November Brings Balance to the Housing Market


Economists reported This Week in Real Estate that “sellers will keep their foothold for another couple of years at least, though with weakened negotiating power thanks to basic economic fundamentals like a growing job market rather than one that has been artificially bolstered.” Below are a few highlights from the second week of November that influence our business:

Single-Family Permits: Declines in the Midwest and Northeast

Over the first nine months of 2018, the total number of single-family permits issued year-to-date (YTD) nationwide reached 664,665. On a year-over-year basis, this is a 5.7% increase over the September 2017 level of 628,858. The preliminary results from the New Residential Construction Survey are similar, year-to-date single-family permits over the first nine months of 2018 was, 663,800 which is 5.5% ahead of its level over the same period of 2017, 628,900. Year-to-date, single-family permits grew in the Southern and the Western regions of the country, while the Midwest and Northeast declined by 0.9% and 6.4% respectively, compared to September 2017 YTD. The Western region had the highest growth in single-family (11.5%) while the South recorded the highest multifamily permits growth (14.9%) during the last 12 months.

Real Estate Markets Cooling Across the Country, and it’s Not Just the Winter Effect

In December 2008, almost a decade ago exactly, Case-Shiller posted a record 18% price drop in home values across the country as the subprime mortgage crisis reached fever pitch. After a slow and painful recession period, economic prosperity pushed the market out of recovery mode and into a full-fledged real estate boom characterized by double-digit price growth, rock-bottom inventory and surging buyer demand over the past few years. It’s been the lowest of lows, followed by a glorified golden age for the country’s trillion-dollar residential real estate business. But a new normal, one that’s neither ice cold nor fiery red, does appear to be taking shape. “There is a definite shift,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors and fellow Forbes contributor. “I would characterize the current state as normalizing and not truly a buyer’s market. It was clearly a seller’s market in spring, but now things appear to be more balanced.” Rest easy, no one’s warning of a housing bust 2.0 danger zone. The current price run-up wasn’t artificially bolstered by mortgage fraud, but rather economic fundamentals including a growing jobs market, and that thing we all learned in Economics 101: supply and demand. In fact, economists forecast that sellers will keep their foothold for another couple of years at least, though with weakened negotiating power.

Most Buyers Don’t Expect House Hunting to Get Easier Soon

Only about 2 out of every 10 prospective home buyers (people looking to buy a home in the next year) expect the search for a home to get easier in the months ahead. The majority, about 7 out of 10, instead think house hunting will get harder or stay about the same. This opinion is shared among buyers of all ages, as only 15%-21% of each generation expects the search for a home to get easier soon. These findings come from NAHB’s Housing Trends Report (HTR) for the third quarter of 2018. Another way to find out buyers’ perception about the inventory of available housing in their markets is to ask if they see the number of for-sale homes (with their desired features and price point) rising or falling compared to three months earlier. In the third quarter of 2018, 29% said they could see more such homes vs. 61% who said they saw fewer/about the same number as before. Put shortly, most prospective buyers have seen no improvement in the availability of housing. A majority of buyers in each generation shares that opinion.

Home Prices and Equity Rise as Affordability Lowers


ATTOM Data Solutions reported This Week in Real Estate that the number of equity rich U.S. properties increased to a new high in the third quarter of 2018. Below are a few highlights from the first week of November that influence our business:

Equity Rich U.S. Properties Increase to New High of 14.5 Million in Q3 2018
On Thursday ATTOM Data Solutions released its Q3 2018 U.S. Home Equity & Underwater Report, which shows that in the third quarter of 2018, nearly 14.5 million U.S. properties were equity rich – where the combined estimated amount of loans secured by the property was 50 percent or less of the property’s estimated market value – up by more than 433,000 from a year ago to a new high as far back as data is available, Q4 2013. The 14.5 million equity rich properties in Q3 2018 represented 25.7 percent of all properties with a mortgage, up from 24.9 percent in the previous quarter but down from 26.4 percent in Q3 2017. “West coast markets along with New York have the highest share of equity rich homeowners while markets in the Mississippi Valley and Rust Belt continue to have stubbornly high rates of seriously underwater homeowners when it comes to home equity,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president with ATTOM Data Solutions. States with the highest share of equity rich properties were California (42.5 percent); Hawaii (39.4 percent); Washington (35.3 percent); New York (34.9 percent); and Oregon (33.6 percent).

