105 N 20th St

The View From Here March 2017

Happy March Everyone….

It’s not spring, but everything is pushing hard…..spring is right around the corner…..And with it comes some more inventory…..hopefully.

So far, we are a little slow out of the gate in terms of overall activity. I was reviewing the Gorge market performance with one of my vendors, and he noted that the activity in the market is down by over 50%. January, was solid, February was…..simply quiet.

I think folks will come back online here as the weather warms up, so we’ll have to wait and see.

Prices, remain astronomically high. There are also no buildable lots (or very few) available in our market. Those prices also remain aggressive.

105 N 20th St

Easy Living Minutes From Downtown – RMLS#17522514

Some inventory relief appears to be on the way, however. In Hood River, Barrel Springs and the “Kitts/Marchese” annexations are underway, and appear to be moving through the city planning. Phase 3 (It think it is) of the Sieverkropp addition is underway, and appears to be attempting to get platted and released in this selling season  (June timeframe) I think they’ll
make it.

Given the later availability of lots (Q3 and Q4 of this year), I’m feeling like a bunch of our business will be pushing out towards the end of the year, when folks can buy a new house, and will then sell their existing homes. It appears to be a larger part of the market right now, folks who are “trading up” and selling, for good returns to the new arrivals in town, most notably, INSITU employees, (rumored to be hiring 300 more employees) and other employees of other vendors that supply materials to INSITU.

Prices high, inventory tight. Lots of new, young Brokers on our team, out there working hard for a living. More data next month, as we move out into the actual sales season…. I’m excited for 2017!

~ Maui Meyer

The View From Here February 2017

Greetings My Real Estate Friends,

Well, I thought quite seriously about terminating The View From Here Newsletter because frankly, it gets boring talking about how high the prices are in Hood River.

After a couple months off, I was persuaded to continue the now NEARLY DECADE LONG tradition of the email string…..Crazy eh?

Hood River Real Estate is Frozen. Frozen. Frozen……!!!! Like, literally. Every year, when we get some snow around New Year’s, everyone cheerily locks down for a week or two, then we get back to normal around mid-January and get to work.

This year, we are stuck in that loop. Over and over again, just as we think we are past the snow, we get hit with another event. This last one (The fourth or fifth, I think) comes with a cap of ice, which if you’ve experienced it, is no fun at all. The snow is bad, but a 1/2″ crust of ice on top of it is so much worse.

Dividable Land Close to Town - RMLS#16676911

Dividable Land Close to Town – RMLS#16676911

So, Real Estate. Currently the market is in deep hibernation. We are talking with clients about Spring plans, and there looks to be some listing volume on its way, but the buyer demand this year will be high

You’ve heard me refer to the Buyers being “veneer thin” in the past….meaning that once a home or two sells in a certain market, and all the hype gets built up, the prices suddenly moderate as the fourth or fifth Seller to list tried to extend the hype that so recently swirled in their neighborhood, only to find that…….there were only three or four buyers for that neighborhood.

That used to be a rule in Hood River, but I suspect that it has served its purpose, and that now, we are looking at 6 – 9 plus clients in many neighborhoods and market segments looking for homes. In some market segments and neighborhoods, (price and location) I bet it’s over a dozen.

That’s it for this month. Thanks for reading, and we’ll catch up with you next month!

~ Maui Meyer

Bristol Rd, Snowden, WA

The View From Here December 2016

Wow, so much to take in….. This post-election world has yet to set in, but it’s clear, we are in new territory……

Hey everyone welcome to America in Late 2016. Bet you didn’t think it would look like this. Markets soaring (Both Real Estate and Equities) but nothing but uncertainty ahead. So let’s dive in!

The Case Shiller index this month has fully recovered from the 2008 housing crisis, and values have returned to their pre-2008 levels. Portland (Closest Market tracked by Case Shiller) is putting up a 10.9 annualized rate as of September.

Stories from the ground however, show signs of softening. Sales pace is down in PDX and prices appear to have crested. The same for Hood River, except for the sales pace. Things are still clicking here….slight uptick in inventory, which is common for this time of year, appears to be slightly larger than in years past….leading to hopes of better inventory levels for 2017.

Bristol Rd, Snowden, WA

64 Bristol Rd, Snowden, WA – RMLS#16340505

The outlook for 2017 now indicates headwinds, and a slower pace of appreciation (again, also helpful for inventory). PDX is forecast to soften to 5%+ for 2017 given the new economy, and rising interest rates. I would suspect Hood River to be similar, and slightly more constrained, unit wise. I do feel however, that we will NOT be as tight on inventory levels for 2017.

