stuck homeowners with little or no equity the ability to sell," says Yun.
Yun says evidence of rising home prices allowing more willing homeowners the ability to sell can be found in NAR's annual survey released earlier this month, which revealed that the typical seller over the past year was in their home for 10 years before selling—an all-time survey high for tenure of home.
NAR also recently released its economic and housing forecast for 2015 and 2016. Yun is forecasting existing-home sales this year to fall slightly below 2013 (5.1 million) to 4.9 million, and then increase to 5.3 million next year and 5.4 million in 2016. Yun expects the national median existing-home price to rise 4 percent both next year and in 2016.
The PHSI in the Northeast inched 0.5 percent to 87.9 in October, and is now 3.4 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest the index slightly declined 0.6 percent to 100.6 in October, and is now 3.0 percent below October 2013.
Pending home sales in the South decreased 1.0 percent to an index of 118.3 in October, but is still 3.9 percent above last October. The index in the West fell 3.2 percent in October to 98.1, but remains 4.1 percent above a year ago.
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Bend Oregon commercial real estate
The Bend Oregon commercial real estate market keeps plugging along. Nationally, despite a slowing global economy, forward economic momentum in the U.S. should keep commercial real estate activity on firmer footing, according to the National Association of Realtors quarterly commercial real estate forecast.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says commercial activity should progress at a gradual pace heading into 2015. “Solid economic growth in the third quarter proved that the second quarter wasn’t an anomaly, as business spending increased, commercial construction rose and the labor market continued to make positive strides,” he said. “Job growth is the catalyst to improved demand for commercial real estate leasing and new construction projects.”
However, Yun does caution that softening in the global economy will likely widen the trade deficit in the U.S. and could trigger some weakening in the overall economy. “GDP growth in the fourth quarter will be sluggish at around 2 percent behind stalling exports. Although GDP will likely climb to near 3 percent in 2015, the current pace of job growth could slow and ultimately impact commercial real estate activity if sluggishness in the global economy persists,” he said.
National office vacancy rates are forecast to decrease 0.5 percent over the coming year due to job growth exceeding inventory coming onto the market. Improved manufacturing activity should lead to a declining vacancy rate for industrial space (0.4 percent), while retail space is forecast to decline 0.2 percent behind a boost in consumer spending from personal income gains and lower gas prices.
“Low housing inventory and the sizable demand for rentals will continue to spur multifamily construction as well as keep rents rising above inflation through next year,” says Yun.
NAR’s latest Commercial Real Estate Outlook offers overall projections for four major commercial sectors and analyzes quarterly data in the office, industrial, retail and multifamily markets. Historic data for metro areas is provided by REIS Inc., a source of commercial real estate performance information.
Office vacancy rates are forecast to slightly decline from 15.7 percent in the fourth quarter to 15.6 percent through the fourth quarter of 2015.
The markets with the lowest office vacancy rates in the fourth quarter are Washington, D.C., at 9.3 percent; New York City, 9.6 percent; Little Rock, Ark., 11.6 percent; San Francisco, 12.2 percent; and Seattle, at 12.8 percent.
Office rents are projected to increase 2.4 percent in 2014 and 3.3 percent next year. Net absorption of office space in the U.S., which includes the leasing of new space coming on the market as well as space in existing properties, is likely to total 35.6 million square feet this year and 48.8 million in 2015.
Industrial vacancy rates are expected to fall from 8.8 percent in the fourth quarter to 8.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015.
The areas with the lowest industrial vacancy rates currently are Orange County, Calif., with a vacancy rate of 3.6 percent; Los Angeles, 3.7 percent; Seattle, 5.8 percent; Miami, 6.0; and Palm Beach, Fla., at 6.5 percent.
Annual industrial rents should rise 2.4 percent this year and 2.9 percent in 2015. Net absorption of industrial space nationally is expected to total 110.7 million square feet in 2014 and 102.5 million square feet next year.
Vacancy rates in the retail market are expected to decline from 9.7 percent currently to 9.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015.
Currently, the markets with the lowest retail vacancy rates include San Francisco, at 3.5 percent; Fairfield County, Conn., 3.9 percent; San Jose, Calif., 4.6 percent; Orange County, Calif., 5.2 percent; and Long Island, N.Y., at 5.3 percent.
