This Week in Real Estate: January 16, 2017

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The attention grabbing headline This Week in Real Estate was from the Federal Housing Administration and their decision to reduce the annual insurance premiums on most FHA mortgages. Below are a few highlights from the second week of January that influence our business:

* Supply Watch: Gradual Single-Family Construction Expected in 2017. More single-family homes will be constructed in 2017, but at a gradual rate, reported economists at the recent National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) International Builders’ Show. The NAHB expects single-family construction to rise 10 percent to 855,000 units, and to 12 percent to 961,000 in 2018. Sixty-four percent of home builders, according to NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz, are seeing “low” to “very low” lot supplies. “While positive developments on the demand side will support solid growth in the single-family housing sector in 2017, builders in many markets continue to face supply-side constraints led by the three Ls – lots, labor and lending,” said Dietz. Confidence and growth in the economy could give home-building a boost, with home builders optimistic that the new administration will lower construction costs. Said Dietz, “Regulatory requirements make up nearly 25% of the cost of a new home.
Full Story… http://www.nahb.org/en/news-and-publications/press-releases/2017/01/housing-will-continue-gradual-climb-to-higher-ground-in-2017.aspx

* FHA To Reduce Annual Insurance Premiums on Most Mortgages. As the nation’s housing market continues to improve, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro announced this week the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will reduce the annual premiums most borrowers will pay by a quarter of a percent. FHA’s new premium rates are projected to save new FHA-insured homeowners an average of $500 this year. FHA is reducing its annual mortgage insurance premium by 25 basis points for most new mortgages with a closing date on or after January 27, 2017. “After four straight years of growth and with sufficient reserves on hand to meet future claims, it’s time for FHA to pass along some modest savings to working families,” said Secretary Castro. “This is a fiscally responsible measure to price our mortgage insurance in a way that protects our insurance fund while preserving the dream of homeownership for credit-qualified borrowers.”
Full Story…  https://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/press/press_releases_media_advisories/2017/HUDNo_17-003

* Foreclosure Inventory Declines Another 30%. Once again, foreclosure inventory declined 30% annually in November, and completed foreclosures decreased 25.9% from November 2015, according to the November 2016 National Foreclosure Report from CoreLogic. Since November of 2015, foreclosures dropped from 35,000 to 26,000. This represents a decrease of 78.2% from September 2010’s peak of 118,339 foreclosures. “The 7% appreciation in home prices through November 2016 has added an average of $12,500 in home-equity wealth per homeowner across the U.S. during the last year,” CoreLogic President and CEO Anand Nallathambi said. “Sustained growth in home prices is clearly bolstering homeowners’ spending power and balance sheets and, as a result, spurring a continued drop in defaults.”
Full Story… http://www.corelogic.com/about-us/news/corelogic-reports-26,000-completed-foreclosures-in-november-2016.aspx

Have a productive week.
Jason


This Week in Real Estate: January 9, 2016

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As we welcomed in the new year This Week in Real Estate, confidence levels, both consumer and builder, reportedly have reached their highest points in more than a decade. Below are a few highlights from the first week of January that influence our business:

* U.S. Consumer Confidence Jumps to Highest Level Since 2001. Consumer confidence climbed in December to the highest level since August 2001 as Americans were more upbeat about the outlook than at any time in the last 13 years, according to a report from the New York-based Conference Board. Confidence index increased to 113.7 from a revised 109.4 in November. Measure of consumer expectations for the next six months rose to 105.5, the highest since December 2003, from 94.4. Share of Americans expecting better business conditions six months from now rose to 23.6 percent, the highest since February 2011, from 16.4 percent. “The post-election surge in optimism for the economy, jobs and income prospects, as well as for stock prices which reached a 13-year high, was most pronounced among older consumers,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board.
Full Story… https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-12-27/u-s-consumer-confidence-index-increased-to-113-7-in-december

