Real Estate Trends and News

Jan. 27, 2023

Thinking about moving to Portland? Here are some of the best neighborhoods to move to!

1. Downtown Portland: Downtown Portland, Oregon is a bustling city center with a unique mix of businesses and attractions. Located in the heart of downtown, you'll find everything from restaurants to shopping to entertainment. It's also home to some of the most popular festivals in the area, such as the Portland Saturday Market and Waterfront Blues Festival. The energy and creativity that can be found throughout downtown make it one of the best places for people who love art and culture. Whether you're looking for a place to eat or an exciting night out on the town, Downtown Portland has something for everyone!


2. Northwest Portland: Northwest Portland, Oregon is a vibrant and diverse neighborhood located in the heart of the city. It’s one of Portland's most popular neighborhoods, offering an array of shopping, dining and entertainment venues. The neighborhood has something for everyone; whether you're looking for hip boutiques or classic vintage stores, there's something to fit your style. The area is home to some of Portland’s best restaurants and bars. From farm-to-table eateries like Little Bird Bistro to local breweries like Hopworks Urban Brewery – there’s no shortage of places to grab a bite or a brew. There are also plenty of great coffee shops, bakeries and ice cream parlors where you can get your caffeine fix or satisfy your sweet tooth. If you’re looking for culture, Northwest Portland has plenty to offer as well – including art galleries such as Blue Sky Gallery and Disjecta Contemporary Arts Center; performing arts centers such as Newmark Theatre; movie theatres like Cinema 21; bookstores like Powell's City of Books; plus many other attractions that make this part of town so unique!


3. Pearl District: The Pearl District is an upscale neighborhood with galleries, sidewalk cafes, and trendy shops. It's one of the hipster-friendly areas in Portland. Located just north of downtown Portland and west of the Willamette River, the Pearl District is a vibrant mix of old and new—with warehouses that have been converted into trendy restaurants and art galleries, modern apartment complexes, parks, shops, and more. The area was originally home to many industrial businesses such as canneries and railroads in the late 19th century. Today it is one of the most popular areas for young professionals looking for a unique urban lifestyle. With its easy access to public transportation (including light rail) as well as plenty of bike paths, walking trails, and green spaces to explore all around you—the Pearl District has become known as one of the most walkable neighborhoods in Portland.


4. Alberta Arts District: This eclectic neighborhood is full of art galleries, vintage stores, and independent coffee shops. It's one of the most creative and diverse neighborhoods in Portland. The Alberta Arts District in Portland, Oregon is a vibrant neighborhood located just east of the Willamette River. It is known for its creative and eclectic vibe, with lots of independent businesses, art galleries, restaurants, and craft breweries. The area has become an increasingly popular destination for locals and visitors alike due to its wide range of activities and amenities.


The Alberta Arts District was first established as part of the North East Quadrant Plan in 2000. Since then, it has grown into one of the trendiest neighborhoods in town with an abundance of murals adorning the walls along Alberta Street. The district also hosts several festivals throughout the year including Last Thursday Art Walk on Alberta Street and MusicfestNW each summer. Additionally, there are numerous shops offering unique finds such as vintage clothing stores and antiques shops. Alberta Arts District also features plenty of places to eat including vegan-friendly spots like Bye & Bye Bar or vegan food cart Kati Portland; upscale Mexican restaurants like El Nutri Taco; casual dining favorites like Screen Door; classic diners like Pine State Biscuits; a variety of ethnic cuisine options from Thai to Ethiopian; plus many more. For those looking for entertainment nearby there are many dive bars offering live music alongside some larger venues such as Mississippi Studios or Wonder Ballroom which host national acts regularly throughout the year too! Finally, you'll find local art galleries featuring contemporary works from up-and-coming artists as well as established ones – perfect for getting your culture fix while exploring this exciting neighborhood. 


