My Weekly Central Oregon Real Estate Blog

Every Wednesday morning, I post a market report for Central Oregon with information about homes, market trends, and real estate news. Register today, or contact Reed for immediate assistance. 

April 17, 2024

Central Oregon Market Report | April 17, 2024

Central Oregon Market Report for April 17, 2024

After an (un)expected rise in inflation with last week's Consumer Price Index Report, the 10-year Treasury closed trading yesterday at 4.654%. The 10-year Treasury closely correlates to 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, and the rise in bond yields also increased mortgage rates, with the 30-year fixed-rate conventional mortgage national average at 7.5% this morning. While the impact on housing is yet to be determined, some signs are emerging in this morning's data. The shift in the market is significant for the seller's out there.

 

The inventory of single-family homes in Deschutes County increased to 746, up twenty-seven from last week. The pace of new listings and "coming soon" announcements has been brisk in the Realtor back channels. Median list price in the county is 807k, with 254 price reductions, well within a typical range for a healthy market. Sixty-six pending sales at a median price of 660k, with twenty-two price reductions at an average of -4.3%, show typical ranges of price reductions, but sales volume has decreased from a couple of weeks ago by a small margin. Sixty-five closed transactions at a median price of 715k and only twelve days on the market reflect the strong buyer demand thirty to forty-five days ago. The average price reduction was -6.74% for closed sales. The average sold-to-original list price percentage for the week was 98.1%, and the average sold price per square foot was $406.

 

Correct pricing is paramount in today's market, especially as mortgage rates climb. Price reductions will undoubtedly attract buyers if they are large enough, but getting the price right immediately and finding a willing buyer is a better strategy. It can be challenging to nail the price immediately, especially for unique properties and locations. Sometimes, an adjustment is required to be well-positioned for the coming peak selling season.

 

The inventory level in Crook County remained stable at 112, with the median list price at 644k. Thirteen homes are pending this week at only fourteen days on the market and a median price of 440k. The average price reduction for these pending sales was -4.22%. Three homes closed this week at an average of 382k, with only one price reduction. In smaller Crook County, there is more variation from week to week, so don't read too much into the lower sales number. This week, the sold-to-original list price ratio in Crook County was 92.62%, and the average sold price per square foot was $237.

 

Last week, I had the opportunity to evaluate several commercial and investment properties in Crook County, and some very interesting properties are available. Whether you are looking for high-traffic exposure in the heart of downtown Prineville or a sizeable industrial parcel near the airport, investors looking into Central Oregon would be hard-pressed to find more upside potential than Prineville and Crook County. Many turn-key investments in Prineville show cap rates over 6%, almost unheard of in Deschutes County, where higher property prices drag cap rates in many cases below 4%. Prineville could be a fantastic opportunity for the right business and investor.

 

Jefferson County inventory decreased by five to seventy-four this week, with the median list price at $437,750. Seven pending sales were on the market for a median of thirty-three days and a median price of 436k. Three homes sold at 479k, 435k, and 400k, and a sold-to-original list price ratio of 91.29%. The average sold price per square foot was $259.

 

While regular readers of my reports may be more educated than most, every buyer and seller in our technologically advanced era has access to more data than ever. Most buyers are knowledgeable about the neighborhoods and geographic areas they are interested in and recognize well-priced properties. Higher mortgage rates may temper buyer demand, but active, well-qualified buyers are still engaged in finding the right property for them. I encourage sellers to consider the entire market when pricing their homes and regularly work with clients to provide comprehensive market analysis to help them make good decisions. Different price points require a different approach, and no two homes are the same. Contact me if you need anything related to Central Oregon real estate!

 

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April 10, 2024

Central Oregon Market Report | April 10, 2024

Central Oregon Market Report for April 10, 2024

The last few years have been tough for buyers, with so few homes listed for sale, but that trend is loosening up. In mid-April 2022, there were 333 single-family homes listed in Deschutes County. This week last year, 525 single-family homes were available, and this morning shows 719 listings, an increase year-over-year of 36.95%. However, pent-up demand has the market moving quickly, with seventeen days on the market for the sixty-eight pending sales this week and twenty days for the forty-five closed transactions. Several desirable properties were placed under contract this week in single-digit days on the market. 

