Moving to Portland
December 2016 Newsletter


Shelli Gowdy

Real Estate Broker 

2016 Finishes Like 2015: Prices Up and Inventory Low

If real estate in Portland in 2016 seemed a lot like it did in 2015, that's because it was for the most part. Development and construction flourished, home values soared and lots of new offices helped house new workers that poured into the city.

The median home price in the Portland region increased 12.7 percent in 2016 from 2015, rising to $347,000 from $308,000 over the past 12 months, according to the most recent report from the Regional Multiple Listing Service (RMLS).  

Affordability has made it harder to live here, and the homeless crisis is now among the most pressing issues facing the city. The interest rate for home mortgage will increase but who know how much.  How all of these issues will play out in 2017 remains to be seen. 

Opinion:   The Hackers are Winning

As Washington  continues to wrangle over  technical details and  diplomatic consequences of Russian hacking allegations, we may lose sight of the only undisputed fact in this saga: Hackers attempted to undermine the integrity of US elections. And, it wasn't hard to do.

Regardless of the culprits' identity or motives, Congress and the administration now have an urgent responsibility. They need to develop specific policies and a new strategic focus to fix America's endemic cybersecurity vulnerabilities. 

The above paragraphs are from a story on the Christian Science Monitor website and it's worth reading. The full article appears at the end of the newsletter. You can also click on the link that will send you to the directly to the story on the Monitor's website

It isn't going to get any better very soon. Inside Security reported that last week, developer  Michael Fienen  critiqued the digital security features of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's consulting website. Giuliani has become Trump's go-to guy on cybersecurity. He found the site wasn't very exemplary: it was using an expired SSL certificate, exposed its login credentials for its CMS, was running an ancient PHP version and got the SSLTEST grade of F.  The  received a grade of B and we're working with our internet hosting company to get an A.

The CS Monitor has a story posted (January 13) at their website on how Giuliani will advise President-elect Trump on cybersecurity.

Please let us know if you have problems viewing the newsletters by emailing .

Below information from the RMLS™  Market Action report for December 2016

Market Action Reports 
The Market Action reports for the Portland metro area as well as all Oregon areas and Southwest Washington are also available to download.  It also has the  summary  page for the December 2016 Portland metro area home prices.
December 2016 Real Estate Highlights
The Portland metro area ended the year with cooler activity on the whole. Closed sales (2,621) ended 3.3% under the 2,710 closings posted last year in December 2015 despite a 7.7% increase compared to the 2,434 closings recorded last month in November 2016. 

New listings, at 1,421, fell 7.6% short of the 1,538 new listings offered last year in December 2015 and 31.7% under the 2,080 new listings offered last month in November 2016.

Pending sales (1,757) decreased 9.2% from December 2015, when 1,936 offers were accepted; and 22.5% from November 2016, when 2,266 offers were accepted.

Click on image  to enlarge.
2016 Summary
Median Sale Price for a Home in the Portland Metro Area was $349,900 in December 2016.

Activity was cooler in 2016 than in 2015. Comparing all of 2016 to 2015, new listings (41,121) increased 0.7. Closed sales (32,798) decreased 1.5% and pending sales (33,234) decreased 3.9%.

Click on image to enlarge.
Sales Price Percent Change
Average Sales Price Percent Change:  11.6% ($395,000 v. $354,300)

The Average Sale Price Percent Change is based on a comparison of the rolling average sale price for the last 12 months (1/1/2016 - 12/31/2016) with 12 months before (1/1/2015 - 12/31/2015).
  • Average Sales Price Percent Change: 11.6% ($395,000 v. $354,300)
  • Median Sales Price Percent Change:  12.7% ($347,000 v. $307,800) 
Inventory decreased slightly in December, landing at 1.3 months. 