Housing Affordability Edges Lower in the Third Quarter
A modest increase in interest rates and home prices kept housing affordability at a 10-year low in the third quarter of 2018, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI). In all, 56.4 percent of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of July and end of September were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $71,900. This is down from the 57.1 percent of homes sold in the second quarter that were affordable to median-income earners and the lowest reading since mid-2008. The national median home price edged up from $265,000 in the second quarter of 2018 to $268,000 in the third quarter. This is the highest quarterly median price in the history of the HOI series. At the same time, average mortgage rates rose by a nominal 5 basis points in the third quarter to 4.72 percent from 4.67 percent in the second quarter.

CoreLogic Reports September Home Prices Increased by 5.6% Year Over Year
CoreLogic released on Tuesday the CoreLogic Home Price Index (HPI) and HPI Forecast for September 2018, which shows home prices rose both year over year and month over month. Home prices increased nationally by 5.6 percent year over year from September 2017. On a month-over-month basis, prices increased by 0.4 percent in September 2018. Looking ahead, the CoreLogic HPI Forecast indicates home prices will increase by 4.7 percent on a year-over-year basis from September 2018 to September 2019. On a month-over-month basis, home prices are expected to decrease by 0.6 percent from September to October 2018. The CoreLogic HPI Forecast is a projection of home prices calculated using the CoreLogic HPI and other economic variables. Values are derived from state-level forecasts by weighting indices according to the number of owner-occupied households for each state.


2019 Housing Forecasting and Millennial Homeownership

2019 Forecasting and Millennial Homeownership

National Association of Realtors chief economist Lawrence Yun presented his 2019 forecast This Week in Real Estate at NAR’s annual conference in Boston. Mr. Yun estimates there will be 5.345 million home sales in 2018, down 3% from last year, and will increase to 5.4 million sales in 2019, a 1% increase. Additionally, Mr. Yun expects median home prices to increase 3.1% in 2019 and 2.6% growth in 2020. Below are a few highlights from the final week of October that influence our business:

2019 Forecast: Existing Home Sales to Stabilize and Price Growth to Continue
Consumers should expect home sales to flatten and home prices to continue to increase, though at a slower pace, according to a residential housing and economic forecast session at NAR’s 2018 Realtors Conference & Expo. “2017 was the best year for home sales in ten years, and 2018 is only down 1.5 percent year to date. Statistically, it is a mild twinge in the data and a very mild adjustment compared to the long-term growth we’ve been experiencing over the past few years. The current market conditions are fundamentally different than what we were experiencing before the recession 10 years ago,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “Most states are reporting stable or strong market conditions, housing starts are under-producing instead of over-producing and we are seeing historically low foreclosure levels, indicating that people are living within their means and not purchasing homes they cannot afford. This is a stronger, more stable market compared to the loosely regulated market leading up to the bust.” With a few months of data remaining in 2018, Yun estimates that existing-home sales will finish at a pace of 5.345 million—a decrease from 2017 (5.51 million). In 2019, sales are forecasted to increase to 5.4 million, a 1 percent increase. The national median existing-home price is expected to rise to around $266,800 in 2019 (up 3.1 percent from 2018 this year and $274,000 in 2020. “Home price appreciation will slow down – the days of easy price gains are coming to an end – but prices will continue to rise.”

Construction Spending Holds Ground
The U.S. Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce announced that construction spending during September 2018 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.330 trillion, about the same as the revised August estimate of $1.329 trillion. Notably, September’s spending is 7.2% above the September 2017 estimate of $1.24 trillion. Of that, residential construction spending was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $556.4 billion in September, 0.6% above the revised August estimate of $553 billion. NAHB Chairman Randy Noel said despite rising affordability concerns, builders continue to report firm demand for housing, especially as Millennials and other newcomers enter the market. “The recent decline in lumber prices from record-high levels earlier this summer is also welcome relief, although builders still need to manage construction costs to keep homes competitively priced,” Noel stated.

