It is that time of year when the produce stands crop up all over town. Enjoy live music, delicious food and fresh flowers! Support our local farmers and enjoy the freshest produce the Williamette Valley has to offer.
Find a farmer’s maket near you: http://www.oregonfarmersmarkets.org/directory.html
According to Newhometrends.com, the Puget Sound and Portland markets are showing signs of improvement in sales. In February, spec inventory levels continued to decline and the number of new home purchase and sales agreements written were up by 17% in Puget Sound and 16% in Portland, compared to January. This was the second consecutive month that volumes increased.
One in every nine homes in the United States is sitting vacant, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Economists predict that getting rid of this glut nationwide will take at least three years.
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Check out this hot property of the the week! Located in Forest Heights, this new home has over 3,300 square feet and amazing views! Tax assessed at $804,000, this home is currently on the market for $499,900! But….be careful – the annual taxes are over $10,000!
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We received an important indiator of where housing is headed last month, when new mortgage applications for home purchases and refinances suddenly surged as they hadn’t in months. Applications for FHA loans to buy houses were up by 10.4 % and overall home purchase application jumped by 7.1 %.
Meanwhile, mortgage interest rates dropped to their second lowest level in nearly two decades, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Thirty year fixed rates averaged 4.96 % and the fifteen year rate dropped to just 4.5%.
Why is this important? New financing applications to buy homes obviously point to rising purchase contracts and closed sales in the months ahead. They also suggest that prices have hit a level in many markets that is attracting once-hesitant buyers off the sidelines.
There’s still another factor that’s likely at work here as well: Congress’ recent improvements to the home purchase tax credit – pushing it to $8,000 from $7,500 and making it non-repayable. George Ratiu, Research Economist for the National Association of Realtors says that the big jump in loan applications could be tied to the improved credit in the stimulus package signed last month.
But, let’s be clear here. A rise in home purchase applications does not suggest we’ve turned the corner in the cycle or have solved the multiple challenges facing markets around the country – high foreclosure levels, continuing domination in some areas of REO and short sales, and continuing increases in the unemployment rate can keep us on our toes.
With cheaper home prices, lower mortgage rates and big discounts on foreclosures, buyers will have plenty of incentives to get in the real estate market in 2009!
To help you navigate through an uncertain market, I have compiled a list of “buying blunders” to be aware of:
1. Don’t buy for the short term: Home prices are still declining and most homes purchased in 2009 will lose value in the short term and it remains unclear just when the home market will bounce back.
2. Not understanding your local market: Keep in mind that individual markets are not the national market and home prices in your particular market could be moving opposite of the rest of the country.
3. Not scouring for deals: As home prices continue to go down, look for deals. You are in the driver’s seat . Just be careful not to go too low – it can be insulting to the seller.
4. Purchasing a foreclosure just because it’s cheap: While foreclosures offer tremendous deals, sometimes the homes come with hidden baggage. Do your homework before jumping into the sale.
5. Overly aggressive buyin: Remember that you have a budget and just because your lender gives you a loan, it doesn’t mean that you have to use all of it. In fact, it’s better not to given that today, Oregon was named as having the highest unemployment rate in the nation. Scary!
Portland is one of the nation’s most bike friendly cities. The New York Times just published a story on Portland’s most loved from of transportation: biking. The article touches on all of the “world-class” rides at a Portlander’s fingertips including some important stops along the way: the Lucky Lab, Bridgeport Brewery and Hopworks Urban Brewery where you can check out spare bike part decorations while you sip your organic beer!
Check out this website: byCycle.org, it will help you navigate your way through the best biking routes, markets and galleries.
Click here to view the article: http://travel.nytimes.com/2009/04/03/travel/escapes/03Portland.html?8dpc
There is a wonderful website called: walkscore.com.
Portlanders love to walk – whether it is to go shopping, walk the dog or just run down to the local coffee shop on a Saturday. To a lot of Portland area homeowners, the topic of stores and restaurants within walking distance can make or break the home sale.
Walkscore.com offers photo tours of neighborhoods from across the country, national neighborhood rankings (based on neighborhood “walkability”) and side by side maps of the most and least walkable cities.
Portland actually rankes #10 in the nation as having the “most walkable neighborhoods”! Within that ranking, the Pearl District and Chinatown come in as #1 and #2.
Take a minute and check this out – see where your neighborhood ranks. If you are contemplating a move and a ‘walkable’ Portland neighborhood is important to you, this tool is like gold.
Portland Monthly’s real estate issue is out. If you haven’t picked on up yet, do it now as this is the handbook and all-purpose guide to Portland’s market today. The issue offers tips on buying, renting, selling, remodeling and refinancing.
You will find columns written on Portland’s neighborhoods that are gaining ground, selling fast and falling fast. Who doesn’t want to know that?
The article also features great real estate data that breaks down the average price, median price, average days on the market, number of homes sold, average 1 and 5 year price growth % as well as listing school names, population, crime statistics, parks and commute time.
This is great stuff to know, whether you have lived in Portland your whole life or are new to the area!