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!
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
Cosmopolitan on the Park
Since my last post on The Cosmopolitan, my tune on the project has changed dramatically! Why is this?
Several things actually. First and foremost is pricing!!! This project is almost like a tale of two cities. You have the city of $600 a square foot and then the city of insane pricing of $700 to 1199 a square foot!
When I wrote my first post on this project it was directly after the Cosmopolitan had their grand opening. After the first week and a half they had 32 sales, which is pretty typical with the euphoria of any new project. As of Monday morning of this week….they are at just 33 sales!
Let me start with my main issue and that is their pricing… It is higher than the new building Insignia in Seattle! Seattle’s condo prices have always been higher than Portland’s and I know that condo market very well up there. The first tower of this dual tower project is only 60% sold after a year and a half of marketing. This is a building that offers stunning Elliot Bay views. Speaking to my fellow www.Condo10.com friend and condo specialist Jim Stroupe of the Stroupe Group, he said the downtown condo market in Seattle is being driven by Amazon (a downtown headquartered company) that will be bringing in over 50,000 jobs to the downtown area. My point here? Isignia has not been a huge sellout ( only 60% of tower 1), even with the awesome amenities being offered (see tour below) and the downtown job force. In addition, many of the sales at Insignia have been Chinese investors, something we don’t have a lot of in Portland.
The Cosmopolitans pricing up to about the sixteen floors for two bedroom units is very high in my opinion, but above the sixteenth floor it just gets ridiculous! When Insignia, which I believe will be a superior building, is selling for $700 to $800 a sq. ft and The Cosmopolitan jumps to over $800 a square foot for the NE 19th floor unit, something is wrong! On the SE corner units the pricing is at $1,507,000 for unit #2015. This is $850 a sq. foot! And it quickly jumps to over 900 a sq. ft. Pricing from the 19th floor jumps $88,000 per floor! Crazy!
For comparison sake, if you go back a year and a half and look at Portland’s best, most expensive condo sales, you only have 2 condos that sold in the $800 a sq. ft. range and one of those was the penthouse at 937 which was $805 sq. ft. The penthouse PH3 at The Metropolitan sold for $690 sq. ft.! Most of the top 20 sales were in the $500 to $700 range…and these are some of the best units in some of the best buildings like The Metropolitan, The Casey, 937 and The Henry!
My second issue with this project is the marketing of the project itself. I believe it has been very thrown together and not very well thought out. The developers have not been overly agent friendly (they are paying buyers agents 1% less than Insignia is paying the agents in Seattle) They have not presented this project in the most professional manner. They currently do not even have a website up and running that shows buyers what they are getting for their overpriced units. Going back to Insignia (who has hired the Mark Company to do their marketing) they show buyers in many ways what they are getting, from aerial views from each floor to a video like tour http://www.insigniabybosa.com/#/tour . These are things that should be done before you start selling a multi million dollar project! I would be much more inclined to drop down $1,500,000 if I could get a visualization like this instead of just a few samples in a showroom. Once again Hoyt has chosen to use their in house sales force. In addition, they are forcing buyers to get pre-approved with an individual at Wells Fargo… who, as I understand, happens to be married to the Sales manager at The Cosmopolitan… no conflict of interest here?
What am I doing with my clients? If they are looking at units in the $500 to $600 a sq. ft. range I think that is marginally ok to make a purchase because if the market runs up, they will eventually be at market price…a risk though. Anything that is above $700 a sq. ft… I will be telling them to wait or I will find a unit at The Metropolitan,937, The Casey or one of the other very nice buildings in town. Here is a thought. Instead of paying $1,950,000 for a 1773 sq. ft. non -penthouse unit at the Cosmopolitan, you could spend $1,700,000 for a penthouse at the Waterfront Pearl that has great water views and night city light views and 3300 sq. ft.! One more thing to add here. The developer is asking $3,757,000 and $3,883,000 for the 2 penthouses with amazing 28th floor views. If you remember a while back, the penthouse at The Westerly that was priced $1,000,000 less, had the most spectacular views in the city (4 mountain and city view) and it didn’t sell at that price!
Bottom line….In my opinion, this building is way overpriced and I will be telling my clients…and others to wait. They will have to bring their prices way down! For those who have already put down earnest money, I feel bad because there are no escape clauses in the Hoyt Street in-house contracts that allow for them to bail if the developer reduces prices. I especially feel for those 6 buyers out of 33 who paid $800 to $1000 a sq. ft. With any luck if the developer does reduce prices maybe, just maybe if they have a heart, will reduce your prices as well!