 

The median price reduction of -2.3% for closed sales in Deschutes County continues the trend of sellers getting very close to the asking price. The sale price to the original list price percentage was 98.29% for the week. While the median sale price reflects a reduction from the list price, scrolling through the sales shows seventeen of the forty-five closed sales going for more than the list price. Nineteen of the forty-five sales were on the market for a single-digit number of days. 

 

This morning, the 30-year fixed-rate conventional mortgage national average is 7.06%, with the 10-year Treasury at 4.343%. With March CPI coming in at a hotter-than-expected +0.4% month-over-month and 3.5% year-over-year, a June rate pivot from the Fed is increasingly unlikely. Regular readers of my report will recall that I have cautioned against expecting any rate cuts in 2024, and many analysts have backed down from three projected cuts to two recently. At the beginning of the year, many analysts predicted seven rate cuts at 25 basis points each, or 1.75%. With the six-month Federal deficit at $1.1T, oil prices rising, and national and global supply chain disruptions, inflation is rising no matter how optimisticly Wall Street tries to paint the picture. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon wrote candidly this week about his optimism regarding the US economy while cautioning against the risks of the myriad geopolitical events. For housing, this means rates will remain higher, longer, but buyers seem to have adjusted to that reality and are undeterred. 

 

Single-family homes for sale in Crook County increased to 112, down nine from last year's week. Eight pending single-family homes sold at thirty-nine days on the market. Six properties closed at twenty-nine days on the market and a median sale price of $454,945 to round out the week's activity. Pending and closed transactions in Brasada Ranch and Powell Butte pulled up the median sale price from the 427k sold price of the five Prineville properties closed this week. 

 

Jefferson County inventory increased by five to seventy-nine single-family homes listed at a median of $445k and an average of $572,784. The six pending sales were on the market for forty days with a median price of $289,000—three homes sold at a median of $450k and an average of $489k. 

 

With stable mortgage rates, rising inventory, and peak selling season just around the corner, I expect to see strong buyer demand continue. Buyers are stepping up to snag new listings without hesitation, and attractive properties are moving quickly. Today's firmly established trends have been taking shape for several weeks. Increased inventory in our current environment means increased sales. The market might not be moving as dizzyingly fast as the peak pandemic activity levels, but it isn't far off. Growth in Central Oregon continues, with a seemingly endless stream of buyers. When you see a home that fits your needs, waiting likely means missing out. 

 

I create individual market analyses for my clients almost daily, so please don't hesitate to reach out if you need my expert opinion on any home you are considering. From La Pine to Madras, Bend to Prineville, and all points in between, I am intimately familiar with Central Oregon real estate and here to help you!

 

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April 3, 2024

Central Oregon Market Report | April 3, 2024

Central Oregon housing market report for April 3, 2024

Reviewing the numbers from the last week in Central Oregon, it is immediately apparent that sales are increasing, and homes are selling for closer to the asking price than at any time over the last several months. The national average for a 30-year fixed-rate conventional mortgage is 7.06%, so better rates are not the contributing factor. Pent-up buyer demand is the culprit.

In Crook County, available homes dropped three to 111, with ten pending sales and nine closed transactions. Pending sales listed for a median of only fourteen days and 392k. Only three of the ten transactions reduced the asking price; the median reduction was -0.79%, and the average was -1.94%. The closed transactions also had three price reductions; the median closed price was 465k, averaging 574k. 

 

Inventory in Jefferson County increased from one to 75, with three pending sales and eight closed transactions. Pending days on the market were a more reasonable thirty-four and ninety-six for closed transactions. The median price of active listings is $439,500, $433,000 for pending sales, and $496,221 for closed transactions this week. Active listings reflect a median price reduction of 4.27%, with pending sales at -6.94% and closed transactions at -3.24%.  

 

While Crook and Jefferson counties are impacted by extremely low inventory, Deschutes County homes for sale continue to grow at a healthy pace. There were 692 listings this morning, up thirty-eight from last week. This week, last year, there were only 542 active listings of single-family homes in Deschutes County. The median numbers for active listings are forty days on the market, 795k list price, and -3.77% for price reductions, just under 34% of the market. One-third of the active listings showing a price cut is a typical number in a strong market, with 50% indicating conditions beginning to favor buyers. Eighty-two homes are in pending status this week, with only fourteen days listed, a median price of $691,266, and an average of $922,175. Less than 27% of the pending sales reduced the asking price by a median of -4.28%. Forty-five homes closed at a median of only ten days on the market, a median of $735,000, with fourteen reducing the price by a median of -5.04%. The average list price of single-family homes in Deschutes County is $1,165,045, for pending sales $922,175, and sold homes $948,488.

