Condo Sales for March
Portland Condo sales for March were strong considering how low our inventory is. In the month of March there were 63 sales in the area that I cover, which is from Pearl District, Uptown, Downtown to South Waterfront. This includes all condos and town homes priced above $200,000. To compare, February had sales of 37 in that same area. What is very interesting though is not the increase in sales of 70%, which is not unusual for this time of year, it is that there are currently 122 pending sales. Now 122 pending sales is nothing unusual, however, what is unusual is that this is the first time since I started writing in my blog that the pending sales actually exceeded the Active listings! Currently there are only 110 Active listings in my designated coverage area.
With numbers like this it could increase the numbers for appreciation in our area. While it was expected to see growth slow down some, the numbers may be higher than expected. It is certainly a sellers market with the low levels of inventory we are seeing. What will be important is the number of units that normally hit the market this time of year. As I mentioned, being a sellers market, this has been a huge windfall for the developers of The Cosmopolitan as they are getting buyers to plunk down a non refundable deposit for high priced units because of the fear of not being able to buy resale units at other buildings. If we were in a normal inventory market, I guarantee we would not see buyer’s overpaying for units.
If you are one of those buyers who may be looking for an upscale, high floor unit and looking to pay above $1,500,000… be patient! Next week I will be listing a unit that will be priced in the ballpark of $560 a square foot. A comparable unit in the
Cosmopolitan will cost you upwards of $1,000 a square foot! In my listing you could do a $250,000 remodel and still come in under $615 a square foot. Yes, sometimes patience does pay!
Brad Golik is a condominium specialist with Pearl District Properties.
Specializing in Portland Condos , Portland Penthouse, Portland Town Homes, Portland Highrises, upscale buildings including The Casey, The Metropolitan, Park Place, The Henry, The Westerly and many more!
Today I sat at Starbucks with my tablet to do a little work. As I took a few calls and reviewed listings online, I noticed the person next to me taking an interest in my work. We struck up a conversation as she enjoyed hearing about real estate and what was happening in the current Portland condo market. One of her comments was, after listening to 1 or 2 of my phone calls, how important marketing was to me when it came to listings. She mentioned to me that agents she had used in the past did very little marketing and pretty much just posted her listing in the local MLS and waited for a buyer. This is not unusual as this is exactly what many agents do!
As she became more engaged and interested, I explained to her my “Laws of Probability”. What I mean by this is that the more marketing you do, and if you do it in the highest quality fashion, you will attract more quality buyers. The laws of probability show that if you have more people interested in something…the price usually goes up!
This person, I feel, became very educated today on what a person needs to do to capture a top price in the sale of their condo or home. She was pretty shocked when I showed her some new listings that came on the market the previous 2 weeks. What I showed her was that with half of those new listings, the listing agent did not use a professional photographer. In fact, a couple had photos that were so bad she felt bad for the owners trying to sell. I explained my philosophy on this subject… If an agent cant spend a couple hundred dollars to “show off” your home the best they can, they should not be in real estate. Good agents work hard for their clients and spend the money to “Market” their home. This is part of what they are getting paid a commission to do. If that agent is not spending money on quality photos then they probably won’t spend money on a video, quality print materials or internet marketing! It was interesting when she asked me why owners would hire agents like this? I told her sometimes they just hire the agent that helped them purchase the unit and often don’t know any better. I also told her that unfortunately, many sellers think like those agents. In other words they think they can just put it in the MLS and get it sold. While this may be true, it will sell eventually…but at what price? There is a reason that many advertisers try to put their product in the consumers best light, because they know those consumers will pay a higher price if they perceive that product to be better.
If I get a listing and put it in the MLS with average photos and no additional marketing will it sell? Yes, eventually it will, but I don’t believe that I would have done everything possible to get my clients the highest price for their unit. I believe it is my job to spend the money necessary to promote that condo the very best that I can and make it stand out so that buyers perceive this to be the best unit available and are more comfortable in paying a higher price.
Brad Golik is a condominium specialist with Pearl District Properties.
Find him at http://www.LuxuryCondosofPortland.com 503-896-8856
Just to clear up any confusion there might be in comparisons to pricing at the Cosmopolitan and the Park Avenue West Tower. I have gotten several calls and emails recently asking me how the pricing at the Cosmopolitan compares to the pricing at the new 30 story Park Avenue West Tower adjacent to the downtown Nordstrom building. The fact is, that while there is going to be 15 floors of residences at the new Park Avenue building, they will not be condos for purchase. They will be units that are higher end rentals and not for sale!
