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
The Cosmopolitan Rises!
At last… a new condominium is rising in Portland!. Let’s say a big welcome to The Cosmopolitan on the Park in the Pearl District. This 28 story condominium tower located on Block 15 of Portland’s Pearl District is set to be the crowning jewel of the Portland high rise condominium projects. Developed by the Hoyt Street development team, who’s last projects included Encore and the stunning Metropolitan, this project is sure to please those looking to live in one of the finest condo projects in town.
There is a lot going on in the Pearl District in terms of construction. 3 buildings, all being constructed by Anderson Construction are being built next to each other. First you have the Cosmopolitan. It will be a condominium project with 343,000 square feet of space. It will have 3 levels of above grade parking ( 169 spaces) It will have a retail level and a common area with outdoor spaces to enjoy. See renderings here
Next you have a new high rise apartment building The Overton. Rising 26 stories and offering 284 units. What will be interesting about this building is that it will situated on its base and rotated 45 degrees to the common city grade…a look I think will be very interesting! Finally you have Block 17. A 16 story apartment building ( yes another apartment building!) With 281 units and 211 parking stalls this project by architect Boora Architects will be the first to be completed in 2015.
This brings up a question…has Portland overbuilt in the apartment arena? This actually bodes well for current condo owners as the lack of supply will continue. The other thing to think about, now with very low interest rates and high rental rates is that it is currently better to buy than rent!
If you are in the market for a new Portland condominium, or maybe you are just starting the process of thinking about it, we can help! Let me take you on a tour of available condo units to see if it might be the lifestyle for you. If you are thinking about selling your condo, keep Brad in mind to list your condo. Brad has the most complete and extensive marketing program for condominium owners in Portland. Please visit us at http://www.LuxuryCondosofPortland.com or http://www.BradGolik.com.
Here is a partial list of condo sales from downtown, Pearl to South Waterfront:
Sales for the month of May continued in an upward trend from the previous month by 16% for condo sales in our covered area which includes Pearl District, Downtown and NW and the South Waterfront area. In this area ( $200,000 and above) 71 sales were recorded with the highest being a Penthouse unit at Waterfront Pearl that sold for $1,650,000. Speaking of Waterfront Pearl, it recorded the most sales for the month with 9 sales brought on, I believe by their new spring pricing that was released (as well as the extra 1% that was being paid out to Realtors for selling this property over other properties!). Of those 9 sales, 8 were priced above the $600,000 price point. So if you are wondering if condos in the upper price range are selling… the answer is yes! For the month, there were 3 condos that closed for over a $1,000,000 including a purchase by my clients of a beautiful waterfront condo at The Strand. One of the others was the one I mentioned above, the penthouse unit at Waterfront Pearl. This is a unit that I had mentioned before in my blog. With 3185 square feet, this unit sold for $200,000 off of the list price. While from the outside this may appear to be a decent bargain, only the future will tell. This was a fantastic floor plan with a ton of space but the downside is the lack of privacy with the north building looking right into your unit! Typically, when prices start getting over the $1,500,000 range, buyers want more privacy for their money!
Other buildings that recorded multiple sales include The Meriwether with 3 sales, Atwater Place with 2 sales, The John Ross with 2 sales, and also with 2 sales was 937. While inventory levels still remain low, we are starting to see more units come on the market that last few weeks. For buyers, this will be a good thing to give you more options in your search for a new condo. For sellers, the lack of inventory has been a good thing and while more units are starting to come on the market, inventory still remains below the norm.
Yesterday, while picking up my open house signs that I had in front of Encore, a person came up and asked me if it was a good time to be selling. My answer was yes but I also went on to explain to him that for patient sellers, it was a good time to push the price a bit if they were not urgently trying to sell. When the market lacks inventory, especially in similar price points, you can get away with pushing the price a little. This can change quickly however when several new units come on the market in your same price range.
If you are thinking about selling your condo in the near future, give me a call at 503-896-8856 to discuss pricing, and also, options available to you from a condo specialist that you won’t get with a typical real estate agent.
Portland Penthouse Update How are Portland penthouse sales going since the beginning of 2014? There has been some recent activity in penthouse units that have been on the market for sometime now. Last week, the two remaining penthouses at Encore got offers and are now in a Pending status. Unit #1606, priced at $1,850,000 and unit #1604 priced at $1,580,000. These units have been on the market a long time but patience may have paid off for the developer as these two units when sold will still have gotten over $650 a square foot. ( will keep you posted when they do close). In comparison, Unit #805 at Pacifica Tower was finally sold. Originally priced at $1,500,000, the agent then dropped the price $150,000 after only 1 month to $1,350,000. The sale closed last week at $1,228,900 … or only $455 a sq. ft.! This was a massive 18% off of the original list price! This is only slightly higher price per sq. ft. than a couple of the regular units recently sold for at Pacifica! I am not sure why the agents at Pacifica were not able to get something closer to the numbers the two penthouses at Encore got. Sure, Pacifica is not in the Pearl, but $200 a sq. ft. difference is HUGE for VERY comparable penthouse units! Other penthouses that are still on the market vary from the very attractive unit #901 at Waterfront Pearl which offers over 3,100 sq. ft and priced at $1,850,000 to the grossly overpriced penthouse unit #1601 at The Civic. The Civic unit, with only 2102 sq. ft, and located in what is not the best location is priced at $1,450,000. In my opinion, this unit is at least $200,000 high…maybe more. And the recent sale of the unit at Pacifica, with fantastic water and bridge views… and 2700 sq. ft and selling at only $455 a sq. ft. is going to kill any hopes of the owners getting anywhere near it’s list price of $1,450,000! If you are in the market for a Portland penthouse or other Portland luxury condominium, please give us a call and we will set a tour for you to view Portland’s finest condominiums! Give me a call today at 503-896-8856.