A Goldilocks era for Hood River Real Estate? Hmmm… Not sure. If more units become available in the city for sale (not likely) but if so, we might see prices moderate slightly. That however, is a big IF. The building season for 2017 does look to be crowded, with an absolute bomb of properties in for permits at the moment (probably 20+ right now with another 30 or so that I can see, all for spring of 2017).

That’s a lot of construction. The last time I saw the characters I’m seeing now getting into housing was spring of 2008.

Welcome to the roller coaster….that pause you are experiencing….will be temporary.

See you in 2017! Thanks for a great year, and your referrals, recommendations and business.

-Maui Meyer

The View From Here November 2016

I might actually make it this month!

We used to all get together in the coffee shops around here in September. Relax, congratulate ourselves for not losing our minds over the summer, and generally, bask in the glory that is September, the best month of Summer, when we get to enjoy the place with fewer folks around…….

I looked up from my computer last week, and it was the FOURTH WEEK OF OCTOBER, Folks! We are still posting summer numbers and summer volume. Working the front, showing properties, and generally, wondering when we might get a break.

Hope to reconnect with my friends soon as, we got a glimpse of it just this week, as things slowed down, finally. So it looks like November is the month to relax, because December is a busy “island” in the winter.

We are grateful for the work, to be sure. But we are also grateful for the break.

The Commercial Heart of Mosier - RMLS#16064754

The Commercial Heart of Mosier – RMLS#16064754

Prices remain high, with some softening at the very top, given that folks are realizing, late in the summer that they will not be able to attain their over inflated numbers.

In the lower price lower stratosphere, under $700k, prices are rock solid and high with psf at $300 and up!. Multiple offers in October…. very rarely seen, are still common. Hot neighborhoods continue to be May Street, Downtown and West Side, though many clients are looking for upper valley retreats. I’m not sure if that is because they are so new to the valley, or they really want to mow 5 acres.

Odell is seeing some action, and Miller Road too. This last week, the big hunters showed up as there are now offers on a number of $1m+ properties in the valley.

We will most likely begin our pause here, with only the 1031 push at the end of the year ahead……Then it’s on to 2017 and spring. No signs of weakening here at the moment…..but possibly fatigue…….

-Maui Meyer

414 E 3rd St

The View From Here October 2016

It’s officially Fall!

Wow. I looked on the website and see that I haven’t posted since June. That was a long break. Thanks everyone. My apologies.

But I’m back! We took a trip of a lifetime this summer for my 50th. Boy travelling with the family is fun. In my working life, I think I’ve only taken two vacations of two weeks, and only a handful of as many as 10 days (less than five, most likely). But this summer I took a month off. Traveled around Europe in an RV. Very, very, fun.

My team in Hood River and The Dalles did a fantastic job, and didn’t miss a beat. We also kept in touch from the road, but otherwise, were offline and loving life. I am refreshed, and have a new understanding of my family, and the way I want to live my life.

Not to ramble on, but I am very, very aware of how lucky I am.

So, Hood River real estate…. In keeping with tradition, the market calmed down through July, (remember, we call that “Tire Kicker Month”) but as soon as August hit, things picked up again. And the buyers are still there, in force, throwing multiple bids at properties. The multiple offer part is what’s interesting. That is not usually what happens this time of year. Usually everyone settles down by the end of June, and the market stagnates a bit until right about now (October) before we get one final push into the end of the year, and 1031 season.

I have to admit, I’m surprised. More and more families are moving to town, and as I had mentioned before, they are now bringing kids and grandparents with them. Three houses at a whack.

414 E 3rd St

Sprawling View & Excellent Downtown Location – RMLS#16299203

Inventories are still tight, but in this last maybe week or so, the buyer heat has started to wane. Most likely seasonal, because I don’t think the buyers have gone away for good, they’ve just gone away for the winter…….

We need more units to sell, and we need to develop more options on the land we have in order to take the pressure off, but it does not appear there is much help on the horizon. The City of Hood River is backed up and dealing with a multitude of issues, and I fear, this paucity of property will continue, assuming the more “global” economy remains stuck together.

So? Next Spring? More of the same. High prices, limited demand. Since more supply isn’t forthcoming, it appears that the only thing that could change this trajectory is waning demand, which is not likely, unless we slip into a recession……

Which I don’t hear anyone talking about…… do you?

