Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Supply and Demand - Housing prices

When people are drowning, they grab onto the first thing they find that they think will save them.  Rent Control is like that.  It looks like a rope someone on a dock threw out to save them.  But the rope is attached to the very structure that is holding up the dock, and the dock starts to sink with the weight and pull of the load.  Everybody is worse off.  The rope idea was a disaster, it just looked good in a desperate situation.  What could have really helped, is throwing everyone a life jacket, but there aren't enough to go around.  What to do?

Buy or make more life jackets!

The housing shortage in Portland has spread to the single family home market.  As the lower cost homes get snapped up at higher than list prices, the houses up the line become more scarce and expensive too.  No one wants to move either because they won't be able to find another house, or they are waiting for even higher prices before they cash in.  Have you tried to rent a house recently?

"I think that's partially or mostly because of our inventory being so low," said Dustin Miller, a broker with Realty Trust Group.

That supply and demand are fixed to prices seems to elude people.  If one simply controls prices - what an apartment can rent for - what you can sell your house for - the supply would dry up and the crisis would only get worse.  The pull on the rope, the undeniable adverse incentives for apartment investors, would topple the supply structure that would have fixed their predicament.  So,



The logical solution is to BUILD MORE HOUSING!  

This is a topic I will be speaking more about in the coming months as the issue heats up in Portland and the Metro area.  Smart people in the business are throwing up red flags, but on one is listening, believing the industry is greedy and only looking out for themselves.  This is the industry that is HELPING to solve the problem!  The logic is there - the other side of the story must be told.

Ultra-low inventory slows down Portland-area housing market

For the first time in recent memory, the number of closed and pending home sales in the Portland area saw an annual decline, according to the April edition of the Regional Multiple Listing Service's monthly report.
With the housing market on a tear, the report had become predictable from last summer into this spring – the number of closed and pending sales for a given month was either the most since before the recession, or the most of all time. But the 2,611 closed sales in April marked a 4.5 percent drop from the same month last year, and pending sales fell from 3,613 in 2015 to 3,076 this year.
"I think that's partially or mostly because of our inventory being so low," said Dustin Miller, a broker with Realty Trust Group. "People are just gobbling up stuff so quickly that homes are really flying off the market."
Inventory indeed remained extremely low, ticking up slightly from 1.3 months in March to 1.4 in April. The figure estimates how long it would take for all current homes on the market to sell at the current pace. (Six months of inventory indicates a balanced market.)
And the trend of rising values also didn't reverse, with the average sale price increasing to $397,700, up from $347,500 last year. The median reached $350,000 last month, the point at which half of homes are more and half are less; in April 2015, the median was barely above $300,000. Homes in desirable areas often receive double-digit numbers of offers.
"The buyer who did win the bid may have a Monday-morning headache crunching the numbers on how much they just paid," said Israel Hill, a managing broker at John L. Scott Real Estate specializing in Northeast Portland, in an email.
Real estate broker Nick Krautter predicted inventory will not significantly rise until prices get so high that the temptation to sell will be too strong for homeowners to resist.
In the meantime, he said, "we'll see prices continuing to increase."
Hot areas in April included Southeast Portland (313 closed sales), the Tigard/Wilsonville area (250), Beaverton/Aloha (245) and West Portland (237).
-- Luke Hammill

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