Susan Marthens Real Estate
The Susan & Shelli Newsletter
Portland Metro Area Home Prices for October 2014 
In This Issue
October Highlights
Sales Price Change
Portland Mortgage Rates
Portland Property Taxes
Citizens Emergency Response TeM
Where Big Foot is Safe

Portland Neighborhood Papers

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The Moving to Portland monthly newsletter is taking on a new look. The Portland metro area housing activity for the month will be in an email (like this one) as this will make it easier for you to get a quick look at the housing prices, etc.

Since many of you enjoy the charts and graphs as well as the summary page of area prices and Average Sales Price Percent Change we will still offer it as a download. But it will be brief - just four pages.

You will note that my former assistant Shelli is now my partner. She has been so valuable that she should share equally in the Moving to Portland real estate business.
October 2014 Real Estate Highlights
Almost Everything Up Except Inventory


October brought an uptick in closings to the Portland metro area. These closed sales (2,487) showed a 13.6% increase over the 2,189 closings posted last October and a 4.6% increase over the 2,378 closings last September. It was the strongest October for closings in the Portland metro area since 2006 when there were 2,503. Pending sales (2,480) cooled 2.8% from September's 2,551 accepted offers, but were 16.7% stronger than the 2,125 offers accepted last October. New listings, at 2,881, similarly cooled 7.1% from September (3,102) but represented a 13.6% increase over last October (2,535). 


There are currently 6,963 active residential listings in the Portland metro area. Total market time rose in October to 65 days, and inventory decreased to 2.8 months. 


To view the charts and graphs along with a summary of area/community prices just click here. 
Above based on information from the RMLS™ Market Action report for October 2014.
Average and Median Sales Prices 
October 2014: Median Sales Price $289,000


The average price the first ten months of the year was $333,200, up 7.4% from the same time frame in 2013 when the average was $310,200. In the same comparison, the median also rose 7.5% from $265,000 in the first ten months of 2013 to $285,000 in the same period of 2014.

Year-To-Date Summary

Activity in the Portland metro area has now surpassed numbers from last year. New listings (34,056) are up 4.9%, pending sales (24,671) are up 3.0%, and closed sales (23,301) are up 1.7% compared to the first ten months of 2013.
Above based on information from the RMLS™ Market Action report for October 2014.
Sales Price Percent Change 
Average Sales Price % Change 7.8%


The Average Sale Price Percent Change is based on a comparison of the rolling average sale price for the last 12 months (11/1/2013 - 10/31/2014) with 12 months before (11/1/2012 - 10/31/2013).
  • Average Sale Price Percent Change: 7.8% ($330,100 v. $306,300)
  • Median Sale Price Percent Change: 9.3% ($284,100 v. $259,900)

Below are the sales price percent changes in October 2014 from their peak prices in 2007: 

  • Average Sale Price Percent Change from peak in August 2007: -8% ($335,600 v. $366,900)
  • Median Sale Price Percent Change from peak in July 2007: -4% ($289,000 v. $302,000).
Above based on information from the RMLS™ Market Action report for October 2014.

30-Year Rate at 4.01% 


Freddie Mac released its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®) on November 13 showing little changed from the previous week with the 30-year mortgage still hovering around 4 percent.
  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.01 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending November 13, 2014, down from last week when it averaged 4.02 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.35 percent. 
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.20 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.21 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.35 percent. 
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.02 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.97 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.01 percent.
  • 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.43 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.45 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.61 percent. 
Attributed to Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist, Freddie Mac. "Fixed mortgage rates were slightly down on mixed results from October's employment report. While the unemployment rate declined to 5.8 percent, nonfarm employment rose by 214,000 jobs, which was below consensus expectations. Net revisions for payroll employment in August and September added 31,000 more jobs to the initial readings."
Windermere Mortgage Services
Windermere Mortgage APR 3.727%


Conveniently located in real estate offices throughout the Pacific Northwest, Windermere Mortgage Services (WMS) is a full-service mortgage banker providing home buyers with complete real estate financing expertise over the entire home loan process.

Taking the median home price in the Portland area of $289,000 for October 2014 and with 20 percent down payment ($57,800) and a mortgage of $231,200, the payment for a 30-year fixed loan is $1,054.39 per month (excluding property taxes and insurance) in Portland, Oregon. 

