This Week in Real Estate: March 16, 2015


The most pressing question in This Week in Real Estate is: will this be the best year for home sales in nearly a decade? As the first quarter prepares to close in just over 2 weeks, Freddie Mac believes the answer is yes. And, if you have not read the 2015 National Association of Realtor’s Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study that was released this week, I encourage you to. Below are a few of the highlights from the second week in March that influence our business:

* Freddie Mac: 2015 best year for home sales in 8 years. “We expect this year to be the best year for home sales and new home construction since 2007 when we saw total home sales about 5.8 million for the year,” said Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist with Freddie Mac. Reasons Freddie Mac is optimistic: high affordability, improving labor markets, rising rents and expanded credit availability. Full Story…

* Home buyers borrowing more than ever before. The average loan size for home purchases reached $294,000 last week, the highest amount since the Mortgage Bankers Association started keeping records 25 years ago. While the loan amounts increased, so did the cost of borrowing money. The average rate for a 30-year, fixed rate loan last week was 4.01 percent, the highest level so far this year and up from 3.96 percent the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The association expects mortgage rates to continue marching upward as strong jobs data reinforces expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates as soon as June. The organization predicts long-term mortgage rates will reach 4.6 percent by the end of this year and 5.4 percent by the end of 2016. Full Story…

* NAR Generational Survey: Millenials Lead All Buyers, Most Likely to Use Real Estate Agent. For the second consecutive years, NAR’s study found that the largest group of recent buyers was the millenial generation, those 34 and younger, composed 32 percent of all buyers (31 percent in 2013). Generation X, ages 35 – 49, was closely behind with a 27 percent share. Regardless of their age, buyers used a wide variety of resources in searching for a home, with the internet (88 percent) and real estate agents (87 percent) leading the way. Millennials were the most likely to use a real estate agent, mobile or tablet applications, and mobile or tablet search engines during their search. Although the internet was the top source of where millennials found they home they purchased (51 percent), they also used an agent to purchase their home at a higher share (90 percent) than all other generations. Gen X homeowners represented the largest share of sellers (27 percent) followed by older boomers (23 percent) and younger boomers (20 percent). A combined 60 percent of responding sellers found a real estate agent through a referral by a friend, relative or neighbor, or used their agent from a previous transaction. Eighty-three percent are likely to use the agent again or recommend to others. Full Story…

* The bitter divorce of ListHub and the Zillow Group was completed in a California courtroom on Thursday. The two parties have settled and ListHub’s listing data will now disappear from Trulia on April 7, the same day it was already set to disappear from Zillow. Full Story…

Have a productive week!



This Week in Real Estate: March 9, 2015



Following the report this week of another strong month of job growth in February the noteworthy news for This Week in Real Estate  centers around the increasing speculation of just when the Fed will raise interest rates. Also, a very fascinating report offered by Goldman Sachs about millennials and how they will impact the economy. Below are a few of the highlights from the first week in March that influence our business:

* U.S. labor market flexes muscles as February payrolls soar. The jobs report released Friday confirms that the U.S. labor market is continuing an impressive, if not historic, favorable run. The 295,000 gain in payrolls for February solidly outperformed the consensus expectation of 235,000. This is particularly impressive when you take into account the range of recent headwinds confronting the U.S. economy, from disruptive weather to a relentlessly stronger dollar. February was the 12th straight month of job gains exceeding 200,000, the longest such run since 1994. Equally impressively, this report increases the three-month moving average to around 290,000. The unemployment rate dropped two-tenths of a percentage point to 5.5 percent, the lowest since May 2008. Full Story…​

* Wall Street firms more convinced of June rate hike. Many of Wall Street’s biggest banks are more convinced the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in June after a strong February jobs report on Friday pointed to sustained economic growth and as the jobless rate hit a more than 6-1/2 year-low. “The strength of the jobs data today argues in favor of the Fed allowing itself the flexibility to soon drop the word ‘patient'” from its statement, said Dana Saporta, economist at Credit Suisse, who expects a June rate hike. Full Story…