Thanks for reading. See you next month!

Maui Meyer

The View From Here June 2016

Hey There Real Estate Friends!

Happy Memorial Day weekend… Wow. Half the year gone by, like a blur.

But enough with the formalities, want to know if the market pulled back? Yes? No? ??

The answer is…..barely, but it did pull back! We have been seeing properties stick on the market for a bit more time, as the PSF averages reach for new highs, after ALL of them being reset (beginning by the way, with a pivotal sale that happened this week last year…I’m talking about you Pam.) in the last year….

Two resets in a year? Aint gonna happen my friends, and at the margins, the buyers are balking. My quotes for listing are pulling back into the middle of the suggested range (which is costing me listings, but heck, what do they pay me for but good advice, right?) and these properties are sitting…..I’ll admit, I’m listing a few of them, and the pattern, with all its nuances, repeats itself again this year….. the same…. only slightly different.

But that means inventory is growing! However slightly, it is. These properties are over-priced, they will sit all summer until August, and then they will get cleared out, every year, like they always do…..

But WOW are there cool properties to look at right now! New construction in town, a rare willow ponds custom, why, I bet any minute someone puts a Grande Dame up for sale… (Or wait, one of those IS for sale, Kind of) but yes, now’s a good time to look into the market in Hood River!

The weather is so very normal these days, but of course, (because we all like to complain about the weather) it feels so strange after the last three dry, hot years….Hey everyone who moved here less than three years ago, THIS IS TOTALLY NORMAL WEATHER….. Ok, PSA complete.

Privacy, Acreage, Home & Horse Property - RMLS#16059470

Privacy, Acreage, Home & Horse Property – RMLS#16059470

I came across some cool reads this month too….. Michael Brush writes about how the current market displays some disturbing cultural similarities (house flipping shows and zero percent mortgages anyone?) to 2007 in his piece: The seeds of the next housing crisis have been planted – http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-next-housing-crisis-is-pending-2016-05-04

And this one, from WaPo.

America’s great housing divide:Are you a winner or loser?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/business/wonk/housing/overview/

It’s a great article. It basically says that the recovery was uneven in housing, and I mean REALLY uneven. Given that Real Estate makes up a large percentage of personal net worth for the majority of Americans….. Well, think of the impact. 2008 was hard for everyone. It stopped being hard for 20% of home owning Americans. but for the other 80%…..It never recovered. Think about that. When you talk about a disgruntled populace, you don’t need to look much further than that statistic. (Ok editor’s note, the 80/20 was my estimate)

So there you go! I hope you enjoy the reads. Have a great Early June and we’ll see you on the water!
~ Maui Meyer

The View From Here May 2016

Greetings everyone!

I made it out on the water last week with my Boy….. Wow. Brisk! I forget that’s what I used to do for a living, stand around in the sunny windy cold……….

This month I welcomed one of my returning team members from Copper West’s early days back into our fold as one of my assistants. Katie Cassady is returning to us after multiple years in San Diego working for Jones Lang LaSalle, a large commercial broker. She wanted to return home, and do Real Estate in Hood River. Between Katie and Elise Byers, we have full time coverage of the entire market now. The three of us are working just my files. It has cut my response time down to minutes, given me depth of real time information for my clients that is not only unsurpassed, but developed in real time with my clients. Thanks to our cloud platform (and my new IPad Pro. Yikes if anyone wants to see the future….Buy an IPad Pro, seriously.)

MOSTLY, however, it has allowed me to slow down, and pay more attention to my clients. I’m learning so much more from my work at the moment, enjoying clients, understanding more about what they need, and figuring ways to get that extra little bit out of our listings. Having a team isn’t for everyone, but I now know it’s for me.

Peaceful Private Retreat - RMLS#16350957

Peaceful Private Retreat – RMLS#16350957

The market? Still white hot, but showing signs of touching the bottom edge of the “hot market” veneer I’ve written about all these years. (When we think it’s going to be “busy forever!” only to have it suddenly cool off.)

This is the time of year I’m always surprised at how things pull back, or we sell through all the Buyers in the market….. I keep hoping that I’ll be wrong, but almost every year, in about three weeks, somehow the Buyers just shut off for a bit…..The “Spring Fever Breaks” as they say.