5. Nob Hill: Nob Hill is home to some of the most expensive houses in Portland. It has plenty of upscale restaurants and trendy bars. The Nob Hill District in Portland, Oregon is a vibrant and diverse neighborhood located just northwest of downtown. It is one of Portland's oldest neighborhoods, featuring tree-lined streets and historical homes as well as numerous shops, restaurants and galleries. The area is known for its unique blend of traditional architecture with modern amenities. Nob Hill has a variety of activities to offer for both locals and visitors alike. Residents can enjoy the many parks in the district such as Chapman Square Park or Irving Park; or take part in community events like the annual Porchfest music festival. There are also plenty of places to shop including boutique clothing stores, eclectic gift shops and art galleries. And if you’re looking to eat out, there are plenty of options available from cozy cafes to trendy bars and bistros. For those who want some outdoor fun, Nob Hill offers easy access to Forest Park which borders the district on three sides; offering miles of trails perfect for hikers, bikers or anyone simply wanting to explore nature up close! Finally if you're feeling lucky - The Nob Hill District also houses two casinos: The Wild Goose Casino & Spirit Mountain Casino - both offering slots games plus table games like blackjack & poker too!

Dec. 23, 2022

Winterizing your investment property on the Oregon coast


1. Hire a Professional Handyman: Hire a professional handyman to inspect your property for any potential damage and make necessary repairs. Talk to friends and family who have used a handyman in Portland Oregon recently and ask them for recommendations. Make sure to get contact information so you can follow up with any potential leads. Check out websites like HomeAdvisor, Angie's List, Yelp, or Google reviews to read customer ratings and feedback on different local handymen in the area. This will help you narrow down your search and find someone who has good reviews from previous customers. Once you have a few names of possible handymen, call each one and ask questions about their experience level, rates, availability, etc., so that you can make an informed decision about whom to hire for the job. Before hiring a handyman in Portland Oregon it is important to verify that they are licensed and insured by checking with your local state licensing board or insurance department if applicable (for example some states require plumbers or electricians to be licensed). You should also do some basic background checks on any potential hires before committing to working with them such as making sure they don’t have any criminal history or complaints filed against them with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Finally make sure you get at least two references from past clients so that you can speak directly about their work ethic and quality of service provided

2. Check for Leaks: Inspect the roof and plumbing for leaks to prevent water damage.

3. Insulate Pipes: Insulate all exposed pipes in the crawlspace, basement and attic to prevent them from freezing and bursting.

4. Replace Weather Stripping: Replace any worn out weather stripping around windows and doors to prevent drafts.

5. Clean Gutters: Clean out all the debris from your gutters to prevent water from pooling and causing damage.

6. Disconnect Hoses: Disconnect all hoses from outdoor spigots to prevent them from freezing and bursting.

7. Turn Off Water: Shut off the main water supply to prevent any water damage while the property is unoccupied.

8. Trim Trees: Trim any trees that could cause damage to the property in the event of strong winds.

9. Cover Outdoor Items: Cover any outdoor furniture and equipment with tarps to protect them from the elements.

Sept. 24, 2022

How to know if it's a good time to sell your home

Will My House Still Sell in Today’s Market?

Will My House Still Sell in Today’s Market? | MyKCM

If recent headlines about the housing market cooling and buyer demand moderating have you worried you’ve missed your chance to sell, here’s what you need to know. Buyer demand hasn’t disappeared, it’s just eased from the peak intensity we saw over the past two years.

Buyer Demand Then and Now

During the pandemic, mortgage rates hit record lows, and that spurred a significant rise in buyer demand. This year, as rates increased due to factors like rising inflation, buyer demand pulled back or softened as a result. The latest data from ShowingTime confirms this trend (see graph below):

Will My House Still Sell in Today’s Market? | MyKCM

The orange bars in the graph above represent the last few months of data and the clear cooldown in the volume of home showings the market has seen since mortgage rates started to rise. But context is important. To get the full picture of where today's demand stands, let's look at the July data for the past six years (see graph below):

Will My House Still Sell in Today’s Market? | MyKCM

This second visual makes it clear that, while moderating compared to the frenzy in 2020 and 2021, showing activity is still beating pre-pandemic levels – and those pre-pandemic years were great years for the housing market. That goes to show there’s still demand if you sell your house today.

