“Chocolate for Congo is a cause that I am thrilled to support.”– Coquine chef Katy Millard
Many of you know that we are chocolate lovers here at my office. We often give gifts of chocolate at closings, holidays, and Lauren has even been known to share a bar or two with our vendors at home inspections!
When we learned about this month-long event, we couldn’t resist sharing it with you. Never Again Coalition was kind enough to chat with us about the impact this event makes on the lives of those in the Congo. They informed us that to date, over $15,000 has been raised for the Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI).
So why not treat yourself to a fantastic dessert while contributing to a great cause with Chocolate for Congo, returning to the Portland area for its 6th year. Mouth-watering desserts made with Theo Chocolate benefit the Eastern Congo Initiative—a non-profit focused on grant-making and advocacy with and for the people of Eastern Congo—with $1 from each dessert sale going to the organization. Theo Chocolate, which now sources more than 70% of its chocolate from the Congo, has generously donated the chocolate for the benefit. Local organization, Never Again Coalition is also sponsoring.
The best part? Some of Portland’s best pastry chefs and award-winning restaurants are participating! These desserts are available all of February, and with 15 locations and 28 days, you can try them all—some even twice.
Participating restaurants and bakeries include:
- Ava Gene’s
- Baker & Spice and The Cakery
- Bistro Agnes
- Clyde Common
- La Neta
- Le Pigeon
- Little Bird Bistro
- Oui! Wine Bar + Restaurant
- Pie Spot
Theo Chocolate also shared with us:
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is rich in natural and human resources but it has the lowest per-capita gross domestic product in the world. During the past twenty years, violence, poverty, disease, and war have claimed the lives of over 6 million Congolese men, women, and children. And despite democratic elections and multiple peace agreements, the eastern region is still impacted by conflict, which has significantly diminished the availability of reliable, income-generating employment, as well as education and health care.
To learn more about ECI, please watch this beautifully presented animated video!
If you like to keep up on the latest information about the real estate market in your neighborhood, let us help! We can provide you with customized reports based on zip code, city, or several other parameters. Just drop me or Lauren a line and let us know how we can help. We’ll even set up a way to deliver them to your inbox on a regular basis. Here’s a sample of what you’ll receive:
The following analysis of the Oregon and Southwest Washington real estate market is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. We hope that this information may assist you with making better- informed real estate decisions. For further information about the housing market in your area, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Oregon added 30,800 new jobs in 2018, representing an annual growth rate of 1.6%. Though the job growth rate norm for the past 20 years has been 2% or more, this slowdown does not concern me. It’s to be expected at this stage in the economic cycle.
The Southwest Washington market (Clark, Cowlitz, Skamania, and Klickitat counties) added 6,680 new jobs over the past 12 months, which represents an annual growth rate of 3.1%.
Oregon’s unemployment rate was 4.1% in December, matching the level at the end of 2017. In Southwest Washington, the unemployment rate was 5.2%, down from 5.3% at the end of last year.
HOME SALES ACTIVITY
- Fourth quarter home sales dropped 13.5% compared to the same period last year, with a total of 13,264 transactions occurring.
- Sales rose the most in Coos County, which saw a 9.2% increase compared to the fourth quarter of 2017. There was also a solid increase in Crook and Benton counties. Home sales fell most in Jefferson, Tillamook, and Skamania counties.
- Year-over-year sales rose in four counties, remained static in one, and dropped in the other 21 counties contained in this report.
- The drop in sales activity can primarily be attributed to rising interest rates and an increase in the number of homes for sale which is allowing buyers to take more time during their home search.
- The average home price in the region rose 5.2% year over year to $374,827 but dropped 4% compared to the third quarter of 2018. This is not necessarily a concern since we normally see a drop during the final quarter of the year.
- Clatsop County led the market with the strongest annual price growth. Homes there sold for 28.8% more than a year ago. This is likely because it’s a very small market and prone to significant swings.
- All but three counties experienced price growth compared to a year ago, with nine of them experiencing double-digit increases.
- The takeaway is that price growth continues to slow as some markets reach an affordability ceiling.
DAYS ON MARKET
- The average number of days it took to sell a home in the region dropped five days compared to the fourth quarter of 2017 but was up ten days compared to the third quarter of 2018.
- The average time it took to sell a home last quarter was 75 days.
- Fifteen counties saw the length of time it took to sell a home drop or remain static compared to a year ago. Eleven counties saw market time rise.
- Homes sold the fastest in Washington (35 days), Yamhill (41 days), and Multnomah (42 days) counties.
The speedometer reflects the state of the region’s real estate market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors.
Although slowing, the region’s economy is still strong, and I believe this will continue to drive demand for housing. That said, and as I mentioned in the third quarter Gardner Report, there is clearly a shift starting to occur as listings rise and sales growth slows. I do not believe this is a cause for concern, rather an ongoing move toward a more balanced market.
For the fourth quarter, I have moved the needle further toward buyers, but the market still favors home sellers.
As Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, Matthew Gardner is responsible for analyzing and interpreting economic data and its impact on the real estate market on both a local and national level. Matthew has over 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.
In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Matthew sits on the Washington State Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors; chairs the Board of Trustees at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington; and is an Advisory Board Member at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington where he also lectures in real estate economics.
2018 concluded with another great year of fundraising and giving for theWindermere Foundation!
During the final quarter of last year, the Windermere Foundation collected over $854,396 in donations; 75 percent of which came from individual contributions and fundraisers, while 25 percent came from donations through Windermere agent sales transactions.
This brings our grand total to $38,006,128 raised since 1989! And a total of $1,870,184 was donated in 2018 to non-profit organizations throughout the Western U.S. that provide services to low-income and homeless families.
If you support an organization that you feel would be a good fit to receive a grant from the Windermere Foundation, please reach out to me! I would be happy to submit a donation request!
Here is the latest prediction from Windermere’s Chief Economist. He’s got a pretty great track record! If you are thinking of selling this year, please contact me for a complimentary market analysis. Curious what that looks like? Click here for a sample!
What a year it has been for both the U.S. economy and the national housing market. After several years of above-average economic and home price growth, 2018 marked the start of a slowdown in the residential real estate market. As the year comes to a close, it’s time for me to dust off my crystal ball to see what we can expect in 2019.
Existing Home Sales
This paper is being written well before the year-end numbers come out, but I expect 2018 home sales will be about 3.5% lower than the prior year. Sales started to slow last spring as we breached affordability limits and more homes came on the market. In 2019, I anticipate that home sales will rebound modestly and rise by 1.9% to a little over 5.4 million units.
Existing Home Prices
We will likely end 2018 with a median home price of about $260,000 – up 5.4% from 2017. In 2019 I expect prices to continue rising, but at a slower rate as we move toward a more balanced housing market. I’m forecasting the median home price to increase by 4.4% as rising mortgage rates continue to act as a headwind to home price growth.
New Home Sales
In a somewhat similar manner to existing home sales, new home sales started to slow in the spring of 2018, but the overall trend has been positive since 2011. I expect that to continue in 2019 with sales increasing by 6.9% to 695,000 units – the highest level seen since 2007.
That being said, the level of new construction remains well below the long-term average. Builders continue to struggle with land, labor, and material costs, and this is an issue that is not likely to be solved in 2019. Furthermore, these constraints are forcing developers to primarily build higher-priced homes, which does little to meet the substantial demand by first-time buyers.
In last year’s forecast, I suggested that 5% interest rates would be a 2019 story, not a 2018 story. This prediction has proven accurate with the average 30-year conforming rates measured at 4.87% in November, and highly unlikely to breach the 5% barrier before the end of the year.
In 2019, I expect interest rates to continue trending higher, but we may see periods of modest contraction or levelling. We will likely end the year with the 30-year fixed rate at around 5.7%, which means that 6% interest rates are more apt to be a 2020 story.
I also believe that non-conforming (or jumbo) rates will remain remarkably competitive. Banks appear to be comfortable with the risk and ultimately, the return, that this product offers, so expect jumbo loan yields to track conforming loans quite closely.
There are still voices out there that seem to suggest the housing market is headed for calamity and that another housing bubble is forming, or in some cases, is already deflating. In all the data that I review, I just don’t see this happening. Credit quality for new mortgage holders remains very high and the median down payment (as a percentage of home price) is at its highest level since 2004.
That is not to say that there aren’t several markets around the country that are overpriced, but just because a market is overvalued, does not mean that a bubble is in place. It simply means that forward price growth in these markets will be lower to allow income levels to rise sufficiently.
Finally, if there is a big story for 2019, I believe it will be the ongoing resurgence of first-time buyers. While these buyers face challenges regarding student debt and the ability to save for a down payment, they are definitely on the comeback and likely to purchase more homes next year than any other buyer demographic.
Originally published on Inman News.
The Portland Business Journal recently released its widely read, “Book of Lists.” I was excited to see Windermere Realty Trust take the top spot on two of the lists, Largest Residential Real Estate Firm and Most Generous Corporate Philanthropist.
If you have purchased or sold a home with me in the past, you likely received a card from our Foundation thanking you. Windermere donates a portion of every sale to the Foundation, and I donate an additional amount in my client’s name as well.
This year’s recipients included two amazing local organizations, Bridge Meadows and Friends of the Children.
Thank YOU for doing your part to help so many children and families in our community!
If your holiday shopping included some trips to The Pearl District, perhaps you discovered “Hay” on NW 13th Ave. If not, try to visit the next time you’re there!
Portland was selected as the first (yes, the first!) US location for this beloved Danish design brand. Hay offers furniture, textiles and home accessories and they also hope to make the store a hub for community events. It’s exciting to see our city become recognized internationally as a launchpad for new brands and ideas. It’s what we love about Portland!
Check out the story on Dezeen.com by clicking the image below.