Prices are still topping out, but have stopped rising for now. They are really really high. Nice houses still command a premium, average houses, merely sell quickly. We are now into inventory that has real, honest to goodness challenges, but because of the market, folks are willing to overlook real problems in order to get a home. That’s risky behavior, and the last time we saw it was in 2008.

Portland now seems to be the place to move away from, and folks are regularly selling their homes, reaping a huge windfall, and moving out East to the Gorge……It’s like a giant treadmill.

SF moves to PDX. PDX moves to HR. See you on the water!
~ Maui Meyer

The View From Here: April 2016

April is here…

Happy Spring folks! It came on quickly this year, with rain up until last week, and then sun, sun, sun! I looked at The Dalles forecast yesterday, Sunny, literally for the entire 45 day forecast……..

Our markets are hot and moving. We are pushing new price points in nearly all neighborhoods, and the days on market are dropping like a rock. This is the usual spring pattern, but with a slight more fever this time around…..

You want to know what’s driving more of the market right now? Portlanders who are stuck in traffic. I’ve taken to responding to cold inquires with, “…and are you sitting in traffic right now?” The answer has been 100% yes.

678 Highline

Beautiful Home with Stunning River Views RMLS#16540352

I had no idea how bad it has become. I was speaking with a client from the Bay area this week as well, and he mentioned to me that both his company, and a friend of his’ company were planning on large expansions (50-100 employees each) and you know where they were going to do it? In the cheapest West Coast City, Portland. He said. “I hear it’s bad up there now, but at least you can still buy a house for under 1 million and be close to work so it’s not a hard decision to put 100 employees up there…..”

And that’s how it goes. We can plan all we want but in the end, it’s just a larger game that we end up being pawns in.

It should be a strong season, and we really are just starting, so I suspect we’ll keep up with the spring buying into June, and calm down into July. I suspect the dog days of summer will push into the fall because everyone will be transfixed with the election….So, everything shifts by 2-3 weeks this year…..

Still frothy out here, but great, great clients, all moving to town in a giant game of musical chairs….. SF to PDX to HR.

See you next month!
~ Maui Meyer

The View From Here March 2016

I had a full blown Real Estate rant going there for a minute. Thank goodness I’ve managed to not send it out, and have calmed down……

Our market is really really hot right now. Buyers are getting frustrated, but that doesn’t stop them from pushing the prices higher by the day.

Our inventory is still very very low, and multiple offers are common. It’s a great time to sell if you are in Hood River, but where would you go to?

The Dalles is emerging as the hot market for this year. They still have value, and have inventory. It’s crazy busy over there, busier than last year, and the prices are slowly…..slowly beginning to creep up!

Great Hood River Location with Privacy RMLS#16502544

Great Hood River Location with Privacy RMLS#16502544

In Hood River, the big fight is over Short Term Vacation Rentals. The Realtors are split on the issue. (I come down on pro-affordable housing, which necessitates strong STR controls) but I appear to be in the Realtor minority, but the popular majority…..

It makes for a really really interesting time around here……

Weather is warming up, and spring is just in its earliest stages. This spring promises to be a sprint, starting early, and probably pushing right up until the end of the first half of the year…..

Nothing seems to be standing in our way…. which is of course, when you need to be looking for something!

See you next month! Buy a house now, we are running out!
-Maui Meyer

Westside Farmhouse

The View From Here February 2016

One month down, 11 to go!

I’m always amazed at how fast January slips by. We have come to expect it to be so much slower than it ever turns out to be! This year, it’s no different. Only wetter. Early January the water was snow, and now it’s rain, but ever so slightly less cold and wet than December, in that it constantly reminds us….Spring is on the way….I had thought by January of 2016, we’d have a great picture of the 2016 market… but here we are, splitting hairs on market Strength/Weakness all the way into February. Here’s the view from the ground here in the Gorge.

1. Inventory is at 4.3 months, which is a historic low (9 is perfect, 10 is  about what we traditionally have for comparison). Truly, everything is  picked over.
2. Downtown has broken out to a new pricing high.
3. STILL, in other parts of our marketplace, prices, while high, and firmed  up, aren’t setting new levels…. yet.
4. There are Buyers everywhere. Literally.

2645 Kingsley Rd

Westside Farmhouse with Beautiful Mountain View RMLS#15484984

So, if there’s one thing I do know, it’s how fast these things can change. One 500 point drop in the stock market and the makeup of our clientele shifts immediately.

I’m sounding a note of caution as we move forward into this new world of highest prices in Hood River’s history, against an emerging “soft” global economy, and those impacts in this region.

