Unemployment Improves

Lane County Unemployment Rate,

Lane County Unemployment Rate,

CNN just reported that the national unemployment rate keeps improving, with 7.7% reported as the latest number.  Oregon is doing a little worse, with 8.3% reported as the most recent figure.  Data for Lane County is lagging a bit, but as of December, we’re a little under 8%, which is a vast improvement from 13+% at the depths of the recent Great Recession.  An improving employment picture is good for a number of reasons.  However, when unemployment gets to about 6.5%, mortgage interest rates will probably rise because the Fed’s monetary policies will change.

Economic haziness is starting to clear.

Economic haziness is starting to clear.

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Housing Prices Continue to Rise Nationwide, in Portland, and Eugene Springfield

Nationwide, house prices grew at an annualized rate of 7.3%  according to fourth quarter 2012 numbers, recently released by Case Shiller.  Real estate prices are local, however, and nationwide trends are sometimes different than those in Oregon.  Portland is the closest city tracked by Case Shiller, and they’ve been trending up as shown below.  Real Estate prices have been generally trending up in Eugene Springfield Oregon since last summer, 2012, which is a welcomed trend.

Portland, Oregon House Prices.

Portland, Oregon House Prices.

Refiancing vs. Short Sale in Eugene Springfield Oregon

I frequently run across clients and friends in Eugene Springfield that want to lower their mortgage payments, but are not sure what to do about it.  As a Realtor, one option I usually discuss is selling, which may or may not make sense depending on the situation.  2013 Lane County real estate prices are currently somewhere around where they were in 2004, so if folks have purchased or refinanced in the last 8 or 9 years, there’s often not enough equity to sell without being short.  There are plenty of short sales in Eugene Springfield these days, and it’s certainly an option for some, but not all.

Without sufficient equity, it also may be difficult to refinance.  One notable exception is FHA Streamline Refinance.  I’m not a lender and refer my clients, but as the lenders have explained the program it has some really good features, and some guidelines.  Guidelines for FHA Streamline Refinancing are:

1)  For homeowners with existing FHA mortgages.

2)  Monthly mortgage payment needs to be reduced by 5+% by the refinance.

3)  3 month perfect payment history on your loan, and 1 or less late mortgage payments in the last year.

4)  No appraisal required.

5)  No income verification.

6)  No minimum credit score.

7)  For existing loans close before June, 2009, minimal upfront MIP cost (.01%) and low monthly MIP (.55%/yr).

For some homeowners with FHA loans in Lane County, FHA Streamlined Refinance may make a lot of sense.  For others, selling may be a good option.  And for others, sitting tight and waiting for the real estate market in Eugene Springfield to fully recover may be the best option.  If you have real estate questions, please contact me.  If you’d like a referral to good lenders, I’d be happy to do that too.

(c) Robyn Hine.  Used with permission.

(c) Robyn Hine. Used with permission.

Camp Creek Road Real Estate, Lane County Oregon

The Camp Creek Road area and its many offshoots are unique and beautiful places to live in Lane County, Oregon.  Hobby farms, country properties, and long-driveway out-of-sight houses are all present.  Housing options range from country estates to humble dwellings with just enough land for a horse or two.  I can’t think of another area that feels like Camp Creek, which is its own little pretty and serene enclave.  And, while it’s many things country, it’s anything but the city.

The Camp Creek area is especially popular with retirees and commuters, since there are very few jobs or employers to speak of along Camp Creek.  The entire road is only 8.5 miles, so it’s a quick trip to either Highway 126 at Walterville, where Camp Creek Road ends to the southeast, or Marcola Road, where it ends to the northwest.  So, it’s about 10 or 15 minutes to Springfield, which is close-in country, by my definition.  But definitely country–horses and cows are numerous and small farms are plentiful.

Camp Creek is one of the few small roads that span between two areas:  The Mohawk Valley and the McKenzie Valley.  At the Marcola Road end, Camp Creek Road is in the Mohawk valley and it has that feel to it.  After a couple of miles, though, it changes to McKenzie valley, both by definition and in feel.  Camp Creek Road hugs the base of the Camp Creek Hills, running between them and the McKenzie River.  With a setting like that, it makes for a beautiful place to live.

The settled area of Camp Creek encompasses perhaps 5,000 acres, depending on which areas you include.  Much of the property with dwellings on it is the low lying flat areas, occupying ancient flood plains.  These areas are popular for farming and grazing, which is a trend that started in the mid-1800s when settlement by European-heritage people began.  The Camp Creek Hills, per se, are generally in the 1000′-2000′ range and make good tree growing property, which is how they are most frequently used.

Property sizes range from under an acre to over 140 acres, when bare timber properties are excluded.  Parcels that are 3-4 acres are especially common.  Around 4 acres is a nice size for a hobby farm because when parcels get too large they tend to own you, which is to say they take a lot of time to maintain. Property values, according to the County, range from 12K to over 1.3 Mm, so there’s a huge range.  Average house and lot value is around 250K, or $133/s.f., according to the County.  There is a very large range in house sizes from about 400 s.f. to over 7,000 s.f., with average size being a little under 2,000 s.f.

There are more waterfront properties in the Camp Creek area than typical.  Camp Creek Road follows the McKenzie River for several miles, affording some properties beautiful views.  Nearby, is also EWEB’s Walterville diversion canal, which also provides waterfront properties.  There is also Camp Creek and numerous other creeks that provide for housing options on or near the water.

Sales data from RMLS, over the last 24 months, reveal 13 actives, 2 pendings and 19 solds; information was current at the time of this posting.  Prices ranged from about 27K to 850K.  Approximate average values for the Camp Creek area are as follows:

  • List Price:  275K
  • Closing Price:  256K
  • Total House Size (s.f.):  1,680
  • Days on Market:  151
  • Year Built:  1974
  • Price per size $/s.f.:  $123

Zoning designations common in the Camp Creek Road area are:  RR, F2 and EFU.  The area is not within any UGB designation, so land development and building permits are controlled by Lane County.  The Camp Creek Road area is in the Springfield School District, and schools are Walterville, Briggs, and Thurston.  Camp Creek Elementary School closed in 2011 after being opened over 60 years ago.  Some of the Camp Creek Road area is within the 100 year flood plain so flood insurance may be necessary.

When houses were built in the Camp Creek area is interesting.  The oldest house dates to 1900, according to County records.  From 1900 to 1949 a total of only 76 houses were built.  Poor roads, world wars, the Great Depression, and a lack of relative prosperity explain the low building rate.  Building increased in the 1950s and 1960s, and 127 homes were built.  Our economy was in a post-war boom and a growing middle class, due to the strong timber industry, wanted to have a little slice of country living and built houses along Camp Creek.

Time of building along Camp Creek.

Time of building along Camp Creek.

The largest building spike occurred in the 1970s, with 155 houses being built in that decade alone.  Relative prosperity and Oregon’s new-found popularity by the counterculture probably explain this.  There were also many fewer restrictions to building in the country; Oregon’s restrictive land use laws were enacted in 1973 and made rural development much more difficult, a trend which continues to this day.  Building was off in the 1980s due to hard economic times in Oregon.  Lane County’s economy had recovered by the 1990s and building was up again, to over 100 houses.

The 2000s to present day have been marked by moderate building in the Camp Creek area.  Much of the low hanging fruit had been picked, that is to say, many properties that were easy and made sense to develop were already built.  And, the Great Recession that began in 2008 brought building to a near halt.  Development in the last couple of decades has trended towards secluded country estates.  There’s even a gated community now, which is pretty rare in Lane County.

The Camp Creek Hills are start of the Western Cascades.  Some 30 to 40 million years ago this area was ocean and the volcanoes to the east of the shoreline erupted ash and lava to form the Western Cascades.  The Camp Creek Road area is thought to be about 25-30 million years old  At several times, the land tilted upward and the ocean eventually retreated to its present location, about 60 miles to the west.  The area was glaciated from 2 million years ago, until about 11,000 years ago.

The Mohawk and McKenzie Valley area, and probably all of Lane County, is thought to have been inhabited for about the last 10,000 years.  The aboriginal inhabitants fared poorly with the coming of European settlers, mostly because of disease.  Europeans had antibodies which the Native Americans did not, and disease decimated the Natives.  The few remaining natives in the Mohawk and McKenzie Valley were moved in 1856 to the Grand Ronde Reservation, which most widely known for the Spirit Mountain Casino.

1855 survey of the Camp Creek area.

1855 survey of the Camp Creek area.

When the original surveys of the Mohawk and McKenzie Valley areas were done around 1855 there were very few settlers present. Camp Creek Road has likely existed for a very long time since it’s a natural route along the McKenzie River.  It was well established by 1855, and is shown on the original survey of the area.  Now, of course, the area is built up and there are thousands of inhabitants.  Most work in Eugene Springfield and the average travel time to work is around 1/2 hour.

There are many street like driveways off Camp Creek Road that aren’t named.  Named roads and streets are:  Sky High Drive, High Ranch Drive, Oakshire Drive, Ellington Drive, Easy Lane, Whitsell Lane, Oakpoint Road, Swearingen Road, Missy Lane, Barker Road, Upper Camp Creek Road, Worth Road, Gemstone Road, Cress Creek Road, Mitten Lane, Mitch Lane, Shenandoah Loop, Ermi Bee Lane, Maranatha Lane, Periwinkle Road, MJ Chase Road, Charley Lane, Stephens Road, Bowen Drive, Patrick Road, Emerald Way, Ruby Lane, Kickbusch Lane, Indian Ford Road, Heather Drive, East of Eden Road, Millican Road, Miller Avenue, Easton Lane, Bryant Lane and McKenzie Acres Drive.

The Camp Creek Road area is a beautiful spot to own real estate.  Buying or selling country property in Lane County can be a challenge, but a good realtor who is familiar with the area can be a great aid to you.. If you are interested in real estate along Goats Road or other country properties in Lane County, Oregon, please contact me.  Or you can search listings here.

Camp Creek

Camp Creek.

McKenzie River photo, Camp Creek, Lane County Oregon

McKenzie River in the Camp Creek area.

EWEB canal, Camp Creek area.

EWEB canal, Camp Creek area.

EWEB powerplant at Walterville.

EWEB powerplant at Walterville.

BPA tower.

BPA tower.

Windmill.

Windmill.

Old barn with mountains in the background.

Old barn with mountains in the background.

A barn from days gone bye.

A barn from days gone bye.

This building has seen better days.

This building has seen better days.

Historic building.

Historic building.

Old church.

Old church.

Restored old logging arch.

Restored old logging arch.

Beautiful horse pasture.

Beautiful horse pasture.

Horse property.

Horse property.

Grazing cows are common along Camp Creek.

Grazing cows are common along Camp Creek.

Paperboxes in front of a gated community.

Paper boxes in front of a gated community.

Fenced pasture along Camp Creek, Lane County, Oregon.

Fenced pasture along Camp Creek, Lane County, Oregon.

 

Marcola Oregon Real Estate

The town of Marcola is the center of population and activity in the scenic Mohawk Valley in Lane County, Oregon.  Marcola and the surrounding area provide both a small town atmosphere and rural country living.  The area is mostly a bedroom community to Eugene and Springfield, being only a few minutes away by car.

The Mohawk Valley is east northeast of Springfield and generally follows Marcola Road.  The town of Marcola is about 10 miles NNE from the end of 42nd Street in Springfield.  Formerly a bustling economic center of the Mohawk Valley, it is now a peaceful hamlet of about 400 people.  Marcola isn’t incorporated, but you can still delineate between town and country.  This post is about both the town as well as the country properties to the north that have a Marcola mailing address.

Marcola feels like, and is, a small town.  Lots sizes are typical of older small towns at about 1/3 acre each.  Most are zoned RR1, meaning further lot subdivision isn’t likely under the current zoning.  There are a little under 150 properties, depending which you include as being in town, making for a population of say 300 to 400 people.  Median property value, according to the County, is under 100K, which is cheaper than average for Lane County.  Municipally supplied water is available from the Marcola Water District, but there is no public sewage system, so each house has its own septic tank.  Marcola has its own school district with two schools:  Marcola Elementary, and Mohawk Junior and Senior High.  Marcola is not incorporated, meaning there are no Marcola taxes per se.  It also has curbs, gutters and sidewalks in some areas, which is uncommon, if not unique for an unincorporated town in Lane County.  Marcola is near the Mohawk River, so some properties are within the floodplain.

Properties that have a Marcola address, but are outside of town are more numerous, numbering about 450, depending on how you count.  Average size is close to 5 acres and average values are about 180K, nearly double those in town.  Zoning is typical of country property, and commonly found zones are:  RR5, RR10, F2 and EFU.

When both town and country areas of Marcola are considered, there are close to 600 properties.  Sizes range from 400 s.f. to over 5,000 s.f., with an average of 1,440 s.f.  Median values range from minimal to over $950K, with a median of about $155K.  Average price per square foot is:  $108/s.f.  The oldest house dates to 1880 and there are 5 houses in the area built in the 1800s.  Average age of the houses is 1978.

Sales data from RMLS, over the last 24 months, reveal 4 actives, 2 pendings and 26 solds; information was current at the time of this posting.  Prices ranged from about $59K to $430K.  Median price was $209K at $117/s.f.  Average time on the market was 75 days, less than average.

It’s hard to imagine now, but the greater Marcola area, including the towns of Marcola, Wendling and Mabel, were once boom towns from about 1900 to 1950.  Timber reigned supreme and hundreds, if not thousands, lived and worked in the area.  When the big timber ran out, economic activity and populations dwindled.

In the glory days of the Marcola area, the following were there:  A rail depot and railroad with service to Eugene, multiple mills, hotels, an Oddfellows Lodge, a butcher & meat shop, a drug store, 2 service stations & a mechanic, a tailor shop, a barber shop, a theater for motion pictures and vaudeville shows, miniature golf courses, a WoW Hall, a pool hall, a candy store, a soda shop, a shoe repair shop, a photo studio, livery barn, and YMCA hall with a bowling alley.  There are a few business and the like now in Marcola, but it has fared better than Mabel and Wendling, which remain merely as spots on a map.  Mostly the area is a pretty and quiet place to live.

Marcola started with the first post office which was built in 1862.  Originally called Isabelle, it was renamed after the first Postmistress, Mary Cole, to Marcola.  Within 15 years, mills started being built nearby.  The completion of the railroad from Springfield to Wendling in about 1900 allowed logs and lumber to be easily transported, and the timber industry boomed.  The Fischer Mill in Marcola was a thriving concern for over 50 years, but ceased to be economically viable when the big timber was gone, closing in 1956.  Nearly all of the mill has been removed, but you can still see where it stood.  In fact, it was purchased, subdivided, and parts of it are for sale.

1855 survey of the Marcola area showing some of the location original homesteads.

1855 survey of the Marcola area showing some of the location original homesteads.

Streets in the town of Marcola include:  A Street, Alcorn Street, B Street, Carson Street, Green Lane, Marcola Road, McDonald Lane, Mudoch Street, Queen Street, Railroad Lane, Savage Street, School House Street, Treston Lane, Walling Street, and Whitmore Street.

Streets near the town of Marcola with a Marcola address include:  Ann Lane, Bethany Lane, Bunker Hill Road, Cartwright Creek Road, Dream Hill Road, Drury Creek Road, Fir Ridge Road, Hazel Lane, Hileman Road, Holland Lane, Honeybee Lane, Howard Road, Johnson Road, Kelso Lane, Log Creek Road, Luzkow Lane, Martin Lane, May Way, Meadow Creek Lane, Mohawk Loop Road, Mohawk River Road, Old Marcola Road, Paschelke Road, Pauls Road, Queens Road, Saddle View Dr, Shotgun Creek Road, Spring Valley Lane, Sykes Lane, Thetford Lane, Wendling Road, and Woods Road

Marcola and the surrounding area  are beautiful spots to own real estate.  You get your choice between small town or rural country property.  Buying or selling country property in Lane County can be a challenge, but a good realtor who is familiar with the area can be a great aid to you.. If you are interested in real estate near Marcola or other country properties in Lane County, Oregon, please contact me.  Or you can search listings here.

Pastoral scene near Marcola, Oregon.

Pastoral scene near Marcola, Oregon.

Old but still working barn near Marcola, Oregon.

Old but still working barn near Marcola, Oregon.

Where there are barns, there are often cows nearby.

Where there are barns, there are often cows nearby.

One of the covered bridges in the area.

One of the covered bridges in the area.

One of the few remaining remnants of the old Wendling mill complex.

One of the few remaining remnants of the old Wendling mill complex.

(c) Robyn Hine.  Used with permission.

(c) Robyn Hine. Used with permission.

(c) Robyn Hine.  Used with permission.

(c) Robyn Hine. Used with permission.

(c) Robyn Hine.  Used with permission.

(c) Robyn Hine. Used with permission.

Saunders Road Lane County Oregon Country Property

Saunders Road is a quiet little dead end street in the beautiful Mohawk Valley in Lane County, Oregon.  Only a handful of country properties with acreage are there, and they are not frequently on the market.  Saunders Road is very close to Marcola, and only minutes away from Springfield or Eugene.

The Mohawk Valley is east northeast of Springfield and generally follows Marcola Road through and past the town of Marcola.  Saunders Road intersects Marcola Road, less than 1/2 mile from Parsons Creek Road.  Saunders Road is less than a mile in length and there are only a few developed properties on it, ranging from 3 to 5 acres.  There are also a few undeveloped lots for sale, awaiting someone to build their country dream home.

The County shows the value of properties along Saunders Road from about 91K to over 300K, with a median value of around 157K.  Property Sales data from RMLS over the last 24 months reveal no actives, pendings or solds.  Most houses along Saunders road were built between the 1960s and the 1980s.  House sizes range from 880 SF to over 2,200 SF, with a median size of about 1,100 SF.  Median house value, according the County, is about $142/SF, at the time of this posting.

Zoning designations common along Saunders Road are:  RR5, and F2.  It is not within any UGB designation, so land development and building permits are controlled by Lane County.  Saunders Road is in the Marcola School District, and schools are Marcola and Mohawk.

Development of and along Saunders Road started in the 1960s with the conversion of forest property to rural residential.  This continues today and there are several undeveloped F2 lots for sale, which is fairly rare, these days.  Adherents of country living swear by it and would rather “fight than switch,” as some old ad jingle went.  Building a house in the country is, however, more complicated and typically more expensive than one in the city.  Finding and talking with someone familiar with building in Lane County is a good idea.

Saunders Road is a beautiful spot to own real estate.  Buying or selling country property in Lane County can be a challenge, but a good realtor who is familiar with the area can be a great aid to you.  If you are interested in real estate along Saunders Road or other country properties in Lane County, Oregon, please contact me.  Or you can search listings here.

Ornamental grass photo, Mohawk Valley, Lane County, Oregon

Old Mohawk Road Real Estate Lane County Oregon

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Old Mohawk Road is a beautiful loop in the scenic Mohawk Valley in Lane County, Oregon.  It is steeped in history, and relatives of the original pioneers still live there.  There are a few farms, but country properties are common, and homes with acreage are popular, but not frequently on the market.   Country properties with both river frontage and valley view are available along Old Mohawk Road.  One especially attractive aspect is that it’s less than 10 minutes to Springfield

The Mohawk Valley is east northeast of Springfield and generally follows Marcola Road through and past the town of Marcola.   Old Mohawk Road loops from Marcola Road, at the intersection with Camp Creek Road, then roughly follows the McKenzie River, and makes a sharp easterly turn before the Mohawk River, which it follows NNE, then returns to Marcola Road.  The length of Old Mohawk Road is about 3 1/4 miles.   Only about 38 properties exist on the Old Mohawk Road area, ranging from 1/3 acre to 90 acres, with parcels a little under 5 acres being the most common.

The County shows the value of properties along Old Mohawk Road from about 114K to over 495K, with a median value of around 240K.  Property Sales data from RMLS over the last 24 months reveal 3 actives, no pendings  and 2 solds.  Most houses along Old Mohawk road were built in the 1950s.  The oldest home dates back to 1910, according to the County.  House sizes range from 640 SF to 4,100 SF, with a median size of about 1,800 SF.  Median house value, according the County, is about $133/SF, at the time of this posting.

Zoning designations common along Old Mohawk Road are:  RR, and EFU.  Old Mohawk Road also has rare Rural Industrial, by the old mill.  It is not within any UGB designation, so land development and building permits are controlled by Lane County.  Old Mohawk Road is in the Springfield School District, and schools are Yolanda, Briggs, and Thurston.

The area around Old Mohawk Road was originally settled by five pioneering families in the mid 1800’s:  The Griffiths, Simmons, Staffords, Ramseys, and Spores.  The Mohawk Valley is indelibly linked to the Spores Family.  Jacob Spores was the third pioneer to live in Lane County, coming here in about 1847, and named the Mohawk Valley because it reminded him of the one in his native New York.  Jacob’s son James Madison Spores moved to Old Mohawk Road, and the homestead is still in the family, 5 or 6 generations later.  Two or three Spores’s children’s graves sit on private property by the BPA tower on the unnamed, but prominent, hill.    Old Mohawk Road has been has been slowly subdivided and built up since the pioneers, with most of the houses being built in the early 1950s.  It isn’t fully built-out, so further building and development is possible, although rare, due to Lane County’s restrictive zoning ordinances.

1855 survey showing Simmons & Ramsey homesteads.

1855 survey showing Simmons & Ramsey homesteads.

Interesting features along Old Mohawk Road are:

  • The McKenzie River:  To the west of Old Mohawk Road, the river runs NNW and the road runs NNE.  The McKenzie joins the Mohawk River about 1 mile away on McKenzie View Drive.
  • The Mohawk River:  Approximately 30 miles long.   The Mohawk has no dams on it and is flood prone after  heavy rains.  Areas along Old Mohawk Road can be prone to high water.
  • The old Weyerhaeuser Railroad.  This was constructed around 1900 and ran to the town of Marcola.  It was active until the 1980s.

Old Mohawk Road is a beautiful spot to own real estate.  Buying or selling country property in Lane County can be a challenge, but a good realtor who is familiar with the area can be a great aid to you. If you are interested in real estate along Old Mohawk Road or other country properties in Lane County, Oregon, please contact me.  Or you can search listings here.

Rustic barn along Old Mohawk Road

Rustic barn along Old Mohawk Road.

The Mohawk River taken from Old Mohawk Road

The Mohawk River taken from Old Mohawk Road.

Rush hour traffic in the Mohawk Valley.  Corner of Old Mohawk, Marcola and Camp Creek Roads.

Rush hour traffic in the Mohawk Valley. Corner of Old Mohawk, Marcola and Camp Creek Roads.

Mohawk River Valley view.

Mohawk River Valley view.

One of the old mill buildings.

One of the old mill buildings.

Picturesque Old Mohawk River Road

Picturesque Old Mohawk River Road.

Cool looking utility poles along Old Mohawk Road.

Cool looking utility poles along Old Mohawk Road.

Where Old Mohawk Road turns to follow the Mohawk River.

Where Old Mohawk Road turns to follow the Mohawk River.

Where Old Mohawk meets Marcola Road.

Where Old Mohawk meets Marcola Road.