RE/MAX housing report shows drop in closings, prices nationwide, but Portland’s is more dramatic than most.
Warming weather usually aligns with an increase in home sales in Portland, leading up to peak home buying season in the summer. But the latest Portland housing report from RE/MAX shows closings are down 40% compared to April last year and 3.1% compared to March.
Portland’s market is in line with the nation’s, as the report shows a 7.6% drop in closings from March to April across 49 U.S. metro areas.
But Portland closings have seen a sharper drop than most, coming in second for markets with the biggest year-over-year decrease. San Francisco saw the greatest decrease and Seattle comes in after Portland, followed by Birmingham and Anchorage.
Laurie Thiel, a broker and owner of RE/MAX Equity Group, says sellers are still feeling optimistic, despite the slowdown.
“The general mood among home sellers is quite positive,” she says. “Sellers are experiencing a favorable environment with a strong demand for properties, allowing them to attract potential buyers and negotiate favorable terms.”
Thiel says buyers are also engaged and taking advantage of less competition due to increased interest rates. “They understand the competitive market and are willing to invest time and effort to find their dream homes.”
With buyers taking their time, homes aren’t flying off the market at the speed they did last year. April’s report shows Portland properties are selling after an average 33 days, up 105.5% since last year, down 20.5% since last month.
The median sales price is down, too: 3.6% since last year and 1.9% since March, at $530,000.
With less pressure to buy fast, buyers are focusing on desirable neighborhoods with good schools, convenient access to amenities and proximity to outdoor spaces like parks and playgrounds.
“Additionally, homes with attractive amenities, such as updated kitchens, modernized bathrooms, energy-efficient features and ample storage space, tend to generate more interest and higher offers,’ says Thiel.
Thiel points to the increase in interest rates and decrease in inventory as likely fueling this slowdown in sales. As interest rates continue to change, it’s causing hesitation for some home buyers.
The current economic climate is uncertain, as negotiations continue surrounding the debt ceiling. In a recent article in Forbes titled “A Debt-Ceiling Crisis Would Hit The Housing Market Like A Hurricane” Daryl Fairweather, Redfin’s Chief Economist, writes, “Home sellers and homebuyers would temporarily back off the market during the turmoil but would return once the dust settles.”
But Thiel doesn’t see buyers in Portland making decisions based on this looming economic threat. “Buyers and sellers are more focused on factors directly related to the housing market, such as interest rates, home prices, and inventory levels.”
There’s still time for sales to increase as summer approaches. In the meantime, with inventory up and sales much slower than this time last year, buyers are enjoying a little more freedom and flexibility to shop around.