During the same time, total market time increased by four days, ending at 49 days. There were 3,511 active residential listings in the region in December.
Cost of Residential Homes by Community
In the chart below we have extracted the most important data from the RMLS Market Action report (21 columns) and created this simple chart. Below is the chart that displays the December 2016 numbers by area or community. It includes the following:
  • Number of closed sales.
  • Average price of homes sold.
  • Year-to-date average price.
  • Year-to-date median price.
  • Average sales price percent change.     

Click on image to enlarge or  click  here
 to view the report (pdf).
Freddie Mac released the results of its  Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS ®) on January 12.  After absorbing a mixed December jobs report; the 10-year Treasury yield fell 8 basis points. The 30-year mortgage rate moved in tandem with Treasury yields falling 8 basis points to 4.12 percent, the second decline since the presidential election. The December jobs report showed 156,000 jobs added, barely meeting many experts' expectations, while wage growth was at the high end of expectations at 0.4 percent. If strong wage gains persist, they may push inflation and interest rates higher.
  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.12 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending January 12, 2017, down from last week when it averaged 4.20 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.92 percent. 
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.37 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.44 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.19 percent. 
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.23 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.33 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.01 percent.
Penrith Home Loans   (PHL) Penrith was formerly called Windermere Mortgage Services, and they changed their name in 2015. PHL is Northwest owned and operated and headquartered in Seattle, with offices throughout Washington and Oregon.  PHL is a full service mortgage banker and direct lender.  In addition, they have access to numerous other lenders which allows them to meet everyone's individual needs.
  • West Portland Contact:  Bertha Ferran, telephone (503) 464-9215. Address: WMS Series LLC/AT, West Portland Branch, 6400 SW Barnes Road, Suite 305, Portland, OR 97225.
  • East Portland Contact:  Tanya Elder, telephone (503) 497-5367. Address: WMS Series LLC/AT, Lloyd Tower Branch, 825 NE Multnomah Street, Suite 120, Portland, OR 97232.
  • Lake Oswego Contact:  Clayton Scott,  telephone (503) 497-5060. Address: WMS Series LLC/AT, Lake Oswego Branch, 220 "A" Avenue, Suite 200, Lake Oswego, OR 97034.
Monthly Weather Summary
Below is the National Weather Service 
weather data for the month of December 2016. These readings are from the Portland airport. 
  • Average Monthly Temperature for December 2016:   37.2 (3.2 degrees below normal of 40.4 degrees).
  • Warmest Day:  52 degrees on December 7.
  • Coldest Day:  25 degrees on December 30.
  • Most Rainfall in 24 Hours:  1.29 inches on December  19-20.
  • Rain and Snow Days: 19 days with light rain, three days with light freezing rain, one day with heavy snow, and six days with light snow.
  • Clear/Cloudy Days for December  2016:  Five partly cloudy days and 26 cloudy days.
  • Average Wind Speed for December 2016:  7.1 mph.
December 8, 2016 was a day to remember in the Portland metro area. It turned cold, windy with snow mid morning. The snow lasted a few more hours before changing to freezing rain in the late afternoon  coating mostly empty downtown streets in a slushy, slick mess. Everyone made a mad dash early afternoon for home including school kids. Roads were backed up for hours, and some youngsters arrived home in the evening.

The snow that fell on January 3 and 4 is certainly noteworthy, but because it fell over two days, it didn't set a one-day record. The count: 8 inches at Portland International Airport and 11.8 inches downtown, making it the biggest snowstorm in about 20 years. It ranks fifth for the most snowfall at the airport in a 24-hour period, according to the weather service. It turned cold after the snow so as of mid-January the snow is still with us.

Today (January 17) most of the metro area schools are closed as the forecast is for freezing rains resulting in icy roads.

A "water year" is defined as the 12-month period beginning October 1 of any year and continuing through September 30 of the following year. The water year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends and which includes 9 of the 12 months. Thus, the water year ending September 30, 2016 is called the 2016 water year.

