Randy’s Blog | Talking Recovery Numbers

As the final weeks of summer are winding down, kids are headed back to school soon and our local economy is picking up some steam. I read in the Oregonian today that Portland had its 8th straight month of creating more jobs, unemployment is heading down and interest rates are remaining at historic lows. All good news for our friends, family and our larger economy. But let’s talk about my favorite topic – real estate. Earlier in the year the market was experiencing inventory shortages. I think we’re working our way through that issue now. The months’ supply of available housing inventory, as reported by the National Association of Realtors, has increased from 4.3 months this past January to the current number of 5.2 months. And it seems inventory will continue to increase as we move forward. Appreciation in Portland has seen strong year over year gains. Zillow recently reported a 6% overall national gain in appreciation, while The Oregonian reported a 12% year over year gain for Portland. The Portland Business Journal also reported Oregon home prices are still 17.9% below their pre-recession averages. The bottom line for me, the economy is improving, people are getting back to work and real estate values are headed in the positive direction again. Housing has always led the economy out of a recession. Housing helps strengthen the economy in several ways. A recent Freddie Mac report, August 2013 U.S. Economic & Housing Market Outlook, explained the three reasons why housing is the key driving force to the overall economic recovery: 1. Demand for Housing Will Drive Employment Increased demand for housing will help stimulate new construction and boost home sales. This increase will add approximately 3/8 of a percentage point directly to GDP growth through residential fixed investment and will employ many...

Read more

Randy’s Blog | Trends in the Portland market

My favorite time of the year is summer in Oregon and this summer is shaping up to be one of the best in the last five years. We’ve weathered many years of a tough recession and as the recovery is now in full swing across the country, I wanted to give you a few insights into what I am seeing happening in the Portland market. Let’s talk about inventory shortages, frustrated buyers and price increases. Everyone is talking about inventory shortages – and to give you a straight answer, we all expected this. Consumers believe we are at the bottom even though market statistics tell us we hit the bottom last year. No one wants to sell at the bottom, so we’re seeing a shortage of homes for sale in the market. The homes that are going on the market now are a result of consumers who want to sell, not the ones the past few years who may have been desperate to sell. Today’s seller doesn’t have to sell, they want to sell and move up, move on or change their housing needs. The recent Market Action report from RMLS has Portland inventory at 2.5 months. 6 months inventory on the market is considered a balanced market. Which leads to frustrated buyers. Inventory shortages lead to buyers not finding the home they are looking for and feeling like they need to “settle.” No one wants to settle or feel they were forced to buy a home that didn’t meet all their needs. A recent Wall Street Journal article cited “low inventory as buyer’s predominant worry.” A new trend we are seeing at Renaissance is that frustrated buyers are taking a new tactic. They are custom building. They can’t find what they want for sale, so they buy an...

Read more

Randy’s Blog | Housing and the economy

It’s been a tough 5 years for the economy, we all know that. This Spring we are seeing signs of life coming back to the Portland housing market. housing inventory is down, significantly in some pockets of our city, residents are feeling confident again with their employment situation and low rates have helped many to make a housing purchase. All positive signs for our overall economy. The United States isn’t immune to recession, and historically housing leads the economy out of a recession. As rates fall and remain low, housing prices start rising first. A recovery in the housing market, especially new homes, is important for the overall health of the economy. Housing creates jobs. A stat that always grabs me: for every one new home built, five jobs are created and sustained for a period of a year. Let’s break that down. These jobs aren’t only in construction, but also the subsidiary suppliers to construction like lumber, carpet, appliances, etc. People are needed to work in these facilities for retail, shipping and manufacturing. Home improvement stores also see surges in hiring when new home owners purchase landscaping products, blinds, furniture and other home necessities. Realtors, mortgage bankers, appraisers, landscapers, inspectors, and many other industries experience growth. Schools see an influx of new students, communities reshape and change and more small businesses open to support the growing community. All of this happens because of new homes being built. At Renaissance Homes, we are proud to be a part of this evolution of communities – to see them change and grow is exciting and rewarding. New construction has been at a very low rate the past few years and is starting to rise. Nationally there are about 900,000 homes being built per year and should steadily increase. In an average year 1.25 million...