What That Means for You When You Sell

The key to selling in a changing market is understanding where the housing market is now. It’s not the same market we had last year or even earlier this year, but that doesn’t mean the opportunity to sell has passed.

While things have cooled a bit, it’s still a sellers’ market. If you work with a trusted local expert to price your house at the current market valuethe demand is still there, and it should sell quickly. According to a recent survey from, 92% of homeowners who sold in August reported being satisfied with the outcome of their sale.

Bottom Line

Buyer demand hasn’t disappeared, it’s just moderated this year. If you’re ready to sell your house today, let’s connect so you have expert insights on how the market has shifted and how to plan accordingly for your sale.


What Experts Say Will Happen with Home Prices Next Year

What Experts Say Will Happen with Home Prices Next Year | MyKCM

Experts are starting to make their 2023 home price forecasts. As they do, most agree homes will continue to gain value, just at a slower pace. Over the past couple of years, home prices have risen at an unsustainable rate, leaving many to wonder how long it would last. If you’re asking yourself: what’s ahead for the price of my home, know that experts are now answering this question, and its welcome news for homeowners who may have been led by the media to believe their home would lose value.

Historically, home prices have appreciated at a rate near 4%. For 2023, the average of six major forecasters noted below is 2.5%. While one, Zelman & Associates, is calling for depreciation, the other five are calling for appreciation. The graph below outlines each expert forecast to show where they project home prices are going in the coming year.

What Experts Say Will Happen with Home Prices Next Year | MyKCM

To understand why experts are calling for appreciation next year, look to the economics of supply and demand. Dave Ramsey, Financial Expert, says this:

“The root issue of what drives house prices almost always is supply and demand . . .”   

Two things are driving home prices upward. First, the undersupply of homes on the market is an issue we continue to face in this country. We still don’t have enough homes on the market for the number of people that want to buy them. To further that point, we’re still in a sellers’ market nationally, and in that scenario, home prices tend to appreciate.

Second, millennials are moving through their peak homebuying years. Since they’re the largest demographic behind the baby boomers, demand isn’t going away any time soon.

Bottom Line

Experts are calling for home prices to appreciate next year, although at a slower pace than the previous three years. The reason for this is simple. The dynamics of supply and demand are playing out in real estate and will continue for many years to come.


Top Reasons Homeowners Are Selling Their Houses Right Now

Top Reasons Homeowners Are Selling Their Houses Right Now | MyKCM

Some people believe there’s a group of homeowners who may be reluctant to sell their houses because they don’t want to lose the historically low mortgage rate they have on their current home. You may even have the same hesitation if you’re thinking about selling your house.

Data shows 51% of homeowners have a mortgage rate under 4% as of April this year. And while it’s true mortgage rates are higher than that right now, there are other non-financial factors to consider when it comes to making a move. In other words, your mortgage rate is important, but you may have other things going on in your life that make a move essential, regardless of where rates are today. As Jessica Lautz, Vice President of Demographics and Behavioral Insights at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains:

Home sellers have historically moved when something in their lives changed – a new baby, a marriage, a divorce or a new job. . . .”

So, if you’re thinking about selling your house, it may help to explore the other reasons homeowners are choosing to make a move today. The 2022 Summer Sellers Survey by asked recent home sellers why they decided to sell. The visual below breaks down how those homeowners responded:

Top Reasons Homeowners Are Selling Their Houses Right Now | MyKCM

As the visual shows, an appetite for different features or the fact that their current home could no longer meet their needs topped the list for recent sellers. Additionally, remote work and whether or not they need a home office or are tied to a specific physical office location also factored in, as did the desire to live close to their loved ones.

