Median sales price falls for second month in a row. What happened last time that occurred?

The housing market in Bend, Oregon, tapered slightly in May, as the median sales price fell for the second month in succession and the inventory of homes on the market rose compared with April. Still, the year-to-date median price remained steady at a price that represents a high for the 10-plus years for which we have data.

May’s median sales price was $379,000. That’s 4.1 percent lower than March’s median sales price of $395,000 and 2.8 percent lower than April’s median of $389,950.

If recent history is any indication, this dip could eventually turn into a trampoline. The last time monthly median sales prices declined in consecutive months was in 2016 (when they fell for three months in a row, in fact). That stretch of monthly declines after the median price reached $374,000 in May ended emphatically with a 7.5 percent month-over-month increase from August to September to $385,750 – the calendar-year high for 2016.

Two hundred seventeen homes were sold in May, four fewer than in April. The number of houses whose priced was reduced was 107 — 32 percent. The last time the percentage of active listings with a reduced price was that high was in the three-month stretch in 2016 when the monthly median sales figure dropped. (See the previous paragraph for what happened after that three-month stretch.)

Year over year, May’s median sales price showed a 1.3 percent increase from the corresponding month in 2016. That is the smallest year-over-year increase in a monthly median sales figure since January 2016. That month, the median sales price of $317,450 was 3.7 percent lower than in January 2015.

The 2017 year-to-date median price stayed at $380,000 after taking into account May’s sales. That remains the highest year-to-date median price on record. In fact, each month of 2017 has reset or tied the record for the highest year-to-date median sales price.

High-end homes a big part of inventory

The inventory of homes rose to 3.1 months in May. Inventory — expressed as the time that would be required to sell all homes on the market given the current pace of activity — was 1.7 months in May 2016.

May 2017’s inventory is skewed, however, toward higher-priced homes. Of May’s 337 active listings, 33 percent were priced at more than $725,000 (that percentage was 25 percent in March and 31 percent in April). For homes priced from $225,100 to $625,000, the inventory is in the range of two months. And two months of inventory falls well on the side of being a “seller’s market.”

Tied to the inventory is the volume of homes on the market. Each month this year, the active listings have been the fewest for those respective months in the 10-plus years for which the Skjersaa Group has data. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the quantity of homes priced at $725,000 and less is particularly tight.

Late spring and summer traditionally are the most active months for real estate, and if you’re looking to buy a home or considering putting yours on the market, I can be of help. In my time as a Realtor, I have helped clients achieve their desired results regardless of the time of year and the trend of the market. To learn more about how I can assist you in your real estate transaction, contact me at (541) 383-1426, or visit Bend Property Search to connect with me through my website.

Sales prices approach highest on record

March homes sales in Bend, Oregon, picked up compared with the previous month and registered the second-highest median sales price in the last 10 years.

The median price climbed to $395,000 in March. The only month in our data set (dating to the start of 2007) that figure has been higher has been May 2007, when it was $396,250.

March’s median sales price was 11.3 percent higher than February’s mark of $354,853. Year over year, March’s median represented a 14.2 percent increase.

The 11.3 percent monthly increase in March was the largest in Bend since January 2015 had a 13.7 percent increase from the month prior.

Can anything be learned from January 2015 that can be applied to the future of the current Bend market?

That can’t be answered. But it is worth pointing out that January 2015’s median sales price of $329,700 turned out to be greater than the year-end median sales price for the entirety of 2015 ($327,500).

And January 2015 represented the fifth-highest month for sales price in that year, whereas January usually is among the lowest months for median sales price.

Returning to the present year, remember that typically, March’s median sales price represents a “support” level, or a springboard, for prices for the remainder of the calendar year. In each of the last six calendar years, the month with the highest median sales price has been September or August. So it would be unusual for March’s median sales prices not to be exceeded in the coming months.

Other information in the March sales data support the position that Bend remains strongly a seller’s market.

For one, the inventory of homes on the market was 2.0 months. Inventory represents the amount of time it would take for all homes on the market to sell, given the current pace of sales. There is some debate about the boundary between a buyer’s and a seller’s market (with figures ranging from three to six months), but there’s no debating that March’s inventory was the third-lowest for the time span the Skjersaa Group has data and the lowest for any March in that period

The average days on the market in March was 112 days. That is 24 fewer days than in February (a halt to our record-breaking winter weather undoubtedly helped), and, perhaps more significant, 18 days fewer than in March 2016. The average days on market for the entirety of calendar year 2016 was 118 days.

We entered April with 273 pending sales, a number that promises another busy month.

As the real estate market gears up, it’s as important as ever to have a trusted, experienced Realtor on your side. Whether you’re looking to sell your home or considering buying, I can provide guidance and advice to ensure an optimal outcome for you. To learn more about how I can assist you, contact me at (541) 383-1426, or visit Bend Property Search to connect with me through my website.

