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The market is slowing down…and not just a little! This is not a bad thing. In fact, I think it is very healthy for the market and helps us avoid a big tumble in the market.
Here are a few interesting numbers that support what was just said….
Inventory: Inventory in the area I focus on, from Pacifica Tower just north of the Freemont Bridge to South of South Waterfront, inventory levels are up 21% since June 1st! That is a pretty big jump in such a short period.
Price reductions: Since July 1st, in the Pearl District, 40% of the listed condos reduced their price.
Days on Market: This one is a bit tricky. Days on market has gone up but one must look at this stat carefully. There is a recent trend that is happening more and more. In a practice that I do not believe in, agents will cancel a listing and then re-list it. It is an attempt to make a listing look “fresh” and show less days on the market to buyers. This is why we must look at Cumulative Days on Market. Now if an agent has it on the market for a month and then cancels and re-list it, the number will reflect those 30 days prior.
What this means in the marketplace? For buyer’s, there is not such an urgency to make a quick offer. Buyer’s are able to look around for the perfect place and have a much better foot to stand on at the negotiating table. For sellers, trying for a premium price may hurt you as your condo may stay on the market longer than it should and in the end it may sell for a lower amount than it would have if priced correctly.
An example of this is one I believe I have discussed on my blog. A little over 4 months ago I went to a Broker’s open house on a beautiful penthouse unit. At that time, the agent listed it for $3,550,000. The agent, knowing that I specialize with condos, asked for my opinion on price. I clearly remember my answer: “ I think it needs to be at $2,999,000 and I think it will sell a little below that.” Well today, after 2 price reductions, it is now priced at $2,995,000. But now, after 4.5 months on the market, you will probably get the sharks swimming around it ready to offer $2,600,000. (It has actually been on the market much longer with another agent that was priced even higher!) … again, this is where you need to look at cumulative days on the market!
Moving forward in this new market, correct pricing will be very important in the sale of your condo or loft!
Because I was short of time this week, I thought I would do a video post!
Sometime ago, in one of my blog post, I wrote about the fact that I will always deliver my honest opinion. Sometimes that does not make everyone happy. Sometime it might be a seller in a building with an overpriced unit in a building in which I might have made comments about. Others include developers such as those who are selling The Cosmopolitan. As we speak, The Cosmopolitan continues to sell units at prices I have said to be very inflated. I have gotten my fair share of nasty emails for some of my comments and that is ok…because, as I stated earlier, you will ALWAYS get my honest opinion and I will not buckle because of what others ( or their lawyers) have to say. I believe the reason the sales continue (about 60% sold) over there are simple, a lack of inventory in the market has made people nervous about being able to buy something so they jump in with both feet. When I work with buyer’s the one thing I will always tell them is to think about the resale of that unit in the future. For those buying at The Cosmopolitan, and are buying there because that is where they want to be and don’t care about the price, or resale. I would say to enjoy your unit and the building. It will be a great place to live! For those that have concerns about resale, especially in a changing market, hear me out! In previous blog post I have made comparisons to the Seattle market because I feel it is the most like ours, except more expensive. Inventory levels in Seattle are even worse than ours currently. For those of you who may have not been onboard with comparisons I have made in the past, let me SHOW you! For comparison sake, I will be comparing to Bellevue Towers. In my opinion, a slightly higher quality building in terms of amenities and views with quality of each being pretty close. Let’s compare: Now, for those of you that know The Cosmopolitan will be a nice building with nice amenities, here is what you get at Bellevue Towers. To me, these comparisons are pretty alarming. If the market turns ever so slightly in a downward trend, it will not be a good situation for owners. The reality of the Bellevue Towers pricing is that it is market pricing… not hype adjusted! And if you need more convincing on the higher end. Compare the Penthouse at The Cosmopolitan. 3236 Squre Feet , 28th Floor priced at $3,883,000. Now compare it to a PH on the 41st Floor of Bellevue Towers…click here to see what you get! http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/500-106th-Ave-NE-Unit-4105_Bellevue_WA_98004_M15387-66117?row=4 Wow! So let’s review. The penthouse in Portland is smaller (167 sq. ft.) has nice views but not the spectacular views that the Seattle penthouse has and…. it is priced $533,000 MORE! This is why I am concerned! Brad Golik of Pearl District Properties is a condominium specialist in the Pearl District, South Waterfront and Downtown. If you own a Pearl District condominium and would like to know the value of your condo in todays market, get a FREE market valuation at http://www.PearlDistrictCondominiums.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
Portland Condos in the news!
In today’s Oregonian, there is an article about the current situation going on in the Portland condo market with regards to the lawsuits that are taking place. The root of the problem is a company named Victaulic Co. They were the supplier of the faulty plumbing gaskets, couplings and valves in a number of Portland high rise buildings!
In this article, one agent said he considers this to be a minor issue and “blown out of proportion”. This is not a minor issue!! It has affected many condo owners as well as the values of their units.
Tell the many condo owners that have not been able to sell their units over the last year that it is “blown out of proportion”. Tell the owners of units that could not re-finance when rates were below 3.5% that it was “blown out of proportion”. One thing to keep in mind as HOA’s begin their lawsuits against Victaulic, Portland is not the only city that this company supplied parts to. How many HOA association across the country are dealing with this situation? Can this company absorb all of the possible lawsuits? If not, are future assessments a possibility if settlements are not large enough to cover the potential cost? To say that this issue is a minor issue, is, in my opinion, is not an accurate statement at all. Again, tell owners at The Elizabeth who may have had to take a $25,000 to $50,000 or more hit on the sale of their unit because a cash buyer was able to have the upper hand in negations, that this is a minor issue!
see article at : http://www.oregonlive.com/front-porch/index.ssf/2013/08/four_portland_condo_buildings.html
Some of the biggest state REO decreases were in Nevada (76 percent), Oregon (57 percent), Virginia (56 percent), Washington (46 percent), Utah (46 percent), Massachusetts (43 percent), Pennsylvania (43 percent), and Colorado (43 percent).