For me personally, this is a tough situation because I believe with correct pricing I could easily sell $10,000,000 to $15,000,000 of this project and it would put me in a nice situation when the project closes in mid 2016. Instead, I would rather protect my clients best interest! I believe that if buyers held tough, over time the developer MUST reduce the prices to something in the realm of Portland condo pricing!
Brad Golik is a condominium specialist in Portland and has sold condos in both Portland and Seattle.
You can find him at http://www.LuxuryCondosofPortland.com
Back in March I wrote about a luxury condo that came on the market that I said was “way” overpriced. In fact. I took a little heat for my comments about that listing! This particular condo at The Casey came on the market for $1,699,901. When I ran my comps on that unit at the time the market value I had was $1,350,000. In my article I wrote about the potential problems with overpricing a unit so much. What I said what would probably happen is that the condo would stay on the market for awhile with little to no showings and then the agent would have the owner drop it $100,000. That would still not be enough so they would again drop it another $100,000. Then what would probably happen is it will get “Stale” on the market and when it does get an offer it will be a lowball offer!
Here is what actually happened with that condo:
It was originally priced at $1,699,901. After a month of no interest, the owner dropped the price $100,000. After another month had passed, and no interest, the agent had the owner drop the price another $100,000…now down to $1,499,000. After another couple months they finally got an offer ( yes a lowball offer) and it closed finally after 6 months on the market at $1,315,000, or another $184,000 off of the most recent list price!
Now I didn’t have a crystal ball that told me exactly what was going to happen, but I have been in business long enough to know that this was a classic overpricing and you could just feel what was going to happen. At the time it originally came on the market, inventory was low. While I said the market value was $1,350,000, the owner probably could have pushed the price to $1,400,000 and ended somewhere between that number and $1,350,000. While the owner, at the end accepted an offer for $1,315,000, his end number was actually worse because of his cost to carry. While it was on the market for 6 months, he still had to pay property taxes ($916/mo.) HOA fees ( $1,067/mo.) and mortgage payments ($5,000/mo.) total additional cost of $41,900 netting him an actual number of $1,273,100 before actual closing costs.
As a good listing agent, I always want to maximize the total return to the seller and I will always try to push the price for my clients. I am not an agent that promotes “SOLD in 2 days!” because that in my eyes is not always a positive! There is a fine line between pushing the price a little and overpricing a unit. In pushing the price a little, this is almost always a case by case situation depending on the listing and the timing of the market. More often than not, an excessive overpricing usually leads to a number well below the market value of where it should have sold!
The other comment I would like to make in regards to overpricing, if you are going to push the price a little, make sure that you have GREAT marketing. This starts with great professional photos and much, much more. Nothing is more frustrating then seeing a condo that is overpriced and has lousy marketing. At least with really good marketing you will increase the traffic to your listing and increase the probability of getting a better offer.
If you would like to know what the value of you condo is in today’s market CLICK HERE. Or give a call today to Brad Golik, Portland’s condo specialist! 503-896-8856
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
Here is a partial list of condo sales from downtown, Pearl to South Waterfront:
If there is one thing I have learned from writing a blog, it’s that you can’t please everybody! When I started writing my blog originally, the purpose was to give good, objective advice so that potential buyers and sellers could be assisted in making solid decisions when it came time for them to buy or to sell their Portland condominium. Over the last couple years I have gotten tremendous positive feedback and at times, not so positive feedback. Most of the negative feedback will come from someone in a building in which I made a comment that does not support a price of a listed unit in that building. ( after all, everybody would love for any unit to sell above it’s market price in their building) Earlier this year I wrote about a unit in the Casey that I thought was way overpriced. (and I am not going to mention the unit #) In my blog I mentioned that when a unit like this gets overpriced it will sit on the market with no traffic or offers. After some time the owners will drop the price $100,000 to try and get traffic. After dropping the price and still not getting traffic, the owners will drop it another $100,000. Well guess what has happened to this unit? The unit has had 2 price reductions of $100,000 each and still no sale. What has happened though is another unit in the building came onto the market that was correctly priced at $1,375,000 and it received an offer in 42 days and is currently pending. While this unit was 230 square feet smaller, and $124,000 less, it was also on the 15th floor looking due East…fantastic views! It was very fortunate for the listing agent of this unit that he was able to use the other unit on a lower floor to help sell his Casey listing!