As a real estate agent, it always hurts to be interviewed for a listing and not get it. Today that happened to me on a condo that I know I could have done a great job of marketing on. The reason I did not get the listing over the other agent is that the seller was told by the other agent that because he had a few recent transactions in the sellers building, he knew the building better! It was certainly disappointing to hear that I did not get the listing for this reason. This is not the first time I have heard this from a seller as there are many agents that live in many of the high rise condos throughout Portland. In fact there are several agents living in the building mentioned above and those agents “Know” the building much more than the other agent does. The point I want to make here is that when selling a condo, knowing the building is NOT going to get the condo sold… good marketing will! I often tell sellers to search the internet like buyer’s do and see if those agents that “know” the building, show up anywhere? So if that agent says he knows the Atwater really well, search like a buyer would on that building. Go to Bing and search for “Atwater Place condominiums”, go to Google and search “Atwater Place amenities and HOA fees”. One thing I can tell you for certain is that those agents that say they know the building don’t show up on these searches…anywhere! Who does show up? Well, my websites show up on almost all of these searches. You will also find a couple of other agents that specialize with condos that show up on a regular basis as well.
The difference with my marketing is that my “Search Specific” websites show up and these are websites where I will be featuring YOUR listing and it shows up… and stands out in front of the buyer’s, which I call serious buyers that are searching for the above keywords we mentioned above. In my opinion, If I where a seller, I would much rather hire an agent that knows how to market the building and the condo, not someone that “knows” the building!
So, you own a condo in a newer building that has wrapped up selling it’s units or it is getting close to that point. You are thinking about selling your condo so you are thinking about hiring, as your listing agent, one of the nice salespeople that works for the developer because you see them in the building and they always wave and say “Hi”. Is this a good thing to do or bad?
Well, if you want to hire a nice person and don’t really care about how good of marketing job your listing agents does, hire the onsite agent to sell your condo.
If you want the very best marketing program available, chances are very high that it won’t happen by working with an onsite real estate agent.
Lets talk about the facts first:
1) Yes, these agents are ALWAYS very friendly! Have you ever bought a large ticket item where the salesperson wasn’t overly friendly?
2) Onsite agents rarely are used to paying for any marketing as it has always been done by the developer of their building. I very rarely see a good job of marketing by an onsite agent. They just don’t spend the money! Here is a good example about what I am talking about. Today, a units in the $700,000 price range at the Encore, came on the market. It was listed by one of the Encore onsite agents. First let’s start by looking at the all important real estate photos ( over and over again it has been shown that good photographs help get a seller a higher price). First, lets look at the photos taken by the local onsite agent.
Next, let’s look at another listing where the agent used a professional photographer. Huge difference in brightness, clarity and quality of photos. First impression can be everything!
The onsite agent obviously did not spend any money for professional photos. Instead she choose to use her own point and shoot camera. ( did I mention that this is a $785,000 condo in which the agent stands to make about $20,000) Wouldn’t you think that an agent that gets paid a good amount of money for “Marketing” the listing would at least spend a few hundred dollars to make her clients listing stand out and have a great 1st impression? By the way, this same agent has gotten several million dollar listings and the photos for these million dollar listings were just as bad. Now you have to ask yourself, should I hire this person because she is nice? I know of many very good real estate agents who are also very nice… but they also do a very professional job.
3) You will not find any onsite agent online when searching for condos. (which also means you will not find their listings!) Agents that are good at marketing, and spending a great deal of money to do so, will show up on typical searches for condos. And if these same agents are skilled at internet marketing, your listing will have a better shot at landing in front of the right buyers!
At www.LuxuryCondosofPortland.com , we believe that to do a good job of marketing someone’s home, you must spend money to do a good job. As a condo specialist, we believe that we spend more on our internet marketing than the top 5 condo specialist combined! Why do we do this? We do it to give your condo listing the very best exposure that is possible. We will not cut corners by not hiring a professional photographer, nor will we not spend substantial money for marketing your home on the internet. You are hiring us to do a great marketing job to sell your condo…and that is what we are going to go!