 

Many agents I am speaking with about listings have informed me of increased activity. The reduced days on the market for pending and closed transactions indicate strong buyer demand. Reading between the lines, many buyers have adjusted to rates near 7% and are taking advantage of more selection in the market. If rates were to spike, it might slow buyer demand, but there is no indication that rates are increasing appreciably. Conversely, a drop in rates would make what is becoming a hot market even hotter. However, with inflation numbers edging up, a June decrease in the overnight rate from the Fed is increasingly unlikely. Mortgage rates should remain stable throughout the summer selling season. Some Fed members still telegraph rate drops this year, a narrative based on improving inflation numbers which have not been cooperating. 

 

Timing is the key to the Central Oregon housing market for buyers looking for specific properties. There is no guarantee that several great options will be available during the selling season, and with the market heating up, several buyers are circling the same property in most cases. In many neighborhoods throughout our region, I have watched all the options considered by some buyers go under contract in the last week, resetting those buyers' search to zero. New properties come up frequently at this time of year, and every buyer needs to move in a way that fits their needs. However, there are only four short months left in 2024 to put a home under contract to close before Labor Day. By every measure, except mortgage rates, this year is beginning to feel like the craziest part of the pandemic surge in buyer demand.  

 

Sellers undoubtedly face solid buyer demand, but correct pricing is still imperative. Today, buyers have all the tools available to be knowledgeable about our market and typically know all the sales, pending, and active inventory for a particular neighborhood. Speaking of sellers, stay tuned for a great listing I have coming soon in SW Bend!

 

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March 27, 2024

Central Oregon Market Report | March 27, 2024

Central Oregon Market Report for March 27, 2024

I track several statistics weekly in the Central Oregon MLS and keep them in a spreadsheet for future reference. I don't share two of those statistics regularly because they are of little value weekly, but they help establish trends, such as the sold-to-list ratio and the sold-to-original-list ratio. The sold-to percentages show how much sellers adjust the asking price before accepting an offer. When homes are in pending sale status, the price shown will be the list price when the seller accepts the offer. After closing, I can see the negotiated price, which may be higher or lower than the list price. Median and average price change percentages are another indication of adjustments made by sellers before an offer is accepted. In a flat or slowing market, these percentages increase as sellers start higher than the market will bear and need to adjust downward to attract buyers. In many cases, the negotiated price will also be lower than the list price, creating a compounding reduction from a seller's original expectations of a sale price. 

 

As prices have increased, especially in the face of higher mortgage interest rates, I am having more conversations with buyers about asking prices that feel very high. Sellers all have reasons (sometimes emotional) why their home is worth a particular price, but buyers also have a list of reasons why they believe a house is overpriced. In a competitive market with low inventory, many buyers expect more of a reduction than is realistic. With enough time lingering on the market, some sellers eventually get the hint and lower the price. In other situations, competing homes sell, and the homes left begin to look better. Also, only some potential buyers are engaged in the market simultaneously, and newly engaged buyers sometimes jump on properties other buyers decide to pass on. Ultimately, a home will sell for what a willing, capable buyer and seller agree to, and many sellers are unwilling to budge on price. Even properties priced aggressively sometimes find willing buyers if they are unique and stand out. When you see the statistics this week, you'll understand why I took the time to explain these metrics.

 

This morning, there are 654 single-family homes for sale in Deschutes County, 31 more than last week. The median list price is $764,900, and the average is $1,129,801, consistent with prices since late last year. The median price change was -3.74%, and the average was -4.59%. I started tracking the median price change percentages two years ago, and the first time the number dropped below 4% occurred in January 2024. A healthy seventy-one homes were placed under contract this week with a median of thirteen days listed, 735k, and an average of 913k. The median price change of pending sales was -2.86%, with the average considerably higher at -6.05%. That means more than half the pending sales this week had price reductions LESS THAN -2.86%. Forty-four homes sold this week in Deschutes County at a median of twenty-one days on the market, 756k median, and an average price of 949k. The median price reduction was -2.92%, and the average was -1.51%. As a point of reference, on the week ending January 25, 2023, the median price reduction for sold homes in Deschutes County was -11.14%. Prices are higher, and sellers are getting closer to their asking price than ever in the "pandemic era" housing market. 