Millennial Homeownership Rate Rises to 37%
According to the Census Bureau’s Housing Vacancy Survey (HVS), the U.S. homeownership rate was 64.4% in the third quarter of 2018, which is not statistically different from its last quarter reading. The national homeownership rate demonstrated stability during a quarter in which housing markets softened due to declining affordability conditions. This follows the rate dropping to a cycle low of 62.9% in the second quarter 2016. Compared to the peak of 69.2% in 2004, however, the homeownership rate is still lower by almost five percentage points. The count of total households, however, increased to 121 million in the third quarter of 2018 from 119 million a year ago. Newly-gained households are predominantly owner households, while renter households only increased by 60,000. The homeownership rates among all age groups under 64 increased over the last year. Millennial households, mostly first-time homebuyers, registered the largest gains among all households, a 1.2 percentage point increase from a year ago. Millennials are gradually returning to the for-sale housing market, where gains in home price are slowing down. The homeownership rates of households ages 45-54 and 55-64 experienced a 0.8 percentage point increase.



Housing Market Gains in the 3rd Quarter


Housing Market Gains in the 3rd Quarter

Despite the slowdown in the rate of home price appreciation as reported by ATTOM Data Solutions This Week in Real Estate, homeowners who sold in Q3 2018 realized the highest average price gain since Q2 2007. Below are a few highlights from the fourth week of October that influence our business:

Pending Home Sales Stabilize

Pending home sales increased in September but have decreased on an annual basis for nine consecutive months. The Pending Home Sale Index increased 0.5% in September but remains down 1.0% year-over-year. The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) is a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The PHSI increased to 104.6 in September, from 104.1 in August. The PHSI increased 4.5% in the West and 1.2% in the Midwest but decreased 0.4% in the Northeast and 1.4% in the South. Year-over-year, the PHSI increased 3.3% in the South, but declined 1.1% in the Midwest, 2.7% in the Northeast and 7.4% in the West. 

U.S. Median Home Price Increases 4.8% in Q3 2018, Slowest Rate of Annual Appreciation Since Q2 2016

ATTOM Data Solutions released its Q3 2018 U.S. Home Sales Report on Thursday which shows that U.S. single family homes and condos sold for a median price of $256,000 in the third quarter, up 1.0 percent from the previous quarter and up 4.8 percent from a year ago – the slowest pace of annual home price appreciation since Q2 2016. “The continued slowdown in the rate of home price appreciation nationwide and in many local markets is a rational response to worsening home affordability – which has deteriorated at an accelerated pace this year due to rising mortgage rates,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions. “Markets not experiencing this price appreciation cool down may have more of an affordability cushion to work with, but some are in danger of overheating if home price gains continue to run hot.”

“I think the key factor underpinning the decelerating price appreciation is the impact of rising rates on the monthly payment,” said Tendayi Kapfidze, chief economist at mortgage marketplace Lending Tree. “Absent financing structures that allow a borrower to increase leverage while mitigating an increase in the monthly debt service, buying power is decreasing across the board. “This especially affects the marginal buyer who doesn’t have a lot of wiggle room,” Kapfidze added. “And if you remember your econ 101, the marginal buyer transacts at the market clearing price. So, while there is still strong demand, some potential buyers are falling out of the market and others are moving down in price with the aggregate effect being a moderation in price appreciation.”

Homeowners who sold in Q3 2018 sold for an average of $61,232 more than their original purchase price, the highest average home seller price gain since Q2 2007. The $61,232 average home seller price gain in Q3 2018 represented an average 32.3 percent return on the original purchase price, up from an average 31.6 percent return in the previous quarter and up from an average 31.4 percent return in Q3 2017. Among 156 metropolitan statistical areas analyzed for average home seller gains, those with the highest average home seller percentage gains were San Jose, California (108.7 percent gain); San Francisco, California (77.3 percent gain); Seattle, Washington (69.8 percent gain); Santa Rose, California (67.9 percent gain); and Salem, Oregon (63.4 percent gain). Along with San Jose, San Francisco and Seattle, other metro areas with a population of at least 1 million and average home seller percentage gains of more than 55 percent were Portland, Oregon (59.6 percent gain); Boston, Massachusetts (58.1 percent gain); Los Angeles, California (58.0 percent gain); Nashville, Tennessee (56.5 percent gain); and Salt Lake City, Utah (56.5 percent gain).