Yesterday, like most Tuesdays, I was out and about looking at new condos on the market. I came across a new penthouse listing and went to the brokers open house for that listing. Two things really stuck out with me after viewing this penthouse condo at Bridgeport. First, you will often hear me talking about the importance of doing a good job of marketing when it comes to high end listings. One thing I have not talked much about, that I think is very important, is service! An agent is paid a commission to do a service for a client. Marketing is a huge part of this service. Also huge…and part marketing is SELLING the unit to every potential buyer and agent that you get in front of! I bring this up because I was blown away yesterday when I went to this brokers open yesterday. I was not blown away by the condo itself, while very nice. I was blown away by the fact that the listing agent said 2 words to me the entire time I was there. The 2 words that were uttered to me as I was getting ready to walk out the door was “Cool huh?” And maybe you could consider it that only one word was really said to me because “huh” really isn’t a word is it? Anyway, the point here is that the listing agent barely acknowledged that I was there… more importantly, she did not make any attempt of selling me on why I should bring potential buyers to come look at the unit! This is the whole point of going to a brokers open. As a listing agent, I want to SELL every agent that walks through the door on the many great benefits of why they should bring their clients to see the listing. It is also a way of trying to create some urgency and competition among the real estate agents. Not only did the agent not say anything to me about the penthouse unit, there were no marketing pieces either. As I left the building, one more bit of service would have been appreciated… a simple “Thanks for coming” by the listing agents co-worker that was at the front door, but that did not happen either. Not a word as I left. I couldn’t help but feel frustrated as I left this listing. Service is a part of marketing. If the initial service of having a brokers open to try to sell people on the unit failed, what will the rest of this agents marketing be like? I think I have a pretty good idea.
If you have read many of my blog posts, you probably know by now that marketing is a huge part of what I do as a condominium specialist. Why is this? Well for one thing, there are no yard signs with condominiums. The internet is where condo buyers go to search for a condo or loft. Yes my frustration as I left this listing was the fact that I didn’t have the listing. My frustration burned from the fact that I could do so much more for the seller than saying just 2 words…. ( make that 1 word) to an agent that showed up to a brokers open and is there for a reason.
In the beginning of this blog post I mentioned that there were two things that stood out about this listing… #2 PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHS…are you kidding me?
**Please read a previous post on what we have to say about photographs for listings!**
Portland condominium sales were down for the month of November. For the month of November, in our designated area of coverage from The Pearl District, Downtown to South Waterfront and in the price range of $200,000 and higher, 35 sales closed. Pending sales were also down this month which is not unusual for this time of year. What is unusual is the high number of showings that active condominiums are getting. Part of this could be due to the low inventory levels we are seeing.
Leading the way in sales once again for the month of November is Atwater Place in South Waterfront and Encore in The Pearl District. Atwater Place and Encore each had 3 sales for the month. For the first time in a while, there were no condos that sold in $1,000,000 and higher price range. This will change next month as there are several $1,000,000 condos that are in a Pending status. 77% of the condominiums sold this month were under the $500,000 range. This will change dramatically next month as we see many more condominiums and lofts above that range in a pending status, including 6 at Atwater Place that Priced from $515,000 to $1,150,000.
Remember, if you are in the market to buy a Portland condominium, work with a condominium specialist! Why risk what may be one of your largest purchases with an agent that does not fully understand this market? If you are thinking about selling your Portland condominium, why not select an agent that has marketing that is directed towards buyers everyday?
In our next blog about Portland condominiums we will be discussing Portland penthouses!
Please visit us at www.LuxuryCondosofPortland.com
August was a very good month in the Portland condo and loft market with sales up 34% over July sales. Once again leading the pack was Encore in the Pearl District and Atwater Place in South Waterfront, both with 5 sales for the month. Two of the Atwater Place sales were resale units. The most remarkable thing about the 55 sales for the month was that only 2 of these sales were bank owned properties and just one was a short sale! With that said, there are currently 24 condos and lofts in the Pearl, Downtown and South Waterfront areas that are in a short sale pending status.
Buyers continue to find decent deals in the Portland condo market. An example of this can be found in the recent sale of unit at City Lofts. After being way overpriced at $1,100,000, and being on the market well in excess of 400 days, buyers were able to pick up this 2,456 sq. ft. unit for $760,000, more than 30% off its original list price. This shows us two things: 1)There are good buys to be had in the market and… 2) Sellers, don’t overprice your unit when you go to sell it. It will end up costing you more money in the long run!
At LuxuryCondosofPortland.com we are excited about the market! If you are in the market for a new Portland condominium, give us a call and we will get you out to see everything that Portland has to offer. If you are thinking about selling your condo or loft, again we encourage you to work with a condominium specialist. We don’t believe that an agent can’t just flip on a switch and become an expert in marketing to condo buyers overnight! We have worked hard to create a marketing program that targets serious condo buyers everyday. And, like marketing for any product, the more exposure it gets, the better your chances of getting a higher price!