I occasionally like to weigh in with my personal thoughts on the Portland-Vancouver housing market. It has been a while and things have changed quite a bit.
The latest numbers from RMLS for January showed a market that is continuing to tighten up. Available inventory continues to shrink. The Days on Market number is getting smaller. Any decent home in decent condition in a decent location is getting multiple offers. And, in many sectors of the market, it is now a seller's market.
We haven't really heard the term "seller's market" in a long time. Buyers are facing a fairly severe shortage of homes to choose from and stiff competition when they do find one. Yet, sellers are still reluctant to enter the market. I am hearing anecdotes of buyers having to get creative by waiving contingencies and paying the difference on appraisals.
Some people are saying, "Oh it is like 2007 again!" I disagree there. While the market is on the rebound at this moment in time and there is a frenzy among active buyers, the big difference is the lack of available homes. In the go-go years of 2005-2007, there were almost always plenty of homes on the market. Now...not so much.
Another challenge for buyers continues to be the lending market. Banks are continuing to be tight with the money and asking well-qualified buyers to jump through many hoops to get approved for a loan. And, with the upcoming changes in FHA guidelines, that loan option may dry up as a reasonable alternative for many entry-level buyers.
In my humble opinion, the market will continue to have low and tight inventory for at least another 3-6 months as sellers slowly come to the realization that it might be safe to sell again. We'll likely see a small seasonal increase in inventory this spring, but I doubt it will be enough. In the meantime, the bidding wars will raise values somewhat, reassuring the market. If you are on the fence about selling, now might be a good time to test the waters. All of my recent sellers have been pleasantly surprised by the results.
If you are a buyer who does not want to compete and still want to get a value, I continue to be a fan of buying a short sale. If you can be patient, there are still some great values in that segment of the market.
My market opinions are necessarily general about the local market. If you have questions about specific neighborhoods or trends, please let me know. I'm always happy to help.