Average retail rents are forecast to rise 2.0 percent in 2014 and 2.5 percent next year. Net absorption of retail space is likely to total 11.4 million square feet this year and jump to 18.9 million in 2015.
The apartment rental market – multifamily housing – should see vacancy rates slightly increase from 4.0 percent currently to 4.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015. Vacancy rates below 5 percent are generally considered a landlord’s market, with demand justifying higher rent.
Areas with the lowest multifamily vacancy rates currently are Orange County, Calif., and Sacramento, Calif., at 2.2 percent; Providence, R.I., and New Haven, Conn., at 2.3 percent; and Hartford, Conn., at 2.5 percent.
Average apartment rents are projected to rise 4.0 this year and 3.9 percent in 2015. Multifamily net absorption is expected to total 216,300 units in 2014 and 171,200 next year.
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Real Estate Sales Brisk
Bend Oregon real estate sales continue at a brisk pace while existing-home sales in the West declined 5.0 percent to an annual rate of 1.14 million in October, and remain 3.4 percent below a year ago. The median price in the West was $296,800, which is 5.0 percent above October 2013. Nationally, existing-home sales rose in October for the second straight month and are now above year-over-year levels for the first time in a year, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, town homes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 1.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.26 million in October from an upwardly-revised 5.18 million in September. Sales are at their highest annual pace since September 2013 (also 5.26 million) and are now above year-over-year levels (2.5 percent from last October) for the first time since last October.
Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors chief economist, says the housing market this year has been a tale of two halves. “Sales activity in October reached its highest annual pace of the year as buyers continue to be encouraged by interest rates at lows not seen since last summer, improving levels of inventory and stabilizing price growth,” he said. “Furthermore, the job market has shown continued strength in the past six months. This bodes well for solid demand to close out the year and the likelihood of additional months of year-over-year sales increases.”
The median existing-home price for all housing types in October was $208,300, which is 5.5 percent above October 2013. This marks the 32nd consecutive month of year-over-year price gains.
Total housing inventory at the end of October fell 2.6 percent to 2.22 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 5.1-month supply at the current sales pace – the lowest since March (also 5.1 months). Unsold inventory is now 5.2 percent higher than a year ago, when there were 2.11 million existing homes available for sale.
“The growth in housing supply this year will likely prevent the drastic sales slowdown and coinciding spike in home prices we saw last winter due to low inventory,” says Yun. “However, more housing starts are needed to increase supply, meet current demand and keep price growth in check.”
All-cash sales were 27 percent of transactions in October, up from 24 percent in September but down from 31 percent in October of last year. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 15 percent of homes in October, up from 14 percent last month but below October 2013 (19 percent). Sixty-five percent of investors paid cash in October.
According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage in October dropped to 4.03 percent, its lowest level since June 2013 (4.07 percent), and down from 4.16 percent in September.
The percent share of first-time buyers in October remained at 29 percent for the fourth consecutive month; first-time buyers have represented less than 30 percent of all buyers in 18 of the past 19 months. A separate NAR survey released earlier this month revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers fell to its lowest level in nearly three decades.
Distressed homes were in the single-digits for the third month this year, decreasing to 9 percent in October from 10 percent in September; they were 14 percent a year ago. Seven percent of October sales were foreclosures and 2 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 15 percent below market value in October (14 percent in September), while short sales were discounted 10 percent (14 percent in September).
“Although distressed sales are trending downward, there are still areas (such as judicial states Florida, Maryland and New York) plagued by foreclosures, and homeowners faced with the awful choice between a tax bill they are unable to pay and losing their home,” says NAR President Chris Polychron, executive broker with 1st Choice Realty in Hot Springs, Ark. “Realtors® urge the U.S. House to schedule a vote on “The Mortgage Forgiveness Tax Relief Act,” as soon as possible. This bipartisan legislation would extend an expired provision that has helped millions of distressed American families by allowing tax relief when lenders forgive a portion of the mortgage debt they owe.”