The survey summarizes the findings like this:

The primary reason homeowners decided to sell in the last year was the realization that, after so much time spent at home, they wanted different features and amenities, such as walkability, outdoor space, pool, etc. . . . 

If you, like the homeowners they surveyed, find yourself wanting features, space, or amenities your current home just can’t provide, it may be time to consider listing your house for sale.

Even with today’s mortgage rates, your lifestyle needs may be enough to motivate you to make a change. The best way to find out what’s right for you is to partner with a trusted real estate professional who can provide expert guidance and advice throughout the process. They can help walk you through your options, so you can make a confident decision based on what matters most to you and your loved ones.

Bottom Line

While the financial reasons for moving are important, there’s often far more to consider. Non-financial reasons can also be a significant motivating factor. If you need help weighing the pros and cons of selling your house, let’s connect today.

Sept. 9, 2022

Should I Sell My House This Year?

There’s no denying the housing market is undergoing a shift this season as buyer demand slows and the number of homes for sale grows. But that shift actually gives you some unique benefits when you sell. Here’s a look at the key opportunities you have if you list your house this fall.

Opportunity #1: You Have More Options for Your Move

One of the biggest stories today is the growing supply of homes for sale. Housing inventory has been increasing since the start of the year, primarily because higher mortgage rates helped cool off the peak frenzy of buyer demand. But what you may not realize is, that actually could benefit you.

If you’re selling your house to make a move, it means you’ll have more options for your own home search. That gives you an even better chance to find a home that checks all of your boxes. So, if you’ve put off selling because you were worried about being able to find somewhere to go, know your options have improved.

Opportunity #2: The Number of Homes on the Market Is Still Low

Just remember, while data shows the number of homes for sale has increased this year, housing supply is still firmly in sellers’ market territory. To be in a balanced market where there are enough homes available to meet the pace of buyer demand, there would need to be a six months’ supply of homes. According to the latest report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), in July, there was only a 3.3 months’ supply.

While you’ll have more options for your own home search, inventory is still low, and that means your home will still be in demand if you price it right. That’s why the most recent data from NAR also shows the average home sold in July still saw multiple offers and sold in as little as 14 days.

Opportunity #3: Your Equity Has Grown by Record Amounts

The home price appreciation the market saw over the past few years has likely given your equity (and your net worth) a considerable boost. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.comexplains:

“Home owners trying to decide if now is the time to list their home for sale are still in a good position in many markets across the country as a decade of rising home prices gives them a substantial equity cushion . . .” 

If you’ve been holding off on selling because you’re worried about how rising prices will impact your next home search, rest assured your equity can help. It may be just what you need to cover a large portion (if not all) of the down payment on your next home.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about selling your house this season, let’s connect so you have the expert insights you need to make the best possible move today.

Aug. 31, 2022

7 Costly Mistakes Home Sellers Make (And How to Avoid Them)

7 Costly Mistakes Home Sellers Make (And How to Avoid Them)



No matter what’s going on in the housing market, the process of selling a home can be challenging. Some sellers have a hard time saying goodbye to a treasured family residence. Others want to skip ahead to the fun of decorating and settling into a new place. Almost all sellers want to make the most money possible.


Whatever your circumstances, the road to the closing table can be riddled with obstacles — from issues with showings and negotiations to inspection surprises. But many of these complications are avoidable when you have a skilled and knowledgeable real estate agent by your side.


For example, here are seven common mistakes that many home sellers make. These can cause anxiety, cost you time, and shrink your financial proceeds. Fortunately, we can help you avert these missteps and set you up for a successful and low-stress selling experience.



