Susan Marthens Real Estate
The Susan & Shelli Newsletter
Portland Metro Area Home Prices for April 2015 
In This Issue
April 2015 Highlights
Sales Price Change
Cost by Area/Community
Portland and Density
School Financing
Portland Neighborhood Papers
Join Our List
April 2015

First an apology for the lateness of the April 2015 newsletter. The parties responsible for the writing and editing were traveling with limited web access. But the trips were fun!


The RMLS reported 2,734 homes sold in the Portland area in April, an increase of 27.6 percent from a year ago. If that sales rate continues, it would take less than two months to sell all 4,853 homes on the market at the end of the month. About six months of housing inventory is considered a balanced market, and the 1.8-month supply of homes suggests a strong seller's market.


The difference between April's median selling price of $301,300 was only $700 less from the high mark in Portland's boom days in 2007.


It truly is a "seller market" as any home priced under $400,000 receive multiple offers and usually sells in a few days. As Realtors it is difficult to work under these conditions. Our expertise is helping families relocate to Portland so 80 percent of our work is with buyers. We're finding that our clients have to make numerous offers before they are successful in purchasing a home. We never give up in the process, and eventually we have a happy client.

The Market Action reports for the Portland metro area as well as all Oregon areas and Southwest Washington are available to download (see "Newsletters" on the left). It also has the summary page for the April 2015 area home prices.
April 2015 Real Estate Highlights
Real estate activity in the Portland metro area is still buzzing this April. The 3,613 pending sales showed a 27.9% increase over the 2,825 offers accepted in April 2014 and a 6.8% increase over the 3,384 offers accepted last month. It was the strongest April for pending sales since 2005, when there were 3,950 posted for the month.

Similarly, closed sales (2,734) fared 27.6% better than April 2014 (2,143) and 11.3% better than March 2015 (2,457) and also represented the strongest April since 2005, when there were 3,051 closings posted.

New listings (3,949) fared 8.8% better than the 3,629 listings offered in April 2014 and 9.8% better than the 3,596 listings offered last month. The last April with more new listings being offered was in 2010, when there were 4,713.

April 2015 Inventory: 1.8 Months 


April's inventory decreased again to 1.8 months, and total
market time decreased to 61 days. Active residential listings numbered 4,853 at the end of April.


Click on image to enlarge.
Above based on information from the RMLS™  Market Action report for April 2015.
Average and Median Sales Prices 
Median Sales Price $301,300 in April 


Prices have been higher in 2015 than in 2014. Comparing each year through April, the average sales price rose 3.5% from $325,100 to $336,400. In the same comparison, the median sales price rose 5.5% from $275,000 to $290,000.
Click on image to enlarge.
Above based on information from the RMLS™ Market Action report for April 2015.
Sales Price Percent Change 
Average Sales Price Percent Change +5.4% in April 2015


The Average Sale Price Percent Change is based on a comparison of the rolling average sale price for the last 12 months (5/1/2014 - 4/30/2015) with 12 months before (5/1/2013 - 4/30/2014).
  • Average Sales Price Percent Change: +5.4% ($335,900 v. $318,700)
  • Median Sales Price Percent Change:  +6.2% ($290,000 v. $273,000)

Below are the sales price percent changes in April 2015 from their peak prices in 2007: 

  • Average Sales Price Percent Change from peak in August 2007: -5.1% ($347,500 v. $366,900)
  • Median Sales Price Percent Change from peak in July 2007: -0.002% ($301,300 v. $302,000).
Above based on information from the RMLS™ Market Action report for April 2015

Cost of Residential Homes by Area/Community


Below is the chart that displays the April 2015 numbers by area or community. It includes the following:
  • Number of closed sales.
  • Average price of homes sold.
  • Year-to-date average price.
  • Year-to-date median price.
  • Average sales price percent change.
Click on image to enlarge.

Above based on information from the RMLS™ Market Action report for April 2015.