On one hand we have raw resources, on the other; we can fall out of favor in a fickle real estate market.

My call for this spring? If you own a home and would like to move up in size or price, please call us. There’s still value above $500,000. Below that it’s frothy.

Expect it to continue, as all of 2016’s buildable lands have been procured and built on, almost a year ahead of schedule. I’d also expect a late year softening, as new land comes on the market, and the effects of a soft economy start to see into our market.

Collapse? Of course not, softening, tempering, most likely. We are at the top of this market cycle, waiting for it to lighten up….. We can sense it…. but we can’t see it.

~ Maui Meyer

414 Bluff Rd RMLS#16013324

The View From Here December 2015

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Yes, it’s my usual mushy Thanksgiving email. I think for a change this year, I’ll save the gratitude until my last post of the year, so you get a month reprieve, my friends.

Part of that is because I haven’t had a single moment to step back and reflect the year now soon gone by. There have been few breaks in the market, and when there have been, they measure in days, not weeks as is normal.

I worry that my team will careen into the new year, with no pause, or sense of the cycle of Real Estate that is so crucial to this marketplace.  I’ve been urging my Brokers to step back this December, in an intentional manner, so that they can, however briefly, recuperate, and plan for 2016.

We have, however, been busy setting new price levels in multiple markets. Downtown, we pushed into the $280-290 per sq ft range in condos, and in the heights, we are up over $260-270 psf. (Up from $245-250 and $215-225 previously)

414 Bluff Rd

New Construction in Great Location RMLS#15668353

Two completely different buyers, too. Multiple offers, and multiple cash buyers. This isn’t your usual crowd in Hood River.

Those buyers are still out there, looking for anything to bid on. At this point, I suspect the market topping prices will tease out enough folks to sell, but I worry that we are accelerating 2016’s inventory into this, usually slow market over the winter.  I suspect that is the case, and we will continue to have limited inventory and upward price pressure into 2016.

None of that is probably healthy for this market, as the average home is now many times the average wage (In HR its now over 6X the average wage) Up the valley remains within purchasing range of local residents, but that too, is beginning to fade.

Outlook for 2016? Busy over Winter, tight inventory in the Spring, prices pushing upwards but not getting there. Maybe a slight pricing bump in late March/April, but cooling off a bit after that. Depends on the Buyer’s pool for 2016…….

See you next month!

-Maui Meyer

Gorgeous 8 Room Craftsman B & B

The View From Here: October 2015

It’s officially Fall!

Well, it’s not letting up, which is unusual for this time of year. Buyers are still out in force, and the last flush of properties, which were priced a bit higher than normal for this market (500-700) are moving.

If you would like a property in Stonegate, now is your time to move. After years of no one moving, there are seven new listings in Stonegate. It looks to me like a combination of opportunity selling, and family growth. Regardless, the prices are aggressive, and though some folks are balking, one or two of the nicer properties, once they move, might actually validate that neighborhood and set new pricing levels.

Inventory elsewhere is tight, but improving….though slowly. May street school district continues its hot streak, and that hot streak is starting to grow into the ABC streets. Rosauers (Pacific Heights) still has few properties available, though construction is underway on new homes in the latest addition. It remains to be seen what that does for other homes once 30 new homes hit the market, but we shall see. I suspect they will be easily absorbed, and will have a tempering effect on other housing prices, and that this will last for a few years, as the new addition up in Rosauers gets built out, and then follow on inventory hits the market….

Which is to say, I think we are at a structural high point, unless the builders can’t keep up? So far, it looks like they will finally have an inventory of lots to build on, and that inventory looks to last between 5-7 years at full buildout, tempering prices a bit.

Gorgeous 8 Room Craftsman B & B

Gorgeous 8 Room Craftsman B & B…… RMLS#15643710

It seems that we might just get that pressure reprieve we’ve been looking for over the winter, allowing the builders to get ahead of the demand, and allowing the buildable land inventory to build up.

On the city front, they Hood River City council has taken a stand and will begin regulating short term rentals in the City of Hood River. This means that flood of properties that have become short term rentals will begin to slow, and that too, should help with housing affordability. The cities approach is interesting. They are not limiting Short term rentals, they are just defining it as subordinate to a primary residential use, meaning, you have to live in your home 275 days of the year, and can rent out your home, unrestricted, for only 90. If they stick to their guns, visitors will still have places to come to, but the ownership structures will change. Stay tuned.