MISTAKE #1: Setting an Unrealistic Price


Many sellers believe that pricing their homes high and waiting for the “right buyers” to come along will net them the most money. However, overpriced homes often sit on the market with little activity, which can be the kiss of death in real estate — and result in an inevitable price drop.1


Alternatively, if you price your home at (or sometimes slightly below) market value, it can be among the nicest that buyers see within their budgets. This can increase your likelihood of receiving multiple offers.2


To help you set a realistic price from the start, we will do a comparative market analysis, or CMA. This integral piece of research will help us determine an ideal listing price based on the amount that similar properties have recently sold for in your area.


Without this data, you risk pricing your home too high (and getting no offers) or too low (and leaving money on the table). We can help you find that sweet spot that will draw in buyers without undercutting your profits.


MISTAKE #2: Trying to Time the Market


You’ve probably heard the old saying, “Buy low and sell high.” But when it comes to real estate, that’s easier said than done.


Delaying your home sale until prices have hit their peak may sound like a great idea. But sellers should keep these factors in mind:


  1. Predicting the market with certainty is nearly impossible.
  2. If you wait to buy your next home, its price could increase as well. This may erode any additional proceeds from your sale.
  3. If mortgage rates are rising, your pool of potential buyers could shrink — and you would have to pay more to finance your next purchase.


Instead of trying to time the market, choose your ideal sales timeline. This may be based on factors like your personal financial situation, shifting family dynamics, or the seasonal patterns in your neighborhood. We can help you figure out the best time to sell given your individual circumstances.



MISTAKE #3: Failing to Address Needed Repairs


Many sellers hope that buyers won’t notice their leaky faucet or broken shutters during home showings. But minor issues like these can leave buyers worrying about more serious — and costly — problems lurking out of sight.


Even if you do receive an offer, there’s a high likelihood that the buyer will hire a professional home inspector, who will flag any defects in their report. Neglecting to address a major issue could lead buyers to ask for costly repairs, money back, or worse yet, walk away from the purchase altogether.


To avoid these types of disruptions, it’s important to make necessary renovations before your home hits the market. We can help you decide which repairs and updates are worth your time and investment. In some cases, we may recommend a professional pre-listing inspection.


This extra time and attention can help you avoid potential surprises down the road and identify any major structural, system, or cosmetic faults that could impact a future sale.3



MISTAKE #4:  Neglecting to Stage Your Home


Staging is the act of preparing your home for potential buyers. The goal is to “set the stage” to help buyers envision themselves living in your home. Some sellers opt to skip this step, but that mistake can cost them time and money in the long run. A 2021 survey by the Real Estate Staging Association found that, on average, staged homes sold nine days faster and for $40,000 over list price.4


Indoors, staging could include everything from redecorating, painting, or rearranging your furniture pieces to removing personal items, decluttering, and deep cleaning. Outdoors, you might focus on power washing, planting flowers, or hanging a wreath on the front door.


You may not need to do all these tasks, but almost every home can benefit from some form of staging. Before your home hits the market, we can refer you to a professional stager or offer our insights and suggestions if you prefer the do-it-yourself route.



MISTAKE #5: Evaluating Offers on Price Alone


When reviewing offers, most sellers focus on one thing: the offer price. While dollar value is certainly important, a high-priced offer is worthless if the deal never reaches the closing table. That’s why it’s important to consider other factors in addition to the offer price, such as:


     Financing and buyer qualifications

     Deposit size

     Contract contingencies

     Closing date

     Leaseback options


Depending on your circumstances, some of these factors may or may not be important to you. For example, if you’re still shopping for your next home, you might place a high premium on an offer that allows for a flexible closing date or leaseback option.


Buyers and their agents are focused on crafting deals that work well for them. We can help you assess your needs and goals to select an offer that works best for you.



MISTAKE #6: Acting on Emotion Instead of Reason


It’s only natural to grow emotionally attached to your home. That’s why so many sellers end up feeling hurt or offended at some point during the selling process. Low offers can feel like insults. Repair requests can feel like judgments. And whatever you do — don’t listen in on showings through your security monitoring system. Chances are, some buyers won’t like your decor choices, either!