Homeowners Are Staying Put Longer Than Ever Before

Homeowners are staying in place longer than ever before, despite the growing amount of equity in their homes. A new report from First American – a provider of title insurance, settlement services and risk solutions for real estate transactions – reveals that the median tenure for homeownership has jumped to 10 years, up 10% from last year. By comparison, the median tenure in the pre-crash days of 2007 was four years, and in the aftermath of the market’s meltdown – when many homeowners couldn’t move because they were underwater on their properties – the median tenure was seven years. “There is less incentive to sell your home if borrowing the same amount from the bank at today’s rates will be more expensive than your existing monthly mortgage payment,” said Fleming. “As rates rise, many existing homeowners are increasingly financially imprisoned in their own home by their historically low mortgage rate.” But, home prices have recovered over the last decade, Fleming points out, meaning that many homeowners have accumulated enough equity to sell their homes at a profit.



September’s Top Effects on the Housing Market


September’s Top Effects on the Housing Market

While the total number of sales is softer this year compared to last year, builder confidence remains strong according to the most recent National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released This Week in Real Estate. The West enjoys the highest regional HMI score of 74 as well as the largest year-over-year increase in single family construction starts at 14.6%. Below are a few highlights from the third week of October that influence our business:

Builder Confidence Rises One Point in October, Remains at Summer Levels
Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes rose one point to 68 in October on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). Builder confidence levels have held in the high 60s since June. Builders continue to view solid housing demand, fueled by a growing economy and a nearly 50-year low for unemployment. Lumber price declines for three straight months from elevated levels earlier this summer have also helped to reduce some cost pressures, but builders will need to manage supply-side costs to keep home prices affordable. Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast rose three points to 57 and the South edged up one point to 71. The West held steady at 74 and the Midwest fell two points to 57.

Existing-Home Sales Decline Across the Country in September
Existing-home sales declined in September after a month of stagnation in August, according to the National Association of Realtors®. All four major regions saw no gain in sales activity last month. Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, fell 3.4 percent from August to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.15 million in September. Sales are now down 4.1 percent from a year ago (5.37 million in September 2017). First-time buyers were responsible for 32 percent of sales in September, up from last month (31 percent) and a year ago (29 percent). All-cash sales accounted for 21 percent of transactions in September, up from August and a year ago (both 20 percent). Single-family home sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.58 million in September, down from 4.74 million in August, and are 4.0 percent below the 4.77 million sales pace from a year ago. Existing-home sales in the West fell 3.6 percent to an annual rate of 1.08 million in September, 12.2 percent below a year ago.

Single-Family Starts Flat in September
Total housing starts posted a decline in September due to flat conditions for single-family construction and a pullback for apartment development. Total starts declined 5.3% in September but are 6.4% higher for 2018 on a year-to-date basis, according to the joint data release from the Census Bureau and HUD. The pace of single-family starts was roughly flat in September, decreasing 0.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 871,000. Slight gains off the summer soft patch for single-family mirror a minor uptick of the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, now registering a score of 68. While builders are benefitting from recent declines in lumber prices (at least relative to spring and summer’s elevated levels), they continue to report concerns about labor access issues. On a year-to-date basis, single-family starts are 6% higher as of September relative to the first nine months of 2017. Single-family permits, a useful indicator of future construction activity, were up slightly (2.9%) in September and have registered a 5.6% gain thus far in 2018 compared to last year. With respect to housing’s economic impact, 54% of homes under construction in September were multifamily (607,000). The current count of apartments under construction is down slightly from a year ago. In September, there were 522,000 single-family units under construction, a gain of more than 9% from this time in 2017. Regional data show – on a year-to-date basis – mixed conditions. Single-family construction is down 1% for the year in the Midwest and flat in the Northeast. Single-family starts are up in the larger building regions of the South (4.9%) and the West (14.6%).