* Home Builder Confidence Ends the Year at Highest Point Since 2005. Home builders saw a significant boost in confidence after President-elect Donald Trump won the election, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. This increase brought builder sentiment up seven points to a level of 70, the index’s highest point since July 2005. “This notable rise in builder sentiment is largely attributable to a post-election bounce, as builders are hopeful that President-elect Trump will follow through on his pledge to cut burdensome regulations that are harming small businesses and housing affordability,” said NAHB Chairman Ed Brady. “The rise in the HMI is consistent with recent gains for the stock market and consumer confidence,” NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz said. “At the same time, builders remain sensitive to rising mortgage rates and continue to deal with shortages of lots and labor.”
Full Story… http://www.housingwire.com/articles/38764-home-builder-confidence-ends-the-year-at-highest-point-since-2005?eid=322520585&bid=1624886

* Foreign Investors Remain Bullish on U.S. Real Estate Despite Increasing Caution. Reflecting a lack of suitable global alternatives and a proven track record of steady returns generated by U.S. real estate, the latest annual survey of overseas investors by the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate (AFIRE) confirmed once again that the United States remains by far the world’s most popular destination for foreign real estate capital. An overwhelming 95% of respondents to the AFIRE survey said they planned to increase or maintain their level of U.S. investment, and 66% said their sentiment was unchanged or more optimistic about the prospect for U.S. real estate. In addition to securing its status as the leading U.S. city for foreign capital for a seventh consecutive year, New York City ranked as the world’s top city for foreign capital for the third year in a row. Los Angeles again ranked #2 among U.S. cities for the second straight year, followed by Boston, Seattle and San Francisco.
Full Story… http://www.costar.com/News/Article/Survey-While-Signaling-Caution-Foreign-Investors-Remain-Bullish-on-US-Real-Estate/187814

Have a productive week.
Jason


This Week in Real Estate: December 27, 2016

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As 2016 comes to a close there are varying degrees of optimism about the 2017 market. Regardless of what may or may not materialize in the future, what exists today, according to a report released by the National Association of Realtors, is the annualized pace of sales ending November 2016 is now the highest since February 2007. Below are a few highlights from the third week of December that influence our business:

* Existing-Home Sales Forge Ahead in November. A big surge in the Northeast and a smaller gain in the South pushed existing-home sales up in November for the third consecutive month, according to NAR. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says its been an outstanding three-month stretch for the housing market as 2016 nears the finish line. “The healthiest job market since the Great Recession and the anticipation of some buyers to close on a home before mortgage rates accurately rose from their historically low level have combined to drive sales higher in recent months,” he said. Total existing-home sales rose 0.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.61 million in November. November’s sales pace is now the highest since February 2007 (5.79 million) and is 15.4 percent higher than a year ago (4.86 million). The median existing-home price for all housing types in November was $234,900, up 6.8 percent from November 2015. November’s price increase marks the 57th consecutive month of year-over-year gains. Existing-home sales in the West declined 1.6 percent to an annual rate of 1.25 million in November, but are still up 19.0 percent higher than a year ago. The median price in the West was $345,400, up 8.5 percent from November 2015.
Full Story… https://www.nar.realtor/news-releases/2016/12/existing-home-sales-forge-ahead-in-november

* Third Quarter Produces Highest Quality Loans Since 2001. CoreLogic released a report this week featuring it’s Housing Credit Index (HCI) that measures variations in home mortgage credit risk attributes over time – including borrower credit score, debt-to-income ratio (DTI) and loan-to-value ratio (LTV). A rising HCI indicates that new single-family loans have more credit risk than during the prior period, and a declining HCI means that new originations have less credit risk. The current HCI shows mortgage loans originated in Q3 2016 continued to exhibit low credit risk versus the previous quarter and Q3 2015. In terms of credit risk, Q3 2016 loans are among the highest-quality home loans originated since the year 2001. HCI highlights as of Q3 2016: (1) the average credit score for homebuyers increased 5 points year-over-year between Q3 2015 and Q3 2016, rising from 734 to 739, (2) the average debt-to-income for homebuyers fell slightly between Q3 2015 and Q3 2016, falling from 35.7 percent to 35.4 percent, (3) the loan-to-value for homebuyers decreased about 1 percentage point between Q3 2015 and Q3 2016, declining from 86.8 percent to 85.6 percent.
Full Story…  http://www.corelogic.com/about-us/news/corelogic-introduces-housing-credit-index-to-track-mortgage-credit-risk-trends.aspx

