Portland Homes for Sale: Prices Rise, Inventory Plunges, Both Favoring Sellers

Despite a roller-coaster stock market, lingering pandemic and uncertainty caused by natural and made disasters, the real estate market continues to connect buyers to sellers (Eastman 1). In August, 3,149 Portland residential properties switched hands, according to the latest report by RMLS. Somehow, above all of the drama and contingency, real estate still progressed onward in the past month.

The low number of homes for sale continues to trouble home shoppers and favor sellers. As a result of the few houses on the market, the median sale price rose to $449,000, a 0.9% increase from the month of July.

Inventory of homes for sale in August scarcely rose, to 1.3 months, compared to July’s 1.2 months. “Basement-level inventory in a state with the largest housing shortage in the nation is offering buyers the fewest choices in years” (Eastman 5).

The coronavirus lessened the number of homes for sale in the Portland metro area and across the country. The number of Portland listings in August plummeted 8.3% (3,385) compared to July (4,236). When examining the first eight months of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, new listings (27,379) declined by 10.1%.

The most influential factor of not selling was the concern of not finding another home.

The majority of sellers also served as buyers, so as new listings hit the market, another buyer is also added. As for the issues in inventory, previously vacant homes that acted as second homes and rentals have been reoccupied by their owners, taking them off the market. With inventory still at a low though, prices have been bumped up for homes.

“Buyers who haven’t lost their source of income and have acceptable debt-to-income ratios are cashing in on mortgage rates in the historically low 2.9% range, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, known as Freddie Mac” (Eastman 17).

3,679 pending Portland homes increased 1.1% in August compared to July but skyrocketed 26.2% from the 2,929 offers in August 2019.

The deadly wildfires that wrecked Oregon properties in early September took a consequential impact on home sales too. Thousands of people were left relocated from their homes, living in temporary housing and mobile home parks. While the market was already desperate for inventory before the fire, with properties damaged and destroyed, the situation has only worsened. The cost to rebuild later resulted in higher asking prices. The fires delayed transactions that were able to continue during the pandemic, and homeowners became timid to list their homes. People are desperate for housing, so if you put your house on the market with a reasonable asking price, you will be bombarded with offers.


Agent Website Photos-KristaThis blog post was written by Krista Pham, our intern.

The article that inspired this piece can be found, here.

Office Real Estate Market Predicted to Return to Pre-COVID Level in 2025

Vacancies caused by Covid-19 will result in over 200 million of net negative square footage in the office real estate market, but the growth of professional services sector jobs will help lead to a recovery over five years, says Cushman & Wakefield. Thomas Barwick | Getty Images

For the past six months, working from home has become a permanent trend during this pandemic. Ultimately, we will all return to our workspaces and the number of people will match up to what we had pre-COVID. The question remains as to when things will finally return to normal. According to a news forecast from Cushman & Wakefield, it could take five years.

Global office vacancies aren’t projected to return to their pre-Covid peak level until 2025, resulting in the loss of 215 million square feet of office vacancy due to the pandemic. Between the start of COVID-19 in the United States and 2021, the net-negative office square feet damage will reach approximately 95 million square feet, topping the financial crisis trough by 10 million square feet.

During the financial crisis, Canada, Europe, and the U.S. reported a combined decline of 120.5 million square feet occupancy from peak-to-trough. This evidence proves that the situation will most likely be worse in the west.

The work from home trend is present in most companies operating through the pandemic. Cushman & Wakefield studied some of the most extensive companies around the world about the future of the office and ventured to weigh both the cyclical results of the Covid recession and structural impacts regarding a tremendous increase in work from home. Two key verdicts arose from this study; Office leasings fundamentals will be significantly impacted, and vacancies will increase to an all-time high. Secondly, the office real estate market will fully recover immensely due to employment growth and the continuous shift in the U.S. economy’s concentration in certain types of professional jobs.

An estimated 82% of the damage in real estate firms will be related to cyclical factors such as permanent job losses and the growth of coworking. The other 18% is due to structural factors like assumptions about permanent remote workers and hybrid workers. Work from home will double, and those who are working both from home and at the office (hybrid) will increase. “The study estimates that the share of people working permanently from home in the U.S. and Europe will increase from roughly 5-6% pre-Covid-19 to between 10% and 11% post-Covid, while the share of hybrid — also referred to as agile workers — will increase from between 32% to 36% to just under half of all workers (Para 8).

Levi Strauss & Co recently shut down any new commercial real estate during the crisis. The CFO states, “The myth that work from home is not productive has been busted.”  The CFO believes that society will eventually settle into a culture where working from anywhere will be the new norm. As for Google, they will be trying out a hybrid plan of work since most employees don’t want to be in the office every day. Young workers are taking advantage of the remote working shift to travel, embracing a new lifestyle full of voyage and technology. This is a transformation that could become permanent for a new generation of workers.