The Transitioning Market


The Transitioning Market

As the pace of home price appreciation begins to temper and available inventory rises, the need to educate homeowners of selling in a transitioning market as well as establishing new expectations intensifies. According to a report released by Trulia This Week in Real Estate 17.2% of U.S. listings experienced a price cut in August. That is the highest level of price cuts since 2014. Below are a few highlights from the second week of October that influence our business:

New Home Sales Dip, Still Stronger Than Last Year

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reports a drop in applications for the purchase of newly constructed homes last month. Those applications fell by 3.9 percent compared to August although they remained 8.2 percent higher than they were the previous September. “Even though new home sales decreased 3.9 percent over the month, the average monthly number of homes sold so far this year (648,000 units) is around 8 percent higher than a year ago, and last month’s 8.2 percent annualized gain in purchase applications points to continued demand for new homes,” said Joel Kan, MBA Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “Housing demand is still strong even as mortgage rates increase, and as a result, we’re still forecasting for modest growth in purchase origination volume in 2018.” Conventional loans accounted for 71.0 percent of applications and FHA loans for 16.0 percent. VA loans had an 11.9 percent share and 1.1 percent were for RHS/USDA loans.

Home Price Cuts Reach 4-Year High 

There was a significant increase in the share of homes that experienced a price cut in August 2018, according the latest data collected from Trulia. According to the report, in August 17.2% of U.S. listings had a price cut, which is an increase from 16.7% the previous year. This is the highest level of price cuts since 2014. Trulia reports in the majority of the first half of 2018 the share of listings with a price cut held steady from 2017, but began to climb in July and August. The report indicates that this can be attributed to the slowdown of home price growth and inventory levels that are beginning to rise. Trulia Housing Economist Felipe Chacon said buyers should be encouraged by signals in the market, however not every buyer will benefit equally. “Price reductions typically aren’t uniformly spread out across a given city – some neighborhoods might have a lot of listings with a reduced price, others may have none,” Chacon. “Our research shows that price cuts are much more prevalent in higher-cost neighborhoods, so budget-conscious buyers may have some trouble finding a bargain.” Of the top 100 metros, 63 had a year-over-year increase, and some of the most expensive and fastest growing markets experienced the largest jumps. Notably, the West Coast hosted some of the biggest year-over-year price cuts in August.

Q3 Foreclosure Activity Down 8% From Year Ago to Lowest Level Since Q4 2015

ATTOM Data Solutions released its Q3 2018 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report Thursday, which shows a total of 177,146 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings – default notices, scheduled auctions or bank repossessions – in the third quarter, down 6 percent from the previous quarter and down 8 percent from a year ago to the lowest level since Q4 2005 – a nearly 13-year low. U.S. foreclosure activity in Q3 2018 was 36 percent below the pre-recession average of 278,912 properties with foreclosure filings per quarter between Q1 2006 and Q3 2007 – the eighth consecutive quarter where U.S. foreclosure activity has registered below the pre-recession average. “A decade after poorly underwritten mortgages triggered a housing market crash, it’s clear that the foreclosure risk associated with those problem mortgages has faded – average foreclosure timelines have dropped to a two-year low, and the share of foreclosures tied to 2004 to 2008 loans has dropped well below 50 percent,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions. “The biggest foreclosure risk in today’s housing market comes from natural disaster events such as the twin hurricanes of a year ago. Foreclosure starts spiked in the third quarter in many local markets impacted by those hurricanes.