Freddie Mac released its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®) on May 14 showing average fixed mortgage rates following 10-year Treasury yields higher and rising for the third consecutive week. At 3.85 percent, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is just below the high for 2015. 
  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.85 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending May 14, 2015, up from last week when it averaged 3.80 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.20 percent. 
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.07 percent with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.02 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.29 percent. 
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.89 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.90 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.01 percent.
  • 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.48 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.46 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.43 percent. 

Attributed to Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist, Freddie Mac: "Mortgage rates rose for the third consecutive week as 10-year Treasury yields continued to climb. The labor market continues to improve with U.S. economy adding 223,000 jobs in April, a solid rebound from merely 85,000 job gains in March. Also, the unemployment rate dipped to 5.4 percent in April as the participation rate ticked up to 62.8 percent and jobless claims were far less than expected."

Numbers for a 30-Year Mortgage in Portland

Taking the median home price in the Portland area of $301,300 for April 2015 and with 20 percent down payment ($60,260) and a mortgage of $241,040, the payment for a 30-year fixed loan is $1,099.27 per month (excluding property taxes and insurance) in Portland, Oregon. 

The interest rate is 3.750%, and the APR is 3.987%. Total closing costs are $11,496.20.
Estimate closing costs are as follows: 
  • WMS Series LLC's origination charge: $945.00
  • Your charge for this interest rate: $9,039.00
  • Required services we select: $545.00
  • Title services and lender's title insurance: $836.20
  • Owner's title insurance: $960.00
  • Government recording charges: $131.00
  • Fees typically paid by Seller: ($960.00)
This fee estimate does not include advances that may be required at closing, such as interest due at closing or initial deposits for escrow accounts, if applicable.

Sixty days rate lock. Escrow fees are not waived. FICO credit score is 720-739.

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.

Contact Clayton Scott (503-497-5060) at Windermere Mortgage Service in the Windermere Stellar Lake Oswego office for the latest rates. You can also email Scott at



The Climate Change Sensitivity Database summarizes the inherent sensitivities to climate change of species and habitats of concern throughout the Pacific Northwest and provides resource managers and decision makers with some of the most basic and most important information about how species and systems will likely respond to climate change. 


In response to the potential challenge that climate change poses to natural resource managers, the University of Washington has partnered with key collaborators in the region to conduct a climate change vulnerability assessment of an area spanning the Pacific Northwest region of North America. This assessment will provide resource managers and decision makers with some of the most basic and important information about how species and ecological systems will likely respond to climate change. It will also allow researchers to answer important scientific questions regarding the potential impacts of climate change on natural resources.  

Monthly Weather Summary 

Below is the National Weather Service weather data for the month of April 2015. These readings are from the Portland airport.
  • Average Monthly Temperature for April 2015: 52.8 (0.5 degrees above normal of 53.7 degrees).
  • Warmest Day: 83 degrees on April 30. 
  • Coldest Day:  39 degrees on April 28.
  • Most Rainfall in 24 Hours: 0.43 inches on April 13-14.
  • Rain Days: 0 days with thunderstorms, two days with heavy rain, and 15 days with light rain.
  • Clear/Cloudy Days for April 2015: Seven fair days, 12 partly cloudy days, and 11 cloudy days.
  • Average Wind Speed for April 2015: 5.6 mph.
Portland's rainfall is measured by the "Water Year" which runs from October 1 - September 30. As of mid May we are about and inch and a half below normal. The average rainfall for the month of April is 2.73 inches.  There were 1.75 inches of precipitation in April 2015.

Is Portland a Dense, Urban City?


In Portland Monthly's magazine April feature on the city's real estate, they reported on local architect Rick Potestio's "modest proposal" to remake Portland urban planning. In a late April online article Potestio agreed to provide more detail on an idea he says can help the city grow without losing its soul. 


Quick: is Portland a dense, urban city?


