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Both Home Prices and Affordability on the Rise

The spring market will likely be a hotter one this year, as low interest rates and a healthier economy lure more home buyers to the marketplace.

NAR’s latest housing report: Tight Supplies Put Home Prices on the Move

“Interest rates below 4 percent, rising rents, and healthier local job markets are convincing more consumers to consider home ownership,” Chris Polychron, National Association of REALTORS® president, said in a recent news release showing fourth-quarter 2014 home prices moving up.

An increase in the national family median income (to $65,782) mixed with low interest rates slightly improved affordability in the fourth quarter compared to the previous quarter, NAR reports. Affordability improved despite the national median single-family home price moving up to $208,700 in the fourth quarter, an increase of 6 percent year-over-year.

“Low interest rates helped preserve affordability last quarter, but it’ll take stronger income gains and more housing supply to help meet the pent-up demand for buying,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.

To purchase a single-family home at the national median price, a buyer making a 5 percent down payment would need an income of $45,863. A 10 percent down payment would require an income of $43,449, and $38,621 would be needed for a 20 percent down payment.

The following were the five lowest-cost housing markets in the fourth quarter:

  1. Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio: $78,000
  2. Rockford, Ill.: $86,800
  3. Toledo, Ohio: $87,100
  4. Decatur, Ill.: $90,400
  5. Cumberland, Md.: $90,500

Housing Demand Rises, Supply Is Bigger Issue

Daily Real Estate News | Monday, January 26, 2015

Several signs in the housing market point to higher demand for real estate, but the big question remains whether the supply will be able to meet the rise in demand, writes Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at®, in new commentary at®.
“Supply is quickly becoming the biggest concern for healthy growth in home sales in 2015,” Smoke notes.

Smoke points to the following three positive signs showing higher demand in the housing market:

Builders are more confident: Builders are remaining upbeat about the new-home market. The National Association of Home Builder’s Housing Market Index recently showed builder sentiment on the rise, with builders optimistic about the six-month outlook in the new-home market. New construction is starting to follow suit. Housing starts rose 4.4 percent in December, with that rise driven by an uptick in single-family construction. Single-family starts are at the highest number in six years, reaching a pace of 728,000 units in December. “That is a good early sign that homebuilders are gearing production for greater demand in the spring,” Smoke notes.

Low mortgage rates: Mortgage rates continue to hit new yearly lows, bringing borrowing costs down for home buyers and refinancers. As such, mortgage application activity rose to its highest level since June 2013 recently. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.63 percent last week, it’s lowest weekly average since May 2013, according to Freddie Mac. But economists are warning that the low rates won’t likely stick around much longer and could move up to 5 percent by the end of the year.

Existing-home sales rebounding: Demand has been growing in the existing-home sales market too. The annual pace of existing-home sales was 5.04 million in December, 3.5 percent higher than last year, according to the National Association of REALTORS® latest report.

Housing supply remains the biggest issue, Smoke says. The inventory of existing-homes is at a 4.4-month supply at the current sales pace – well-below the 6-month supply that most economists consider healthy, according to NAR’s December report.

“We need more markets to see listing growth over the next several weeks to keep appreciation at healthy, normal levels,” Smoke says. “With three years of positive price appreciation behind them, existing-home owners in most areas should see conditions as very favorable for trading up. That is what the market needs to set the stage for significant growth this spring.”

Foreclosures Continue Falling

Foreclosure rates continued their steady, three-year decline in June, according to a report Thursday from CoreLogic.

National foreclosure inventory fell 35% in June, to 648,000 homes, compared to a year earlier. The drop marks the 32nd straight month of year-over-year declines and the 17th straight month of declines greater than 20%.

Arizona, Utah, Minnesota, Georgia and Nevada saw the steepest drops, each falling by more than 45% from last year.

Home prices increased by 7.5%, marking the 28th consecutive month of year-over-year increases. Prices still remain 12.6% below their peak, however, in April 2006.

Housing-related expenditures accounted for 17.5% of gross domestic product, compared to 17.7% a year ago. Spending on construction peaked in the third quarter of 2005, accounting for 20.6% of GDP.

Home Seller Realtor Fees

Home sellers, do you know what it takes to sell a home today?

#1. Internet exposure-Buyers have to know it’s for sale

#2. Price-Your asking price must be based on what has Sold, not what’s For Sale

#3. Showing condition-Inside and out need to be neat and clean without clutter

That’s at least 95% of what sells homes.

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Pending Home Sales Slip in June

WASHINGTON (July 28, 2014) – After three consecutive months of solid gains, pending home sales slowed modestly in June, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, declined 1.1 percent to 102.7 in June from 103.8 in May, and is 7.3 percent below June 2013 (110.8). Despite June’s decrease, the index is above 100 – considered an average level of contract activity – for the second consecutive month after failing to reach the mark since November 2013 (100.7).  read more……….

Zillow, Trulia WARNING!

I’ve commented about the deception these web sites create before. Case in point; Had a buyer contact an agent on one of my listings thinking they were the listing agent. During showing buyer quickly realized this agent knew nothing about the property. Post showing, with no relationship between buyer and agent, no follow up, no offer no feedback to me on showing by agent. Two weeks later I have accepted offer by other buyer, sellers run into previous buyer who wants the property, but it’s too late. Who are you using as your Realtor? Do you know anything about them?


Today’s New Listings: 35 Today’s Price Reductions: 9
Today’s Pending: 21

I’ve been warning buyers to Get Pre-Qualified with a lender to be prepared to jump when market conditions become ideal to purchase.
The past few days has shown a shift in price reduction numbers telling me we have changed course, at least for now. I’ll start posting Pending numbers also as I expect prices have now dropped enough to attract more buyers again. Still need inventory below $300,000.