* Property tax rates highest for homeowners who have owned between five and fifteen years. It seems that taxes on real property reflect not only the value of the property itself, but also how long the owner has held title. That was one finding of a study released this week by RealtyTrac, which it called its ‘first-ever U.S. Property Tax Rates Report.’ RealtyTrac cut the data in several ways and came up with some interesting findings. First, it found that owners of very high end and very low end homes pay the highest property tax rates. The report found significant correlation between years owned and tax rate. The report found that homeowners who have owned 5 to 15 years had the highest effective property tax rates while those who have owned more than 20 years had the lowest effective property tax rates. The average effective property tax rate was 1.35 percent for homeowners who have owned between 10 and 15 years, and it was 1.34 percent for homeowners who have owned between 5 and 10 years. Meanwhile, the average effective property tax rates was 1.18 percent for homeowners who have owned less than 1 year, and it was 1.15 percent for homeowners who have owned more than 20 years. Full Story…

* Goldman Sachs just nailed millennial homebuying. The Millennial generation is the largest in U.S. history and as they reach their prime working and spending years, their impact on the economy is going to be huge. Millennials are poised to reshape the economy; their unique experiences will change the ways we buy and sell, forcing companies to examine how they do business for decades to come.  “As millennials enter their peak home-buying years, their reluctance to enter the housing market could change. The cohort’s sheer size, plus its desire to settle down in the future, could lead to a surge in home sales.” Millenials have come of age during a time of technological change, globalization and economic disruption. That’s given them a different set of behaviors and experiences than their parents. Full Story…

Have a productive week!



This Week in Real Estate, March 2, 2015


Happy March!

With the first two months of 2015 in the books the theme for This Week in Real Estate is “record highs.” Below are a few of the highlights from the final week in February that influence our business:

* Pending home sales hit highest level in 18 months. U.S. home buyers signed more contracts to buy existing homes in January than they have since August of 2013, according to the National Association of Realtors. Its monthly index of so-called  pending sales, an indicator of future closed sales, rose 1.7 percent month-to-month, and is now 8.4 percent higher than it was a year ago. This is the fifth straight month of year-over-year gains, and the gains are increasing. “Contract activity is convincingly up compared to a year ago despite comparable inventory levels,” said Lawrence Yun. “The difference this year is the positive factors supporting stronger sales, such as slightly improving credit conditions, more jobs and slower price growth.” Full Story…

* Construction optimism at 20-year high. Wells Fargo’s 2015 Construction Industry Forecast, presents results of a survey it has conducted for the last 19 years of industry executives representing large and small contractors as well as equipment distributorships and equipment rental companies. The survey attempts to track industry optimism using what it calls the Optimism Quotient (OQ). John Crum said that after tumbling to an all-time low of 42 in January 2009, the OQ has climbed steadily, reaching new highs in three of the last four years and landing this year at 130, up six points from 2014. “In the nearly 20 years that we’ve been tracking the OQ we’ve never seen such widespread optimism about the direction of the industry compared to the prior year,” said Crum. Full Story…

* U.S. new-home sizes set record last year. The median size of completed homes last year hit a new record of 2,415 square feet, according to the Commerce Department. Home sizes grew in every year between 1995 and 2007, but they fell during the recession as builders went small to compete with cheap foreclosures. There are signs that home sizes won’t set new records this year. The size of homes in which builders started construction ticked down last year after peaking in the first quarter. That could be a sign builders have concluded that they need to refocus on the entry level buyers if they want to increase sales.” Full Story…

* Federal Reserve chairwoman, Janet Yellen, counsels patience on interest rate increase. “If economic conditions continue to improve, as the committee anticipates, the committee will at some point begin considering an increase in the target range for the federal funds rate on a meeting-by-meeting basis,” Ms. Yellen said. The central bank is pleased with recent economic growth, but convinced there is room for improvement and still pondering when to start raising interest rates. Ms. Yellen said the next step would be an announcement, which could come as soon as March, that the Fed would begin to consider raising its benchmark rate at each policy-making meeting. Patience remained the Fed’s watchword. Full Story…

Have a productive week!

This Week in Real Estate, Feb. 23, 2015


Good Morning!

