Moving to Portland
November 2016 Newsletter


Shelli Gowdy 
Real Estate Broker 
Windermere Stellar
Susan Marthens 
Principal Real Estate Broker 
Windermere Stellar
November 2016:  Prices Keep Increasing Due to Low Supply and Interest Rate Hike

The price of homes in the Portland region continued to increase faster just about anywhere else in the country in November, fueled by the limited supply of homes for sale and a recent mortgage rate hike that are driving sales at a time when the residential real estate market traditionally slows down.

The median home price in the Portland region increased 13.4 percent in November from last year, rising to $347,000 from $306,000 over the past 12 months, according to the most recent report from the Regional Multiple Listing Service (RMLS).  

Portland Life:   The Portland Housing Market Outlook 2017

Windermere's chief economist Matthew Gardner shares some of his thoughts on the Portland Metro residential housing market for 2017.

Gardner's introduction begins, "2016 was another impressive year for the Portland housing market, with a surplus of buyers and a deficit of sellers, which drove home prices higher across the board. So, can we expect to see more of the same in 2017?" 

The full article appears in this newsletter.

Moving to Portland Website Security Upgraded

You may have experienced a problem accessing the Web site recently -- that's because we have added additional security on the site. You will note that the site is now "https" and it replaces "http." You will see the letter "s" after the "http" so the address is

If you are having problems accessing the Moving to Portland website clear the browsing history as well as cookies. Cache should also be cleared.

If you see https in the address bar of your browser that means you are on a website the is encrypted. You can easily identify web servers that have https configured by looking at the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) in the web address bar of your browser.  It allows you to communicate securely with the web server.

To check a site's security, to the left of the web address, look at the security status. If you see a lock displayed that means the site is secure. Some pages on the Moving to Portland site do not have a lock displayed yet as we are still in the process of changing certain links on these pages. A time-consuming task but necessary for making the page secure.  
Please let us know if you have problems viewing the newsletters by emailing

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

Susan Says, "Thanks for the Memories"

I was going to start out this paragraph with something from Lewis Carroll, "The time has come, the walrus said, to speak of many things..." but changed my mind.  For one thing, I am not a walrus (in case you ever wondered!).  Rather, I am someone who moved to Portland 20 years ago from the Washington, DC, area with my husband and one ancient kitty, to start anew in what was pretty much unknown territory for us.  (True, I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, mostly in Washington albeit with several grade school years in Portland.)  Within a few years after moving I decided to take my newfound knowledge and admiration for Portland and put it to use helping other people who were thinking of moving here.   Thus was born the Moving to Portland website and soon thereafter the monthly newsletter.  The depth and breadth of the website and newsletter are the products of the Webmaster's skills and hard work. 

Now, the time has come to turn all this over to my colleague, Shelli Gowdy, and her Webmaster.  Beginning in January 2017, she will be running the show; I know she will bring her knowledge and probably new ideas-and continue to provide you, our loyal readers, with the information about Portland and the surrounding locales, as well as data about Oregon, that you seek either to help you decide about a moving here or just to learn about our Rose City.

Thank you for all the comments/suggestions to improve the website and the opportunity to meet or at least talk/Email with many, many of you over the years.  We remain Portlanders (with two dogs to keep us active), and my interest in real estate is now in my blood! (I maintain my license and will be a referral specialist.) If you want to say hello, have a question just for me, or want to share a memory, my new Email address is; telephone 503.497.2984.  I am happy to share my mobile number if you like.

This venture has been a major highlight in my life-combining my knowledge and appreciation of this city with helping people.   Thank you all,


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 October 2016 Portland metro area home prices.
November 2016 Real Estate Highlights
Portland metro saw cooler activity this November, both compared to last month and November 2015. Closed sales (2,434) ended 13.1% ahead of November 2015 despite a 6.0% decrease from last month in October 2016. This was the strongest November for closings in the area since 2005, when 2,623 closings were recorded for the month.

Pending sales (2,266) decreased 9.5% from November 2015 (2,504) and 20.2% from October 2016 (2,841). These pending sales still number higher than in November of prior years. Similarly, new listings (2,080) fell 3.2% short of the 2,148 new listings offered last year in November 2015 and 29.0% short of the 2,929 new listings offered last month in October 2016.

Click on image   to enlarge.
Average & Median Sales Prices
Median Sale Price for a Home in the Portland Metro Area was $351,700 in November 2016.

Prices continue to rise in the Portland metro area. Comparing 2016 to 2015 through November, the average sale price rose 11.7% from $353,400 to $394,800.

In the same comparison, the median sale price rose 13.4% from $306,000 to $347,000.

Click on image to enlarge.
Sales Price Percent Change
Average Sales Price Percent Change:  11.6% ($392,300 v. $351,500)

The Average Sale Price Percent Change is based on a comparison of the rolling average sale price for the last 12 months (12/1/2015 - 11/30/2016) with 12 months before (12/1/2014 - 11/30/2015).
  • Average Sales Price Percent Change: 11.6% ($392,300 v. $351,500)
  • Median Sales Price Percent Change:  13.1% ($345,000 v. $305,000) 
Inventory in the Portland metro area decreased slightly in November to 1.8 months. The inventory figure represents how long it would take to sell all the homes currently on  the market based on current activity. A six-month level is considered healthy.

There were 4,354 active residential listings in the region in November.