If a buyer is out looking at condos and is a frequent reader of my blog, I feel they will be able to pick up some very valuable advice and be able to make a better informed purchase when the time is right. Again, my comments in my blog will not always make everyone happy but I think the majority will get much more of a positive experience than negative.
What looks good out there right now? Well it depends on your price point. There are still some pretty good deals being had over at Waterfront Pearl, in fact, last month they sold a considerable number of units in the higher price points. What about Penthouses? My favorite listing on the market right now is the penthouse unit #1405 at The Elizabeth…this is a fantastic unit! (and no…this is not one of my listings! ) With a recent price reduction of $100,000, I will say I was a little surprised that the penthouse unit over at Park Place sold first! That unit, originally priced at $1769,000, dropped it’s price to $1,650,000 and received an offer a month later. If you would like to schedule a time to view the beautiful penthouse unit at The Elizabeth, give me a call today and we can get it arranged.
If you are looking for a value in a luxury condo with great river views, you might want to check out unit #209 at Pacifica Tower. Because of the surrounding construction going on, this unit is priced under $600,000. You will not find anything like this unit in the Pearl for under $600,000. Not only does this unit have a spacious deck that looks out onto the Willamette River and has amazing bridge views, it also has a huge master suite…something very rare in condo living!
There are more units that are now starting to hit the market. If you are in the market for a new condo, give me a call and we can set up a tour of available units. If you are thinking about selling your condo, we truly believe we have some of the best, if not the best, condo marketing around and we would love to sit down and share with you how we are very different than the typical real estate agent out there!
Brad Golik is a Portland Condo Specialist!
Please visit: http://www.LuxuryCondosofPortland.com
Portland Penthouse Watch
What is happening in the upper end of Portland’s condo market? Let’s start by looking at the top 5 most expensive condos in Portland that are currently listed. The most expensive, at $2,495,000, The Envoy penthouse. This beautiful penthouse has become like an old friend…because it has been on the market for so long now we have come to know it well. While certainly a unique property, this condo seems to be cursed or it is just the fact that it seems to always be priced just above the market as it has consistently chased the market down.
In the number 2 spot, is one of my favorites and priced at $1,995,000, unit #1405 at the Elizabeth. Listed in late April, this special unit features killer views to the East as well as north to Mt St. Helens. If you are in the market for a luxury condo in Portland, this one deserves a look! Give me a call and we can set up a showing as soon as possible.
In the number 3 position is a penthouse we wrote about in mid April when it came on the market. With it’s price reduced $250,000 since that time, now priced at $1,950,000, this penthouse located on 14th street still seems to be priced high in my opinion. With about 300 square feet less than our number 2 penthouse, this unit just seems to live much smaller. And while boasting an 800 square foot terrace, the noise levels next to the freeway prohibit any relaxing times with peace and quiet. Also, when paying over $1,900,000, most buyers will not like the fact that owners at the two buildings next door look down on this property!
In the number 4 spot, Unit #1001 at Waterfront Pearl. Earlier this year, I had written about the unit directly below this unit, #901, it recently sold for $1,650,000. Unit #1001 is now on the market and listed for $1,759,000. While a spacious unit with over 3100 square feet, it does have one slight negative for this price point and that is the privacy could be a bit of an issue for some as the building next door does look directly into this unit. With that said, it does have fantastic river views, in addition, when you stand at the windows of this unit you feel that you are standing right on top of the river! In addition to the 3 bedrooms a den and 3.5 baths, this unit has a large room that would be perfect for a large media room!
At #5, this penthouse unit at Park Place, offered at $1,650,000 offers a wonderful outdoor living area. While the living area itself is nice, it does not come with a ton of the “Wow” factor.
In addition to Portland’s most expensive penthouse condos, I did want to mention a unit that I think represents value and is also a very nice unit. This is the new listing at the Casey, unit #1501. If spectacular views are what you are after, look no further! If you are in the market, give me a call soon and we can set up a showing of this beautiful unit. This is a unit that I think will sell reasonably quickly and one of the reasons I think this will happen, other than the great views, another unit in this building is priced a quarter of a million higher than this unit, and while the other unit is slightly bigger, the 15th floor views will win people over! I also believe the pricing of the other unit will actually help the sale of unit #1501.