Home Affordability and Unemployment Rates Drop as FICO Scores Rise


Home Affordability and Unemployment Rates Drop as FICO Scores Rise

Despite the pressure home price appreciation has put on affordability, the labor market continues to be very strong, as the unemployment rate declined again in September to 3.7%, and consumer credit scores have reached a new high according to a report released This Week in Real Estate by FICO. Below are a few highlights from the first week of October that influence our business:

FICO Scores Hit Record High 
Lesson learned? Whether they saw their credit decimated by the housing crisis and the Great Recession or merely watched loan standards tightened beyond their ability to qualify, Americans seem to have taken to heart the importance of their credit scores.  The result, FICO says, is that consumer credit scores have reached a new high, an average of 704 points. The 704 point average score, on scale that runs from 300 to 850, is a substantial improvement from the average of 686 in 2009. A lot of the improvement, 5 points, has been added in the last two years, one of the fastest two-year run-ups in FICO history. A score of 704 is considered good, meaning a consumer is a fairly safe bet for performing on a loan as agreed, and usually gets that borrower a fairly good interest rates and other terms. The best deals are usually reserved for those with scores of 750 or better. However, while FICO scores for most categories of borrowers are rising, the averages for people taking out mortgages are sliding, down from 745 in the years after the crash to about 733. This, of course, is not a reflection on borrowers but rather an indication that mortgage lenders are relaxing their standards, accepting slightly lower scores in their underwriting. There are a lot of factors that help account for the overall higher scores. First, fewer people have truly awful ones. Those with scores under 500 now constitute 4.2 percent of the total, down from 7.3 percent in 2009 and the share with scores from 500 to 549 has dropped from 8.7 percent to 6.8 percent. On the other end of the spectrum, 22 percent of those with a FICO number are considered “super-scorers,” with a score over 800.  Forty-two percent have scores between 750 and 850.

U.S. Home Affordability Drops to Lowest Level in 10 Years
ATTOM Data Solutions released its Q3 2018 U.S. Home Affordability Report on Thursday, which shows that the U.S. home prices in the third quarter were at the least affordable level since Q3 2008 – a 10-year low. The report calculates an affordability index based on percentage of income needed to buy a median-priced home relative to historic averages, with an index above 100 indicating median home prices are more affordable than the historic average, and an index below 100 indicating median home prices are less affordable than the historic average. Nationwide, the Q3 2018 home affordability index of 92 was down from an index of 95 in the previous quarter and an index of 102 in Q3 2017 to the lowest level since Q3 2008, when the index was 87. Among 440 U.S. counties analyzed in the report, 344 (78 percent) posted a Q3 2018 affordability index below 100, meaning homes were less affordable than the long-term affordability averages for the county — the highest percentage of counties below historic affordability averages since Q3 2008.

Unemployment Falls to 3.7% in September
The labor market continues to be very strong as total employment increased by 134,000 and the unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 3.7% in September. Job gains have averaged 208,000 a month in 2018, faster than the first nine months’ averages of 170,000 in 2017 and 206,000 in 2016. In September, the number of unemployed persons decreased by 270,000 while the number of employed persons increased by 420,000. As a result, the number of individuals in the labor force increased by 150,000. The labor force participation rate remained at 62.7% in September. Monthly employment data released by the BLS Establishment Survey indicates that the number of residential construction jobs rose by 4,400 in September, after a 12,000 increase in August. Residential construction employment now stands at 2.84 million in September, broken down as 799,000 builders and 2 million residential specialty trade contractors. The 6-month moving average of job gains for residential construction is 6,717 a month. Over the last 12 months, home builders and remodelers have added 139,600 jobs on a net basis. Since the low point following the Great Recession, residential construction has gained 853,000 positions.


Portland Metro Weekend Planner October 5-7, 2018

October 5-7, 2018

THROUGH SUN – Head to the Portland Fall Home Show at the Portland Expo Center with home-improvement vendors, watch workshops and meet local vendors and decorators.

THROUGH OCT 30 – Walk through this family friendly Halloween castle with a tunnel, bridge and a maze at the Wenzel family farm.

THROUGH OCT 6 – Join FashionNXT for their debut of spring & summer collection, stick around for the after party!

THROUGH SUN – Enjoy Greek food and beverages while listening to live music and watching traditional dance at the Portland Greek Festival.

FRI-SUN – Browse the latest in tattoo designs from the best artists around. Artists will be tattooing on this day as well, must be 18 or older.