* Foreclosure Inventory Below 500,000 For 1st Time in Nearly 10 Years. There was a slight uptick in a couple of housing distress measures in November, but the general trend continues down. Foreclosures, foreclosure starts and delinquency rates all ticked up from October levels. The 60,400 starts represented an increase of 6.9 percent from the previous month, but were 9.31 percent below starts in November 2015 and still near a 10-year low. A decline of 6,000 homes in the process of foreclosure compared to October brought the foreclosure inventory below the half million mark for the first time in nearly 10 years. The inventory now numbers 498,000 units, 0.98 percent of all homes with a mortgage.
Full Story… http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/12232016_black_knight_first_look.asp

Have a productive week.
Jason


This Week in Real Estate: December 19, 2016

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As expected, the Federal Reserve announced This Week in Real Estate that it was raising the target federal funds rate by a quarter of a percentage point to between 0.5% and 0.75%, marking the first time the Fed has raised rates since December 2015 and only the second time in a decade. It is important to remember that Federal Reserve decisions can influence mortgage rates, but they aren’t set or established by the Federal Reserve. Rather, mortgage rates are determined by the price of mortgage backed securities, a security sold via Wall Street. So, a Fed move by itself does not lead to an increase in consumer mortgage rates. On the contrary, mortgage rates dropped more than 50 basis points (.50%) after the Fed’s late-2015 move. Below are a few highlights from the second week of December that influence our business:

* What The Fed Rate Hike Means For Your Wallet. The long awaited Fed rate hike came Wednesday, as predicted by many. The Fed’s decision indirectly influences many interest rates because it controls the federal funds rate – the interest rate that major banks and credit unions charge each other when lending money. The impact of a federal funds rate increase on mortgage interest rates remains unclear. Potentially, the initial Fed interest rate hike could raise rates on the long-term bonds used to set mortgage rates. Yet, the 10-year Treasury bonds are also influenced by inflation expectations and the worldwide economic outlook. In the short term, adjustable-rate mortgage and home equity lines of credit would be more sensitive to a federal interest rate hike. So, although it’s impossible to say exactly how a rate hike will impact mortgage rates, it might be best to eliminate uncertainty. If you’re seeking a new home mortgage or considering refinancing an existing mortgage in the near future, you might want to lock in a loan sooner rather than later.
Full Story… https://www.yahoo.com/news/fed-rate-hike-means-wallet-133229405.html

* Growth in Homeowner’s Equity Continues. According to the Federal Reserve Board’s third quarter of 2016 release of its Financial Accounts of the United States report, household holdings of real estate totaled $22.725 trillion in the third quarter of 2016, $1.520 trillion higher than its level in the third quarter of 2015, $21.204 trillion. At the same time, home mortgage debt outstanding, $9.708 trillion in the third quarter of 2016, rose by $185 billion over the same four-quarter period. Since the total value of household-held real estate rose faster than the aggregate amount of mortgage debt outstanding, then home equity held by households grew. Over the year, total home equity held by households grew by $1.336 trillion, 11.4 percent, to $13.018 trillion. Household’s home equity is now 57.3 percent of household real estate.
Full Story…  http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/12/growth-in-homeowners-equity-continues/

* Home Builder Confidence Ends The Year at Highest Point Since 2005. Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes jumped seven points to a level of 70 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). This is the highest reading since July 2005. All three HMI components posted healthy gains in December. The component gauging current sales conditions increased seven points to 76 while the index charting sales expectations in the next six months jumped nine points to 78. Meanwhile, the component measuring buyer traffic rose six points to 53, marking the first time this gauge has topped 50 since October 2005. Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast rose six points to 51, the Midwest posted a three-point gain to 61, the South rose one point to 67 and the West registered a two-point gain to 79.
Full Story… http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/12/builder-confidence-closes-year-on-a-high-note/

Have a productive week.
Jason


2017 Design Trends

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If you’re renovating or building, look out for the following trends for 2017.
WHAT’S IN

TERRACOTTA

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Warm materials such as terracotta tiles will replace currently popular cool and white tones.

