2015 Year in Review: New Market Highs (Again), Worrisome Inventory Numbers (Again).
The Portland metro area ended the year with an uptick in closed sales this past December. The 2,710 closings surged 21.0% past the 2,239 closings posted in December 2014 and 25.9% past the 2,153 closings posted in November 2015. This was the strongest December for closings in the Portland metro area ever recorded by the RMLS, dating back to 1992. Pending sales (1,936) were 16.1% stronger than in December 2014 (1,667) but fell 22.7% from the 2,504 offers accepted in November 2015. The culprit: low inventories (see below). December listings (1,538) were down 28.4% from the 2,148 new listings that came to market in November 2015. The culprit: the market’s ordinary year-end holiday slowdown. As of the date of this Update there is a total of just 2,495 active residential listings in the Portland metro area.
Average and Median Sales. We’ll mark 2015 as the year the housing recovery brought prices back to pre-Recession levels. Comparing 2015 to 2014, the average sale price rose 6.5% from $333,000 to $354,500. In the same comparison, the median sale price rose 7.9% from $285,500 to $308,000.
Year 2011 Average Residential Sales Price and Appreciation1 by Area
|AREA||Average Sales Price||Appreciation 1|
|LAKE OSWEGO/WEST LINN||$541,800||2.8%|
|NW WASH. CO.||$442,700||5.7%|
1 Percent change is based on a comparison of the rolling average sale price for the last 12 months (1/1/2015 – 12/31/2015) with 12 months before (1/1/2014 – 12/31/2014)
Low Inventories Continue to Define the Market Recovery. December 2015 set another record of sorts: inventories of available homes fell to 1.2 months, the lowest inventory number since 1999 at least and a 17-year record. Reciting from last year’s residential highlights, the same elements which have kept inventories persistently low for the past 3 ½ years are still working their juju on the market: (1) in spite of rising home sales prices, many home owners are reluctant to bring their properties to market, for fear they will have nowhere to move; (2) other home owners are reluctant to sell because they’ve recently refinanced and can’t afford to sell quite yet; and (3) new construction starts still can’t keep up with demand.
Take a look at our “Notes. . ,” and watch us stick our necks out when we bring you our 2016 Market Outlook.