 

One hundred fourteen homes are listed in Crook County this morning, up three from last week, at a median price of 599k and an average of 919k. The median price reduction is -3.85%, and the average reduction is -6.24%—eight homes are pending sales in Crook County at a median of 701k and an average of 829k. Sellers were more amenable to price drops, with the median reduction at -8% and the average at -9.51%. Of the eight pending sales, the median days listed were only fifteen. Six homes closed at a median of 400k and an average of 394k. The median days on the market for the sold properties were forty-six, and the median and average price reductions were 3.67% and 3.69%. 

 

Jefferson County's inventory dropped one this week to seventy-four, with a median of 438k and an average of 547k. The median and average price reduction for active listings is -4.39% and -4.5%. Four homes were pending sales, with a median of 374k, an average of 459k, and only twenty-eight days on the market. The median and average price reduction for the pending sales was -1.3%. Five homes sold at a median of 450k and an average of 458k, with 120 median days listed. The median and average reduction for closed sales was -6.34%. 

 

The smaller Crook and Jefferson County data pool makes the trends more subject to large swings. Properly evaluating prices and trends in the less populated parts of Central Oregon requires local knowledge and precise evaluation of specific properties, both of which I have and use daily. 

 

Despite rising inflation, transportation issues in the Panama and Suez Canal, Baltimore Harbor, and increasing fuel prices, the Fed is telegraphing a likely rate decrease at the June meeting. With banks under increasing pressure from high-interest rates, the reverse repo market drawing down, and a book of bonds at low rates refinanced against higher rates, Jerome Powell is in a rock and a hard place. While a likely 25 basis point rate pivot in June won't change the lending landscape in housing much, it might slow bank failures, even if a pivot in light of current trends will be the equivalent of waiving a white flag against rising inflation. Powell has leaned on his favorite word to describe hotter-than-expected January and February inflation: transitory. There have even been some murmurings of raising target inflation to 3%, but what is a casual 50% increase in the target amongst friends?

 

What does it all mean? Nobody knows in the long-term, other than rapidly debasing our currency. To say we are in uncharted territory would be an understatement. In the short-term, home sales have increased over the last year, prices are firm, and sellers are getting closer to the asking price than at any time in recent memory. Earlier this year, I predicted mortgage interest rates to be 6.675% in September, and with today's 30-year fixed-rate conventional mortgage averaging 6.91%, I may have been correct. To be clear, I was being cheeky with my prediction, and guessing future mortgage rates is a fool's game. However, in this case, it may be prescient. The game is relatively easy for sellers: set your price and wait for feedback. For buyers, especially with unique properties that fit your needs, offering very close to the asking price may be necessary to secure a sale. While coming in far below the asking price may be tempting, sellers are balking at low offers and holding firm this year. Waiting for a seller to lower the price keeps the door open for other buyers, and those buyers have been stepping up. 

 

I regularly show and tour homes and drive the neighborhoods around Central Oregon. If you have questions about a specific community, price, or a particular feature, do not hesitate to contact me for answers. 

 

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March 20, 2024

Central Oregon Market Report | March 20, 2024

Central Oregon Market Report for March 20, 2024

The last several days in Central Oregon have been gorgeous, with sunshine and temperatures approaching or surpassing 70 degrees. Weather at this time of year can cover the gamut, and I do not expect conditions to remain this mild, as it is only March. However, the nice weather may have helped a solid week of pending sales. Mortgage rates have remained steady at 7.11% for the national average on 30-year fixed-rate loans, a factor that doesn't seem to be deterring buyers. 

 

As expected at this time of year and with such beautiful weather, new listings increased in Deschutes County to 623, up twenty-eight from last week. Pending sales for the week were seventy-two, the highest since late September, and up substantially over the previous few months. Fifty-two sales were recorded last week at a median of $689,500 and an average of 840k. The median days on the market for closed transactions were twenty-three, but looking through the sales reveals many properties with marketing times exceeding 100 days. Winter sales are typically slow, but spring activity has buyers scrutinizing every option and taking advantage of recent price reductions or motivated sellers. Buyers waiting for conditions to shift are dealing with constant changes in available inventory and, in some cases, are disappointed to see homes they have been watching go under contract. As always, finding the right property is the challenge in Central Oregon. 