States with some of the biggest annual increases in REO activity included Kentucky (44 percent), Illinois (41 percent), Wisconsin (32 percent) and Maryland (23 percent).
Recently, many lenders have been trying to avoid the expensive and lengthy foreclosure process by making short sales, those in which banks accept prices less than what is owed on the mortgages.
RealtyTrac has released its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report for August 2012, which shows foreclosure filings—default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions—were reported on 193,508 U.S. properties in August, an increase of one percent from July but down 15 percent from August 2011. The report also shows one in every 681 U.S. housing units with a foreclosure filing during the month.
Despite a 32 percent year-over-year decrease in overall foreclosure activity in August—the ninth consecutive month with an annual decrease—California still posted the nation’s third highest state foreclosure rate. One in every 340 California housing units had a foreclosure filing in August—twice the national average.
“Bucking the national trend, deferred foreclosure activity boiled over in several states in August,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac. “In judicial states such as Florida, Illinois, New Jersey and New York, this was a continuation of a trend we’ve been seeing for several months now.
The increases in Florida and Illinois pushed foreclosure rates in those states to the two highest in the country—supplanting the non-judicial states of Arizona, California, Georgia and Nevada. Previous to August, the nation’s top two state foreclosure rates have been from those four non-judicial states every month since December 2010.”
“Meanwhile foreclosure activity in most non-judicial states stayed on a downward trajectory in August, with a few exceptions,” Blomquist said. “Most notably, Washington state documented a 38 percent annual increase in foreclosure activity in August after 16 straight months of year-over-year declines.
The rebounding activity in Washington state is likely the result of lenders catching up with foreclosures delayed by a state law that took effect in July 2011 and allowed homeowners facing foreclosure to request mediation. This rebounding pattern will likely be repeated in the coming months in other states that have passed legislation delaying the foreclosure process.”
Findings from the report include:
►Illinois posted the nation’s highest foreclosure rate, one in every 298 housing units with a foreclosure filing. August was the first month that Illinois has ranked No. 1 since RealtyTrac began issuing its report in January 2005.
►Twenty states registered year-over-year increases in foreclosure activity, led by judicial foreclosure states such as New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Illinois and Pennsylvania.
►Foreclosure activity in the 24 non-judicial states and District of Columbia combined decreased 31 percent annually, although 15 non-judicial states and DC posted monthly increases in foreclosure activity, including Arkansas (61 percent), Utah (41 percent), Colorado (25 percent) and Washington (23 percent).
►Following three straight months of year-over-year increases, U.S. foreclosure starts in August decreased 13 percent from a 17-month high in August 2011.
►U.S. bank repossessions (REO) in August decreased 2 percent from the previous month and were down 19 percent annually — the 22nd consecutive month with a year-over-year decline in REOs.
Foreclosure starts—default notices or scheduled foreclosure auctions, depending on the state—were filed for the first time on 99,405 U.S. properties in August, a one percent increase from July but down 13 percent from August 2011, when foreclosure starts hit a 17-month high. Foreclosure starts increased annually in 18 states, including Washington (143 percent), Pennsylvania (129 percent), Alabama (102 percent), New Jersey (101 percent) and New York (63 percent).
Other states with sizable annual increases in foreclosure starts included Minnesota (42 percent), North Carolina (36 percent), Maryland (29 percent), Florida (26 percent) and Illinois (18 percent).
States with some of the biggest annual decreases in foreclosure starts included Oregon (89 percent), Nevada (64 percent), Utah (57 percent), Massachusetts (47 percent), California (42 percent), Arizona (41 percent) and Georgia (31 percent). Recent legislation or court rulings in Oregon, Nevada, Massachusetts, California and Georgia could be contributing to a slowdown in those states.
Lenders completed the foreclosure process on 52,380 U.S. properties in August, a 2 percent decline from the previous month and a 19 percent decrease from August 2011—the 22nd consecutive month with a year-over-year decline in bank repossessions. Real estate-owned (REO) activity decreased annually in 35 states and the District of Columbia.
Illinois posted the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate in August thanks to a 29 percent jump in overall foreclosure activity from the previous month. A total of 17,781 Illinois properties had a foreclosure filing in August, one in every 298 housing units and an increase of 42 percent from August 2011. Illinois foreclosure activity was up across the board—foreclosure starts increased 18 percent annually, scheduled foreclosure auctions were up 116 percent annually, and bank repossessions were up 41 percent annually. August marked the eighth consecutive month where Illinois foreclosure activity increased on a year-over-year basis.
Florida foreclosure activity in August increased on a year-over-year basis for the seventh time in the last eight months, helping the state post the nations’ second highest foreclosure rate: one in every 328 housing units with a foreclosure filing. Florida foreclosure starts increased 26 percent annually while scheduled foreclosure auctions were up four percent and bank repossessions were up 12 percent.
If you are in the market for a new Portland condo or loft, there are still some good buys in the market! Call Brad Golik to set up a tour of available Portland condos today!