Bend market sees traditional seasonal changes in December

By Jason Boone

With the end of the year comes a loosening of the pace in many businesses, and that includes the real estate market. As has been seen frequently in the past in Bend, Oregon, and has come to be expected, the market cooled before the calendar flipped on what turned out to be a record-setting year.

The number of homes sold in Bend in December was down from the previous month and from December of the previous year. Does that mean the market is leveling off? Well, consider that the median sales price was down 5.2 percent from November — but up 9.0 percent from December of the previous year.

Although the raw number of homes sold in December (192) was down from the 196 sold in November (and the 214 sold in December 2015), as a percentage of active listings, month-over-month sales went up in December 2016: from 42.4 percent of active listings in November to 47.8 percent of active listings in December.

Still, there were signs that the fever of the market is slackening.

The average sales price to list price in December was 98 percent. Other than in March (when there was an anomalous 95 percent ratio of the sales price to list price), 98 percent is the lowest this calendar year. And it was realized in three of the last five months of the calendar year.

But based on historical data, such a decline was to be expected in December. In two of the three previous years, even as the real estate market rebounded from the depths of the recession, the average sales price to list price in December was off the highs set in those calendar years.

That type of seasonal dip has been followed, in each of the last five years, by successively higher year-end median sales prices.

The inventory of homes on the market is frequently used to gauge the status of the market, with six months the widely accepted threshold between a buyer’s market and a seller’s market. In December, we saw an inventory of 2.5 months — emphatically on the side of a seller’s market, yet the fourth-highest figure for that data point in Bend in 2016.

The preceding point might be the most apt reflection on the Bend market at the end of 2016: By the standard set earlier in the year — such as a median sales price of $385,750 in September — December represented a slowdown. But in looking at the time span for which the Skjersaa Group has data (dating to 2007), the $354,529 median sales price in December would have ranked as the fourth-highest entering 2016.

Other statistics of note from December’s sales report:

– December’s median sales price was the lowest since the $346,000 in March. But looking at previous years, such a decline isn’t unusual. The median price of $325,275 in December 2015 was more in line with the median sales price seen in the spring of that year.

– The median sales price for calendar year 2016 was $360,000. That number was essentially unchanged the final four months of the year and is the highest year-to-date median price in our 10-year data set. The previous high was $345,000, in 2007. The peak for the year-to-date median price in 2015 was $329,000; 2016’s figure represents a 9.4 percent increase.

– The average days on the market in December was 121. That is the longest since April, when it was 125. Year over year, the 121 days is one fewer than the average days on the market in December 2015.

Perhaps the best word to describe the Bend real estate market, as the above numbers indicate, is dynamic — things are always evolving. And whether you are considering selling your home or are investigating the possibility of buying, I can help. My knowledge of the Bend market and my attention to your needs will help produce an outcome that leaves you more than satisfied. To get started with listing your Bend home or to view area homes, contact me at (541) 383-1426, or visit Bend Property Search to connect with me through my website.

In the spirit of the holiday season …

The leaves have fallen from the trees. A light dusting of snow has covered the ground on a couple of recent mornings. Car windshields have to be scraped clear of frost and ice for the morning drive to work.

Yes, we’re full-on into autumn and just days from Thanksgiving.

This time of year is often used to reflect on the good fortune we might have in our lives. For me, one aspect of my personal and professional life that I’m grateful for is the ability to work and live — truly live — in Bend. This area is special, a belief reflected in the growth in our population and the steady demand for housing.

I’m thankful that clients of the Skjersaa Group have chosen our company to represent them in the buying or selling process (or both). We believe our knowledge of the community and the market sets us apart, but we offer more than that. We care deeply about this area. Our abiding concern for Bend and the surrounding area prompts us to support various causes dedicated to sustaining the high quality of life Bend offers.

In 2015, the Skjersaa Group donated more than $9,500 to local outdoors and environmentally oriented organizations, including the Deschutes Land Trust, the Deschutes River Conservancy and The Environmental Center.

This calendar year, the Skjersaa Group has donated more than $6,500 to various organizations, including Deschutes County Search & Rescue and Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (which works on behalf of abused or neglected children).

BendPropertySearch itself provides $1,500 a year in sponsorship of Bend Endurance Academy. This non-profit provides programs in rock climbing, cycling and nordic skiing and emphasizes teamwork, personal growth and community responsibility.

Our community giving circles back to our clients. Our ability to support local charitable organizations wouldn’t be possible without the support of our clients. We’re grateful for their faith in our ability to serve their needs.

Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season.

October sales figures reflect normal seasonal changes

median-sales-price-chart_10-oct-2016By Jason Boone

The number of homes sold dropped and the median home-sale price in Bend, Oregon, fell in October, copying a trend from the previous October. The year-to-date median sales price continued to rise last month — as it has done each month in 2016 — adding a very small amount in October to the previous month’s figure.