“Unlike in the 80s, they aren’t used as border tiles. Instead they will have a natural matte finish and be used as feature walls in bathrooms or for cladding fireplaces,” says Lauren Macer of Sisalla Interior Design. 

CORK

Not only is cork a stylish material idea that adds warmth and texture to spaces, it’s also ideal for absorbing noise in our increasingly large homes.

“It could be used to clad entire walls in the home office and used to pin notes to,” Macer says.

UPHOLSTERED HEADBOARDS

Beds will change dramatically in 2017, with upholstered bed heads set to replace the timber bed frames currently dominating the market.

“Whether you opt for the classic model in neutral color with buttons, or a plush one in velvet, a bedhead is an easy way to update and add instant glamour to a bedroom.”

ESCAPISM

Homes with nooks and places to relax will become more popular as humans react to our increasingly technological lives.

“With an ever-increasing amount of time spent in front of a computer or smartphone screen during the day…there will be a greater desire to create spaces in our lives devoid of digital distraction,” says the team at Nathan + Jac.

JEWEL TONES

Pastel shades of pink and blue will soon be overtaken by jewel tones inspired by metals, space, stars, clouds and the cosmos.

“Metallics, metals, raw-cut quartz, Lucite and opal will add a dash of sparkle and interest,” says the Nathan + Jac team.

WHAT’S OUT

COPPER

“The oversaturation of cheap and shiny imitation copper just ends up looking like you’ve tried too hard, and by doing so, you’ve already missed the boat.”

Our experts almost unanimously agree that copper and rose gold are out. In its place, a more industrial aesthetic is anticipated.

OPEN PLAN LIVING

Defined living spaces are returning to modern homes as consumers seek more private home layouts.

“As people have now lived with the open plan living areas incorporating kitchen, living, dining and even study areas, they have found problems with acoustics and cooking smells through the space,” Macer says.

Source: Domain.com


This Week in Real Estate with Jason Waugh: December 12, 2016

image001CoreLogic reported This Week in Real Estate that home equity grew by more than $700 billion dollars when comparing Q3 2016 to the same time period in 2015 and nearly 94% of all properties with a mortgage have positive equity. Below are a few highlights from the first week of December that influence our business:

* Home Equity Increased $726 Billion in the Third Quarter Compared With a Year Ago. U.S. homeowners with mortgages (roughly 63% of all homeowners) saw their equity increase by a total of $227 billion in Q3 2016 compared with the previous quarter, an increase of 3.1%. Additionally, 384,000 borrowers moved out of negative equity, increasing the percentage of homes with positive equity to 93.7 percent of all mortgaged properties, or approximately 47.9 million homes. Year-over-year, home equity grew by $726 billion, representing an increase of 10.8 percent in Q3 2016 compared to Q3 2015. In Q3 2016, the total number of mortgage residential properties with negative equity stood at 3.2 million, or 6.2% of all homes with a mortgage. This is a decrease of 10.7 percent quarter over quarter from 3.6 million homes or 7.1% or mortgage properties, in Q2 2016 and a decrease of 24.1% year-over-year from 4.2 million homes, or 8.4% of mortgaged properties, in Q3 2015. “Home equity rose by $12,500 for the average homeowner over the last four quarters,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic. “There was wide geographic variation with homeowners in California, Oregon and Washington gaining an average of at least $25,000 in home equity wealth.”
Full Story… http://www.corelogic.com/about-us/news/corelogic-reports-home-equity-increased-726-billion-dollars-in-the-third-quarter-2016.aspx

