Susan Marthens Real Estate
The Susan & Shelli Newsletter
Portland Metro Area Home Prices for November 2014 
In This Issue
November Highlights
Sales Price Change
Portland Mortgage Rates
Portland Schools Transfer Policy
Big & Awesome Bridges
Oregon's Indian Tribes

Portland Neighborhood Papers

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November 2014

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 for a quick read. But it will be brief - just 4-5 pages. 

The Market Action reports for the Portland metro area as well as all Oregon areas and Southwest Washington will also be available to download (see "Newsletters" on the left).

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.

We both wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
November 2014 Real Estate Highlights
Real Estate Activity Cools in November


The Portland metro area saw cooler real estate activity this November, but numbers are still higher compared to last November. Closed sales (1,937) fared 6.4% better than last November's closings (1,821), despite a 22.1% decrease from October's 2,487 closings. Pending sales, at 2,091, were 14.4% higher than last November (1,827) but 15.7% lower than October (2,480). New listings (1,922) decreased 2.7% from last November (1,976) and 33.3% from last month (2,881). 


There are currently 6,131 active residential listings in the Portland metro area. Total market time rose in November to 69 days. Inventory slightly rose to 3.2 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 November 2014.
Average and Median Sales Prices 
November 2014: Median Sales Price $287,000


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 is ahead of last year. New listings (36,040) are up 4.5%, pending sales (26,654) are up 3.8%, and closed sales (25,392) are up 2.1% compared to the first eleven months of 2013.
Above based on information from the RMLS™ Market Action report for November 2014.
Sales Price Percent Change 
Average Sales Price Percent 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 (12/1/2013 - 11/30/2014) with 12 months before (12/1/2012 - 11/30/2013).
  • Average Sale Price Percent Change: +7.2% ($331,300 v. $309,000)
  • Median Sale Price Percent Change:  +7.5% ($285,000 v. $265,000)

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

  • Average Sale Price Percent Change from peak in August 2007: -8% ($336,000 v. $366,900)
  • Median Sale Price Percent Change from peak in July 2007: -5% ($287,000 v. $302,000).
Above based on information from the RMLS™ Market Action report for November 2014.

30-Year Rate at 3.93 Percent 


Freddie Mac released its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®) on December 11 showing fixed mortgage rates slightly up from the last week, but with the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage remaining below four percent.
  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.93 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending December 11, 2014, up from last week when it averaged 3.89 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.42 percent. 
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.20 percent with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.10 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.43 percent. 
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.98 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.94 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.94 percent.
  • 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.40 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.41 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.51 percent.   
Attributed to Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist, Freddie Mac, "Fixed mortgage rates rebounded this week with the 30-year fixed mortgage rate increasing to 3.93 percent after declining for four weeks in a row. The rate rise comes on the heels of an uplifting jobs report showing nonfarm payrolls adding 321,000 new jobs in November -- 91,000 more jobs than expected. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.8 percent."
Windermere Mortgage Services
Windermere Mortgage 30-Year Fixed Rate 3.375%


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 $287,000 for November 2014 and with 20 percent down payment ($57,400) and a mortgage of $229,600, the payment for a 30-year fixed loan is $1,015.05 per month (excluding property taxes and insurance) in Portland, Oregon. 

The interest rate is 3.375%, and the APR is 3.778%.
Total closing costs are $12,207. Closing costs are as follows: 
  • WMS Series LLC's origination charge $945.00
  • Your charge for this interest rate $9,758.00
  • 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. You can also email Bertha at
November 2014:  A Windy Month


November was a windy one with an average wind speed of ten miles per hour (mph). On November 11 the highest wind speed recorded was 41 mph with gusts up to 54 mph.

The high winds continued into December as Portland had south wind gusts as high as 67 mph in late afternoon on the December 11. It was the strongest wind in Portland since November 1981 when highs winds reached 71 mph. It left plenty of tree branches and damage to be cleaned up. Much of the metro valley saw peak south winds between 50-55 mph. The track of a low pressure center just offshore from the Oregon coast and moving south to north was the perfect Willamette valley wind track.

Below is the National Weather Service weather data for the month of November 2014. These readings are from the Portland airport.
  • Average Monthly Temperature for November 2014: 46.3 (0.3 degrees below normal of 46.6).
  • Warmest Day: 63 degrees on November 11. 
  • Coldest Day: 26 degrees on November 22.
  • Most Rainfall in 24 Hours: .78 inches on November 21-22.
  • Rain Days: 0 days with thunderstorms, one day with heavy rain, 17 days with light rain, one day with freezing rain, and one day with snow flurries.
  • Clear/Cloudy Days for November 2014: 6 fair days, 7 partly cloudy days, and 17 cloudy days.
  • Average Wind Speed for October 2014: 10.0 mph
Portland's rainfall is measured by the "Water Year" which runs from October 1 - September 30. The average rainfall for the month of November was 5.63 inches. We had 2.99 inches in November 2014 which means we are about 2.5 inches below normal for the water year.
Portland Schools Wants Big Changes in School Transfer Policy
Policy Change Will be Voted on in January


Below are excerpts from a November 10 story in the Willamette Week entitled "Portland Public Schools' Transfer Policies: 5 Things to Know about Proposed Changes." It was written by Beth Slovic.


The Portland School Board is proposing substantial changes to the district's transfer policies.


