The Clatsop County real estate market is ramping up ahead of the summer season. Home prices haven’t returned to historic pre-recession highs, but are beginning to stabilize, according to Alaina Giguiere, principal broker for RE/MAX Coastal Advantage in Cannon Beach.
“Prices haven’t returned to the height they were in 2005 and 2006, before the market went sideways,” Giguiere said.
“I would say we’re back to a much more normal market with normal appreciation, and buyers and sellers moving through. In some areas, there’s a little lack of inventory, but that is the ebb and flow of real estate.” Giguiere doesn’t consider it a “buyers” or “sellers” market, but “fairly balanced.”
Summer of sales
Summer is typically synonymous with “sales” for the coastal real estate industry.
“Many people who were contemplating selling their house, this is usually the time they do it,” said Giguiere, who has closed on more than $10 million in sales so far this year, compared to $7 million at this point last year.
“When the market was terrible, listings were down because people couldn’t sell or get the equity they wanted.” While the real estate market in metropolitan areas such as Seattle and Portland remains a red-hot sellers’ market, there’s more parity between buyers and sellers on the coast.
“We have very few properties that are receiving multiple offers like Portland,” Giguiere said.
“Our primary demographic in Cannon Beach are second homeowners. They’re looking for something specific and they’re never in a rush. Sellers are never in a hurry to sell, they would like to, but they don’t want to give it away.” Among those who haven’t been in a hurry to sell are the Holdens, who have held on to their $1.9 million home overlooking Cannon Beach after three years on the market. They are hopeful they will receive their asking price as the sales season heats up this summer.
“We have very few properties
that are receiving multiple
offers like Portland.”
Principal broker for RE/MAX Coastal Advantage
Market picks up after election year uncertainty
By LUKE WHITTAKER
Across the bridge, the real estate market in Pacific County is anticipating its own resurgence following some hesitancy by home buyers following the election.
“Traditionally, post election, historically, there is more activity in the real estate market, no matter who gets elected and takes office,” said Bonnie Carmack, realtor and broker for Lighthouse Realty in Surfside. Since last year, Carmack has seen a significant rise of listing on the market and considers it a good time for both buyers and sellers. Carmack also reported a surge in building sites.
“Lots are selling in greater quantity to builders comparing to last year,” she said.
Pacific housing trends
Statistics reflect the fact that spring and summer home sales are starting from a strong foundation in far southwestern Washington.
Pacific County reported some of the best real estate results in all of Western Washington in the first three months of 2017. Twenty percent more homes were sold during the quarter compared to the same months in 2016, and prices increased by 15 percent to an average of $150,900. The number of residential building permits issued in the county increased 125 percent.
Despite these gains, Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington still ranks Pacific County as having the most affordable housing in Western Washington.
Housing affordability in Washington state as a whole was lower in the first quarter than both the first and fourth quarters of 2016. That index — where 100 means a middle-income family can just qualify for a median-priced home, given a 20 percent down payment and a 30-year fixed mortgage rate at prevailing rates — was 124.3, down from 132.7 in the fourth quarter of 2016. This suggests that, given the same down payment and mortgage, a middle-income family can afford a home selling for 24.3 percent above the median.
In Pacific County, this index was 192.8, meaning at least in theory that a typical middle-income family could afford to buy a house nearly 93 percent more than the median home-selling price in the county. The longer-term trend for this index shows the county is becoming less affordable, however. The index was 228.3 in the first quarter of 2016 and 247.6 a year before that.
Statewide in Washington, the first-time buyer index showed a decrease of 4.7 points, ending the quarter at 70.4. This index assumes a less expensive home, lower down payment and lower income. This means that a household earning 70 percent of the median household income — as may be true of first-time buyers — had only 70.4 percent of the income required to purchase a typical starter home statewide.
In Pacific County, the first-time buyer index was 94.8 this winter, compared to 113 a year earlier and 123.5 two years earlier.