Total market time in the Portland metro area increased by a few days in November to end at 45 days.
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 November 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 December 14 and the  mortgage rate survey was completed prior to the Fed's rate hike announcement. The 30-year mortgage rate rose 3 basis points on the week to 4.16 percent. The MBA's Applications Survey posted drops in both refinance and purchase applications, registering the impact of recent mortgage rate increases. If rates continue their upward trend, expect mortgage activity to be significantly subdued in 2017.
  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.16 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending December 15, 2016, up from last week when it averaged 4.13 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.97 percent. 
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.37 percent with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.36 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.22 percent. 
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.19 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.17 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.03 percent.
On November 23, 2016 the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced the increase of loan limits on conforming single family home mortgages to $424,100 from its previous long time limitation of $417,000. The increase in conforming loan limits allow loan amounts to adjust to rising home prices and will prevent more homebuyers from having to apply for a "jumbo loan."

The majority of mortgages in the United States are purchased and guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These two government-sponsored enterprises cover almost any mortgage as long as a single-family home mortgage is below a specific amount called the "conforming loan limit." Loans above this limit are called "Jumbo Loans" and can have more stringent credit restrictions based on higher risk for the lender.

In the majority of the country, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan limits have stayed at $417,000 since 2006. As determined by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, baseline loan limits for a single-family home could not rise above the $417,000 limit until home prices returned to pre-decline levels. In 2016, home prices have returned to these levels and the FHFA has given the word to increase the loan limit. 

A chart and map of the counties in the United States with their maximum conforming loan limits are posted on the Pacific Residential Mortgage website for your convenience.  

Penrith Home Loans 
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 November 2016. These readings are from the Portland airport. 
  • Average Monthly Temperature for November 2016:   52.3 (5 degrees above normal of 46.6 degrees).
  • Warmest Day:  69 degrees on November 6.
  • Coldest Day:  39 degrees on November 30.
  • Most Rainfall in 24 Hours:  2.3 inches on November  24 - 25.
  • Rain Days: 22 days with light rain and one day with heavy rain.
  • Clear/Cloudy Days for November  2016:  One fair day, nine partly cloudy days, and 20 cloudy days.
  • Average Wind Speed for November 2016:  8.6 mph.
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 6.83 inches of rain in November 2016 which was 1.20 inches over the normal average of 5.63 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.

WIndermere's Economist Gardner:  Thoughts on the
2017 Portland Area Housing Market

2016 was another impressive year for the Portland housing market, with a surplus of buyers and a deficit of sellers, which drove home prices higher across the board. So, can we expect to see more of the same in 2017?

Here are some of my thoughts on the Portland Metro market:

1. Jobs. The local housing market has benefited greatly from healthy job growth, and this is likely to continue, albeit at a slightly more tepid rate, through 2017. Economic vitality is the backbone of housing demand, so we should continue to see healthy employment growth next year. This will translate to additional demand for housing. Migration to the metro area from other states will also continue in the coming year, putting further pressure on our housing market.

2. Are we building too many apartments? Developers completed 3,700 units in 2015 and they will likely complete close to 6,500 new units in 2016 - an impressive increase. In the coming year, I expect to see rental rate growth start to slow and concessions return as developers vie for prospective tenants. Demand may exceed supply in 2017 but the market will remain fairly tight.

3. The Millennials are here - and they are ready to buy. This year saw noteworthy increases in the number of Millennial buyers and I expect to see even more in 2017. The only problem will be whether they will be able to find - or afford - anything to buy.

4. Home prices will continue to rise. But I expect to see price growth starting to taper. The market has been on a tear since the technical bottom out in 2011, with average home prices up by an impressive 64 percent from the low, and 16 percent above the pre-recession peak seen in 2008. Given that interest rates are now likely to rise at a faster rate than previously forecasted, I believe there will be some slowing in price appreciation, but values will still increase at rates that are well above the national average. Look for home prices to increase by an average of 8.5 percent in 2017.

5. More homes for sale? I am optimistic that inventory levels around Portland will increase, but it still won't be enough to meet continued high demand.

6. Affordability. This is my biggest concern for the Portland housing market. Housing prices - specifically in areas with ready access to our job centers - are pulling way ahead of incomes, placing them out of the reach of much of our population. This forces many buyers to move farther away from our job centers. Growing sentiment to adopt rent control within the city of Portland will also likely have the unintended consequence of decreasing growth in housing supply, exacerbating affordability problems as the region adds households. All in all, we are not likely to see any easing in affordability any time soon.

7. New home starts/sales. As much as I would love to say that we can expect a substantial increase in new homes in 2017, I am afraid this is not the case. Historically high land prices, in concert with ever-increasing construction and labor costs, slow housing development, as the price of the end product is increasingly expensive. This applies to single family development as well as condominiums. That said, the southwest part of the region, south Washington County sub-markets specifically, will see year-over-year growth in new single family housing inventory but not enough to provide relief to significant undersupply.

8. Are we setting ourselves up for another housing crash? The simple answer to this question is no. While home price appreciation remains above the long-term average, and will continue to be so, at least through 2017, credit requirements, down payments and a growing economy will all act as protectors of housing values.

Source:  What's in store for Portland's housing market in 2017," by Matthew Gardner, Windermere's Chief Economist, Portland Business Journal, December 16, 2016
 Wishing You a Joyful Holiday Season

Susan and Shelli
Home   /  About   /  Contact