The interest rate is 3.620%, and the APR is 3.990%.
Total closing costs are $11,119. Closing costs are as follows: 
  • WMS Series LLC's origination charge $3,257.00
  • Your charge for this interest rate $6,358.00
  • Required services we select $545.00
  • Title services and lender's title insurance $828.00
  • Owner's title insurance $925.00
  • Government recording charges $131.00
  • Fees typically paid by Seller ($925.00)
Thirty days rate lock. Escrow fees are not waived. FICO credit score is 720-739.

Contact Bertha Ferran at 503-464-9215 in the Raleigh Hills Windermere Stellar office for the latest rates. 
An October to Remember


Although we had 22 days in which it rained we also had 15 days of fair or cloudy weather. Going into November the fall leaves were more colorful this year than I can remember. Then the winds came this week, and now we have bare trees reminding us that winter is just around the corner.  

Below is the National Weather Service weather data for the month of October 2014. These readings are from the Portland airport.
  • Average Monthly Temperature for October 2014: 60.1 (5.2 degrees above normal of 54.9).
  • Warmest Day: 85 degrees on October 6. 
  • Coldest Day: 47 degrees on October 29.
  • Most Rainfall in 24 Hours: 2.13 inches on October 22-23.
  • Rain Days: 0 days with thunderstorms, 2 days with heavy rain, 20 days with light rain.
  • Clear/Cloudy Days for October 2014: 6 fair days, 9 partly cloudy days, and 16 cloudy days.
  • Average Wind Speed for October 2014: 6.6 mph
Portland's rainfall is measured by the "Water Year" which runs from October 1 - September 30. The average rainfall for the month of October is 3.0 inches. We had 2.94 inches in October 2014 to start the new water year.
Portland Property Taxes Full of Inequities
It all Depends Upon Where You Live


Homeowners in Portland who have houses of the same market value often pay shockingly different amounts in property taxes depending on their location - and for the first time, residents can see how their neighborhood stacks up.

The Multnomah County Auditor released a groundbreaking study and mapping tool last month,  Inequities in Multnomah County Property Taxes, that lets you compare the property values of homes and what their owners pay in property taxes depending on their neighborhood.


A house in Southeast Portland's Brooklyn Neighborhood that costs $400,000 can pay up to $3,500 more in property taxes than a house of the same value in North/Northeast Portland's Eliot neighborhood.


In January of 2013, the Portland City Club, an urban policy think tank, released its own study on the property tax inequities, Reconstructing Oregon's Frankentax.


In inner North and Northeast Portland, home values have skyrocketed in the last 20 years, but that increased value is not reflected in the property taxes those homes produce. Instead tax revenues remain frozen at their approximate levels from the mid-1990s, when the area was suffering from high crime, disinvestments and redlining. 


You can read more about the tax inequities at the GoLocalPDX website by clicking here.

Citizens Emergency Response Team (CERT)
Getting Prepared for the 'Big One'


Some friends recently had the opportunity to participate in Portland's NET (Neighborhood Emergency Team) training

which is called CERT (Citizens Emergency Response Team) in many areas.  


You can learn more about it through this FEMA page:


To quote from Nancy, "It's a wonderful program and we'd encourage you to explore it here in Portland (where we live in the Cascadia subduction zone and are overdue for a great quake) or in your neighborhood."


Training professionals assume that in a major disaster neighborhoods should be prepared to be isolated at least for the first 72 hours. You are taught how to prepare and how to respond in a crisis until the professional responders arrive.  Being prepared will help you, your families, and your neighbors.


Anyone who lives or works in Portland can take NET training. Learn more about the training and benefits at the Portland NET website.

Where Big Foot is Protected
Two Counties in Washington State


Skamania County, Washington passed a law regarding Bigfoot in 1969 declaring that "any willful, wanton slaying of such creatures shall be deemed a felony" subject to substantial fine and/or imprisonment. The fact that this legislation was passed on April 1 did not escape notice, but County Commissioner Conrad Lundy said that "this is not an April Fool's Day joke ... there is reason to believe such an animal exists." 

Hunter and Dahinden mention their own "speculation that Skamania County authorities had their ears tuned much more to the music of a publicity bandwagon than to any song of distress" for Bigfoot.

Notwithstanding, the ordinance was amended in 1984 to preclude an insanity defense and to consider such a killing homicide if the creature was proven by the coroner to be humanoid.

In response to Al Magnussen from the Mt. Baker Chamber of Commerce, Whatcom County, Washington, an Agenda Bill was drafted (92-247) on 6/9/91, which unanimously passed a resolution declaring Whatcom County a Sasquatch Protection and Refuge Area.

Susan Marthens, Principal Real Estate Broker, CRS, GRI
Shelli Gowdy, Real Estate Broker