However, it’s a huge mistake to ruin a great selling opportunity because you refuse to counter a low offer or negotiate minor repairs. Instead, try to keep a cool head and be willing to adjust reasonably to make the sale. We can help you weigh your decisions and provide rational advice with your best interests in mind.



MISTAKE #7: Not Hiring an Agent


There’s a good reason 90% of homeowners choose to sell with the help of a real estate agent. Homes listed by agents sold for 22% more than the average for-sale-by-owner home, according to a recent study by the National Association of Realtors.5


Selling a home on your own may seem like an easy way to save money. But in reality, there is a steep learning curve. And a listing agent can:


     Skip past time-consuming problems

     Use market knowledge to get the best price

     Access contacts and networks to speed up the selling process


If you choose to work with a listing agent, you’ll save significant time and effort while minimizing your personal risk and liability. And the increased profits realized through a more effective marketing and negotiation strategy could more than make up for the cost of your agent’s commission.


We can navigate the ins and outs of the housing market for you and make your selling process as stress-free as possible. You may even end up with an offer for your home that’s better than you expected.





Your home selling journey doesn’t have to be hard. When you hire us as your listing agent, we’ll develop a customized sales plan to help you get top dollar for your home without any undue risk, stress, or aggravation. If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, reach out today to schedule a free consultation and home value assessment.




1.     The Washington Post -

2. -

3.     American Society of Home Inspectors -

4.     Real Estate Staging Association -

5.     National Association of Realtors -


Aug. 13, 2022


These are can’t-miss, seriously don’t do these mistakes that you can easily avoid when selling your home. 12 Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Home Selling your home doesn’t have to be full of missteps and mistakes. Learn from these common mistakes and avoid problems from the moment you put up that For Sale sign! Let’s start with four DON’Ts. Here are four things NOT do when you put your home up for sale:

A woman getting ready to sell her home

1. DON’T Get Emotional. Maybe you’ve lived in your house for 25 years and raised your kids there. Maybe you’re moving for a reason that’s inherently emotional or difficult. Maybe you just feel the heightened stress of selling a home and let your emotions into the mix. Do your best to put your emotions on the shelf and be as pragmatic as possible about selling your home.

2. DON’T Set an Unrealistic Price. Pricing your home is one of the first, and most important, decisions you’ll make when listing your home for sale. If you get too caught up in the “what-ifs,” you may set your sights too high and set an unrealistic price. This will mean your home sits on the market longer and can cost more money in the long-run.

3. DON’T Hide Major Problems. A good home inspector will find out all of the issues with your home anyway. Not being forthcoming about known issues will slow the whole process down. You don’t want to have an offer on the table that doesn’t work out because you’ve failed to disclose something or because inspection uncovered something huge.

4. DON’T Wait Until the Last Minute. There are numerous documents you’ll need to have in hand before you can list and sell your home. Don’t wait until the last minute to get your ducks in a row. Everything will go faster and smoother if you have everything you need. Here are some DOs. Not doing these are huge mistakes that home sellers make all of the time. 

5. DO Film Video Walk-Throughs. Especially as virtual home buying becomes increasingly popular, your home will get more views and interaction if you have video walk-throughs. Video tours can usually be filmed by someone who works with your real estate agent. These are compelling and add value to your listing.

6. DO Make Minor Repairs. If you’ve lived in your home a long time (or even if you haven’t), you may have learned to live with squeaky hinges or broken railing. Homebuyers will be turned off by these things, and it’s a lot cheaper to fix them yourself than to have negotiations about the deal.

Want a more tips in a printable guide? Download the pdf here.

July 27, 2022

Understanding the impact of the Federal Interest rate on mortgage rates

The increase in the federal interest rate is the topic du jour. But what does this mean in real terms for the average home buyer and the home market in general?


The US Federal Reserve or ‘the Fed’ is the central bank which loans money to banks and sets the interest rate based on the state of the national economy. Increasing the interest rate discourages spending and keeps the costs of goods and services lower by decreasing demand. An increase in interest rates encourages borrowing and spending which generally stimulates growth.


