Portland Region October Home Sales

Portland-area October home sales rose sharply from a year earlier in October, with condo resales hitting a seven-year high. The median price paid for all homes sold in the five-county region rose year-over-year for the eighth consecutive month as move-up activity increased and foreclosure resales declined, a real estate information service reported.

A total of 2,898 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow during October in the five-county Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton metro area. Sales rose 9.4 percent from the prior month and rose 35.5 percent from a year earlier, according to San Diego-based DataQuick. The firm tracks real estate trends nationally via public property records.

On average, sales between September and October have dipped 1.4 percent since 1994, when DataQuick's complete Portland-area statistics begin.

October's sales tally was the highest for that month in three years, but remained low in a historical context, falling nearly 18 percent short of the average sales total for all months of October since 1994. While sales of existing (not new) single-family detached houses and newly built homes were the highest for an October since 2009, condo resales were the highest for an October since 2005.

Like many other Western metro areas, the Portland region has seen a significant drop in lower-cost sales over the past year and a jump in mid- to high-end deals. October sales below $100,000 fell 19.6 percent year-over-year, while sub-$150,000 deals declined 5.2 percent. However, sales between $200,000 and $600,000 (a typical move-up range) jumped 57.5 percent from a year earlier, while sales over $500,000 rose 35.5 percent. Looked at different, this October sales over $200,000 made up 61.6 percent of total sales, compared with 53.5 percent in October 2011.

The Portland metro area statistics in this report and in the table below reflect sales in Clackamas, Multnomah, Washington and Yamhill counties in Oregon and Clark County in Washington.

The median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos that closed escrow in the Portland region during October was $229,900, up 1.1 percent from the prior month and up 9.5 percent from a year earlier. It was the median's eighth consecutive year-over-year increase.

October's median was 20.4 percent lower than the peak $289,000 median in October 2007, and it was 17.9 percent higher than the post-peak trough of $195,000 in January this year.

Another price measure analysts track, the median paid per square foot for resale single-family detached houses, rose to $141 in October. That was the same as the month before and was up 9.3 percent from a year earlier. October's figure was 29.5 percent below the June 2007 peak of $193.

Among the Portland region's counties, the median paid per square foot in October for resale detached houses rose 10.0 percent from a year ago in Clackamas County, while the median rose 18.9 percent year-over-year in Multnomah County. The price paid per square foot gained 8.6 percent year-over-year in Washington County, fell 2.1 percent in Yamhill County, and increased 9.4 percent in Clark County, Washington.

Sales of distressed properties - the combination of foreclosure resales and short sales - accounted for roughly 28 percent of the Portland area's resale market in October. That's about the same as the month before and down from about 32 percent a year earlier.

Foreclosure resales - homes foreclosed on in the prior 12 months - made up 11.5 percent of the October resale market, down from 12.0 percent the month before and down from 18.1 percent a year earlier.

Short sales - transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property - accounted for an estimated 16.9 percent of the October resale market. That was up from 16.3 percent the month before and up from 13.5 percent a year earlier.

Meanwhile, lenders foreclosed on 225 single-family houses and condo units in the five-county Portland area during October, down 31.8 percent from the month before and down 70.4 percent from a year earlier. During the first ten months of this year, foreclosures totaled 3,417, down 26.5 percent from the same period last year. The foreclosure figures are based on the number of Trustees Deeds filed with county recorder offices. The document signals that a home was lost to foreclosure.

Many foreclosed properties are bought by investors and first-time buyers.

Absentee buyers, which are mainly investors and vacation-home buyers, accounted for 26.6 percent of total October home sales, down from 27.4 percent the month before and up from 18.1 percent a year earlier. (The absentee data series goes back to 2000). Absentee buyers paid a median $207,200 in October, up 21.0 percent from a year earlier.

Among these investors are many buyers who pay cash - a group that accounted for 23.8 percent of all Portland-area home sales in October. That was down from 24.4 percent the month before and down from 26.6 percent a year earlier. Cash buyers paid a median $180,000 in October, up 12.5 percent from a year earlier.

Government-insured FHA loans, a popular, low-down-payment option for many first-time buyers, represented 21.9 percent of all home purchase loans used in the Portland area in October. That was up from 19.7 percent the month before and down from 27.5 percent a year ago. In recent months the FHA level has been the lowest since the first half of 2008. The peak for FHA use during the current housing cycle was 42.3 percent in November 2009.

Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA MSA*

Number of sales Oct-11 Sep-12 Oct-12 YOY % chng
Resale houses 216 273 325 50.50%
Resale condos 214 276 277 29.40%
New homes 1,709 2,100 2,296 34.30%
All homes 2,139 2,649 2,898 35.50%
         
Median sale price Oct-11 Sep-12 Oct-12 YOY % chng
Resale houses $260,000 $251,473 $270,000 3.80%
Resale condos $114,900 $132,500 $129,750 12.90%
New homes $210,000 $232,000 $230,000 9.50%
All homes $209,900 $227,500 $229,900 9.50%

*Data reflect sales in Clackamas, Multnomah, Washington and Yamhill counties in Oregon and Clark County in Washington.

Media calls: Andrew LePage (916) 456-7157

Source: DataQuick; DQNews.com

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