 

Crook County inventory declined three this week to 111, with the median list price at 640k and the average at 941k. Twelve homes are pending, with an average list price of 585k and only fourteen days on the market. Seven sales averaging just under 500k round out the week. As long as inventory remains low in Crook County, I expect prices to remain stable. 

 

Jefferson County available listings have remained stable, with seventy-five homes for sale this morning, down one from last week. Twelve pending transactions at an average list price of 446k and five sold homes at an average of 408k reveal solid activity for the week. The median days on the market for pending sales were 116, with 124 days for sold homes. The median days for active listings is seventy-two, at an average of 534k and a median of 436k. Like Deschutes and Crook Counties, Jefferson County listings that have lingered through the winter are getting snapped up by buyers eager to secure their place in Central Oregon.

 

More buyers recognize that mortgage rates are unlikely to change drastically soon and are tired of waiting on the sidelines. With inflation steadily increasing month-over-month, a rate cut in the late April Fed meeting seems increasingly unlikely. The base effect of monthly increases is catching up and showing in year-over-year increases in inflation, forcing the "sun is always shining" crowd to report on how today's number is less than peak inflation reported at 9%. With many analysts comparing today's trends to those of 1973 and 1974, further increases in inflation seem more likely than not. If the Fed passes on rate cuts in late April, the next opportunity would be at the June meeting. Unless the Fed makes a political move (gasp!) on rates, I expect mortgages to stay close to today's levels. The good news is that higher rates help increase inventory and tamp down rampant price increases, even in our low-inventory environment, which is good news for buyers. 

 

No matter the neighborhood or price point you are targeting, I am always available to run a detailed analysis of past sales, trends, and opinions on pricing for any home you are considering. My experience applies equally to buyers and sellers, and the depth of my analysis is unmatched. Do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about pricing in today's market. 

 

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March 13, 2024

Central Oregon Market Report | March 13, 2024

Central Oregon Market Report for March 13, 2024

Inventory across Central Oregon is up over last week as listings increase, heading towards the peak selling season. Homes listed for sale are also up from last year, a factor that is contributing to increased sales volume year to date. By this day in 2023, 443 single-family homes sold in Deschutes County at a median price of 620k. As of this morning, there have been 484 sales in the county at a median of 665k, a not-insignificant increase. Interestingly, on this day in 2023, the national average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 6.62%, compared to 6.92% this morning. Of course, every buyer would love access to low mortgage rates, but there is much more to purchasing a home than interest rates. For Central Oregon, suitable choices outweigh rates, and more available inventory is helping buyers find the right home.

 

This morning in Deschutes County, there are 595 single-family homes listed at a median of $739,900 and an average of $1,115,364. That is an increase of twenty-three over last week as we head to a peak sometime in late summer. Last year's peak was in mid-September at 909 single-family listings, so we still have a way to reach peak inventory. Whether we break the 1,000 listing barrier remains to be seen, but that seems possible based on inventory trends to start 2024. 

 

Crook County shows 114 listings this morning, up seven from last week. The median asking price is 639k, and the average is 925k. Sales year to date are up modestly, at fifty-eight from fifty-two in 2023, with prices down slightly, at 443k from 449k. With the smaller data pool of Crook County sales, even a few sales in Brasada Ranch could skew the median sales price higher, and I expect just that as we get further into summer. 

 

Jefferson County inventory increased four this week to seventy-six single-family homes at a median of $431,450 and an average of $519,327. Unlike Crook and Deschutes County, sales are down this year in Jefferson County. Year to date, in 2023, there were thirty-one sales at a median of 365k, while this year's activity is significantly less at only twenty sales. However, the median sale price this year jumped to 443k. As always, the smaller the data set, the less reliable the numbers. The most noticeable difference in 2024 from last year was the lack of sales below 300k. 

 

As I've mentioned several times this year, I do not expect interest rates to change much in 2024. The most recent CPI data is pushing the Fed towards "higher-longer." The good news is that higher rates are increasing inventory, and more choices are helping buyers find excellent properties that meet their needs. Some properties that have lingered on the market have lowered the asking price and are likely to sell this season. With mortgage rates continuing to fluctuate, staying in contact with your lender is imperative if you want to capitalize on dips in interest rates. Whether you need a lender referral or a price opinion, I am always available, so do not hesitate to reach out!