Properties typically stayed on the market in October longer (63 days) than last month (56 days) and a year ago (54 days). Short sales were on the market for a median of 150 days in October, while foreclosures sold in 68 days and non-distressed homes took 61 days. Thirty-three percent of homes sold in October were on the market for less than a month.
Single-family home sales increased 1.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.63 million in October from 4.57 million in September, and are now 2.9 percent above the 4.50 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $208,700 in October, up 5.6 percent from October 2013.
Existing condominium and co-op sales increased 3.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 630,000 units in October from 610,000 in September, unchanged from the 630,000 unit pace a year ago. The median existing condo price was $205,400 in October, which is 4.5 percent higher than a year ago.
Regionally, October existing-home sales in the Northeast climbed 2.9 percent to an annual rate of 710,000, and are 4.4 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $246,900, which is 1.2 percent above a year ago.
In the Midwest, existing-home sales jumped 5.1 percent to an annual level of 1.24 million in October, and are 2.5 percent higher than October 2013. The median price in the Midwest was $164,100, up 6.8 percent from a year ago.
Existing-home sales in the South increased 2.8 percent to an annual rate of 2.17 million in October, and are now 5.3 percent above October 2013. The median price in the South was $178,000, up 5.1 percent from a year ago.
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Passive Solar Homes in Bend Oregon
What does energy efficiency mean? You might say, “solar panels.” Your neighbor might say, “low utility bills.”
You can find passive solar homes for sale in Bend Oregon by clicking on the link.
You’re both right. “Energy efficiency means something different to everyone,” said Nate Ellis, director of education for the Contra Costa Association of REALTORS®, who spoke at Friday’s “Marketing New and Energy-Efficient Homes” session. And that means you need to customize your message.
To do so, Ellis said, you need to first understand your market. Start by tapping the big data available through such sites as the REALTORS Property Resource, an NAR-owned, members-only, searchable property database that overlays property tax records with MLS data, where available.
In RPR’s “commercial section,” you can find demographic reports and maps, such as which areas are dominated by wine drinkers and which by beer drinkers. Information like this gives you financial insights, because wine drinkers tend to have higher incomes.
Another source of demographic data: Nielsen’s My Best Segments, which will serve up the top-five profiles of people who live in a particular ZIP code. How do you come up with concepts for multiple pieces of marketing?
Take a phrase like “energy efficiency” and free associate 20 related words, such as “saving money,” “comfort,” and “utilities.”
- Do the same exercise for each of those 20 words. For instance, from “utilities,” you might come up with terms like “solar.”
- Brainstorm three questions consumers might ask about solar, such as “How much is it?” “How much will I save?” and “Should I lease or buy solar panels?”
By doing this exercise for each term, you’ll end up with hundreds of marketing messages that you can apply based on demographics. These ideas also double as good topics for blog posts.
Tip: Avoid energy-efficiency jargon in your marketing. You might know that FSC stands for the Forest Stewardship Council, which denotes sustainably harvested wood, but consumers won’t.
If you’re wondering how you can possibly find the time and money to create all this marketing, Ellis has an answer. He recommends online tools like Canva.com, which let you easily design flyers and other collateral online using templates and fonts. With Canva, you can use your own imagery or choose from the service’s library.
Finally, what are some ways to convince people to invest in energy efficiency, especially when your listing is competing with a less expensive property?
Try a little healthy competition. Ellis cited an American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy study that found the most effective way to get people to change their habits is to get them to compete with their neighbors. Some energy companies do that by including information in utility bills comparing your consumption with that of your neighbors.
- Complete the Appraisal Institute’s “Residential Green and Energy Efficient Addendum” (Form 820.04, which you can find here) to list all the relevant energy-efficient features of the home from insulation to HVAC. And provide that to the appraiser who won’t be able to see things like the fact that the R-value of the insulation is higher than other homes in the area.
- Keep a record of the home’s utility bills. But make sure to establish a baseline for consumption, because a family four with two infants will have different energy use than a family of four with two teenagers.
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First time buyers
First time buyers looking for Bend Oregon real estate are having a hard time as prices are going up. Nationally, despite an improving job market and low interest rates, the share of first-time buyers fell to its lowest point in nearly three decades and is preventing a healthier housing market from reaching its full potential, according to an annual survey released today by the National Association of Realtors. The survey additionally found that an overwhelming majority of buyers search for homes online and then purchase their home through a real estate agent.