The next bottleneck? West side transportation approvals and infrastructure buildout. If it goes smooth, it’s only a couple years of bottleneck in about 7-10 years. If it doesn’t go smooth……Inventory will stall, and prices will fire up again……

Stay tuned, stay tuned…it will be nothing if not interesting!

Thanks for reading, see you next month!
Maui Meyer

The View From Here: September 2015

It’s September!

Summer is coming to a close, but the buyers are still out there.

It takes a hearty person to stick with the hunt through this summer. Multiple offers, homes pushing the valuation envelope, sellers calling the shots. It’s enough to become dispirited.

As of right now, the buyers continue to come, and they are still hungry. The tone and texture of their interest has changed, and this current stream of folks are long term buyers, getting ready for a fall hunt for property, moving around in the market, or becoming owners after they have rented for awhile.

There’s been a decent flush of property on the selling side, a couple of homes in Stonegate, and rumors of more in Summitview. That, and construction beginning in Sieverkropp all indicate that there will be some better inventory numbers for the fall/spring of 2016.  I’m looking forward to that.

Lenders seem to be pushing things too. Money has gotten easier to come by, but it doesn’t seem too frothy and hyped, just the lenders trying to push money into the market. I see this in somewhat relaxed appraisal review, (IMO) as if the underwriters are finally accepting the validity of this tiny market….

Nah, they are just trying to make quota.

Gorgeous Modern 3bd/3bth Townhouse in Downtown Hood River RMLS# 15510206

Gorgeous Modern 3bd/3bth Townhouse in Downtown Hood River RMLS# 15510206

For the fall? The Dalles continues to be white hot with our brokers on a non-stop sprint. Hood River is not far behind, with the fall push underway, there was nearly no break this year. Expect some big ticket properties to go this fall as the year closes out, with new floors in almost every neighborhood and market.

We are focused on finishing the year strong, and being a big part of the fall gala season (Lots of good and worthwhile events to be a part of in Hood River). There should be a strong finish to a record breaking year for us. 2016 will begin with renovated offices and new team members who are planning on joining us in 2016. Let the planning and construction begin……

Maui Meyer

7640 Smullen Rd

The View From Here: July 2015

Happy July everyone!

Tattered and Torn.

Somewhere in my eighties past, that was some line from a song….as I sit here in Dog River Coffee this early July (I’m late, yes I know) stringing together random thoughts, I have to say, something about that phrase resonates. Free beer to whomever finds whatever song that line comes from….

Inventory is down. Way down. Buyers have waned, as folks turn to summer. All in all, this fits with our yearly trend……July is relatively quiet. Still busy, but it’s really the early set up for September.

Prices have broken out, and it seems that nearly every closing (which remember, were negotiated back in May and early June) are pushing neighborhoods to new resets. I’ll save the numbers until you all call me, but I’m seeing 5% psf bumps in some neighborhoods.

HOWEVER! That is traditionally, and from what I’m seeing, actually the top of it. We are at the top of the market. There, I said it.

7640 Smullen Rd

Stunning Mt. Hood View! RMLS#15198732

Buyers are pulling back…. mostly out of fatigue (and season) and slowly, ever so slowly, the power shifts back from the Sellers to a more reasonable balance between the Sellers and the Buyers.

But the Sellers, generally don’t get that memo until August…..which makes for some fractious negotiating this month.

The Sieverkropp properties are almost completely online, adding much needed inventory to the market, and a few projects on the Westside are also near completion, further alleviating the Buyer demand going into the fall.

So here, we go….Prices topping in July, seller/buyer balance beginning to shift back to neutral (but not yet) and inventory, slowly increasing…..(though it might not look like it, as some of the inventory will not be reflected in the tracked numbers)

This last month, I picked up one of the finest views I’ve ever had the honor to market. Smullin Road. Words really don’t do it justice….But the photos might….. Take a look!

See you next month! I sure hope it cools off sometime soon!

Maui Meyer

Clark - 1764 5th St

The View From Here: June 2015

Happy June!

April’s numbers bring yet another down tick in monthly inventory (down to 6 months). The inventories are tight, and the Sellers are aware and pushing the limits as much as possible. It is a tough time to be a Buyer in Hood River Real Estate.

Prices are all resetting, which should bring a new wave of properties to the market, except that many of the Sellers cannot find suitable replacement properties.

