When you write in a blog, sometimes you will make statements that are right and other times you may be wrong. This is the risk that you make when you put yourself out there. At times I will mention that I think a unit that comes on the market might be overpriced, underpriced or priced just right. In the case of the new Cosmopolitan, the market has spoken! From the very beginning, I have said that I felt the Cosmopolitan was overpriced. Was I wrong? Well, the Cosmo is now about 85% sold out. The market has absorbed those high prices, prices that I mentioned were higher than Seattle’s Insignia development. How could I be so wrong? For the developer, Hoyt Street Properties, their timing was the perfect storm, in a good way. Not only did interest rates not go up as many have feared, they actually went down. The biggest reason the developer was able to capture these high prices… LACK of INVENTORY. This is where I was dead wrong in predicting what would happen in the market. I don’t believe anybody would have guessed we would have continued with the low inventory that we have continued to have.
Typically, as prices rise, owners who were underwater begin to see some equity and sell as prices begin to go up. This time around, it has not happened! This was the perfect storm for Hoyt. In regards to pricing, it really is the market that determines the price. Because buyers had no other options, they were forced to pay the high prices at The Cosmopolitan. In doing so, the developer never had to reduce prices like I thought they were going to need to do. So was I wrong in my saying they were priced too high? I am sticking to my guns in terms of my opinion on pricing. Again, I don’t determine prices nor does the developer, it is the market. Is Portland ready for $1000 a square foot prices? I still don’t believe so. Several agents have tried pricing a couple nice penthouses in town at the $1000 a ft. level and they are not selling. The real determination of pricing will come when these units go into the resale market. This has been my biggest fear in not wanting to put my clients in this building. While some are certainly willing to take that risk, it is hard to determine what the market will do between now and then. What I do believe though, is if the market were to turn around, I believe it will be very difficult to get the $800 to $1200 a sq. ft that the buyers paid. When things aren’t shiny and new it is more difficult. Will the extra height of the building justify those prices then? I am not so sure. The new Overton apartment building, which is slated for 26 floors, takes away some of the theory of not getting views blocked by being in a 28 story tower.
So was I wrong on pricing? Like I said, the market has spoken and the developer has won! However, somebody asked me the other day if my parents moved up from San Diego, would I sell them a unit there? My answer… NO! I would do exactly what I said was an option early on. I would rather find them a nice unit at The Metropolitan, Park Place, The Henry or The Casey at $600 to $800 a sq. ft and have them put $100,000 to $150,000 into it. That way they would have the dream kitchen they want (which is not ultra contemporary) and they could do some other things to make it exactly how they want it. They could have a unit that I believe would far exceed, in terms of finishes and design, what they would be getting at the Cosmopolitan. And not that the ultra contemporary finishes at the Cosmopolitan are not nice, Pedini cabinets, your only choice, are just not for everybody’s taste.
To finish up I want to add just one thing. Everybody that is buying at The Cosmopolitan is not just buying an investment, they are buying their new home that they plan on living in for many years. So for those people who don’t have plans or need to sell anytime soon, they will be living in a very nice building in a very nice part of the Pearl District. They will be in a building that offers many nice views and a building near several close by parks…it will be a nice place to call home!
Brad Golik is a condominium specialist with Pearl District Properties. I you are thinking about listing your Portland condominium, give Brad a call and learn about Portland’s best condo marketing program.
503-896-8856 l WWW.LuxuryCondosofPortland.com
Last week I mentioned what I called the “Cosmopolitan Effect” and how it was raising the bar for resale properties around the Pearl. In that blog post I mentioned that one of the signature town homes on 11th, priced at $1,899,000, came onto the market…and went pending in 3 days! Well, the seller’s are not carrying their bags of money to the bank just yet! The deal fell out of escrow and it is now back on the market.
A little about the property… #617 11th is a spectacular property featuring 2,698 square feet of upscale living right in the heart of the Pearl. This home features 2 bedrooms, 2 and a half baths, a library ( large enough to be 3rd bedroom) a spacious family/TV on the Mezzanine level, a large rooftop deck and a 2 car garage.
For those who might be selling their large suburban home, this could be the perfect transition to downsizing without giving up some of the space that is needed.
If you would like to tour this beautiful Pearl District town home, give me a call today and we can set up a tour of this amazing space!
As for the market in general, we are still battling with the lack of inventory. We have buyers in many upper end levels so if you own a condo in the Pearl, and are thinking in any way of selling, please give us a call today. For an instant assessment of your condo’s value, please visit http://www.PearlDistrictPrices.com
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
Since my first post about the Cosmopolitan I have gotten many calls and emails from people to discuss the Cosmopolitan and the pricing. What is interesting is that a number of buyers are trying to justify the pricing with comments such as…but it will be new and have all new appliances! Here is what I often tell them. “If you want new appliances, by a resale condo in a nice building like The Metropolitan, put $30,000 to $50,000 into a nice kitchen remodel and you will still be way ahead of the game compared to paying extremely excessive prices at the Cosmopolitan!”