The normal precipitation for a water year in downtown Portland is just under 44 inches and at the airport it is 37.04 inches. The official measurement is taken at the Portland International Airport (PDX) which is one of the driest places in the metro area. 
The HYDRA rainfall network is operated and maintained by the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, and there are about 40 gauges throughout Portland where rainfall is measured - the water year average for these gauges is 42.77 inches. 

The airport weather station reported 4.61 inches of rain in December 2016 which was 0.88 inches under the normal average of 5.49 inches.

December will set some records for cold temperatures as we have seen a few days with low 20s and at night time dropping to the upper teens.

The Hackers are Winning

As Washington  continues to wrangle over  technical details and  diplomatic consequences of Russian hacking allegations, we may lose sight of the only undisputed fact in this saga: Hackers attempted to undermine the integrity of US elections. And, it wasn't hard to do.

Regardless of the culprits' identity or motives, Congress and the administration now have an urgent responsibility. They need to develop specific policies and a new strategic focus to fix America's endemic cybersecurity vulnerabilities. 

Michael Morell, former acting director of the CIA, called the recent attacks the " political equivalent of 9/11." Yet, the response has been underwhelming. Rather than prioritize actions that would improve cybersecurity, the major responses to these cyberattacks have been to  impose sanctions on Russia and call for congressional investigations of  foreign influence in the election and  potential breakdowns at the FBI.

While these actions may be necessary, they are not enough. In the aftermath of 9/11, Washington acted swiftly to recognize the failures in domestic security and put forth a new plan to fight terrorism at home and abroad by federalizing airport security, establishing the Department of Homeland Security, and passing the USA PATRIOT Act. Unfortunately, there appears to be no emerging consensus that US cybersecurity policy needs an overhaul.

The most notable aspect of the recent cyberattacks is that most businesses and government agencies are vulnerable to the same threats that brought down the DNC and Clinton campaigns. Just as 9/11 exposed how a few extremists with box cutters could unleash terror in the skies, these cyberattacks should serve as the wakeup call America needs to better prepare its computer systems and networks for today's threat environment.

So, what should we do about it? The nation rushed to reinforce cockpit doors in the months after Sept. 11, 2001, and we need to take similar steps to close gaps in our digital security. For example, most Americans still use only passwords (weak ones at that) to sign in to online services. In contrast, Estonia provides its citizens with  smartcards to securely access digital services using multifactor authentication. To jumpstart the market for online identification and authentication services, the US government should follow Britain's lead and allow all citizens to access government services using a  single, trusted login.

Moreover, the election hacks are a symptom of the US Government's  flawed approach to cybersecurity. It wants to defend itself against digital attacks while successfully executing these same attacks on foreign adversaries. However, this policy is unrealistic for today's global networks. When everyone uses the same technology, everyone shares the same vulnerabilities. Cyber superiority is an impossible goal: when an online service is susceptible to an attack, all users, Americans and non-Americans alike, are threatened.

Yet these contradictory goals are at the heart of most US cybersecurity policy, including the  mission of US Cyber Command. This philosophy of "relative security" rather than "absolute security" is the reason that US law enforcement and intelligence agencies oppose measures that would improve security for everyone, such as  expanding the use of end-to-end encryption or  disclosing new vulnerabilities, as they hope to exploit these weaknesses against America's adversaries.

Unfortunately, the result is that US systems are just as likely to be compromised as those of our enemies. Until the US creates a new cybersecurity policy that prioritizes defensive capabilities and resiliency over offensive strength - and advocates for this new vision among its global allies - the fundamental cybersecurity challenges will remain unchanged. 

Rather than debating how to realign the US approach to cybersecurity, Congress appears to be fighting over committee jurisdiction to investigate the Russian hacking allegations. This will not solve the underlying problems. Regardless of whether  Russian President Putin orchestrated the recent hacks, it is time to change the status quo. Securing cyberspace may prove to be much more difficult than securing airspace, but it is urgent that we begin this conversation anew.

Source:  "Opinion:  The Hackers are Winning," by Daniel Castro,
Christian Science  Monitor, January 3, 2017
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