By one measure — and it's a pretty solid metric — Portland's home sale climate has started to thaw a bit.
Which makes sense, being spring and all. But the speed with which Portland homes sell, calculated by the number of days the abodes actually stay on the market, suggests that sellers may want to wait a bit before contacting their Realtors.
Among the 6,084 Portland-area homes that sold in the first quarter, the average days on the market was 59, a 7 percent increase from the first quarter of last year. In the top 25 neighborhoods, the average number was 40 days.
The market is still way more brisk than it was in 2015, when homes in all neighborhoods were on the market for 78 days.
Compared to the Hottest 'Hoods results from all of 2016, the number 25 neighborhood in the "fastest-selling homes rankings" was on the market far longer, a full three weeks. As we reported from the RMLS-provided numbers, homes in the Tigard/Metzger area were on the market an average of 33 days. Homes in the No. 25 neighborhood during 2017's first quarter were on the market for 55 days.
Ben Andrews has a theory: New regulations have added quite a bit of time, at least two weeks, to the closing process, the Willamette Realty Group owner said.
"It used to be, if I’m your lender and I meet your rate and you sign off on it, boom! You can order the appraisals the next day," he said.
"Now, you can sign off on it but there’s a three- to five-day rescission period. And in the course of a transaction, there are always more disclosures. So that's been adding another 12 to 15 days. And the lender can't even go to the next step" until the rescission period is over.
"So now, once a deal goes pending, it's taking 45 to 50 days to close. I'm guessing that once we get into May, we'll see numbers kick back up again" as the processes get ironed out, he said.
One area where homes continue to sell briskly is the Pearl District, where Andrews counts many clients. It's a neighborhood that, in terms of sales, benefitted from Portland's nasty weather stretch.
"One reason the Pearl District is still rocking is accessibility: When we had that ice and snow storm, you could walk around and look at four houses within two blocks," he said. "Compare that to (the) Grant (area in Northeast Portland, near Grant High School) or Happy Valley, where they were all locked up because of the hills."
To that end, builders in the crane-filled Pearl continue to add more amenities that attract buyers.
"They're adding guest suites, workout rooms, conference rooms," said Andrews, who's moving into the Harcourts Real Estate Network Group fold next week. "Builders are trying to make it to where you literally don’t have to leave your building. And with Portland turning into a tech city, people can have full-on conference calls with big screens in their own buildings."
All told, eight neighborhoods were new to the fastest-selling homes list, each of them outside Portland's city limits. The Hawthorne/North Tabor neighborhood, which was tops a year ago, is now eighth.
And, aside from the Pearl, the six neighborhoods where homes sold faster are all in the Portland suburbs.
The Portland Business Journal is a KGW News partner.
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