The Regional Multiple Listing System (RMLS) released the latest Market Action Report for the Portland Metro Area on April 9, 2020, but there are not too many surprises at this point in time.
While new listings decreased compared to last year by 1%, they were up over last month’s numbers, 3,504 vs February 2020’s 2,759, a 25.7% increase.
Where the mid-month quarantine began to affect the market, and where we may continue to see fluctuation in April’s numbers is when it comes to pending sales. March 2020 had a total of 2,347 pending sales, which ended up being not only a decrease from March 2019’s 2,738 (a decrease of 14.3%), but also a 9.7% decrease from the 2, 598 pending sales the Portland Metro Area saw in February 2020. Governor Brown’s shelter in place order threw a brief wrench in the market, first for lacking clarity in whether real estate was considered an essential business, and then during the scrambling realtors, lenders, and title companies experienced as they rushed to figure out what the new operation expectations would be when it came to showings, open houses, increased disclosures, lending, and how to provide a safe signing experience for Sellers and Buyers. While pending sales took a hit this March, closed sales increased over March 2019 by 7.9% and by 24.2% compared to those in February 2020. The amount of inventory available in March decreased compared to February going from 1.9 months to 1.8 months. What this means is that if every home on the market was to be gobbled up, it would take all of the current Buyers slightly under 2 months to do that. Considering 3 or 4 month’s worth is considered “healthy”, this indicates that there are either quite a bit of Buyers out there looking (which is normal around this time of year) or that more Sellers were pulling their homes off of the market as the quarantine orders were issued. Most likely it is a mixture of these two things. The average price of homes has not suffered despite the new normal, with the average price of homes up 4.1% at $461,600 compared to 2019’s $443,500 (looking at average year to date).
In March, homes were spending an average of 61 days on market, down from the 68 days in February and March 2019. So while inventory is lower, Buyer’s are still taking some time to make a decision when it comes to which home they would like to purchase. Keep in mind that a traditional escrow runs about 30 days in length, 45 days with the use of certain loans.
When comparing 2020 to where we were at during this time in 2019 it is notable that the amount of new listings has been steady, while both pending and closed sales have increased by 1.1% and 10.5% respectively. Things are looking good, but we have yet to see what April’s numbers will be. I think that once we see those we will have a better idea of what type of market we will be emerging into after the stay at home order is lifted. Despite this wait, people are still touring homes by appointment or virtual showing, listings are still being taken, and Buyers are still making offers. The housing market has not stood still, continuing to move forward despite some uncertainty.
What questions do you have about the current housing market in the Portland Metro Area?