Home prices show improvement in latest Case-Shiller report

Home prices in 20 U.S. cities including the Portland-Vancouver area, rose in November for the sixth consecutive month, signaling the industry that precipitated the worst recession since the 1930s is stabilizing. The S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index increased 0.2 percent from the prior month on a seasonally adjusted basis, the group said today.

 Home prices in the Portland market increased a seasonally adjusted 0.9 percent from October to November and 0.3 percent in Seattle. The national gauge is down 5.3 percent from November 2008.


Tax Credit encourages buyers to shop early

The homebuying season is starting early this year, thanks to the expanded first-time and move-up homebuyer tax credit.

Typically, the busiest time for home shopping starts in March and continues through May, but this year buyers who want to take advantage of the tax credits have to have a signed contract by April 30 and close the deal by June 30.

That is getting people off the couch.

“The tax credit will absolutely have an effect,” says Pete Flint, CEO of residential real estate search engine Trulia.com. “It is going to shift demand from the later part of the year to the first part. January and February will be very strong. The next three months, there will be a surge in demand.”

Read more about the Tax Credit here.

Source: USA Today, Stephanie Armour


Prudent home remodeling is worth the investment

Sensible home remodeling is still worth the investment, according to Remodeling magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value Report. Uncertainty and restraint are the order of the day in this economy, and that sense of caution is reflected in home owners’ return on their investment in remodeling projects, according to REALTORS® in 80 metropolitan markets surveyed by Remodeling magazine for this year’s Cost vs. Value Report.

Many of these stats reinforce the notion that boosting the amount of livable space in and around your home will attract buyers who are increasingly looking for more room for their buck. In past years, converting an attic into a bedroom was a project that landed squarely in the middle of the rankings, but this year it leapfrogged over other categories into third place. It’s an admittedly pricey project, with an average national cost of nearly $50,000, but it generates an average national return of 83.1 percent and a better-than-100 percent return on investment, according to REALTORS® in 14 of the 80 cities surveyed. Adding a wood deck is much more economical, with an average national cost of slightly more than $10,000. Its average national return is 80.6 percent, but in six cities, its return is estimated at 100 percent or greater.  Continue reading…


Portland home sales climb in December

Portland home sales improved notably in December compared to a year ago. Closed sales rose 52.6 percent in December, compared with the same month in 2008, according to figures released Thursday by the Regional Multiple Listing Service. Pending sales climbed 40.9 percent and new listings rose 11.9 percent.

For the year, closed sales were comparable to 2008 and pending sales increased by 4 percent.

The year ended with a 7.7 month inventory of unsold homes, roughly half the 14.1 percent level posted in 2008. There were 1,506 closed sales in December, 16.1 percent fewer than November.

The year 2009 had 44,357 new listings, 19,921 pending sales, 18,955 closed sales and an average sales price of $289,900.

That compares with 2008’s 54,605 new listings, 19,150 pending sales, 19,132 closed sales and average sale price of $330,300.


Celebrating our Pinnacle Group members

Pinnacle Group

Dedicated members of the Pinnacle Club

A December luncheon at the Waverley Country Club kicked off the inauguration of the Prudential Northwest Properties Pinnacle Club. Agents and staff members who have been with the company for 20 or more years received honorary membership in the Pinnacle Club. Bert Waugh Jr expressed his appreciation and gratitude for the long-term commitment these individuals have shown to him, the company, and to their clients.

Years of service for members of the Prudential Northwest Properties team breaks down as follows:

36 people have been with us for 20 or more years

32 from 15-19 years

52 from 10-14 years

126 from 5-9 years

36 for 4 years

62 for 3 years

64 for 2 years

103 for 1 year

83 for less than 1 year

These numbers are a testiment to the commitment our company has to delivering the best value and highest level of service in the real estate industry.


The Basics: Extended Home Buyer Tax Credit

Bringing the Dream of Homeownership Within Reach

As part of its plan to stimulate the U.S. housing market and address the economic challenges facing our nation, Congress has passed new legislation that:

  • Extends the First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit of up to $8,000 to first-time home buyers until April 30, 2010.
  • Expands the credit to grant up to $6,500 credit to current home owners purchasing a new or existing home between November 7, 2009 and April 30, 2010.

Here is a little more information about how the Extended Home Buyer Tax Credit can help prospective home buyers become part of the American dream.

Who Qualifies for the Extended Credit?

  • First-time home buyers who purchase homes between November 7, 2009 and April 30, 2010.
  • Current home owners purchasing a home between November 7, 2009 and April 30, 2010, who have used the home being sold or vacated as a principal residence for five consecutive years within the last eight.

 To qualify as a “first-time home buyer” the purchaser or his/her spouse may not have owned a residence during the three years prior to the purchase.

Which Properties Are Eligible?

The Extended Home Buyer Tax Credit may be applied to primary residences, including: single-family homes, condos, townhomes, and co-ops.

How Much Is Available?

The maximum allowable credit for first-time home buyers is $8,000.

The maximum allowable credit for current homeowners is $6,500.

If you have specific questions or need additional information, please contact a tax professional or the Internal Revenue Service at 800-829-1040.