The 2014 National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers continues a long-running series of large national NAR surveys evaluating the demographics, preferences, motivations, plans and experiences of recent home buyers and sellers; the series dates back to 1981. Results are representative of owner-occupants and do not include investors or vacation homes.
The long-term average in this survey, dating back to 1981, shows that four out of 10 purchases are from first-time home buyers. In this year’s survey, the share of first-time buyers* dropped 5 percentage points from a year ago to 33 percent, representing the lowest share since 1987 (30 percent).
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says there are many obstacles young adults are enduring on their path to home ownership. “Rising rents and repaying student loan debt makes saving for a down-payment more difficult, especially for young adults who’ve experienced limited job prospects and flat wage growth since entering the workforce,” he said. “Adding more bumps in the road, is that those finally in a position to buy have had to overcome low inventory levels in their price range, competition from investors, tight credit conditions and high mortgage insurance premiums.”
Yun adds, “Stronger job growth should eventually support higher wages, but nearly half (47 percent) of first-time buyers in this year’s survey (43 percent in 2013) said the mortgage application and approval process was much more or somewhat more difficult than expected. Less stringent credit standards and mortgage insurance premiums commensurate with current buyer risk profiles are needed to boost first-time buyer participation, especially with interest rates likely rising in upcoming years.”
The household composition of buyers responding to the survey was mostly unchanged from a year ago. Sixty-five percent of buyers were married couples, 16 percent single women, 9 percent single men and 8 percent unmarried couples.
In 2009, 60 percent of buyers were married, 21 percent were single women, 10 percent single men and 8 percent unmarried couples. Thirteen percent of survey respondents were multigenerational households, including adult children, parents and/or grandparents.
The median age of first-time buyers was 31, unchanged from the last two years, and the median income was $68,300 ($67,400 in 2013). The typical first-time buyer purchased a 1,570 square-foot home costing $169,000, while the typical repeat buyer was 53 years old and earned $95,000. Repeat buyers purchased a median 2,030-square foot home costing $240,000.
When asked about the primary reason for purchasing, 53 percent of first-time buyers cited a desire to own a home of their own. For repeat buyers, 12 percent had a job-related move, 11 percent wanted a home in a better area, and another 10 percent said they wanted a larger home. Responses for other reasons were in the single digits.
According to the survey, 79 percent of recent buyers said their home is a good investment, and 40 percent believe it’s better than stocks.
Financing the Purchase
Nearly nine out of 10 buyers (88 percent) financed their purchase. Younger buyers were more likely to finance (97 percent) compared to buyers aged 65 years and older (64 percent). The median down-payment ranged from 6 percent for first-time buyers to 13 percent for repeat buyers. Among 23 percent of first-time buyers who said saving for a down payment was difficult, more than half (57 percent) said student loans delayed saving, up from 54 percent a year ago.
In addition to tapping into their own savings (81 percent), first-time buyers used a variety of outside resources for their loan down payment. Twenty-six percent received a gift from a friend or relative – most likely their parents – and 6 percent received a loan from a relative or friend. Ten percent of buyers sold stocks or bonds and tapped into a 401(k) fund.
Ninety-three percent of entry-level buyers chose a fixed-rate mortgage, with 35 percent financing their purchase with a low down payment Federal Housing Administration-backed mortgage (39 percent in 2013), and 9 percent using the Veterans Affairs loan program with no down payment requirements. “FHA premiums are too high in relation to default rates and have likely dissuaded some prospective first-time buyers from entering the market,” says Yun. “To put it in perspective, 56 percent of first-time buyers used a FHA loan in 2010. The current high mortgage insurance added to their monthly payment is likely causing some young adults to forgo taking out a loan.”
Buyers used a wide variety of resources in searching for a home, with the Internet (92 percent) and real estate agents (87 percent) leading the way. Other noteworthy results included mobile or tablet applications (50 percent), mobile or tablet search engines (48 percent), yard signs (48 percent) and open houses (44 percent).