Read more

Hitting The Road With Randy | Bike Scores

Portland is known for its bike commuters – the couples who take leisurely rides to farmers’ markets on weekends and those that hustle through the rain wearing suits and with briefcases on their way to work. A yearly naked bike ride? Double decker bikes? A 14-person party bike? Yes, we have those too, and everything in between. In fact, Bicycling Magazine picked Portland as “America’s MostBike-FriendlyCity in 2012.” Portland’s Bureau of Transportation says 6 percent of commuters bike to work in Portland, the highest proportion of any major U.S. city and about 10 times the national average. And Renaissance Homes’ Vintage Collection of homes – for sale in Portland neighborhoods such as the popular Alberta Arts, Alameda, Sellwood and Mt. Tabor – are perched in prime locations for getting around town – whether on bike, foot or by car. A Bike Score measures whether a location is good for biking on a scale from 0 to 100 based on the number of bike lanes, hills, destinations and road connectivity and its bike commuting mode share. The evaluation system is Similar to a Walk Score or Transit Score. And sharing this information with our clients is proving popular. Being in close, easy proximity to schools, restaurants, grocery stores and coffee shops is important to our homebuyers. According to the Bike Score system, a “biker’s paradise” – with a score between 90 and 100 – means that bikers can easily run daily errands on a bike. A “very bikeable area” – with a score between 70 and 89 – indicates that biking is convenient for most trips. “Bikeable areas” – with a score between 50 and 69 – indicates that there is some bike infrastructure. And scores between 0 and 49 indicate that the area is “somewhat bikeable,” but minimal bike...

Read more

The State of Real Estate Forum

How is the real estate market? Is the local economy improving? What are some trends with new construction? Come find out the state of the real estate market from Renaissance Homes’ President Randy Sebastian Thurs. Jan. 17 at an informative gathering with home professionals at Beaverton City Library, located at 12375 SW 5th in Beaverton. Registration is at 10 a.m. and the class – with 1.5 eligible credit hours offered (course 3103 / RE Economics) – is from 10:30 a.m. to noon in the downstairs auditorium. You’ll also learn about development, real estate law, finance, technology and sales from Buckley Law Attorney Richard Mario, Pacific Residential Mortgage COO Eric Wiley, Broker and REO Specialist Brenda Hereth and Hector Ariceaga with First American Title’s Technology Development department. To R.S.V.P., email Selina Schlegel with First American Title at...

Read more

Randy’s Blog | My Thought’s On The Market

The housing market is turning around and here at Renaissance Homes I wanted to reach out and give you my thoughts on the market; things are different than they were last year — and that’s a good thing. The housing market is on the rise. We have seen a 100 percent increase in sales this year at Renaissance over last year. And that also means that we’ve had a 100 percent increase in housing production. I recently read a publication highlighting market activity from 1992 to 2011, and housing has risen — including the downturn — every year an average of 7 percent. That’s huge. It’s still the best investment. Yes, it’s been tough the last couple of years, but your best investment is a home. And Renaissance Homes is investing all over the Portland metro area. With dozens of homes under construction from Multnomah Village to Mt. Tabor, Renaissance has expanded our offerings from luxury subdivisions in cities such as Lake Oswego, West Linn and Sherwood to also include infill built within our Vintage Collection of home styles. People love old Portland and great craftsmanship and our company has identified 37 infill neighborhoods where we want to build and where their buyers want to be — including Sellwood, Eastmoreland, Clinton-Division, Hawthorne, Belmont, Alberta Arts and Irvington, to name a few. We look at Portland like it’s one big neighborhood and we have 37 neighborhoods in Portland where we’ve identified where we want to be and where our buyers want to be. And it’s been working. We’re the No. 1 builder in the city. They are all LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certified homes and we are the No. 1 builder of LEED certified homes in the state of Oregon for detached homes. We’re one of the...

Read more