* Suburbs Outstrip Cities in Population Growth, Study Finds. Big cities may be getting all the attention, but the suburbs are holding their own in the battle for population and young earners. That is the thrust of a study of population trends and housing set to be released Monday by the Urban Land Institute’s Terwilliger Center for Housing. Property developers and urban-policy experts have trumpeted the influx of young, affluent professionals into big central cities in recent years. The shift has transformed downtown areas, sparking a historic boom in luxury-apartment construction and retail development. But research shows that suburbs are continuing to outstrip downtowns in overall population growth, diversity and even younger residents. The suburban areas surrounding the 50 largest metropolitan areas make up 79% of the population of those areas but accounted for 91% of population growth over the past 15 years, according to the study. What’s more, three-quarters of people age 25 – 34  in these metro areas live in suburbs.
Full Story…  http://www.realtor.com/news/trends/suburbs-outstrip-cities-in-population-growth-study-finds/

* Home Renovation Projects With The Best ROI. The top five projects to prioritize when it comes to the best return on investments are: replacing the entry door, installing a new fireplace, remodeling the kitchen, converting the attic into a bedroom, and replacing the exterior siding. When it comes to house sales and particular rooms, the kitchen is often the room that will make or break a sale. Kitchen projects that are budgeted between 6 – 10 percent of the total home value will see the highest ROI. Putting your finances into kitchen upgrades is a worthwhile endeavor when it comes to optimizing your home for selling purposes.
Full Story… http://blog.rismedia.com/2016/home-renovation-projects-best-roi/

Have a productive week.
Jason


This Week in Real Estate with Jason Waugh: Dec. 5, 2016

image001Home price appreciation has been a consistent story in real estate the past 3 years, so it was simply a matter of time before the data supported findings similar to the ones reported This Week in Real Estate. Case-Shiller released their National Home Price Index on Tuesday concluding the Index reached an all-time high at the end of the third quarter. Below are a few highlights from the final week of November that influence our business:

* Case-Shiller National Index at New All-Time High. Home prices finally surpassed all-time highs set in July 2006 as the housing boom topped out. According to the latest data released Tuesday by the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, recorded a 5.5% annual gain in September, up from 5.1% last month. Seattle, Portland and Denver were again the cities in the 20-City Composite with the highest rate of annual appreciation. Seattle led the way with an 11% year-over-year price increase, followed by Portland with 10.9%, and Denver with an 8.7% increase.
Full Story… https://www.spice-indices.com/idpfiles/spice-assets/resources/public/documents/443948_cshomeprice-release-1129.pdf?force_download=true

* Consumer Confidence Now Back to Pre-Recession Levels. With the ongoing job and economic growth, in November consumer confidence improved. Consumers were optimistic about the current situation and the near term outlook. The Conference Board reported that the Consumer Confidence Index jumped to 107.1 in November, from an upwardly revised 100.8 in October. Both the present situation index and the expectations index rebounded. The present situation index increased to 130.3, from 123.1 and the expectations index hit 91.7, up from 86. This brings the index back to pre-recession levels. The index stood at 111.9 in July 2007. “A more favorable assessment of current conditions coupled with a more optimistic short-term outlook helped boost confidence,” said Lynn Franco, The Conference Board director of economic indicators.
Full Story…  http://www.housingwire.com/articles/38634-consumer-confidence-now-back-to-pre-recession-levels?eid=322520585&bid=1601529

* Pending Home Sales Maintain Pace. The Pending Home Sales Index increased a slight 0.1% in October, but was 1.8% higher than last October. The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), increased 110.0 in October from a downwardly revised 109.9 in September. The PHSI increased 1.6% in the Midwest, 0.7% in the West, and 0.4% in the Northeast, but fell 1.3% in the South. Year-over-year, the PHSI increased in all regions, ranging from 3.9% in the Northeast to 0.8% in the South. Commenting on the continued tight supply of homes for sale, NAR reported that 40% of October sales were at or above list price, compared to 33% last October.
Full Story… http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/11/pending-sales-maintain-pace/