According to NAR President Steve Brown, co-owner of Irongate, Inc., Realtors in Dayton, Ohio, although more buyers used the Internet as the first step of their search than any other option (43 percent), the Internet hasn’t replaced the real estate agent’s role in a transaction.
Ninety percent of home buyers who searched for homes online ended up purchasing their home through an agent,” he said. “In fact, buyers who used the Internet were more likely to purchase their home through an agent than those who didn’t (67 percent). Realtors® are not only the source of online real estate data, they also use their unparalleled local market knowledge and resources to close the deal for buyers and sellers.”
When buyers were asked where they first learned about the home they purchased, 43 percent said the Internet (unchanged from last year, but up from 36 percent in 2009); 33 percent from a real estate agent; 9 percent a yard sign or open house; 6 percent from a friend, neighbor or relative; 5 percent from home builders; 3 percent directly from the seller; and 1 percent a print or newspaper ad.
Likely highlighting the low inventory levels seen earlier in 2014, buyers visited 10 homes and typically found the one they eventually purchased two weeks quicker than last year (10 weeks compared to 12 in 2013). Overall, 89 percent were satisfied with the buying process.
First-time buyers plan to stay in their home for 10 years and repeat buyers plan to hold their property for 15 years; sellers in this year’s survey had been in their previous home for a median of 10 years.
The biggest factors influencing neighborhood choice were quality of the neighborhood (69 percent), convenience to jobs (52 percent), overall affordability of homes (47 percent), and convenience to family and friends (43 percent). Other factors with relatively high responses included convenience to shopping (31 percent), quality of the school district (30 percent), neighborhood design (28 percent) and convenience to entertainment or leisure activities (25 percent).
This year’s survey also highlighted the significant role transportation costs and “green” features have in the purchase decision process. Seventy percent of buyers said transportation costs were important, while 86 percent said heating and cooling costs were important. Over two-thirds said energy efficient appliances and lighting were important (68 and 66 percent, respectively).
Seventy-nine percent of respondents purchased a detached single-family home, 8 percent a townhouse or row house, 8 percent a condo and 6 percent some other kind of housing. First-time home buyers were slightly more likely (10 percent) to purchase a townhouse or a condo than repeat buyers (7 percent). The typical home had three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
The majority of buyers surveyed purchased in a suburb or subdivision (50 percent). The remaining bought in a small town (20 percent), urban area (16 percent), rural area (11 percent) or resort/recreation area (3 percent). Buyers’ median distance from their previous residence was 12 miles.
The typical seller over the past year was 54 years old (53 in 2013; 46 in 2009), was married (74 percent), had a household income of $96,700, and was in their home for 10 years before selling a new high for tenure in home. Seventeen percent of sellers wanted to sell earlier but were stalled because their home had been worth less than their mortgage (13 percent in 2013).
Yun attributes the increase in seller’s age and tenure in home to rebounding home prices. “Faster price appreciation this past year finally allowed more previously stuck homeowners with little or no equity the ability to sell after waiting the last few years,” he said.
Sellers realized a median equity gain of $30,100 ($25,000 in 2013) – a 17 percent increase (13 percent last year) over the original purchase price. Sellers who owned a home for one year to five years typically reported higher gains than those who owned a home for six to 10 years, underlining the price swings since the recession.
The median time on the market for recently sold homes dropped to four weeks in this year’s report compared to five weeks last year, indicating tight inventory in many local markets. Sellers moved a median distance of 20 miles and approximately 71 percent moved to a larger or comparably sized home.
A combined 60 percent of responding sellers found a real estate agent through a referral by a friend, neighbor or relative, or used their agent from a previous transaction. Eighty-three percent are likely to use the agent again or recommend to others.
For the past three years, 88 percent of sellers have sold with the assistance of an agent and only nine percent of sales have been for-sale-by-owner.
For-sale-by-owner transactions accounted for 9 percent of sales, unchanged from a year ago and matching the record lows set in 2010 and 2012; the record high was 20 percent in 1987. The share of homes sold without professional representation has trended lower since reaching a cyclical peak of 18 percent in 1997.
