Susan Marthens Real Estate
The Susan & Shelli Newsletter
Portland Metro Area Home Prices for December 2014 
In This Issue
December Highlights
Year-to-Date Summary
Sales Price Change
Portland Mortgage Rates
Newcomer's Handbook
The Money Issue

December 2014 Market Action for Portland Metro Area

Portland Neighborhood Papers

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December 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 have included these charts in the email and, if you wish to view a larger image, you can just click on the link.

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.
December 2014 Real Estate Highlights
Lowest Inventory of Homes for Sale in Eight Years


Just 2.3 months' worth of residential properties are for sale in the Portland area at normal rates of sales, according to December figures from the Regional Multiple Listings Service. That's lower than at any time over at least the last eight years. The inventory often takes a seasonal dip in December.


The Portland metro area closed the year with an uptick in closed sales this December. The 2,239 closings stood 25.6% higher than the 1,782 closings posted in December
2013 and 15.6% higher than the 1,937 closings posted just last month. In fact, this was the best December for closings in the Portland metro area since 2005, when there were 2,536.

To view a larger image of the above chart click here

Pending sales (1,667) showed a 20.3% cooler month when compared to November (2,091) but were 12.3% ahead of the 1,484 offers accepted last December. Similarly, new
listings (1,540) decreased 19.9% compared to November (1,922) but fared 15.5% better than the 1,333 new listings posted in December 2013.

There are currently 5,146 active residential listings in the Portland metro area. Total market time increased in December to 76 days. Inventory decreased to 2.3 months.

To view a larger image of the above chart click here.
Above based on information from the RMLS™ Market Action report for December 2014.
Average and Median Sales Prices 
Median Sales Price Increase 7.7% in 2014


Prices were higher in 2014 than in 2013. 
  • The average price in 2014 was $333,000, up 7.2% from 2013 when the average was $310,600. 
  • The median also rose 7.7% from $265,000 in 2013 to $285,500 during 2014.

Above is the Average and Median Sales Price graph for December 2014. Click here for larger image.

Above based on information from the RMLS™ Market Action report for December 2014.
Year-To-Date Summary


Portland metro activity ended 2014 higher than 2013 numbers in all measures.
  • New listings (37,654) were up 5.0%
  • Pending sales (28,220) were up 4.3%
  • Closed sales (27,752) were up 3.6% during the entirety of 2014 compared to the same time period in 2013.
Above based on information from the RMLS™ Market Action report for December 2014.

Sales Price Percent Change 
Average Sales Price Percent Change 7.2%


The Average Sale Price Percent Change is based on a comparison of the rolling average sale price for the last 12 months (1/1/2014 - 12/31/2014) with 12 months before (1/1/2013 - 12/31/2013).
  • Average Sale Price Percent Change: +7.2% ($333,000 v. $310,600)
  • Median Sale Price Percent Change:  +7.7% ($285,500 v. $265,000)

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

  • Average Sale Price Percent Change from peak in August 2007: -10% ($331,600 v. $366,900)
  • Median Sale Price Percent Change from peak in July 2007: -4% ($290,000 v. $302,000).
Above based on information from the RMLS™ Market Action report for December 2014

30-Year Rate at 3.59 Percent 


Freddie Mac released its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®) on January 15 showing average fixed mortgage rates falling for the third consecutive week as bond yields continued to drop despite a strong employment report. Averaging 3.66 percent, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is at its lowest level since the week ending May 23, 2013 when it averaged 3.59 percent. This also marks the first time the 15-year fixed rate mortgage has fallen below 3 percent since the week ending May 30, 2013.
  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.66 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending January 15, 2014, down from last week when it averaged 3.73 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.41 percent. 
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.98 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.05 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.45 percent. 
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.90 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.98 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.10 percent. 
  • 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.37 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.39 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.56 percent. 
Attributed to Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist, Freddie Mac, "Mortgage rates fell for the third consecutive week as oil prices plummeted and long term treasury yields continued to drop despite a strong employment report. The economy exceeded expectations by adding 252,000 jobs in December which followed an upward revision of 50,000 jobs to the prior two months. The unemployment rate fell to 5.6 percent which was the lowest since June 2008."
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 $290,000 for December 2014 and with 20 percent down payment ($58,000) and a mortgage of $232,000, the payment for a 30-year fixed loan is $1,025.66 per month (excluding property taxes and insurance) in Portland, Oregon. 

The interest rate is 3.375%, and the APR is 3.682%.
Total closing costs are $9,699. Estimate closing costs are as follows: 
  • WMS Series LLC's origination charge: $945.00
  • Your charge for this interest rate: $7,250.00
  • 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
Portland Also Warms Along with Planet in 2014


As goes the planet, so went the Willamette Valley, Portland and northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington, racking up numerous warm weather records not only for the summer of 2014, but for the year.