In my last post I expressed my opinion on the pricing of the new 28 story condominium, Cosmopolitan on the Park. The feedback I have gotten back has mainly been very supportive of my article with a majority of people totally agreeing with my thoughts. Not all agreed with me though. One undisclosed comment ( perhaps someone with the development company?) thought that Portland was ready to support these prices. One even went as far as to say that they thought I might have an ax to grind with the developer. This could not be further from the truth. As an agent that specializes with condominiums, I was as excited as anyone for this new project to rise from the ground! With low inventory levels, the idea of having a new project to sell was just what I needed! I cannot sell something that I don’t believe in or something that I view as a financial risk to my clients. I may have some clients that might still make an offer but at least they will be going into it with a good idea of the market risk involved.
With that said, let’s just jump to the facts. To date in 2014, 35 condos have been sold in the $1,000,000+ price range. Now remember, these are the best of the best in the Portland condo market. The average price per square foot of these 35 sold units was $579. Only 4 of the 35 units sold above the $700 a sq. ft. level. Two of these were at The Casey, one was a penthouse unit at The Gregory and the other was a penthouse at The Henry.
Now to do our best to compare apples to apples we will take the average price per square foot of only the 2+ bedroom units at the Cosmopolitan because that is the case with our top 35. The average price per square foot of all the 2 bedroom units at the Cosmopolitan…. Drum roll please, $739 a square foot! That is $160 a square foot higher than the best of the best. Now keep in mind, a penthouse unit will often carry a higher price per square foot than typical units and a good portion of our top 35 units were penthouses and still the average was only $579!
The fact is that I just believe this project is overpriced for the Portland market and I believe the above numbers supports my beliefs. The real estate industry is really supported by comps and the numbers above, and market demand, do not justify the prices being asked. One person suggested because they were not paying buyers agents enough that my opinion was somewhat skewed. While the developer is paying substantially lower than the project I mentioned last week in Seattle as well as the hot new twin towers project, Lumina in San Francisco, sales credit has nothing to do with my opinion. What it does have to do with, in my opinion, is the greed factor. Cutting back to what they pay the agents that have helped them with past projects, and charging over-market prices to condo buyers is a win-win situation for the developer! Many years ago I interviewed the CEO of what was at that time the largest real estate company in the world. What he said to me still remains in my mind today. He said “The best real estate transaction is one in which everyone wins!” In this current situation…only the developer wins… that is until they need to reduce prices to get the project done!
Since our last blog post last week there have only been 3 additional sales at the Cosmopolitan, now with a total of 36 sales. These 3 units were 1 bedroom Garden level units priced in the $400,000 range.
If you have questions about the Cosmopolitan or would like to look at some of Portland’s other great condos, give me a call at 503-896-8856 and we can set up a tour or just discuss opportunities in the Portland condo market.
Brad Golik is a condominium specialist and can be found at www.LuxuryCondosofPortland.com
The other day I was at meeting with many other fellow real estate agents and overheard one of the agents talking to a group of other agents. Here is what she said: “I am so tired of people not considering us as professionals and viewing us 1 step above a car salesman!” I found this to be very interesting and only supported a belief that I have, and that is the fact that many agents are not very professional! As I looked at this person, one thing instantly came to my mind. Here she was at a “professionals” meeting and she was wearing jeans and looking anything but professional, as were about 3/4 of the agents there.. ( Have you ever watched House Hunters on HGTV? Many times you will see the same thing!) The second thing that came to my mind was the fact that I had just taken my car for an oil change at the Cadillac dealership. While there, I noticed the salesman. Every one of them had a suit and tie on!
The point I want to touch on here is if you want to be considered a professional, then act like one. No, wearing a suit does not make you a professional, but it is certainly a step in the right direction. The funny thing about the real estate business is that you have many different types and quality of real estate agents. The true professionals (usually dress everyday like they may meet a potential client that day) make a point to learn the business. They understand contracts, learn strong negotiation skills, have strong marketing skills. In other words, they take the time and make the effort to become a true “Professional”. Last week I went to view a million dollar condo for a client. I was pretty shocked when I showed up to see the listing agent in jeans who was trying to sell a million dollar condo. Again…a suit does not make you a professional but come on people. You want people to consider our profession as professional, start acting like it. You do have cultures within companies like Nike and Intel where it is appropriate to dress more casual, but we are not Nike and Intel.
There are over 8,000 real estate agents in the Portland area. Many more are becoming agents because they think it is an easy profession to make money in. (and they will soon learn how wrong they are.) Many of these agents are part time agents ( though you will NEVER hear that from their mouths!) It is very difficult to be a professional at anything unless you are giving it a majority of your time and you are spending that time to improve your skills.
If you are a seller or a buyer of a new home… hire a professional! If you are looking to buy or sell a condo, I would love the opportunity to interview for the job! If you are in the suburbs and looking for a “Professional” agent, give me a call and I will gladly direct you to a true professional.
Here is my take on professionalism in the real estate business. Professionals are good at what they do and they are worth every penny they charge! The ones who are not, and I believe that is a majority, can cost you plenty in a transaction.
It pays to hire a true professional!
Portland Condominium Specialist