Construction remains poised to explode once access to the 100 lots of inventory behind Rosauer’s is granted, but at the traditional level of about 70-80 starts per year, I think that this inventory won’t last more than a few years.

Clark - 1764 5th St

Spacious Home & Yard Near Park – 374K

Hood River is growing, and prices are rising. It’s a Seller’s market, and the financing has opened up to a broader pool with larger margins.

In short, a good place to be selling Real Estate, for sure. How long it will last? I’ve stopped asking.

I have overheard someone describe this as the “new normal” which makes me cringe a bit. If there’s any language that scares me, it’s bubble-talk.

Retailers report strong Memorial Day numbers, but the make-up of the town seems to have shifted a bit. More walkers and lookers than sports types now on “Main Street” (kind of like Cannon Beach type crowd).

Hmmmm…..

~ Maui Meyer

The View From Here: May 2015

Happy Spring!

Its mid-April as I begin this first draft, and you know what’s changed? The $1,000,000 plus range is “firing” to use old surfer parlance (I actually used to be a bit of a rebel surfer in my youth). Multiple showings in the range and deals coming together.

Why is that different? First, very few clients have traditionally been in that range, and second, they almost uniformly show up in June/July and August. This is one of the first years I noticed out of market buyers, travelling here to look at homes in the spring. Trend? Interesting Factoid? Not sure.

Want to know what else I’m seeing? Our clientele is getting older. While we still have many, many young single folks and families coming here, there are now out of market folks who are retiring here. About 50% for pure retirement, and the other 50% to be near grandkids.

Location, Views & Character! 3 Sherman, Hood River - $439K

Location, Views & Character! 3 Sherman, Hood River – $439K

It’s been a decent month, with the market inventory month hitting the low 6’s for March. I expect a rebound here soon; there has been quite a flush of properties in the last few days. Expect more pressure on prices, and fine homes commanding top dollar. The Heights just reset on per square foot value to over $225 for a fully featured property with newer construction. Regardless, lesser featured homes are still over $200. Henderson is about to reset as well, up from mid $180’s PSF to the low $190’s.

It’s not a breakout market yet (nor will it most likely ever be), but it’s a bit like a frog in a pot market. Getting slowly warmer until you suddenly notice it’s too hot!

And it’s the time of year to say….. See you on the water!

~ Maui Meyer

The View From Here: April 2015

April is here…

Well, it’s not a TOTAL inventory wipe out, but it’s still pretty tight out there. Inventory months dropped from 11.1 months of inventory to 8.9. The usual reading for February is about 12. Sooo…… tight. Interesting to note however, that the length of closing has grown to almost 40 days (actually higher, I’m hedging). I’ve not seen it, all my deals are closing within the usual 30 days, but I suspect that has something to do with tricky financing…..not clear though.

Buyers are here, and they are ready to go. Sellers are just warming up, and it looks like the traditional “big push” will still happen in early May, but just below the numbers we need. I predict we might actually see a 6 month’s number in our inventory month’s indicator, here before too long. That would almost certainly push prices up.

I am NOT seeing prices stiffen too much still (usual caveats applied. There ARE some properties that have increased in value, to be sure. I’m speaking of a broader trend).

I am seeing exploding appraisals, which is common in a hyped up market. When that used to happen, the buyer would put less money down, and take a combination of a first and a second to get to 90% LTV. These days however, they are STARTING at a 90% LTV, so boom… deal goes up in smoke or seller lowers price.

It’s 2006-2007 all over again.

Contemporary View Home, Built for Sustainability MLS#15305637  Ross Henry -Broker

Contemporary View Home, Built for Sustainability MLS#15305637 Ross Henry -Broker

It is a challenging time out there in Hood River Real Estate! Hood River looks better than ever. Folks across all spectrums are finding something to love about our town. I haven’t checked in with our School Superintendent recently, but his population growth numbers say steady climb 2-3% per year. That feels about right, and I have some population numbers on my desk now (haven’t read them yet). Inventory, as stated above, isn’t keeping pace.
Just isn’t!

See you next month, when this all hits a fever pitch. See you in the Hood.

~ Maui Meyer

 

 

 

The View From Here: March 2015

Happy March Everyone!

Buyers keep on piling up, and we’ve had another month of lower than normal listing volumes. This set-up will really only lead to a price increase, even though the fundamentals aren’t really there.

We’ve had multiple bidding wars for property above the $500k level, indicating a slightly different class of buyer in the market at the moment. Buyers below $275,000 are flatly rejecting the inventory out there, apparently believing that there will be new inventory out there soon (which is only partly true).