THROUGH OCT 9 – Zeitgeist Northwest hosts the 9th Annual Portland German Film Festival with thought-provoking films streamed in German with English subtitles.

THROUGH NOV 3 – Creep through the oldest Halloween attraction in Portland as actors and creepy creatures haunt guests.

THROUGH OCT 28 – Clark County Scaregrounds holds three haunted houses, carnival rides, and more on the 170-acre campus in Ridgefield.  

SAT – Head to Logtoberfest for live country music, food and beverage vendors and bone-rattling stories of Sasquatch sightings.

SAT-SUN – Lincoln City hosts the biggest Kite Festival in the West with kids activities, kite-making workshops a parade, and more!

FRI-SUN Film screenings of strange horror and weird tales with panel discussions, art, author meetings and more!

SAT-SUN – Talk to local collectors, miniature masterpiece artists and workshops at the Monarch Hotel in Clackamas.

THROUGH OCT 31 – Don’t miss haunted houses all over the city! Stop by the Fear Asylum in Milwaukie, Milburn’s Haunted Manor in Hubbard, and the House of Shadows in Gresham.


FRI – Enjoy a night out on the town with live music, stroll through participating art galleries and enjoy local cuisine.

SAT – Head to the celebration of the oldest Apple Tree in the West, planted 192 years ago at Fort Vancouver. Watch workshops, engage in hands-on arts and crafts, or bring your own apples and try a turn at the free apple pressing.

SAT –  Walk along the river with friends and family to support and raise awareness for those with Parkinson’s disease.  This walk benefits Parkinson’s Resources, a local nonprofit offering medical care and wellness for families facing this disease in the Northwest.

THROUGH OCT 28 – Home to over 250 vendors with fresh and local produce, flowers, plants, baked goods, delicious food, pet treats, and accessories for yourself, home, or garden.

THROUGH SEPT 2019 – The Museum of Vancouver and Nature Vancouver present the exhibition Wild Things: The Power of Nature in Our Lives. Dives into life stories of local plants and animals and how they relate to each other and how they connect people to nature in the city.


  • A Crooked Somebody
  • Crash
  • A Star is Born
  • Afsar
  • Heavy Trip
  • Hello Mrs. Money
  • Ride
  • Shine
  • Venom
  • The Church
  • Viking Destiny

Click here for movie times and theaters.



Homebuyer Confidence Reaches an 18-Year High


Homebuyer Confidence Reaches an 18-Year High

While home price gains are growing at a slower pace according to a report released This Week in Real Estate by economists with Freddie Mac, the Consumer Confidence Index has spiked to the highest level since October 2000. Below are a few highlights from the fourth week of September that influence our business:

Home Price Gains Decelerate to 11-Month Low
“Amidst homebuyers’ budget constraints and slight improvements in supply levels, home prices grew at a slower pace last quarter,” economists at mortgage financier Freddie Mac said Monday. “For the year, we anticipate that home prices will increase 5.5%, with the growth rate moderating to 4.5% in 2019.” Home-price gains were weaker in the three-month period ending in July than in the prior month. The Case-Shiller national index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.2% and was up 6.0% for the year in July, down from a 6.2% increase in June. The more closely-watched 20-city index had notched a 6.4% gain last month. Those were the slowest paces of growth since last summer.

Pending Home Sales Continue to Slide
Pending home sales have decreased on an annual basis for eight consecutive months, and have declined month over month in four of the past five months. The Pending Home Sales Index decreased 1.8% in August, and is now down 2.3% year over year. The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) is a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts reported by the National Association of Realtors. The PHSI decreased to 104.2 in August, from 106.1 in July. The PHSI decreased in all four regions, ranging from a 5.9% decrease in the West to 0.5% in the Midwest. Year-over-year, the PHSI increased by 1.3% in the South, but decreased 11.3% in the West, 1.6% in the Northeast and 1.1% in the Midwest. NAR attributes the slowdown to the chronically low inventory, and the slowdown in existing sales mirrors the summer soft patch in new home sales. However, NAR reported a record high number of Americans now believe it is a good time to sell. Despite flat existing sales, builder confidence remained firm in September. The accelerating economic growth in the second quarter of 2018 fueled the job market, and the demand for new residential construction will continue to grow.