Giving to others this holiday season and beyond…

santa baby girl red

A little recipient of the Damascus/Clackamas Christmas project

Giving back to our communities is an integral part of the Prudential Northwest Properties culture. It’s what we do throughout the year. Now that the holiday season is upon us, the Pru crew has stepped up our giving even more. In addition to McMinnville and West Portland’s huge donations of Love Boxes for the soldiers overseas, here’s what a few of our other branches are doing to help their communities…

Hillsboro Branch Adopting a Family for the Holidays! The Hillsboro Branch has adopted the Anderson Family which consists of Mom, Dad and 2 boys, one with autism. Dad was recently laid off. Thank you Hillsboro Branch for giving back to the community and helping those in need!

Damascus and Clackamas Branches Provided Toys to Kids in Need! They collectively raised over $1,000 and then purchased and wrapped holiday gifts for 74 kids at the Annie Ross House (the only shelter in Clackamas County that accommodates entire families) and Clackamas County Women’s Shelter holiday party. Thanks to all the members of both branches for carrying on this annual project spearheaded by Amy Nelson!

Scappoose Branch Donating and Giving Back! The Holiday Spirit is strong at Prudential Northwest Properties! Many thanks and kudos to the Scappoose Branch in donating money to Toy & Joy, as well as giving money and food items to Columbia Pacific Food Bank. A special nod goes to Lisa Frahm and her daughters for braving the cold as Salvation Army bell ringers at Fred Meyer. Thank you, Scappoose!

Metro Branch Reaches Out to Seniors this Holiday Season … The branch is “adopting” several seniors at the Rainbow Adult Living Center and will be providing gifts to brighten their holiday season. Thank you, Metro!

Columbia Tech Center Wraps for Transitional Youth this weekend! Chad and the gang from CTC are gift wrapping at the Westfield shopping center on the 13th and proceeds go to Transitional Youth. Thanks, CTC!

Sandy Toy Drive

Sandy Toy Drive

Sandy Branch is holding their 29th Annual Toy Drive! The longstanding tradition of collection toys for kids in need carries on in the Sandy community. They also shipped off many Love Boxes to the troops overseas. Thank you, Sandy Santas!

Food for the Hungry in Central Oregon – Thanks to all of our Central Oregon agents for participating in the Crook County Realtor’s Christmas party and food drive for St Vincent D’Paul. They contributed over $800, and every dollar donated purchased 7 lbs of food. In total, they were able to provide over 5,600 lbs of food which will help feed about 90 families. Our offices provided over 700 lbs of food. Excellent job, Central Oregon crew!


Timing couldn’t be much better for first-time homebuyers

First-time homebuyers dominated the U.S. real estate market in 2009, accounting for roughly half of all residential transactions, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

That trend is likely to continue well into the new year. That’s because interest rates are hovering near all-time lows, home-price affordability is near all-time highs and a third factor – Congress’ extension of the first-time homebuyer tax credit until April 30, 2010 – make conditions quite favorable for those considering homeownership for the first time.

Still, with the prospect of making one of the largest investments you’ll ever make in your life, you can easily become overwhelmed. Some of the questions you may be asking are: Will I be able to afford the home of my dreams? Do I have enough money for a down payment? Will I qualify for the tax credit? Will I make smart home buying decisions? If you go into the process prepared, your first purchase – like the current timing – can be just right.

Continue reading…


Linda McClellan installed as CCAR board president

LindaMcClellan

Linda McClellan

Prudential Northwest Properties’ Clark County NW Realtor Linda McClellan was installed as the 2010 board president of the Clark County Association of Realtors during the group’s annual installation and awards luncheon yesterday at the Heathman Lodge. McClellan was sworn in with four new officers and 10 board members who will preside over the association next year. The group will focus on lobbying efforts on behalf of the industry, said McClellan, who foresees a better year for local home sellers in 2010. In Clark County, home sales have made year-over-year gains since June, although sales are still off from peak years in 2005-07. “It would be really nice to see this trend continue,” McClellan said.

Linda joins these Prudential Northwest Properties brokers in leadership of their local REALTOR Associations during the 2010 term: David Tangvald, GRI – Portland Metropolitan Association of Realtors, Lisa Frahm – Columbia County Board of Realtors. Thanks to all of these pros for giving back to our industry!


Portland home prices edged down in November

Portland area home sales for the first 11 months of the year were running 4.1 percent behind the same period in 2008, according to figures released Tuesday by the Regional Multiple Listing Service.

The median price for a Portland home fell to $239,000 in November, down 9.8 percent from a year ago.

The Realtor group said 1,795 sales closed in November, 72.4 percent more than the same month in 2008. The flurry was sparked by a federal first-time home buyer tax credit, which was to expire at the start of December but has since been modified and extended.

Compared to October, however, closed sales decreased nearly 11 percent.

The inventory of homes fell to 7.1 months from 15 months a year ago, but a slight increase from the 6.5-month level of October. The inventory figure reflects how long it would take to sell homes at the current pace.

 

source: Regional Multiple Listing Service


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