 

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March 6, 2024

Central Oregon Market Report | March 6, 2024

Central Oregon Market Report for March 6, 2024

With the 30-year fixed-rate national average for a conventional mortgage still above 7%, the inventory of single-family homes in Deschutes County is steadily building. This week, there are 573 listings at a median of 739k, with forty-eight pending sales (647k) and fifty-nine (650k) sold homes. Today's inventory reflects a 12.1% increase from this week last year when there were only 511 homes listed. The median list price for active homes for last year's week was 700k, slightly down from this year, but the sixty-four pending sales median was 692k, while the thirty-eight closed transaction median was 627k. Comparing one week to another isn't the strongest metric, although the trend of lower sales for 2024 is consistent. 

 

Many analysts predicted more robust sales volume nationwide for 2024, but those same analysts also predicted lower rates starting in March. It stands to reason when rates did not decline, or sales did not increase, which is playing out in Deschutes County. 

 

Real estate is local, and inventory declined by eight to 107 single-family homes in Crook County, at a median of 600k. A robust fourteen sales at a median of 492k and two closed transactions of 318k and 489k round out the weekly numbers. Unlike Deschutes County, Crook County inventory is down ten from last year's week when the median list price was 50k lower than today. Fourteen pending sales and four closed transactions last year almost perfectly align with this week's numbers.

 

Inventory bounces around in the early stages of the spring selling season. However, despite growing inventory in Deschutes County, available homes in Central Oregon are still low enough to keep prices elevated. The longer interest rates stay elevated, the better chance that more homes will hit the market and prices will soften. The wrinkle in that equation is buyer demand, a complex dynamic to predict. 

 

Jefferson County inventory dropped two this week to seventy-two listings at a median of 435k. This week last year showed sixty-eight active listings at a median of 430k, consistent with today's market. There were five pending sales this week last year as well as this week, but the median sale price went from 335k to 600k. Six closed transactions the previous year's week eclipse this week's one sale, but the median sale price last year of 347k is far short of this week's 940k. Jefferson County includes a large geographic area with a tremendous diversity of available properties, so do not read too much into the year-over-year pending and sold price discrepancies. 

 

Overall, today's housing market is very much in line with the market of the last year or so. Mortgage rates are trending higher, as well as inflation, but low inventory keeps prices firm. The market is not impacted evenly by these dynamics, with many homes still selling in a matter of days at or near the full asking price. An accurate listing price is the key to a quick sale for sellers. Testing the market with a high price has increased marketing times tremendously. For unique properties in great locations, longer marketing times are typical, giving sellers time to start high and adjust as we get deeper into the year. However, with a mortgage rate pivot increasingly unlikely in 2024, sellers closer to the median sale price need to price accurately sooner rather than later. 

 

With Central Oregon's growing population, most properties find a buyer eventually, and the old location of the church owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese in Crook County was put under contract this week after 782 days listed. This spectacular property sits on 38 acres, with 25 acres of water rights and expansive views of the Cascade Mountains. A home exists on the property, but the cabins, seven RV spots, and a 3,000-square-foot chapel make this far from a typical residential property. It will be interesting to see what the new owner has in store for this iconic location!

 

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Feb. 28, 2024

Central Oregon Market Report | February 28, 2024

Central Oregon Market Report for February 28, 2024

With the housing market simmering considerably less than red-hot, inventory is relatively stable but fluctuating. Mortgage rates this morning are at 7.16%, but prices across all three counties of Central Oregon are up for active, pending, and closed sales compared to this week in 2023. With interest rates looking to stay higher for longer and a rate pivot looking increasingly slim for 2024, are we at an inflection point? While inventory hasn't yet reached the level of applying significant downward pressure to home prices, slow buyer demand could help tip the scale. Anecdotally, I have recently shown a property on the extreme edge of being overpriced, in my estimation. However, our market thrives on solid demand from qualified buyers, and it doesn't take many sales at current prices to set expectations for sellers. Whether appraisers agree with those valuations will unfold as the year progresses. 