Consumer Confidence Reaches 18-Year High
Consumer confidence continued to rise in September, after a big increase in August. Currently, consumers are quite optimistic about both the current situation and the near-term outlook. The Consumer Confidence Index, reported by the Conference Board, increased to 138.4 in September, from 134.7 in August. It has surpassed the 2007 peak of 111.9 and spiked to the highest level since October 2000. Both the present situation index and the expectations index rose in September. The present situation index rose by 0.3 point from 172.8 to 173.1 and the expectations index jumped by 6.0 points from 109.3 to 115.3. The September increase in consumer confidence was mainly generated by an increase in the expectations index.


This Week in Real Estate: September 10, 2018


CoreLogic released its most recent Home Price Index Forecast This Week in Real Estate expecting a 5.1 percent price appreciation between July 2018 to July 2019. Below are a few highlights from the first week of September that influence our business:

* Lot Values Climb Higher. According to NAHB’s analysis of the Census Bureau’s Survey of Construction (SOC) data, single-family lot prices reached new record high in 2017, with half of the lots priced at or above $47,400. While this constitutes a new nominal record, lot values adjusted for inflation have not reached the housing boom peaks. In the midst of the housing boom – when twice as many single-family homes were started – half of the lots were going for over $43,000, which is over $50,000 when converted in 2017. The rising lot values are most pronounced in the West South Central and West North Central divisions where lot values hit new historical records – not only in nominal terms but also when adjusted for inflation – in 2017. In the West South Central division (that includes Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana), lot values had traditionally been below the national median. They caught up with the national median in 2015, surpassed it in 2016, and surged even higher in 2017, with half of the lots selling for more than $56,000. This represents a significant jump in the division lot values since the housing boom years when more than half of lots were priced under $30,000. The West North Central division also established a new record high, with half of the lots priced above $64,000, significantly exceeding the lot values of the boom era. Single-family spec homes started in New England are built on some of the most expensive lots in the nation. Half of all sold single-family homes started in New England in 2017 report lot values in excess of $128,000, by far exceeding the national median lot value for single-family spec homes of $47,400. The Pacific division where densities are high and developed land is scarce has the smallest lots. However, high regulatory costs push the median lot value to $84,000, the second most expensive value in the nation. The Pacific division lots also stand out for being most expensive in the nation in terms of per acre costs.
Full Story…

* CoreLogic: July Home Prices Increase by 6.2%CoreLogic released on Tuesday the CoreLogic Home Price Index (HPI) and HPI Forecast for July 2018, which shows home prices rose both year-over-year and month-over-month. Home prices increased nationally by 6.2 percent year-over-year from July 2017 to July 2018. On a month-over-month basis, prices increased by 0.3 percent in July 2018 compared with June 2018. Looking ahead, the CoreLogic HPI Forecast indicates that the national home-price index is projected to continue to increase by 5.1 percent on a year-over-year basis from July 2018 to July 2019. On a month-over-month basis, home prices are expected to decrease by 0.2 percent from July to August 2018. “With increased interest rates and home prices, the CoreLogic Home Price Index is rising at a slower rate than it was earlier this year,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “While markets in the western part of the country continue to experience rapid home-price growth, many of those metros are overvalued, and will likely experience a slowdown soon.”
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* U.S. Construction Spending Rises Slightly in July. The Commerce Department said construction spending barely rose in July as increases in homebuilding and investment in public projects were overshadowed by a sharp drop in private nonresidential outlays. Construction spending edged up 0.1 percent. Data for June was revised up to show construction outlays declining 0.8 percent instead of the previously reported 1.1 percent drop. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast construction spending increasing 0.5 percent in July. Construction spending increased 5.8 percent on a year-on-year basis. Spending on private residential projects rebounded 0.6 percent in July following two straight months of declines. While homebuilding rose in July, the overall trend has slowed, with builders continuing to complain about rising material costs as well as persistent land and labor shortages. Residential investment contracted in the first half of the year.
Full Story…

Have a productive week.


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