Factoring out private sales between parties who knew each other in advance, the actual number of homes sold on the open market without professional assistance was 5 percent. The most difficult tasks reported by FSBOs are getting the right price, selling within the length of time planned, preparing or fixing up the home for sale, and understanding and completing paperwork.
NAR mailed a 127-question survey in July 2014 using a random sample weighted to be representative of sales on a geographic basis. A total of 6,572 responses were received from primary residence buyers. After accounting for undeliverable questionnaires, the survey had an adjusted response rate of 9.4 percent. The recent home buyers had to have purchased a home between July of 2013 and June of 2014. Because of rounding and omissions for space, percentage distributions for some findings may not add up to 100 percent. All information is characteristic of the 12-month period ending in June 2014 with the exception of income data, which are for 2013.
Pending home sales in Bend Oregon are holding steady but are a little behind last years sales. There are still some great homes for sale in Bend. Nationally, pending home sales rose slightly in September and are now above year-over-year levels for the first time in 11 months, according to the National Association of Realtors.
The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, inched 0.3 percent to 105.0 in September from 104.7 in August, and is now 1.0 percent higher than September 2013 (104.0). The index is above 100 for the fifth consecutive month and is at the second-highest level since last September.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says moderating price growth and sustained inventory levels are keeping conditions favorable for buyers. “Housing supply for existing homes was up in September 6 percent from a year ago, which is preventing prices from rising at the accelerated clip seen earlier this year,” he said. “Additionally, the current spectacularly low mortgage rates should help more buyers reach the market.”
Despite improved housing conditions and low interest rates, tight credit conditions continue to be a barrier for some buyers. Of the reasons for not closing a sale, about fifteen percent of Realtors in September reported having clients who could not obtain financing as the reason for not closing.
Yun says the final rule on Qualified Residential Mortgages should improve access to credit once it goes into effect next year. “The rule provides clarity for lenders and is a win for creditworthy consumers by ensuring they continue to have access to safe and affordable loan products without overly burdensome down payment requirements,” he said.
The Pending Homes Sales Index in the Northeast increased 1.2 percent to 87.5 in September, and is now 2.9 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest the index decreased 1.2 percent to 101.2 in September, and is now 4.0 percent below September 2013.
Pending home sales in the South increased 1.4 percent to an index of 118.5 in September, and is 1.7 percent above last September. The index in the West inched back 0.8 percent in September to 101.3, but is still 3.6 percent above a year ago.
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Homes Sale Good
Bend Oregon homes sales followed national sales where existing-home sales bounced back in September to their highest annual pace of the year, according to the National Association of Realtors. All major regions except for the Midwest experienced gains in September.
Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, town-homes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 2.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.17 million in September from 5.05 million in August. Sales are now at their highest pace of 2014, but still remain 1.7 percent below the 5.26 million-unit level from last September.
Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors chief economist, says the improved demand for buying seen since the spring has carried into the fall. “Low interest rates and price gains holding steady led to September’s healthy increase, even with investor activity remaining on par with last month’s marked decline,” he said. “Traditional buyers are entering a less competitive market with fewer investors searching for available homes, but may also face a slight decline in choices due to the fact that inventory generally falls heading into the winter.”
The median existing-home price for all housing types in September was $209,700, which is 5.6 percent above September 2013. This marks the 31st consecutive month of year-over-year price gains.
Total housing inventory at the end of September fell 1.3 percent to 2.30 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 5.3-month supply at the current sales pace. Despite fewer homes for sale in September, unsold inventory is still 6.0 percent higher than a year ago, when there were 2.17 million existing homes available for sale.
All-cash sales were 24 percent of transactions in September, up slightly from August (23 percent) but down from 33 percent in September of last year. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 14 percent of homes in September, up from 12 percent last month but below September 2013 (19 percent). Sixty-three percent of investors paid cash in September.
According to Freddie Mac, after falling for four consecutive months, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.16 percent in September from 4.12 percent in August. Despite the slight increase, interest rates are 33 basis points less than a year ago (4.49 percent).
“Economic instability overseas is leading to volatility in the stock market and is causing investors to seek safer bets, which will likely keep interest rates in upcoming weeks hovering near or below where they are now,” said Yun. “This is welcoming news for consumers looking to buy, although they could temporarily become more cautious by less certain economic conditions.”