These days, if you can find a lot in Hood River (that’s a big if) be prepared to spend 150+k if it’s in a neighborhood, and over $200 if it has a view.

This will inevitably lead to pricing increases as fundamentally more expensive homes get built on those lots.

Amazing Westside Craftsman MLS#15696820 - Call Maui @ 541-490-3051 for more information

Amazing Westside Craftsman MLS#15696820 – Call Maui @ 541-490-3051 for more information

On the working folks housing front, the City housing inventory is well underway, with Bill Irving and I serving on the advisory committee along with a number of others. The City is working hard to bring the elements of the housing economy under some sort of control, and I believe they will do a great job of formalizing short term rentals, and incentivizing higher density, and mixed use housing in the town, so that the folks working here can afford to live here. We are already hearing stories (in my case, firsthand experience) of businesses who have given up moving here because of the cost of housing. Few of our businesses can expand here (in my case two of them) because of housing costs. We are stuck until help, legislative or market based, arrives.

It’s a great time to list in this market folks, if you want to sell something in Hood River, now’s the time to do it!

See you next month! If we don’t see a large flush of property by April 1st, this next missive might be a bit panicky….. 🙂

~ Maui Meyer

The View From Here: February 2015

It's February!"

....It has been an uncharacteristic quick start to the year, especially given the low inventory levels. We've had decent volume, with mostly second and third wave passes at older
inventory from last year.

I've been talking for awhile about how we are bumping up against the ceiling of 2008 prices....We can't quite seem to get past that high water mark, but this last flurry of activity has shown that properties, even those that aren't clean examples of their price points are selling.

In effect, this is like a price increase, but I suspect most appraisers won't pick up on it, since many of these issues aren't traditionally in the realm of an appraiser's inspection. It does,
however, portend another spring increase in pricing....so we'll see how the Buyers respond to that.

Unless the Buyers buy into the concept that a lower interest rate will allow them to buy, or pay more for a property, I think the Buyers will balk. They are already balking, and the once well used line in 2008 of "They will probably get this price" doesn't seem to ring true in 2015. I have to say, I kind of agree with them. I feel we are on risky ground here....speculative ground.

I see this too in the financing markets. While underwriting swings from efficient to psychotic, what I have noticed is theproliferations of "programs." Programs if you recently had a foreclosure, programs for your older Manufactured home, programs for your "credit challenged" status. Last time I saw this many programs it was a canary in the coal mine. Too much money, chasing an ever winnowing pool of borrowers.....

aaaannddddd.......Finally, (like this week) inventory is starting to arrive. By next month we should be in full listing swing. The Dallesis on fire, Hood River less so, but still busy......"

~ Maui Meyer

Move-In Ready with a View! - Cascade Locks MLS#15169956

Move-In Ready with a View! - Cascade Locks MLS#15169956

 

 

The View From Here: January 2015

 happyholidaysfromcopperwest 2 
    THE VIEW FROM HERE:  January 2015
copper west logo

It seems like we never got a moment’s breath this season. Many of us worked straight through the closing days of 2014, and are now off to a great clip in 2015.

The pressure has been building and building this winter with buyers on the hunt, both in town and out, looking for properties.  Buyers are still driving negotiations but a well positioned property without too many quirks certainly puts the seller in the drivers seat.

We need, need, need inventory here now! If you are considering selling your home, the single most important piece of advice I can give you is this: list it NOW. (Our number is 541.386.2330, Brokers are standing by!) So often our sellers wait just half a beat too long, thinking that there is another buyer out there only to find out how fast the buyer’s fever is eased. It can be quick.

There are clouds on the horizon, so I expect a robust few months, followed by a late spring pause. Think 2007, which treated us to a strange summer of tough, tough negotiations, and marked the high water for Hood River pricing and the beginning of a lot of hair pulling with banks as they began to fret about the loans they already had, while processing loans they were about to grant.

So, the view from here? Crazy as heck for the next few months. Then, possible tumult in the financing markets kicks us into neutral for Q-3 and who the heck knows for Q-4?

If you want it, buy it now. In real terms, it might get really expensive later this year, either through financing complexity and rates, or through breakout pricing, the next soft spot wont be for a while now.

Is that good news or bad? I can’t tell. The world’s a crazy roller coaster ride these days.

See you next month.

~ Maui Meyer