1. Residential Market Analysis, by Clancy Terry, Center for Real Estate Quarterly, May 2015. This summary presents a data-packed compilation of Oregon stats and charts on the health of the industry. Herewith are two snippets:
Portland, 1Q 2015.
“The median price continued declining, falling $7,500 or three percent to $276,500. Again on the (slightly) positive side, this is around five percent higher than 2014’s first-quarter median price. Although average time on market increased by six percent to 57 days, this too outperforms the first quarter of 2014—by 17 percent. Sellers’ realization of 99 percent of final list prices continues unchanged.”
Bend, 1Q, 2015.
…Bend, total transactions in the first quarter of 2015 fell by 145, to 411 units sold—a 26 percent contraction. This is 19 units or five percent more than were sold in the first quarter of 2014, however. The median sales price continued its upward momentum, increasing from the prior quarter by $25,050 or nine percent to $315,000, nearly setting a record. This is $65,000 or 26 percent greater than first quarter 2014. A median price higher than $315,000 has not been reported in this publication since the first quarter of 2007. It took sellers longer to realize these higher prices, however: from the fourth quarter of 2014 average marketing time increased by 22 days to 139; this is 13 days longer year over year.”
2. The CFPB Just Blinked; TRID Got Extended! Despite the government’s steadfast refusal to extend the August 1, 2015 implementation date for TRID, the CFPB, devil spawn of Dodd-Frank, just folded in the face of intense industry pressure from the NAR, and others. The new date is October 1.
3. Low Downpayment Mortgages Are Making a Comeback. While perhaps good news for first time buyers, one has to wonder about the wisdom of FHA and Fannie May’s programs to entice credit-challenged buyers back into the marketplace. With so little skin in the game, a five or ten percent drop in prices [far less, in fact, than during the 2008 crash] would create negative equity for homeowners overnight. With FHA, the risk would be borne by taxpayers; with Fannie, which is essentially owned by the feds, we’d get to see if there really is an “implicit guarantee” by Uncle Sam.
4. The Economic Calendar. The Wall Street Journal lists issues to look for during the week of June 22 – 26,2015: “The week’s calendar includes reports on a wide array of sectors. Of keen interest, however, will be the data covering demand for housing and for capital goods.”
5. The Perpetual Interest Rate Guessing Game. There is no shortage of dart throwers out there, opining on whether, when, and how much the Fed will – for the first time since 2006 – actually put a toe to the pedal, and increase interest rates. What is too little? Too much? Too soon? And how will the market react? This is Janet’s continuing search for the Goldilock’s Solution. Will she find it?
6. From Negative Equity to Positive Equity. A recent Portland Business Journal article reports: “According to a new Portland metro region report from CoreLogic, 14,176 residential properties with mortgages were in negative equity or “underwater” in the first quarter of this year. That’s a decline from the 25,056 or 5.2 percent in the same situation from the first quarter of 2014.”
 Clancy Terry is a current Master of Real Estate Development candidate through a joint program of Portland State University’s School of Business Administration and School of Urban Studies and Planning. He is the 2015 RMLS™ Student Fellow at PSU’s Center for Real Estate.