Interest rates have fluctuated between near zero and highs of over 20 in the last 60 years. Check out the graph below for the context of current federal interest rates.



Federal interest rates directly influence mortgage lender rates. When federal interest rates go up, mortgage lenders increase the rates for their products. Some home loan packages are less impacted by the federal interest rates because they are directly subsidized by the federal government. For instance veteran home loans or first time home-buyer loans have lower rates than conventional loans. 


Compare the above chart with the chart below of average mortgage rates since the 1970’s.


As you can see, mortgage rates and Federal Interest rates are siblings but not twins. This is because mortgage lenders have flexibility to adjust their rates based on the Federal Interest rates, their customer base, and the market.


Mortgage lenders also have an interest in keeping their rates less volatile than Federal Interest rates to prevent shock. 


Let’s look at the difference between a 3% and a 5% interest rate for a conventional 30 year loan with 5% down on a $250,000 home. As you can see from the charts below the monthly payment difference between a 3% and 5% loan is over $200 per month, which almost doubles when looking at a 6% rate. For a homeowner to afford the monthly payment, they will need to have a better income to debt ratio as well as more for down payment.

This could potentially be a great thing for middle income buyers. Even though the interest rates are higher which increases the cost of the loan, there are fewer buyers which means fewer bidding wars. In Beaverton for instance this could knock off an additional $50,000 from the final price of the home!


Let's say you're looking at a $450,000 home at 3.5% with 10% down, you have a loan balance of $405,000. At the 3.5% rate, your monthly payments would be $1819. At 5.75%, today's rates, the same payment would now be $2363, an increase of $545 monthly of $6,538 annually. Here's the advantage, up until the end of May 2022, buyers were bidding anywhere from $20,000 to $80,000 more than asking. By not having to bid $20,000-$50,000 over you'll make up the difference in 4-8 years.




Posted in Market Updates
July 22, 2022

A deeper dive into the recent housing market trends

The dream of many young adults, and even older adults, is to one day own a home. This right-of-passage has become increasingly more out-of-reach as wage growth hasn’t kept up with inflation, let alone home prices. But the market is controlled by factors largely outside of the average American home buyer's control. And Zillow is now facing a class action lawsuit for market manipulation. Lets take a look at some of the factors that lead to Zillow dominating the home buying and real estate market, as well as the potential fall out.

First some data. The way people buy and sell homes has changed a great deal in the 30+ years since the takeover of the internet. Whether you look at the inception date of 1983 or Google’s birthday in 1998, the increasing digitalization of commerce and tracking means that we have substantive data to evaluate regarding what people are looking for, how they search, and where they search.

We’re going to look at a few different factors here. First the search terms. Google analytics show that within the US, people searching for housing is relatively stable and fluctuates cyclically generally peaking in the summer and waning in the winter. Nobody wants to move in the middle of a snow storm. Not surprisingly, there were two peaks in people searching for housing, just before the 2007/08 housing market crash, and March of 2020 when people looked for new places where they could escape the pandemic. 

Housing Search Terms Google Analytics

Let's drill down more. In Oregon, this trend was somewhat muted since social distancing is already possible throughout most of the state. The biggest signal coming from the Willamette Valley, Oregon’s most populous region. Most people don’t search for the term housing when they want to buy or sell their home. Let’s instead look at a few other search terms including, homes for sale, real estate, mortgage loans, and of course “Zillow.”

Housing Search Terms Google Analytics Oregon

As you can see, over time, as the internet became more effective, the term real estate was replaced with homes for sale, which became ubiquitous for Zillow starting around 2012. Surprisingly, search terms for mortgage lender matched the seasonality of homes for sale and real estate but decreased right around the same time as Zillow took off. Likely because part of Zillow’s service included connecting potential buyer’s with lenders in their network. Searches for mortgage lenders peaked around March 2020 but never quite hit the highs of the pre-bubble burst of 2007. 

