Home bidding wars reach outside Portland
Thursday, June 30 – by Jim Redden, Portland Tribune
(Due to the size of the article we have posted excerpts. View the entire article here.)
With so few homes for sale in the Portland region, multiple bids are now being made on houses far away from the most popular close-in neighborhoods.
According to Michie Megan, (correction: Megan Michie) a John L. Scott real estate agent in Lake Oswego, more and more buyers are willing to make compromises, like a longer commute, to own a home.
“Because of the shortage of homes, people who work in Portland are bidding against each other in cities that are many miles away,” including Gresham, Wilsonville, Woodburn — and even Washington cities north of Vancouver, Megan says.
A good example is one of her clients, Sara Forrest. When the 30-year-old military veteran decided it was time to buy her first home, she wanted to remain in the kind of walkable Southeast Portland neighborhood where she was renting a small apartment.
After discovering there was nothing nearby in her price range, Forrest expanded her search to St. Johns and Milwaukie. But every time she made an offer, she was outbid by people willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars over the asking price.
“Some were bidding $30,000 to $50,000 more,” Forrest says. “My lease was up and I had to cast a much wider net, and started looking in places like Newberg, Forest Grove, McMinnville and Vernonia. And even then, there was still a lot of competition for the available homes.
Forrest finally got lucky when she bid $15,000 over the asking price on a small house near I-205 and Southeast Division Street. Although one person outbid her, that deal fell through and Forrest was able to move into the house several weeks ago.
“We are still seeing over 60 percent of the homes coming on the market sell within the first 30 days; many within the first week,” says Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate. “A healthy/normal market would have 30 percent selling in the first 30 days. Price appreciation continues, especially near job centers, where homes coming on the market are snapped up instantly by the backlog of buyers.”
The RMLS report says much of the increase is because of the lack of homes for sale. Although new listings increased slightly from April to May, they were still lower than in May 2015.
“Portland’s market continues to experience low inventory, high rents and many disappointed buyers, as bidding wars spread from the close-in metro area to outlying regions such as Gresham and Oregon City,” says Michelle Maida, managing broker at John L. Scott Woodstock. There’s still only about one month’s supply of homes for sale in the under-$750,000 level in the metro area, she says.
Despite the difficulty of finding homes, many are set on owning rather than renting. “The historically low interest rates make buying a better alternative to the high rents,” Maida says.