Have a productive week.
Jason


This Week in Real Estate: Nov. 28, 2016

image001Strong October existing home sales reported This Week in Real Estate result in the highest annualized pace of sales since February 2007 and the federal government acknowledges the continued price appreciation by increasing the conforming loan limit in 2017. Below are a few highlights from the fourth week of November that influence our business:

* Existing Sales Revival. Existing home sales, as reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), increased 2.0% in October to become the highest annualized pace since February 2007. October 2016 sales were up 5.9% from the same month a year ago. Total existing home sales in October increased to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.60 million units combined for single-family homes, townhomes, condominium and co-ops, up from an adjusted 5.49 million units in September. October existing sales increased in all four regions, ranging from 2.8% in the South to 0.8% in the West. Year-over-year, October sales also increased in all regions, ranging from 10.4% in the West to 1.4% in the Northeast. Total housing inventory decreased slightly by 0.5% in October, and remains 4.3% lower than its level a year ago. At the current sales rate, the October unsold inventory represents a 4.3-month supply, compared to a 4.4-month supply in September. The first-time home buyer share was 33% in October, down a point from the solid September report, but above the first-time buyer share of 31% in October 2015. The October median sales price of $232,200 was 6.0% above the same month a year ago, and represents the 56th consecutive month of year-over-year increases.
Full Story… http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/11/existing-sales-revival/

* Conforming Mortgage Limits Rise for 2017. For the first time since 2006 the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced Wednesday that the limit for conforming mortgages for single-family homes will increase from $417,000 to $424,100 in most regions of the United States starting January 1, 2017. The FHFA bases the loan cap on its quarterly Housing Price Index, which gauges average single-family home prices. The index rose 1.5 percent during the third quarter of 2016 and is up 6.1 percent over the past year, enough to push it above its previous high point. Conforming loan limits are significant because they apply to home loans that meet the underwriting guidelines of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored entities that acquire mortgages from lenders and ensure a steady flow of money to the mortgage market. “Today’s conforming loan limit increase is a much-needed recognition of rising home prices in high-cost markets, and a help to first-time and lower-income borrowers looking to utilize an FHA mortgage,” said NAR President William Brown.
Full Story…  http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2016/11/23/conforming-mortgage-limits-rise-for-2017

* Homeowners Becoming Homebodies. CoreLogic says it is now able to closely track household mobility through various data sets including property taxes and sales transactions. CoreLogic senior economist Kristine Yao says the median time between the recorded purchase and the subsequent sale of homes nationally was 4.4 years in 1985, but had increased to 6.6 years by 2015. Yao says this trend is similar to that noted in the Census Bureau’s latest Current Population Survey; only 5.1 percent of owner-occupied households moved between 2014 and 2015 compared to 9.2 percent between 1987 and 1988. When people did move last year, Yao says, 61 percent stayed within the same metropolitan area while only 24.6 percent moved to a different state, a 15 year-low. Those who moved within their own metro area tended to trade up, buying a home that was a median of $61,000 more costly than the old one. However, those who moved to another state tended to buy laterally – paying about the same for the new home as they had gotten for the old one.
Full Story… http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/11212016_homeowner_mobility.asp

Have a productive week.
Jason


Portland Metro Weekend Events Planner: November 24-27, 2016

PORTLAND METRO EVENTS WEEKEND PLANNER
FOR NOVEMBER 24-27, 2016

 

AMERICA’S LARGEST CHRISTMAS BAZAAR
FRI-SUN – This colorful Christmas Bazaar has been produced by the same small local company for 33 years. With innovation and creativity, the show has kept pace with today’s consumers throughout its history, offering a great opportunity to buy unique gifts in all price ranges.