 

This morning in Deschutes County, inventory decreased five from last week, and there are now 546 single-family homes listed. Last year's week, there were 485 listings, a 12.6% reduction. The median price of active listings this morning is 739k, up slightly from 725k last year this week. Fifty-four homes are pending at a median of 700k, with forty-four closed at 664k. Pending sales of seventy-six this week last year at 630k and sixty-one closed sales at 600k show a striking increase in prices. Seeing how well prices hold up will be interesting as pivot dreams fade. 

 

Crook County inventory increased by five to 115 single-family homes listed, still down five from this week last year. Five pending sales at a median of 485k and three closed sales at a median of $503,750 (average 496k) reflect fewer transactions and higher prices than last year. On this week in 2023 in Crook County, there were ten pending sales at a median of 432k and five closed transactions at 489k. With total inventory down from last year, firmer prices stand to reason.

 

In Jefferson County, inventory decreased by five to seventy-four at a median of $439,750. This week, there were eleven pending sales at a median of 380k, with two closed transactions at an average of 395k rounding out the weekly data. Inventory on this week last year was sixty-five, with the median price at 415k. In 2023, this week, there were seven pending sales at 315k and one closed sale at 330k. With the diversity of homes and properties in Jefferson County and relatively low sales volume, I wouldn't read too much into the price differences year over year. However, when considered in combination with the activity in Crook and Deschutes County, it is hard to dispute that prices are up. 

 

I have not been shy about expressing my opinion that the crowd clamoring for and assuming significant rate pivots are delusional in our current economic reality. But, there is no question that narrative sunk in with a large percentage of the general public. My intuition tells me a lot of the highly aggressive pricing we see today came from sellers and agents, assuming that rates would decline by this point of the year and buyers would be flooding the market. There is no doubt that Central Oregon continues to grow, but it is unknown if the influx of buyers will accept higher prices in light of higher borrowing costs. Inventory may be up from last year, but anyone actively looking can attest that selection still feels limited. One higher-end home that has lingered on the market raised the list price by over 20%! Raising the list price in a market flooded with homes can get the house in front of people who may have set search price parameters higher, but I question how effective that will be in our small market, where there are only a handful of homes above $4M. The house is unique and beautiful in a one-of-a-kind location, so who knows?

 

I recommend pricing appropriately for sellers to secure a sale sooner rather than later. I do not anticipate selling conditions improving as the year progresses. Taking advantage of lower inventory and less competition is a "strike while the irons hot" scenario. Conversely, I do not anticipate a collapse in housing this season, but with so much going on in the world, it is uncertain what the landscape will be in nine months. Still, growth in Central Oregon will continue, and the forces driving people here from other locations are as strong as ever.

 

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Feb. 21, 2024

Central Oregon Market Report | February 21, 2024

Central Oregon Market Report for February 21, 2024

With mortgage interest rates over 7%, the inventory of single-family homes in Central Oregon has stabilized. If rates stay above 7%, I expect modest inventory growth, as higher rates slow the market. Hopes of a rate pivot in March have not only disappeared, but many are talking about a rate increase from the Fed in light of recent inflation numbers. As I mentioned last week, I do not expect a pivot in the first half of 2024, and I increasingly believe a pivot is unlikely for the entire year. An increase at the May or June Fed meetings would likely only be 25 basis points, but any increase likely pushes any hopes for a rate pivot into 2025. 

 

Single-family homes for sale in Deschutes County increased by one to 551, up from last year's week when 514 homes were listed. At this time of year, I expect the inventory levels to bounce around before beginning the climb to a peak in late summer, but with tighter lending, the upward trend could start sooner. Pending sales in Deschutes County were fifty-five, with forty-two closed transactions. Closed transactions were up by six from last year's week, but pending sales were down thirty. The median days listed for pending and closed sales this week were only sixteen. With new listings hitting the market early in the year, it stands to reason that days on the market are low, but the numbers reflect new inventory that is attractive, priced competitively, or both. 

 

In this market, it is imperative that sellers not overprice to attract a smaller pool of qualified buyers. Testing a higher price in these conditions could lead to an extended marketing time requiring price reductions to chase the market. As the housing market evolves, strategy is more important than just putting a sign in the ground.