The percent share of first-time buyers continues to underperform historically, remaining at 29 percent for the third consecutive month. First-time buyers have represented less than 30 percent of all buyers in 17 of the past 18 months.
Distressed homes increased slightly in September to 10 percent from 8 percent in August, but are down from 14 percent a year ago. Seven percent of September sales were foreclosures and 3 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 14 percent below market value in September (same as in August), while short sales were discounted 14 percent (10 percent in August).
Properties typically stayed on the market in September longer (56 days) than last month (53 days) and a year ago (50 days). Short sales were on the market for a median of 116 days in September, while foreclosures sold in 59 days and non-distressed homes typically took 55 days. Thirty-five percent of homes sold in September were on the market for less than a month.
Single-family home sales rose 2.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.56 million in September from 4.47 million in August, but remain 1.9 percent below the 4.65 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $210,300 in September, up 5.9 percent from September 2013.
Existing condominium and co-op sales increased 5.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 610,000 units in September from 580,000 in August, and are unchanged from the 610,000 unit pace a year ago. The median existing condo price was $205,200 in September, which is 3.2 percent higher than a year ago.
Regionally, September existing-home sales in the Northeast climbed 1.5 percent to an annual rate of 680,000, but remain 1.4 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $249,800, which is 4.8 percent higher than a year ago.
In the Midwest, existing-home sales declined 5.6 percent to an annual level of 1.17 million in September, and remain 4.9 percent below September 2013. The median price in the Midwest was $165,100, up 4.9 percent from a year ago.
Existing-home sales in the South increased 5.0 percent to an annual rate of 2.12 million in September, and are now 1.4 percent above September 2013. The median price in the South was $180,900, up 5.1 percent from a year ago.
Existing-home sales in the West jumped 7.1 percent to an annual rate of 1.20 million in September, but remain 4.0 percent below a year ago. The median price in the West was $294,200, which is 4.0 percent above September 2013.
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Real Estate Sales Slowed
Pending home sales slowed modestly in August but contract signings remain at their second-highest level over the past year, according to the NAR. All major regions experienced declines except for the West, which rose for the fourth consecutive month.
The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, fell 1.0 percent to 104.7 in August from 105.8 in July, and is now 2.2 percent below August 2013 (107.1). Despite the slight decline, the index is above 100 – considered an average level of contract activity – for the fourth consecutive month and is at the second-highest level since last August.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says contract signings are holding steady and fewer distressed sales and less investor activity is likely behind August’s modest decline. “Fewer distressed homes at bargain prices and the acknowledgement we’re entering a rising interest rate environment likely caused hesitation among investors last month,” he said. “With investors pulling back, the market is shifting more towards traditional and first-time buyers who rely on mortgages to purchase a home.”
According to NAR’s Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 81 percent of first-time buyers in 2013 who financed their purchase obtained a conventional or FHA loan1. Overall, first-time home buyers have been less prevalent from the housing recovery, representing less than a third of all buyers each month for the past two years.
Yun says first-time buyer participation should gradually improve despite tight credit conditions and the inevitable rise in rates. “The employment outlook for young adults is brightening and their incomes finally appear to be rising,” he said. “Jobs and income gains will help repay student debt and better position first-time buyers, setting the stage for improved sales growth in upcoming years.”
The Pending Home Sale Index in the Northeast slipped 3.0 percent to 86.5 in August, but is still 1.6 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest the index fell 2.1 percent to 102.4 in August, and is 7.6 percent below August 2013.
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Pending home sales in the South decreased 1.4 percent to an index of 117.0 in August, unchanged from a year ago. The index in the West rose for the fourth consecutive month (2.6 percent) in August to 102.1, but still remains 2.6 percent below August 2013.
Existing-home sales are expected to be stronger in the second half of the year behind improved inventory conditions, continuously low interest rates and slower price growth. Overall, Yun forecasts existing-homes sales to be down 3.0 percent this year to 4.94 million, compared to 5.09 million sales of existing homes in 2013. The national median existing-home price is projected to grow between 5 and 6 percent this year and 4 and 5 percent next year.