Right now, families in Portland Public Schools don't have to send their children to the schools nearest to their homes. Instead, they can enter an annual transfer lottery in the hopes of winning a spot at a different neighborhood school or a special "focus" program, such as Sunnyside Environmental School or da Vinci Arts Middle School.


Proponents of the existing transfer rules credit them with keeping middle-class families in Portland Public Schools.

Critics say the rules may have curbed white flight to the suburbs, but they've created a system of haves and have nots within PPS as well-to-do families flee underperforming schools. 


Prior to 1980, Portland Public Schools bused black students from North and Northeast Portland to predominately white schools outside of those neighborhoods. The misguided theory then was that black students would perform better if they attended school with whites, but the burden of integration fell only on black students. Protests led by a brilliant Reed College alumnus named Ron Herndon brought forced busing to a halt, and a new system blossomed in its place: school choice. Under the new system, black families seeking better opportunities could choose to send their children to different schools. From this system, desegregation was supposed to flow. But it was largely white families who opted to transfer their students to different schools.


The proposal calls for ending the lottery for neighborhood-to-neighborhood transfers. That would significantly reduce the number of students fleeing their home schools.


But the proposal also calls for beefing up the existing petition system, which gives families the opportunity to transfer schools outside of the annual lottery in the event of "hardships." The goal would be to make sure that families that have compelling reasons for wanting to transfer have opportunities to make their cases.


The Superintendent's plan and citizens' committee recommendations can be found by clicking here. The School Board is scheduled to vote on policy changes January 13 and will hear public comments and deliberate
on the proposals at five upcoming meetings.

The Bridge Lady's New Book About Portland Bridges


The new book "Big & Awesome Bridges of Portland & Vancouver" will soon be in front of local students, thanks to "Bridge Lady" Sharon Wood Wortman, who for two decades led Portland bridge tours, and her husband, Ed Wortman. The book is especially relevant to students in Portland Public Schools, where third-grade teachers have the option of teaching a unit on the city's bridges.


When Sharon Wood Wortman first began her study ofPortland's bridges in the mid-1980s, her first comprehensive source was a local student. Derek Ranta, then a fifth-grader at Capitol Hill Elementary School in Southwest Portland, had written a class report, "History of Portland's Willamette River Bridges," in 1983.


"It was the first time I saw all of the bridges listed together, the years they opened, how much they cost," Wood Wortman told The Oregonian in a 2010 interview.


Wood Wortman went on to lead public and student tours of Portland bridges for 20 years, earning the moniker "The Bridge Lady" in the process. Now, she's giving back to local students with a new full-color, 240-page, 3-pound educational book that she wrote with her husband, engineer Ed Wortman. Wood Wortman said she plans to distribute nearly 5,000 copies of the book to local school districts and libraries; remaining copies from the book's limited-edition 7,000-copy press run will be sold to cover printing expenses.


The book, which focuses on the 22 big Willamette and Columbia river bridges between Vancouver and Oregon City, contains historical and fun facts about the bridges; "letters" to the reader from the Columbia and Willamette rivers; appearances by a cartoon Bridge Lady; interviews with bridge operators, engineers, ironworkers and others; bridge poetry and art by local grade-school students; bridge-inspired math exercises - even instructions for building a truss bridge. There's also a section devoted to footbridges and other notable local bridges, such as the 660-foot-long skybridge between OHSU Hospital and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the longest suspended pedestrian skybridge in North America.

Read the entire story in The Oregonian...

Oregon's Indian Tribes
Oregon Tribal Population: 109,223


Oregon's tribal members speak of being in this area "from time immemorial." Villages and traditional lifeways are known to date back many thousands of years. 


Tribal governments are separate sovereign nations with powers to protect the health, safety and welfare of their members and to govern their lands. This tribal sovereignty predates the existence of the U.S. government and the state of Oregon. The members residing in Oregon are citizens of their tribes, of Oregon and, since 1924, of the United States of America. 


Oregon's tribal population, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, included 109,223 people who identified themselves as being "American Indian or Alaskan Native" alone or in combination with one or more other races. Oregon's tribal peoples live in all 36 counties, and make up about 2.8 percent of the total Oregon population.  


The U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, oversees tribal interests and administers the federal government's trust obligations. At times, the federal government has been supportive of tribal self-determination and, in other periods, has adopted policies and passed legislation having a negative impact on the ability of tribes to govern as viable sovereigns. "Termination," one such policy in the 1950s, was an attempt to sever federal trusteeship and support for tribal sovereignty. Of the 109 tribes and bands terminated nationwide, 62 were located in Oregon. 


In 1975, the federal government recognized the failure of its termination policy and passed the Indian Self Determination and Education Assistance Act. Several tribes began the process to restore their sovereign nations. In 1977, the Confederated Tribes of Siletz was the second tribe in the nation to achieve restoration. Following them were the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians in 1982, the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde in 1983, the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw in 1984, the Klamath Tribes in 1986 and the Coquille Tribe in 1989.


Three additional federally recognized tribal governments exist in Oregon: the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (Treaty of 1855), the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla (Treaty of 1855) and the Burns Paiute Tribe (established by Executive Order in 1972). Also, Ft. McDermitt Paiute Shoshone Tribe is a federally recognized tribal government in Nevada with reservation lands in Oregon, and Celilo Village is a federally recognized tribal government near The Dalles, jointly administered by the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla and the Yakama Indian Nation (Washington).
Source:  "Introduction to Oregon's Indian Tribes."  Oregon Blue Book.

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