NASA and the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration reported that in 2014 the world had its hottest year in 135 years of record-keeping. 

It wasn't the hot days so much that prompted hundreds of people to call the National Weather Service Portland's public information line last summer to ask if it's been unusually warm; it was the mornings, which were much warmer than average. 


Will Ahue, a weather service forecaster, said many of Portland's records had to do with those warmer mornings than average overnight lows. Calm overnight winds, a dominant ridge of high pressure and higher than average humidity levels kept low temperatures from dropping into the 50s, he said. "The Willamette Valley didn't ventilate overnight," Ahue said. "So we had very little relief."


In Portland, there were 50 mornings in the city when the temperature never dropped below 60 degrees, breaking the record of 45 such days. On average there are only 18.


Read more about the warmer trends in The Oregonian...

Below is the National Weather Service weather data for the month of December 2014. These readings are from the Portland airport.
  • Average Monthly Temperature for December 2014: 44.1 (3.7 degrees above normal of 40.4 degrees).
  • Warmest Day: 64 degrees on December 1. 
  • Coldest Day: 21 degrees on December 8.
  • Most Rainfall in 24 Hours: 1.19 inches on December 4-5.
  • Rain Days: 0 days with thunderstorms, one day with heavy rain, and 25 days with light rain.
  • Clear/Cloudy Days for December 2014: One fair day, 10 partly cloudy days, and 19 cloudy days.
  • Average Wind Speed for December 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 December is 5.49 inches. We had 6.05 inches in December 2014 which means we are about two inches below normal for the water year.
Newcomer's Handbook to Moving to and Living in Portland
Third Edition Now Available


The third edition of the Newcomer's Handbook® for Moving to and Living in Portland, about 560 pages long, contains detailed and updated information on neighborhoods, getting settled, helpful services, child care and education, cultural life, and much more. Written by Bryan Geon, who has spent over a decade exploring Portland and the surrounding region, both as a long-time resident and serial newcomer, this book is a guide to Portland and the surrounding communities.


It's available in paperback at Amazon for $21. We tried the local Powell's City of Books website but they have not stocked it yet.

Strike it Rich in Portland Without Selling Your Soul

We pick up a print copy of the January Portland Monthly magazine the other day because they have their annual "Top Doctors and Nurses" in the issue and discovered some interesting articles in their "The Money Issue" section.


They posed these questions, "Is Portland still affordable? How can we retire in style? Can you get rich making digital currency in the privacy of your own home? Our jaunt through the city's financial life reveals all.


The magazine included a number of the articles in "The Money Issue" section on their website that you can read by clicking here.


Think the cash is always greener in Portland? Think again. The magazine did the math on average rent, transit prices, and the cost of a pint. This neat chart will give anyone thinking of moving to Austin, Minneapolis, Portland, or seven other metro areas an idea of what things cost. Click here to view the chart.


What's missing on the website is "13 Metro Neighborhoods" that is in the printed magazine. But the Portland Business Journal "Portland's 27 fastest-selling neighborhoods of 2014" that was published recently is a good substitute. The Journal says that, "The average time it took to sell a home dropped 15.1 percent from 2013, the equivalent of 12 days less on the market. The 27,683 homes sold in Portland in 2014 took an average of 70 days to close. Portland's thin housing inventory was likely the biggest reason for the accelerating sale rate."
A Designer's Guide to Staging (and Selling) Your Home

As a real estate professional I have learned the value in staging a house before putting it on the market.  There are numerous stagers working in Portland.  I have worked with Justin Riordan several times to prepare my listings for sale, and this article from the October 2014 issue of "Portland Monthly" contains the rationale and insight he uses to help sellers and listing agents in their efforts to make the house "shine" in the eyes of the potential buyers.  This is worth reading!


Staging is creepy. Justin Riordan, creative director at Spade and Archer Design Agency, is the first to admit it. "You're in this house that's furnished and nobody lives there," he says. "Our job is to fool people into thinking it's real - we literally trick people into buying houses." In a hot market like Portland's, sellers can wrangle astronomical asking prices if they do it right. But the average shopper looks at any given house for only seven to nine minutes, and their reaction is fueled more by visceral emotion than logic. "We're not interested in pretty," says Riordan. "We are interested in people, and grabbing their gut." We sat down with Riordan to steal some secrets of the trade. 

Read the entire story...



Source:  "A Designer's Guide to Staging (and Selling) Your Home"  Portland Monthly Magazine, October 2014. Written by Rachel Richie..

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