Since my last update on the Cosmopolitan… not much has changed.
If you can recall my first post where I wrote about the euphoria of the new project and the normal sales of a new project when the developer sold 33 units during the grand opening. A couple weeks later I said the total sales were at 36 (December 11th). As of today, sales at the Cosmopolitan are at 40. From our last writing they have sold an additional 3 of the 1 bedroom garden units. These were units that were selling in the high $300,000 to the $400,000 range. (also priced in the $550 to $575 per sq. foot range. ) Most of the units that sold during the euphoric grand opening period were the smaller 2 bedroom units on the NE corner which sold out units #717 to #1817. The price range for these units was $769,500 to $918,000. The price per sq. ft for these units went from $575 to an excessive $680 for unit #1817. In my opinion, units #717 to #1317 in the $575 to $600 range is not unreasonable… still high, but not totally out of line. . 70% of the original units sold in the grand opening were in the $550 to $620 price per sq. ft. range. The low hanging fruit is now gone!
I am still sticking to my belief that this project is way overpriced! They have sold very few of the 1 bedroom units other than the popular Garden units. They still have not sold anything above the 21st floor with one exception, unit #2315, priced at $1,773,000 (crazy $1,000 per sq. ft!) I am still a little baffled as to why 8 to 9 buyers paid between $800 to $1000 a sq. ft. Again, was it the excitement of a new building,? Was it that they did not have representation from an outside broker to explain to them the severity of the high price per square foot they were paying? While it is certainly not my intention to bash this project, because I was as excited about it as anyone, the fact is that it is just very much overpriced. I believe it everyone’s right to make a reasonable profit from their hard work. But when I see excessive numbers in several areas that benefit the developer beyond a normal number, that is when I have a problem. Overcharging buyers by a considerable amount over the current market, again, the developer can pocket additional excessive profits. What happens to those buyers who are buying a unit for $650 to $1200 a square foot, and then realize a year after they move in they need to sell their unit for whatever reason. These buyers will be hammered in the resale market! Why? Because they paid $650 to $1200 a square foot in a market that should be $450 to $850!
What is my hope on this project? While I personally never wish bad on anyone, I do hope that sales remain as slow as they have been and maybe get worse. This will force the developer to drop their prices to REASONABLE numbers so that buyers don’t get punished when they become sellers in 2-5 years! In addition, my hope is that they will also go back to everyone that has made a purchase and additionally drop their prices as well. Again, I said the low hanging fruit is gone for the most part and sales will only get tougher for the developer moving forward as they try to sell a ton of units in the $700 to $1200 sq. ft. price range.
Buyers…ask yourself this one question. Should you be paying more for a condo than a similar project in Seattle? And remember, this project in Seattle is only 60% sold after a year and a half and has the benefit of Amazon as a nearby job force to support it! In addition Seattle is just priced much higher than Portland in general!
I am adding the graphic below again because I believe it tells a story pretty well!
If you still have an interest in making a purchase at the Cosmopolitan, please give me a call and we can discuss what may be the best values within the building because there are some units that have better value than others. Call Brad Golik at 503-896-8856.
As we settle into 2015, let’s take a look back at 2014. For the state of Oregon, prices were up about 7% for the year. In the condo market, in the main downtown, Pearl and South Waterfront areas, the number of sales were down to 755 sales compared to 2013’s 978 condo and town home sales.
In the Pearl district, a new building began to take shape ( see: Overpriced Cosmopolitan ) and is the first new project, other than apartments, to take place in a long time. The biggest surprise of 2014 in my mind has to be the interest rates. If you can recall, last year all of the experts were calling for much higher interest rates for the coming year with most predicting 5% to 5.5% by the end of the year. The facts…. Rates on the 30 yr closed at 3.875% for the year end. As you may have heard me in the past when I mentioned that you could replace all of the economist with all the weatherman in the world , nobody would ever know! Well “they” were way off this last year! The next chart shows you the projected appreciation for the next several years. As you can see, they were off a little in their 2014 appreciation projections!
While condo sales were down for 2014, luxury condos priced $1,000,000 and higher were up for the year with a 25% increase in the number of sales over 2013. While the number of sales for 2015 is expected to be higher, the appreciation is predicted to slow to the normal 3 to 5% range. Which building had the most sales in 2014? Well this was an easy one…Waterfront Pearl led all buildings with sales as they continued to convert the building back to ownership condos from rentals. Encore came in second as that building finally sold out it’s new construction project.
What should we expect from 2015? Stay tuned and check back here often to be updated in the Portland condo market!
If you have plans to buy or sell a condo in 2015, remember it pays to work with a condo specialist! Call Brad Golik and let him assist you with all of your condo needs!
Certified Condominium Specialist
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