This is the second installment of my article looking back over the past five years at Portland housing statistics.  Part One examined the real reason for the housing crisis which officially commenced in 3Q 2007, and looked at the historic numbers for average and median (i.e. “mean”) sale prices according to the RMLS™. The link to Part One is here

 The Rest of the Story. Besides pricing over the past five years, what about time on the market?  Available inventory?  Number of listings? Closed sales? Let’s look at each one:

1.     Time on the MarketUntil 3Q 2007, an overheated real estate market was still burning through inventory.  In August 2007, the average time on the market was 56 days less than two months from listing to “pending sale.”[1]  The following month, September, 2007, banks began realizing that the drumbeat of subprime defaults was not going away.  They tightened their underwriting requirements almost immediately.  Over time, they began to even restrict borrowers from tapping their HELOCs based upon ZIP code.  As short sales and REOs began to fill the real estate marketplace, buyers and appraisers began viewing the sales figures as legitimate comps by which to gauge present value.  All the while, many potential buyers remained on the sidelines, waiting for prices to hit bottom.[2]  Many sellers who were fortunate enough to have equity during the following five years had to decide whether to wait until the market turned, or sell their home and recover far less equity than they had earlier.[3] Continue reading “Portland Metro Housing Prices – The Last Five Years [Part Two]”

In my earlier post I was critical of the Obama Administration’s second run at jumpstarting the woefully inadequate Home Affordable Refinance Program or “HARP.”  As pointed out in my post, HARP had been an abysmal failure since its inception in 2009.  Then, on September 8, 2011, in the course of rolling out the American Jobs Act [which appears dead in both the House and Senate – PCQ] the President stated:

“And to help responsible homeowners, we’re going to work with federal housing agencies to help more people refinance their mortgages at interest rates that are now near 4%.  That’s a step – (applause) – I know you guys must be for this, because that’s a step that can put more than $2,000 a year in a family’s pocket, and give a lift to an economy still burdened by the drop in housing prices.”

At the time, there was not much to go on, since like so many of the Administration’s pronouncements, they are little more than trial balloons that get floated, and finally run out of the hot air. So, where are we now, seven weeks later?  Well, the folks that brought us HARP I are slowly giving birth to HARP II.  But as of the date of this post, we’re still waiting on specifics.

There appear to be certain similarities and certain differences. First the similarities: Continue reading “HARP 2.0 – Old Wine In New Bottles”