Most casual observers would probably say, well, of course. Our city planners have made density a mantra for 40 years. And much of the angst--as well as the excitement--about the construction now remaking the central city focuses on apartment and condo projects, like the Lloyd District's huge Hassalo on Eighth or the cluster of new midrise buildings on Southeast Division.


But here's the surprising truth: Portland ranks near the bottom of West Coast cities for the very qualities it champions: dense, mixed-use urban form.


Consider one measure: Density of persons per square mile within major West Coast cities (as compiled by CityData).

  1. San Francisco: 17,935
  2. Berkeley: 11,164
  3. Los Angeles: 8,281
  4. Seattle: 7,779
  5. Oakland: 7,247
  6. San Jose: 5,710
  7. Sacramento: 4,937
  8. Portland: 4,537
  9. San Diego: 4,180

At the regional scale, according to, the Portland metro area ranks 19th in density nationally. San Jose, Fresno, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Denver, Salt Lake City, Sacramento--all denser.


Even more surprisingly, central Portland isn't even as dense as many of its own suburbs. Check out this CityData informtion:

  1. Aloha: 6,702 persons per square mile
  2. Cornelius: 6,421
  3. Happy Valley: 6,047
  4. Beaverton: 5,731
  5. Gresham: 4,938
  6. Tigard: 4,644
  7. Sherwood: 4,637
  8. Portland: 4,537
  9. Hillsboro: 4,514

How did this befall the city that fancies itself a beacon of urban living? Politics, regulations, and market forces.


Read the entire story . . . 



Source: "Why Portland Desperately Needs More Urban Density," by Rick Potestio, April 27, 2015, Portland Monthly Magazine. 

How Oregon Finances  its Schools 


The Willamette Week's lead story in their May 6 edition was about schools financing. Below is a part of the story and a link to the entire article.


Schools get billions from the state every year. That number is growing fast. Here's why it's never enough.


$7.2 billion is a lot of money.

It's enough to buy every Oregonian a new MacBook Pro, iPad and iPhone 6. Or enough to buy every school district in Oregon a $36 million, gently used Gulfstream jet.


It's also the amount state lawmakers have committed to spend on Oregon's public schools over the next two years. It's a staggering number, vastly more than the state has ever spent to finance schools from kindergarten through 12th grade.


But it's not enough.


Who says so? Virtually every parent, teacher, school board member and lawmaker in the state.


"We're not where we need to be," says Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward (D-Beaverton). "We just held budget meetings around the state, and that's what we heard."


It's a rare consensus that crosses party lines. Even tightfisted Republicans are calling for more money--nearly a $1 billion more--for education. "If we are going to ask for better results for our schools," says Sen. Tim Knopp (R-Bend), "we need to fund those schools."


Oregon students already face among the nation's worst student-teacher ratios. They have the shortest school year. And they're less likely to graduate from high school than students in almost any other state.


For many of Oregon's 571,000 public school students, things are about to get worse. Despite this year's big funding increase--9 percent more money than two years ago--districts around the state say they will have to lay off teachers and cut instructional days. Again.


That's because the cost of running schools is increasing faster than tax revenues.


Today, on an inflation-adjusted basis, Oregon spends less per student than it did in 1990. We spend less per student than the national average but pay teachers more (see charts, below).


"Year to year, there's never enough," says Sue Levin, board chairwoman of Stand for Children Oregon, an education advocacy group. "People adjust their budgets to match their resources so they don't have a big shortfall every month. Oregon hasn't figured out how to do that."

It's a maddening situation for parents. Last month, Sen. Mark Hass (D-Beaverton) held a meeting with constituents, who feared their schools faced more cuts.


"Parents just pounded us," Hass says.


Of course, cynics might say, school supporters will always want more money. No number will ever be enough to satisfy them.


Read the entire article in the Willamette Week . . .



Source: "Feed the Beast," by Nigel Jaquiss, May 6, 2015, Willamette Week.



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