TREE LIGHTING CEREMONIES
FRIPioneer Courthouse Square: This beloved community tradition will feature a holiday sing-a-long with Thomas Lauderdale and members of Pink Martini, the NW Community Gospel Choir, Pacific Youth Choir and friends!
Lake Oswego: This extraordinary evening of cheer includes caroling, performances from Lakeridge and Lake Oswego High School choirs and holiday tunes from Millennium Concert Band.
SATHillsboro: Spend a leisurely Saturday at the winter marketplace in downtown Hillsboro, sipping hot chocolate and nibbling on cookies provided by local businesses. You’ll find crafts made by local artisans, fresh winter produce and live music and entertainment—all of which will culminate in the spectacular tree lighting ceremony in the early evening.
Gresham – Cookie decorating, open houses at local businesses and phone calls to the North Pole are all part of the Spirit of Christmas, a day-long Thanksgiving weekend event in historic downtown Gresham.

THE HOLIDAY EXPRESS
Through December 18 – Join Santa Claus and his elves for a magical ride behind Portland’s famous steam locomotives. Vintage rail cars transport you through wilderness in the heart of the city. Round-trip rides run from Oaks Park Station through Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge to the Springwater Trail gateway on the Oregon Pacific Railroad.

POLAR EXPRESS
Through December 23 – The Polar Express story comes to life when the train departs Hood River for a one hour round-trip to the North Pole.

ZOO LIGHTS
Through January 1A dazzling display of more than million and half lights, and experience your zoo in a whole new light.

CHRISTMAS IN THE GARDEN
Through January 1 – An award-winning event featuring ice skating, a traditional German Christmas Market, snowless tubing and light display in the charming Rediscovery Forest.

CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS
Through December 30 – Offering a family-oriented blend of traditional celebration and serene reflection, the festival theme reflects the special season of hope that Christmas offers to many thousands of families from around the Pacific Northwest.

WINTER WONDERLAND
Through December 25 – Spectators can enjoy the most spectacular drive-through light show in the region, viewing over 250 colorful light set pieces and many fully animated scenes from the comfort of their own vehicle.

MADDOX WOODS
Through December 31 – Enjoy a magical walk down a lighted, accessible path through the woods and to the viewing platform on the Willamette River.

PORTLAND’S SINGING CHRISTMAS TREE
Through December 4Featured art includes the work of painters, sculptors, jewelers, photographers, woodworkers, glassblowers and more; authors include novelists, poets, photographers and writers of non-fiction.

A CIVIL WAR CHRISTMAS
Through December 23 – Propelled by traditional American songs, marches and spirituals — all revitalized for this production by luminary Portland musicians — A Civil War Christmas is a lively reminder for people of all beliefs about humanity’s potential for compassion, reconciliation and hope.

80’S DANCE CRUISE
SAT – Break out the hammer pants and leg warmers, time warp to the most radical decade and dance to the best of the 80’s with DJ MC or DJ Skippy.

TONY STARLIGHT SHOWROOM
Fridays through November 26 – Portland’s premiere dinner and show venue and is the closest thing to a Vegas show in Portland. A truly memorable dinner and show experience, one that you will want to share with friends and family.

PORTLAND SATURDAY MARKET
SAT-SUN through December – The nation’s largest weekly open-air arts and crafts market. Stroll down row upon row of unique creations made by the people who sell them in Old Town.

URBAN SCAVENGER HUNT
ALL MONTH  Smartphone clues lead you on a fun & engaging walking tour of the city. Clues start you in the heart of downtown at Pioneer Courthouse Square and will take you on a scavenger hunt through the Arts District, on a streetcar ride and among the famous food carts.

SHANROCK’S TRIVIOLOGY
ALL MONTH – Various Portland Locations: Triviology pub quizzes are free to play, last a couple of hours, and are composed of seven short rounds, giving teams instant gratification for their efforts. Team size can range from one to five players, with prizes for everyone on the winning team.

VANCOUVER METRO EVENTS

POLAR PLUNGE
THURS – Join in on the fun as every year a few brave folks jump into the icy waters of Klineline Pond!

FESTIVAL OF TREES
FRI-SUNLive concerts, dance performances, scavenger hunt through the trees, rides on the Loci train engine and the talking tree. The tree lighting itself features a concert by the Vancouver Pops Orchestra, a visit from Santa’s elves and even an appearance by the big man himself.