Home sales in Bend Oregon remained about the same with it's typical fall slowdown. After four consecutive months of gains, existing-home sales slipped in August as investors paying in cash retreated from the market, according to the NAR. Sales increases in the Northeast and Midwest were outweighed by declines in the South and West.
Existing-home sales in the West fell 5.1 percent to an annual rate of 1.11 million in August, and are 9.8 percent below a year ago. The median price in the West was $301,900, which is 5.4 percent above August 2013.
Total existing-home sales , which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, town-homes, condominiums and co-ops, decreased 1.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.05 million in August from a slight downwardly-revised 5.14 million in July. Sales are at the second-highest pace of 2014, but remain 5.3 percent below the 5.33 million-unit level from last August, which was also the second-highest sales level of 2013.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says sales activity remains stronger than earlier in the year, but fell last month as investors stepped away. "There was a marked decline in all-cash sales from investors,” he said. "On the positive side, first-time buyers have a better chance of purchasing a home now that bidding wars are receding and supply constraints have significantly eased in many parts of the country.”
Yun adds, "As long as solid job growth continues, wages should eventually pick up to steadily improve purchasing power and help fully release the pent-up demand for buying.”
The median existing-home price for all housing types in August was $219,800, which is 4.8 percent above August 2013. This marks the 30th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains.
Total housing inventory at the end of August declined 1.7 percent to 2.31 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 5.5-month supply at the current sales pace. However, unsold inventory is 4.5 percent higher than a year ago, when there were 2.21 million existing homes available for sale.
All-cash sales were 23 percent of transactions in August, dropping for the second consecutive month (29 percent in July) and representing the lowest overall share since December 2009 (22 percent). Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 12 percent of homes in August, down from 16 percent last month and 17 percent in August 2013. Sixty-four percent of investors paid cash in August.
NAR President Steve Brown, co-owner of Irongate, Inc., Realtors® in Dayton, Ohio, says a gradual decline in investor activity, many who pay in cash, is good for the market and creates more opportunity for buyers who rely on financing to purchase a home.
On the subject of mortgage financing, Brown adds, "Realtors® applaud the recent policy change to eliminate post-payment interest charges on FHA-insured single-family mortgages,” he said. "The prepayment penalty placed an unfair and unreasonable burden on consumers who already face high housing and closing costs.”
The percent share of first-time buyers remained unchanged in August from July at 29 percent. First-time buyers have represented less than 30 percent of all buyers in 16 of the past 17 months.
Distressed home sales represented 8 percent of August sales, remaining in the single-digits for the second straight month and down from 12 percent a year ago. Six percent of August sales were foreclosures and 2 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 14 percent below market value in August (20 percent in July), while short sales were discounted 10 percent (14 percent in July). Bank foreclosures in Bend are slowing down considerably.
Properties typically stayed on the market in August longer (53 days) than last month (48 days) and a year ago (43 days). Short sales were on the market for a median of 135 days in August, while foreclosures sold in 53 days and non-distressed homes typically took 52 days. Forty percent of homes sold in August were on the market for less than a month.
According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell for the fourth consecutive month to 4.12 percent in August from 4.13 percent in July, and remains at the lowest rate since June 2013 (4.07 percent).
Single-family home sales slipped 1.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.46 million in August from 4.54 million in July, and are now 4.9 percent below the 4.69 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $220,600 in August, up 5.2 percent from August 2013.
Existing condominium and co-op sales declined 1.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 590,000 units in August from 600,000 in July, and are now 7.8 percent below the 640,000 unit pace a year ago. The median existing condo price was $213,900 in August, which is 2.1 percent higher than a year ago.
Regionally, August existing-home sales in the Northeast jumped 4.7 percent to an annual rate of 670,000, but remain 4.3 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $265,800, which is 0.8 percent lower than a year ago.
In the Midwest, existing-home sales increased 2.5 percent to an annual level of 1.24 million in August, but remain 3.9 percent below August 2013. The median price in the Midwest was $173,800, up 5.9 percent from a year ago.
Existing-home sales in the South declined 4.2 percent to an annual rate of 2.03 million in August, and are now down 4.2 percent from August 2013. The median price in the South was $186,700, up 4.7 percent from a year ago.