What did this do for Zillow's stock? It skyrocketed in March 2020 like many tech companies that provided services during the pandemic.


Of course Zillow isn’t entirely to blame for the housing market recession. Many people across all income brackets are finding that the purchasing power of their wages is progressively less as inflation increases. 

Zillow is accused of misleading investors regarding the state of their now shuttered home buying arm. By purchasing homes they controlled both ends of the real estate transaction and had more control over comps which lead buyers to believe that home prices in many areas were increasing because of surging demand. Zillow was then left with a surplus of inventory that couldn't move at their inflated prices. They inflated prices in markets that couldn’t support it, pricing many out of homes altogether. When the market bubble peaked many were left without options for buying a home, which coupled with increasing rents exacerbated the ongoing housing crisis in many cities. 

The result is that investors who bought prior to the pandemic and sold at the peak of the market in 2021 made a lot of money, while new investors who bought on the way to the top may have to suffer the loss. Zillow had a nearly half a billion dollar write down and laid off 2000 people. In May of 2022 CEO Rich Barton told shareholders that Zillow now has $3.6 billion in cash, up $500 million from the previous quarter. So the write down went straight to the balance sheet in the form of cash. It's likely that Zillow will take several years to recover stock price, if ever. 

Naturally the Vice President of Recruiting for Zillow for the past 17 years is leaving for Google. 



Posted in Market Updates
July 20, 2022

Housing market officially enters recession, here’s what that means

During the pandemic US home prices grew 40-50% in most major markets as people moved to suburbs and rural areas. One assessment found that a US household would have to spend 31% of its monthly income to make a mortgage payment for an average-priced home, the highest mortgage payment to income ratio since 2007.


As a result, home buying has slowed. Home builders have also slowed the pace of new construction, in part because of supply chain issues and in part because of pandemic related labor shortages. 



Coupled with rising interest rates and existing home inventory being at all time lows, this means that prices may soon correct allowing more people to enter the property ladder. 

This could actually be a good thing for first time home buyers and those on a budget. As the market corrects home prices above market value will likely lower and interest rates should go down. Moody’s predicts a 5% housing price drop nationwide and upwards of 20% in the most overvalued markets.


Rising interest rates have also likely led to faster sales as buyers move quickly to lock in better rates. Average listing age for homes nationwide is 14 days, a record low.

Posted in Market Updates
July 16, 2022

Oregon Housing Market Less Affordable than Last Year

A new report from the Oregon Department of Economic Analysis released a report indicating that only 1 in 5 people can afford a home in the Portland metro area, a similar rate to other cities in Oregon. This has an impact on demand, fewer people are able to buy homes, which can decrease competition for existing homes for sale.

A quick back of the hand calculation using Portland median household income of ~$73,000 and a 25% allocation for living expenses suggest that an affordable home in the Portland area would be between $200,000 and $300,000, depending on the down payment and loan terms. The inventory available in this price range is limited to tear-downs, extreme fixer uppers appealing to investors, manufactured housing in parks, and floating houses with high monthly slip fees. 

This means that anyone trying to purchase a home in the Portland area at the median household income will not likely find something that will build value without a significant cash investment. Coupled with the slowdown in apartment building, rising rents, and increased property taxes, Oregon is becoming increasingly unaffordable. 

So what is a new home buyer to do? Get creative. Firstly condos are good options in some cases. They can increase in value depending upon the unit and location. There is a reduced maintenance cost since the monthly fee is spread amongst many residents. If that isn't appealing consider purchasing a home with a family member or group of close friends. While this can increase complications, in the right circumstance it can make entering the property ladder possible. When neither of these options seem possible reach out to a lender and real estate agent. You might be surprised with what is possible. Build a team of people that can support and encourage you towards your goal. Happy house hunting!


Posted in Market Updates