 

Crook County inventory remains 110 listings, with nine pending sales and five closed transactions. The fewer new listings in Crook County means buyers are sifting through existing inventory, reflected in eighty-seven days on the market for the median pending sale and seventy-three days for the closed transactions this week. 

 

Jefferson County inventory increased by one to seventy-nine, with two pending sales and one closed transaction this week. With so few new listings and transactions, the Jefferson County housing market is considerably less active than the rest of Central Oregon. 

 

I have noticed a significant shift in real estate marketing lately, from "buy now, before prices increase!" to "rates are near historical averages, and it could be a long time before rates decline." I can only assume these campaigns operate under the belief that people are not paying attention to the message from one day to the next. Now might be a perfect time to buy or sell, but that is a personal decision. When rates were lower, and the market was frothy, buyers had to contend with multiple offers and rising prices. Now that rates are higher, there is less competition, and prices are more stable. Buying or selling a home is a big decision that should not be taken lightly. The best course of action encompasses a long-term approach and a mortgage you can afford today. Refinancing to a lower rate in the future could be an excellent way to save a bit on your monthly payment, but refinancing isn't always guaranteed. 

 

Stay in contact with your lender, explore the myriad loan programs available, and evaluate the return of your investment in points paid towards a rate buy-down before making a decision. Some pre-paid interest is refundable and pro-rated if you sell, while others are sunk costs. It is easy to become hyper-focused on interest rates in today's volatile market, but that is only one small part of the equation.

 

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Feb. 14, 2024

Central Oregon Market Report | February 14, 2024

Central Oregon Market Report for February 14, 2024

Yesterday's Consumer Price Index report was a bucket of cold water for those clamoring for a rate pivot from the Federal Reserve. Most financial writers are comparing year-over-year inflation, but when viewed month over month and annualized over three and six months, the trends are rising, not decreasing, especially in the Core Inflation numbers the Fed looks at most closely. Yesterday's report removes any lingering hope for a March pivot and likely pushes any chance of a Fed decrease into June at the earliest. While it may only be the second week of February, the recent CPI report locks in the market for the first half 2024. Mortgage interest rates are not directly tied to the Fed overnight rate, and weekly volatility will likely continue. This morning, the 30-year national average for fixed-rate conventional financing is 7.13%.

 

Deschutes County single-family home inventory decreased by eight to 550, up twenty-eight from last year's week. In many cases, higher mortgage rates equate to more listings, and it will be interesting to see if available homes for sale increase now that the current rates are all but assured for the first half of the year. So far, buyer demand has remained steady, with sixty-eight pending sales this week and forty-four closed transactions. 

 

Crook County homes for sale increased by three to 107, with strong pending sales of eleven and six closed transactions. Last year's week, Crook County had 131 active listings, so constrained supply is still a significant factor for the county. 

 

Jefferson County inventory dropped five to seventy-eight. On last year's week, an inventory of seventy-one is very much in line with today's available homes. Jefferson County activity is remarkably stable year-over-year, with every indication that will continue. 

 

Recently, I've read several reports of rising inventory, rising prices, or both. However, in most cases, the writers do not specify where the numbers come from or what they are measuring. Some include every home in the country, others exclude condos, and some focus on geographic regions. The largest, most stable data pool for Central Oregon is Deschutes County single-family homes, the basis for my reports. Crook and Jefferson County information is vital for anyone considering those counties, but the active, pending, and closed data for those areas fluctuates tremendously from week to week. However, for those of you that followed my breakdown of how each community in Central Oregon performed in 2023 compared to 2022, it was clear sales were down ~25%, while prices were down ~5%. Low inventory overcame reduced transaction volume to keep prices firm. 2024 is shaping up to be a carbon copy of 2023.

 

As I have mentioned ad nauseam in my reports, any downward pressure on home prices in Central Oregon will be preceded by rising inventory and lingering days on the market. Whether buyers, sellers, and market analysts stay laser-focused on a someday pivot or accept today's reality remains to be seen. Prices may not be heavily discounted, but they are also not rising aggressively. Looking through the pending and closed transactions, many buyers have negotiated some attractive deals. If you plan to make Central Oregon home for the foreseeable future, exploring today's options will likely reveal some very nice homes. Hopefully, the inventory will continue to gain steam as we head into spring and summer.

 

I am always available if you have any questions, and EnjoyBendLife.com has all the information you need for individual listings or market trends at your fingertips!

 

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