While the FTC completed its review of the Zillow acquisition of Trulia this week, allowing the transaction to close, the legal maneuvering just begins. The issue of syndication dominates the headlines again for This Week in Real Estate. Below are a few of the highlights from the third week in February that influence our business:

*  Battle of the Portals: ListHub to end syndication agreement with Trulia early; Zillow group fires back with restraining order. On Thursday Move Inc., operators of, announced its listing management service, ListHub, will end its syndication agreement with Trulia as of next week. Zillow announced Friday it has filed for a temporary restraining order on that move to keep listings going to Trulia. “This action is a result of the completion of Zillow’s acquisition of Trulia this week, and the upcoming dissolution of ListHub’s syndication relationship with Zillow this April,” stated ListHub’s general manager Celeste Starchild. On Friday Move Inc. issued the following response to Zillow’s temporary restraining order: “What a difference two days make! On Wednesday, Spencer Rascoff (Zillow CEO) was celebrating the ‘liberating moment’ when ‘we announced we were parting ways with News Corp,’ and how they ‘were really freed from the constraint of being reliant on a competitor for listings,’ listings he (inaccurately) described as ‘inferior.’ Today, they say that the ‘sudden’ loss of those listings is ‘an incredible hardship for agents and consumers.'” Full Story…

* Mortgage rates move higher on strong jobs report. Freddie Mac released this week the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey, showing average fixed mortgage rates moving higher amid a strong employment report. Regardless, fixed-rate mortgage rates still remain near their May 23, 2013 lows. “Mortgage rates rose last week following strong economic data,” says Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist, Freddie Mac. The economy added 257,000 new jobs in January after robust increases of 329,000 in December and 423,000 in November. Full Story…

*  Fed appears to hesitate on raising interest rate. The Federal Reserve is not sounding like an institution that is ready to raise its benchmark interest rate in June. “You can almost hear a little hesitation in the committee,” said Zach Pandl, senior interest rate strategist at the investment firm Columbia Management. “They sound confident on the economy, but nervous on pulling the trigger on rate hikes.” The economy is growing strongly, and the statement the Fed issued after the January meeting was its most upbeat since the end of the recession in 2009. That optimism has since been reinforced by the government’s latest jobs report, released this month, which estimated that strong employment gains at the end of 2014 continued at a healthy pace in January. Many officials were concerned that raising rates prematurely “might damp the apparent solid recovery,” potentially forcing the Fed to reverse course.” Full Story…

*  Realtors applaud FAA proposed rule to allow commercial drone use for real estate. Under the new FAA proposal, drones that weigh less than 55 pounds would be able to fly up to 500 feet above the ground at speeds up to 100 mph. Drone operators would have to obtain a special unmanned operating certificate, and follow a handful of restrictions, including keeping the drone within sight, and avoiding hazards like restricted airspace, people, airports, and other planes. “Today’s action does not authorize widespread commercial use of unmanned aircraft. That can only happen when the rule is final,” FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said. “In the meantime operators must go through the current process for a waiver or exemption to fly.” Full Story…

Have a productive week!

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Market Watch NE Alberta in Portland, ORHome buyers love our BHHS Northwest Real Estate Market Watch reports! They pinpoint the latest homes for sale, sold prices and market trends by area of choice. Simply enter a city, zip code or address and get a quick micro-market analysis of an area.

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Our new videos combine the latest MLS statistics and animated infographics to deliver local real estate market activity and trends in a simplified manner. Real estate market video update

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate is pleased to announce the launch of local real estate market videos on our website, We are now providing 60-second videos created from MLS metrics to deliver summaries of activity and trends in the company’s most popular service areas in most of our markets in Oregon and Washington. The Central Oregon and Netarts/Tillamook areas will be added soon.

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Florence, Oregon Named in the Top 15 Retirement Hot Spots For Real Estate

FlorenceRealtyTrac, a leading resource for real estate data, includes Florence, Oregon in its list of Top 15 Retirement Hot Spots for real estate investing. To qualify for inclusion in the special report, at least 1/3 of the population must be seniors age 65 or older.

Florence comes in at #11 on the list, with 38.2% of its population at retirement age or older. With a median sales price in May 2013 of $165,000 and an annual percentage rate change in price of 10.37%, Florence looks like a winner as a retirement destination.

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Buyers Love Our Interactive Micro-Market Real Estate Reports

Prudential NW Market Watch micro market snapshotHome buyers love our interactive micro-market real estate reports for accessing the latest homes for sale activity and market trend information.

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