Many workers still do not feel comfortable returning to their offices. After one study, only 14% of workers claimed they felt trusting enough of their CEOs and managers to safely lead them back to work. As for now, working from home is the new norm for our society.

Agent Website Photos-KristaThis blog post was written by Krista Pham, our intern.

The article that inspired this piece can be found, here.

Donating Materials to Promote Black Homeownership

More than 20 volunteers came out recently for a Taking Ownership PDX project to clean out a home and prepare it for renovations. (Photo courtesy Randal Wyatt via Instagram)

Randal Wyatt, a student advocate for a Portland nonprofit and hip-hop artist, was long outspoken on social justice issues when it came to his work and social media. Not far after the killing of George Floyd, Randal was flooded with messages from white people asking how they could help support Portland’s Black community. 

With a past of racism, Portland has a predominantly white population with only 5.8 percent of African Americans. Wyatt, who was born and raised in the black communities of Portland, felt the communities needed dedicated investment. “ ‘I said it was time to put your money where your mouth is,” he recalls. “Exclusionary laws have contributed to Black and Brown communities being in the hole. We need reparations, we need to be given a piece of the pie’ ” (❡2). Soon after, the idea quickly took off and turned into Taking Ownership PDX, a vehicle that collected donations for Portland’s Black community. It is a collective group of contractors, realtors, neighbors, and businesses making free upgrades and repairs to Black-owned homes. The goal for this movement is to become a nonprofit and to increase the number of Black homeowners and businesses in Portland.

Wyatt’s motive was to first develop a framework to start his project immediately. He started to take donations himself and eventually through a fiscal sponsor. He collected the names of people who might want to volunteer to help with the renovation projects and approached the first homeowner, asking if they would be interested in free home improvement. Work began in late June on the very first home and Wyatt discovered a second home in need of repairs. After working on his first project, his movement got publicity around Portland and money started coming in. “By August, Wyatt was focused full time on Taking Ownership PDX, with the support of a board composed of 13 people in real estate, contracting, architecture and social work” (❡7). 

Wyatt and Lauren Goché, a realtor for Think-Real Estate, set a goal to raise $100,000 in one month and surpassed it recently. “The community contributed in various ways: small businesses, realtors and musicians have offered donation matches; an individual sold masks and donated the proceeds; a board member baked cookies and also donated proceeds” (❡9). 

You can keep up on Wyatt’s chronicles through his Instagram account. Taking Ownership now has 47 families listed that need assistance with 13 active projects. “Wyatt plans to establish Taking Ownership as a nonprofit that not only carries out repairs for Black homeowners, but offers downpayment assistance” (❡14). If Taking Ownership can attain state funding, they will be able to help produce more Black home and business owners by providing down payments. 

The collective is fast-growing and Wyatt wants as much support as he can get for Taking Ownership PDX.

Agent Website Photos-KristaThis blog post was written by Krista Pham, our intern.

The article that inspired this piece can be found, here.


New Energy-Efficient Homes Neighboring the Mid Century Moderns in Portland

Architect Ryan Walsh’s approach to indoor-outdoor living is evident at 6253 S.W. Hamilton Way in Portland’s Bridlemile neighborhood.

 Ryan Walsh, an architect, was given the opportunity to construct and design three different homes amidst land made famous by the mid-century modern establishments that were produced by some of Walsh’s most respected Portland architects; John Storrs and Saul Zaik. The pressure was on Walsh to construct a home that would match up to the famous dwellings in the neighborhood, but he embraced the challenge and developed his homes with a well thought out approach: “To maximize indoor-outdoor livability as well as privacy, and to instill a visual leitmotif using wood, stone and other natural elements emblematic of the Pacific Northwest, while still creating unique custom homes that ‘foster sensible family living’”(❡5). His project intended to construct large homes with great living spaces, without unnecessary space. Every home he had built was designed to collaborate and “‘live in harmony with the natural landscape and  with each other,’ says Walsh” (❡13). The first house had floor to ceiling windows that faced north and south, yet no windows on the east side of the house where the second home would be. The second house will have a courtyard that opens to a green area that faces east with a creek that flows through the second and third lots. Walsh made sure every aspect of the homes ensured the most efficient energy usage and allowed natural light to illuminate the rooms. With energy-saving appliances, such as a tankless water heater and a 96%-efficient forced-air furnace and air conditioner, the meticulously thought out homes are both breathtaking and sustainable.

All of the lighting is LED, but “there are windows in every room and really there is no need for lights to be on during the day,” says architect Ryan Walsh of Light House Architecture and Construction in Portland.

Agent Website Photos-KristaThis blog post was written by Krista Pham, our intern.

The article that inspired this piece can be found, here.