BARREL TASTING
FRI-SUN – This is a peak at “wine in process.”  Winemakers taste their wines periodically to “check-in,” make decisions about blending, and determine whether a wine is ready for bottling. This one weekend a year, we give you a chance to participate in this process. You may or may not like what you taste, but you will learn something!

OPEN SATURDAYS AT PEARSON AIRBASE
EVERY SAT  Free educational experience, Flight Simulator lab, vertical wind tunnel, a glider-building station, historic airplanes on-site for viewing, collections on display, and educational programs to propel students of all ages.
NEW MOVIES OUT THIS WEEK

·         Moana
·         Allied
·         Bad Santa 2
·         Dear Zindagi
·         Rules Don’t Apply
·         Evolution

Click here for movie times and theatres.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THIS WEEK’S OPEN HOUSES

For a monthly online listing of upcoming Portland metro events, click here.


This Week in Real Estate: Nov. 21, 2016

image001Favorable news reported This Week in Real Estate from the construction sector, both in terms of builder confidence and October housing starts, which climbed to the strongest pace since 2007. Below are a few highlights from the third week of November that influence our business:

* Builder Confidence Holds Firm in November. Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes held steady in November at a level of 63 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). Builder sentiment has held well above 60 for the past three months, indicating that single-family housing sector continues to show slow, gradual growth. Ongoing job creation, rising incomes and attractive mortgage rates are supporting demand in the single-family housing sector. These factors will help keep housing on a steady, upward path in the months ahead. Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast, Midwest and West each posted respective two-point gains to 45, 58 and 77. The South remained unchanged at 68.
Full Story… http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/11/builder-confidence-holds-firm-in-november/

* Housing Starts See Greatest Leap in Nearly a Decade. A big jump up in single family starts combined with an anticipated rebound in multifamily to push the annual pace of total housing starts above 1.3 million in October. The Census Bureau and HUD reported that the seasonally adjusted annual rate of single family housing starts was 869,000 in October, up 10.7% from the September pace of 785,000. Starts in structures with 5 or more units rebounded from 255,000 to 445,000, a pace more consistent with recent months. Overall, total housing starts quickened from a pace of 1.054 million in September to 1.323 million in October, a 25.5% annualized gain. The surge in October was well ahead of the average pace of 768,000 so far in 2016. The number of building permits also increased in October 0.3% to 1.229 million. This is up from September’s 1.225 million, and up 4.6% from last year’s 1.18 million. We expect single family starts to remain strong, if not at the October pace, through the end of the year and continue to strengthen in 2017.
Full Story… http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/11/october-housing-starts-pop-goes-single-family/

* Equity Rich U.S. Homeowners Increase by 2.6 Million in Q3 2016. ATTOM Data Solutions released Thursday its Q3 2016 U.S. Home Equity and Underwater Report, which shows that 13,125,367 U.S. homeowners were equity rich (loan-to-value ratio of 50 percent or lower) as of the end of Q3 2016, representing 23.4 percent of all U.S. homeowners with a mortgage and an increase of more than 2.6 million from a year ago. The report also shows that 6,063,326 U.S. homeowners were seriously underwater (LTV of 125 or higher) as of the end of Q3 2016, representing 10.8 percent of all U.S. homeowners with a mortgage, and a decrease of more than 854,000 homeowners from a year ago. Since the peak in seriously underwater homeowners at 12.8 million representing 28.6 percent of all homeowners with a mortgage in Q2 2012, the number of seriously underwater homeowners has decreased by more than 6.7 million. “Close to one in every five U.S. homeowners with a mortgage is now equity rich thanks to a combination of rising home prices and lengthening homeownership tenures,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions. Median home prices increased on a year-over-year basis for the 18th consecutive quarter in Q3 2016. Among 88 metropolitan statistical areas with a population of at least 500,000 or more, Portland ranks 6th and Seattle ranks 9th, with the highest share of equity rich homeowners at 33.1% and 31.5% respectively.
Full Story… http://www.realtytrac.com/news/mortgage-and-finance/q3-2016-u-s-home-equity-and-underwater-report/

Have a productive week.
Jason


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