From the September median sales price of $385,750 — the second-highest in the 10 years for which the Skjersaa Group has data — October’s figure dropped 4.2 percent to $369,500. In three of the last four months, the median price has been less than $370,000, a threshold reached in May ($374,000), June ($370,000) and September.

For further context on October’s median sales price, consider this: Before 2016, October’s figure of $369,500 would have ranked as the second-highest for any month in the past 10 years, behind the high of $396,250 in May 2007.

One hundred ninety-two homes were sold in October, the fewest in any month since 185 were sold in March. A couple of other data points also indicate a slackening in the pace of sales.

The average sales price to list price was 98 percent, slightly off the 99 percent seen in seven of the previous nine months of 2016. The inventory of homes on the market rose from 2.4 months in September to 3.4 in October, which is the highest since a 4.9-month inventory at the end of February.

Inventory estimates how long it would take to sell all of the homes for sale if no new properties went to market. Six months is commonly used as the dividing line between a seller’s market and a buyer’s market, so even with the rise in October, the inventory in Bend skews toward a seller’s market.

From Jan. 1 to the end of October, the year-to-date median sales price in Bend is $360,000. That figure has risen every month this year from $317,450 in January. The increase from September to October was $100.

The real estate environment in October shared many characteristics with that of October 2015. Compared with the month before, the number of homes sold and the median sales price declined in October 2015, and the inventory rose. Rather than signaling a peak or a bubble in the market, however, the fall and winter market in 2015 was a quiet period before 2016’s almost-unprecedented sales prices.

And even with last year’s September-to-October decline in median sales price and homes sold, October 2015 ranked as the third-most active October in the 10 years for which we have data. In light of that, the changes in the market we saw this October appear as relatively normal, not a sign of a long-term weakening of the market.

Looking ahead to November, there were 258 pending sales at October’s end, very close to the 2016 end-of-month average of 256. November began with 465 active homes for sale; the beginning-of-month average this year is 452.

Whether you’re looking to sell your home or in the market to buy, my experience in the Bend market will help you achieve an optimal result. To learn more about Bend home options, get started with listing your Bend home, or to view area homes, contact me at (541) 383-1426, or visit Bend Property Search to connect with me through my website.

Median sales price reverses direction, rises 7.5 percent in September

median-sales-price-chartBy Jason Boone

Any sense during the summer months that the housing market in Bend, Oregon, was softening or beginning to tilt in favor of buyers might be erased by the sales figures from September.

After three months of declines in the median sales price, it rose in September to $385,750. That is 7.5 percent more than the median price in August.

The 7.5 percent month-over-month increase is the biggest since there was a 10.4 percent increase from February 2015 to March 2015. The March 2015 rise, however, followed a 12.1 percent decrease the previous month. The month-to-month declines that preceded this September’s growth in the sales price were all of 1.5 percent or less.

September’s median price is the second-highest in the 10 years for which the Skjersaa Group has data. The only month with a higher median price was May 2007, when it was $396,250.

We all know what happened in the months that followed, of course. But in May 2007, the inventory of homes on the market in Bend was more than 15. Last month, it was 2.4.

Considering that six months is generally regarded as the dividing line between a buyer’s and a seller’s market, you can see that Bend’s market is still humming along.

On Oct. 1, 2007, the interest rate was 6.375 percent.  As of Oct. 1, 2016, the interest rate was 3.625 percent. This equates to an additional $100,000 of purchasing power that buyers have today over 2007.  A $292,000 mortgage in 2007 would have cost $1,821 a month.  Today that same payment affords someone a $399,297 mortgage.  That’s a considerable difference.

Looking at year-over-year numbers, we can see that it’s not unusual for a rise in the median price in September. It happened last year (0.8 percent) and in 2013 (13.0 percent).

The number of active listings in September was 554, a calendar-year high. In 2013 and 2014, September also had the greatest number of listings.

The average days on the market for a home in September was 104 days. It was the third month in a row with an increase in that data point, but it was the lowest for any September for which we have data. So, houses stayed on the market longer than in July (97 days) and August (101) but for considerably less time than in previous Septembers.

And the average sales price to list price was back at 99 percent last month, after a decline from 99 percent to 98 percent in August.

More than one-fourth of the homes sold in May went for $525,100 or more. That’s the highest percentage of sold homes at that price this calendar year.

There were 208 pending sales in September, the fewest since 170 in January. That might indicate a slower pace of sales to come in October, but in six of the last seven years, more homes were sold in October than in September. The exception was last year.

The right time to buy or sell a house can happen at any time. My experience in the market will help you achieve an optimal result, whether you’re looking to sell your home or in the market to buy. To learn more about Bend home options, get started with listing your Bend home, or to view area homes, contact me at (541) 383-1426, or visit Bend Property Search to connect with me through my website.

The Skjersaa Group pledges at least 1% of revenue to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment