January 2013 Lane County Oregon Real Estate Prices

Today, the NAR released national real estate market statistics for January 2013.  Nationally, there is a pretty strong seller’s market, with house supplies under 5 months.  A 6 month supply is said to be balanced between buyers and sellers.  Nationally, prices continue up at 12.3% greater, compared to a year ago.  Distressed sales, short sales and bank-owned, make up between 1 in 4 and 1 in 5 sales.

In Lane County supply is also fairly low, weighing in at 6.8 months in January 2013, up from 5.2 months in December 2012, but down from 7.8 months a year ago, according to RMLS.  January sales tend to be pretty low in Lane County.  For reference, we were at over 20 months in January 2009, at the depths of the Great Recession.  Prices continued up last month, with a median price of $186,300 compared to $182,000 two months ago in December 2012.  January 2013 prices were 10.2% greater than those in January 2012.  Lane County prices are a little above the national average.  Prices are trending up and interest rates are low, now is a good time to buy or sell real estate in Lane County.  Please call me if you have questions.

January 2013 National and Lane County Real Estate Stats.

January 2013 National and Lane County Real Estate Stats.

2013 Real Estate

What will the 2013 real estate market hold in store for us?  CNN-Money just released their predictions:

National 2013 housing predictions

1.  Buying will be less affordable because house prices are rising,

2.  Job rates, not housing prices will show the condition of the housing market,

3.  Mortgage delinquencies will continue to drop,

4.  Mortgage interest rates will stay at record lows, and

5.  There are fewer first time home buyers, but that might increase.

All eyes are on the housing market in 2013

All eyes are on the housing market in 2013


Of course, it’s very difficult to predict the future, at least if accuracy is important.  Even Gary Shilling, one of the nation’s most prominent real estate price guru’s got it wrong for 2012, when he said home prices would drop another 20% because of a flood of foreclosures, among other things.  Fortunately, that didn’t happen, and 2012 house prices rose nationally and locally, in Eugene Springfield Oregon.

So, how do the experts’ national predictions apply to Oregon and Eugene Springfield.  They seem right on the money to me.

The biggest factor that may affect our housing market is the State Supreme Court’s ruling and legislative changes on foreclosures, which will occur later this year.  If I had to guess, I’d say one or both will make changes that speed up the foreclosure process.  If that occurs, then more foreclosures would come on the market, taking some of the steam out of rising prices.

Country Property in the Mohawk Valley Oregon

This nice country home in the Mohawk Valley features solar power.

This nice country home in the Mohawk Valley features solar power.

This nice listing of mine is in the Mohawk Valley, Oregon, and it recently sold.  For those of you who haven’t been out there, the Mohawk Valley runs north east of Springfield to and beyond the little town of Marcola.  It’s picturesque and relaxed.

The house is on 3 acres, is clean and pristine, and has neat stuff associated with country property, like a chicken coop, a pasture, a shop , a woodshed and a greenhouse.  It also has solar power, which is a feature you don’t often see around here.  It’s also close to town, keeping those commute times and gas dollars low.

It’s RMLS # 12401459, located at 90470 Marcola Road, Springfield, Oregon.  It was reasonably priced and sold quickly.  If you’d like more information, on other country properties, please contact me.

Bell Real Estate

Buying and selling real estate in Eugene Springfield is never easy.  Houses are big ticket items and getting it right is important.  How do you get it right?  I think the best way is to find a good Realtor who’s honest and understands the market.  Bell Real Estate is 100% local and has been serving clients in Lane County for over 45 years.  How do you stay in business that long?  We think by doing it right.

Bell is a full service firm, probably best known for its property management, in which we’re a market leader.  We also have Realtors, of whom I’m one, doing a brisk business buying and selling property for clients.  If you have questions about buying or selling real estate in Lane County, I’d be glad to help.


Bell Real Estate’s Main Office at 630 River Road


2013 Eugene Springfield Real Estate Prices: Up

The new year makes a convenient time to look back and also pull out our crystal ball.  2012 may have marked the bottom of our real estate market in Eugene & Springfield.  Prices have trended up in the last few months.  Mostly, this is brought about by lack of supply, that is too few houses actively for sale.

In real estate’s boom years, before 2008, supplies of houses for sale dipped below two months, which was a strong seller’s market.  At the depths of the Great Recession, supplies greater than a year were seen around Eugene Springfield, indicating a strong buyer’s market.  Lately, we’ve been at 6 months or less, which is a mild sellers market.


Eugene Springfield January 2013

Why the lack of supply of houses for sale?  One reason is Senate Bill 1552.  This good intentioned Bill had the effect of decreasing the rate of completed foreclosures, so fewer of them are on the market and more are still in the process of foreclosure.  The Oregon Supreme Court is scheduled to take a look at this in January 2013.  My guess is that they or the Legislature will change something.

Fundamentally, the prices of real estate are affected by things like inward migration and unemployment rate.  We’ve had fewer immigrants to Oregon in the last few years, and unemployment rates are stubbornly high, although decreasing.

My prediction for house prices in 2013 for Eugene Springfield is flat to mildly increasing.  I’ve been wrong before, though, and we’ll have to wait and see.

2010 Distressed Property Stats: Lane County

With all the interest in short sales and foreclosed properties in Eugene – Springfield, I decided to take a look at the sales statistics for 2010.  Normal, non-distressed, sales comprised about 3 out of 4 sales in Lane County.

Bank owned properties, also called REO (real estate owned) and foreclosures, were a little more common than 1 in 6 sales in Lane County.  Short sales were 8 % of last year’s sales, or fewer than 1 in 10.

With distressed sales making up 1 in 4 sales in Lane County in 2010, it still makes them far more frequent than in years past.  It was and still remains a buyers market in Eugene and Springfield, Oregon.

1 in 4 Sales in Lane County were Distressed in 2010

Eugene: A Pipeline Runs Through It

Many Eugene residents don’t realize it, but we have our own 8” petroleum pipeline extending from Portland to Eugene at the tank-farm off Prairie Road.  The pipeline brings in 1.8 million gallons per day to Eugene, and was completed in 1962 at a cost of $7 million.

The tank farm has a capacity of 700K barrels, or nearly 30 million gallons.  Oregon neither refines nor produces liquid hydrocarbons so all that gasoline and diesel has to come from somewhere—and a lot of it comes from Portland to the Eugene terminal. Portland is fed by marine deliveries and two pipelines from refineries in Northwestern Washington.

In fact, 90% of the petroleum used in Oregon comes from just four refineries in Washington State, which get 80% of their crude oil from the Northshore of Alaska.

If your property has the pipeline running through it, your title policy should show an easement from about 50 years ago.  However, if your property merely has the pipeline near it, local knowledge is about the only way to know it—that and pipeline warning signs.

Carrying petroleum to a town near you.

Eugene’s Cash Real Estate Sales

According to CNN, more homes are being purchased with cash these days.  Obviously, if you’re purchasing a house with cash, you’re either well-off or, at the very least, not feeling the crunch of the Great Recession. 

I took a look at the recent sales in the Eugene Springfield area as reported by RMLS to see if the trend held true to us.  In the preceding month’s time period, about 20% were, indeed, cash sales. 

That’s pretty high.

The homes did tend to be lower priced though.  The most expensive listing sold during that month was my own listing—weighing in at nearly ¾ million dollars.  It was not sold for cash, though; but rather a conventional loan was used.

High-end homes are still selling in Eugene.

Green Buildings Are Worth More

Cap rates for LEED certified commercial buildings are ½ percentage point better than for standard, non-green buildings.  Green building is a nice concept, but the marketplace’s acceptance will really help it take hold.

In Eugene and Springfield, there are very few LEED certified buildings so it’s hard to know how they’ll fare in the marketplace.  One problem with both commercial and residential green buildings is that appraisers don’t yet value them appropriately.  Of course, that will change—but for now it can cause problems if lenders are involved.

More buildings are going green these days.

HUD Tightens Loan Standards

In Eugene, as in the rest of the nation, lending standards for HUD insured loans—an increasingly popular option for home buyers—are becoming stricter.  The following changes are scheduled or planned to occur this year:

  • Increased mortgage insurance premium—beginning mid-April, the rate will be 2.25%, up from 1.75%

  • Increased down-payment (10% vs. 3.5%) for borrowers with a FICO less than 580

  • Reduction of seller concessions from 3% from 6%

These changes will make it harder for some borrowers to get loans, and will soften demand, somewhat, for house purchases.  However, at least the changes aren’t too drastic.


HUD loans are a bright spot in a thorny lending environment.