So there you have it. Some of Portland’s best penthouse condominiums on the market today! Again, if you are in the market to buy one of Portland’s finest penthouse condominiums or one the fits more into your budget, call Brad Golik today. It does not cost you anything more to work with a condo specialist!
One of the things that I do appreciate when writing in a blog is the feedback that I get. Some of it good and sometimes bad. I don’t really mind when I get negative comments because it is expected whenever you are giving your opinion on something. I do realize my opinion will not always line up with others. Today was one of those days where I got, not really a negative comment, but one where they did not agree with me…and that is ok! Recently in my blog, I mentioned that agents that don’t use professional photos don’t deserve to list higher end listings. This is something I strongly believe. What I believe I said was that someone who was going to make $20,000 to $30,000 to “market” a Portland penthouse listing priced at $1,000,000+ and did not spend $200- $300 for professional photos, did not deserve to have that listing. I STILL think this is true!
The person who sent me the comment said he had just seen a condo priced at $970,000 that sold in a week and did not have professional photos… and yet it still sold quickly! Well, I believe I know what unit he was talking about, and yes the photos were terrible! Yes the unit did go pending in a short time even with bad photos. Sometimes that happens. Here is my point. Why would you not do everything possible to make your listing stunning and stand out from all of the others and try for a higher price. I also believe that someone that is so tight that they won’t spend money on photos will also cut back their marketing dollars in every area like staging, print ads, internet marketing, professional graphics etc. Even though this particular unit sold in a short time, how do we not know that if it could have gotten more people to look at it had it looked more attractive online? Could great photos have gotten 3 more buyers through the doors? Could it have gotten several offers that may have boosted the price some? Personally, I prefer to do professional photos for every listing whether it’s $400,000 or a $3,000,000 penthouse! ( a good example of this is a small studio listing I just brought on the market for $305,000… www.PacificaTowerCondo.com )
The point here that I want to make is if you have the ability (and small amount of money) to make a listing beautiful and stand out from all of the others on the market, why would you not do it? I will say it again, it is a huge disservice to the sellers when an agent does not give his/her very best for the client. There are good agents out there that are professionals and truly try to do a good job for there clients. If I do happen to not get a listing over another agent, I hope it is to an agent that puts his clients first and does everything possible in terms of marketing, not only because it’s the right thing to do… it is what we are being paid to do!
Show me an agent that is not spending money for professional photos and I will show you an agent that does not care!
Brad Golik is a condo specialist working in the Downtown, Pearl Distict and South Waterfront areas of Portland.
If you are looking to buy or sell a luxury Portland condominium, call Brad at 503-896-8856 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Recently I was asked by a fellow Realtor why I spend so much money on my listings. My answer was simple… I told her “because they pay me to MARKET their home!”
If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you will know by now that I am a huge believer in doing a great job of marketing. You have also heard me say that “Any agent can sell your condominium… but at what price?” Everyday I see new listings come onto the market where I see that the agent has done a less than professional job of marketing someone’s condominium listing. To me, this is a big frustration as I still do not understand why? Sometimes the sellers choose the agent who helped them purchase their condo, sometimes sellers are referred to an agent (often to agents who rarely sell condos and do very little marketing). You have often heard me say that a real estate agent who does not pay for professional photos on a million dollar listing does not deserve to “Market” a million dollar listing! (Honestly, I feel the same about $250,000 listings as well) Today a new listing came on the market that was priced over $950,000. The listing agent did not use professional photography! I have a buyer that wants to see this particular building and is in this price range. I had to tell my client to disregard the photos and that we should still take a look at the unit. If they were just judging the unit by the bad photos, they may have never looked at this unit!
In past postings on my blog, we have played a game called… guess the $1,000,000 condo! Today we are going to do it again… just to make a point! Below are two links to 2 different condo listings. Although one is on a Windermere site, it is not a Windermere agent ( we do not want to disrespect the agent by posting their name). When you click on these links, do not look at the text, only the photos. Which one has better photos? Which one makes you want to see the listing? Which one looks like a million dollar condo?
Which one looks like a million dollar condo? Well if I’m being honest, neither of them do. Which is really too bad for the one that is because it is a nice unit. As for the $305,000 studio condo, It may not look like a million dollar condo either but we do everything we can to make it look like a million… including professional photos!
If you plan on listing your condo in the future, give Brad Golik a call to see a full marketing program that will be designed just for YOUR condo!