Buying and Selling Real Estate in Lane County Oregon

Pastoral scene 3 miles from Eugene Oregon

Pastoral scene 3 miles from Eugene Oregon

Lane County continues to be a great place to live and to own real estate. Prices seem to have risen from their bottom at the great recession and are steadily climbing. Combine this with very low interest rates and many are buying and selling real estate in 2013.

I admit I’m biased, but I think Lane County is the best place to be in Oregon, and Oregon is considered a great place to live and to retire. Portland was recently ranked as number 2 in the nation for desirability for places to retire, and other Oregon cities often make the list.. Lane County is probably best known for its trees, water and Ducks. Natural beauty and recreation opportunities abound, and we’re a tourist hot spot. Eugene Springfield, Oregon’s second largest city, is known for both the University of Oregon and it’s relaxed eco-friendly lifestyle. Eugene is close to everything–both 5,000 ft. mountains and the awesome Pacific Ocean are only an hour’s drive away. And, our nice local airport makes everything in the world reachable within in a day or two.

Buyers and sellers of real estate in Lane County fall into a few broad categories:
• Retirees
• Vacation home owners
• Regular citizens living and working here
• Investors.

Lane County is a popular spot for retirement. Our cost of living is relatively low and our climate is mild. Taxes aren’t unduly high. We also enjoy low crime rates. Our health care system is good and we have the largest hospital between Portland and San Francisco. We’re also soon to get a very large V.A. hospital. On balance, Lane County stacks up well against other areas for retirement.

Vacation homes are also popular in Lane County. Some folks maintain a home in the city for doing urban activities or watching Ducks games. Florence and nearby areas have many coast cabin retreats. And, the McKenzie River is known for its beauty and fishing, so has quite a few vacation homes. Of course, Eugene, Florence and the McKenzie communities also have many year round regular residents.

Many find Lane County a great place to live and work. Our property values are relatively cheap compared to other cities on the West Coast, and jobs are available, although not always plentiful. Low crime, low commute times, and good schools make Lane County appealing.

Lane County has no shortage of real estate investors and investment property. Eugene Springfield are the main markets for commercial, industrial and housing real estate. Secondary markets are Junction City, Creswell, Cottage Grove and Florence. A subset of investment properties is student housing, which is found primarily in Eugene, the place with the most students, and to a lesser extent in Springfield, due to its proximity to Eugene. Occasionally, parents will buy their U of O students houses in which to reside while at school, although this isn’t overly common. Bell Real Estate is one of Lane Counties leading property management firms, and has been locally owned since 1964; we understand rentals, commercial and investment property.

Lane County has 350,000 residents, in round numbers. It’s at the southern end of the Willamette Valley, fairly close to the 45th Parallel, which is midway between the equator and north pole. It’s known for its temperate, if somewhat rainy climate. Geography ranges from flat coastal plains, to grass & pasture lands, to vineyards, to mountainous rugged wilderness areas. Over 1/2 of the population lives in Eugene Springfield, and the population density overall in Lane County is low. Over 1/2 the county is in forest, and about 1/2 of the land is owned by the government. Town size ranges from small and barely noticeable to the second largest city in the State, Eugene.

Notable towns in Lane County include:
• Eugene
• Springfield
• Florence
• Junction City
• Creswell
• Cottage Grove
• Oak Ridge.

When you are interested in real estate, whether buying or selling, a Realtor can be a great aid for you. Realtors know more about property, its values and idiosyncrasies than anyone else. If you are interested in real estate in Eugene Springfield, or anywhere in Lane County, Oregon, please contact me.  Or you can search listings here.

Springfield Oregon Short Sale

This short sale at 3285 S Redwood Drive in Springfield, Oregon shows what kinds of affordable housing you can still find, even in today’s rising real estate market.  It’s 3 bedroom and 2 baths, with over 1,400 square feet.  It was listed at 179K.  It’s MLS # 12535420  If you’d like more information, please contact me.  While this one is gone, there are other great buys out there.

MLS 12535420

3285 South Redwood Drive, Springfield Oregon

2013 Foreclosures in Eugene Springfield Oregon

So what’s up in 2013 with foreclosures in Eugene Springfield?  I get asked that question often.  The short answer is:  the supply of foreclosures, actively for sale, is low and foreclosures are still a good value.

Why is the supply of foreclosures in Eugene Springfield down?  Changes in 2012 made Oregon essentially a judicial foreclosure state, which has backlogged the rate of foreclosures.  The Oregon Supreme Court is currently considering the MERS issue, so things may change.  Non-judicial foreclosures averaged perhaps 6 months to complete.  Judicial foreclosures are closer to a year or more.

When I last looked at foreclosure rates in 2010, they comprised 18% of Eugene Springfield sales.  In the last 30 days, they comprised only 8% of sales.  Short sales went up to 12% from 8%, 2012 vs. 2010, though.  Foreclosures plus short sales are sometimes said to be “distressed sales.”  The rate of distressed sales in Eugene Springfield is around 1 in 4 or 1 in 5 sales.

Foreclosure and Short Sales in Eugene Oregon

Foreclosure and Short Sales in Eugene Oregon

Every foreclosure is a tragedy for the former homeowner.  Staying in the house as long as possible is sometimes the goal, and understandable.  From a societal viewpoint, however, getting the foreclosures rapidly done with is thought to be good.  While the roots of the housing crisis go back to 1992, the Great Recession of 2008-2009 was lead by the tanking of the real estate market; its normalization must also occur, and we’re nearly there.  In fact, real estate prices in Eugene Springfield have trended up for the last few months.

House prices in greater Eugene Springfield Oregon

House prices in greater Eugene Springfield Oregon

Shadow inventory is often discussed by foreclosure pundits.  Shadow inventory is real estate owned (REO) by banks, GSEs (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac), the VA or HUD that isn’t actively for sale.  Some think intuitions manipulate the market through shadow inventory.  I think those people listen to too much talk radio, and there are legitimate reasons for shadow inventory, such as fixing up the house, clearing title issues, or insufficient resources to handle the large numbers of foreclosures.  Estimates of shadow inventory in the U.S. as a whole vary widely from perhaps 750K units to over 2 Million.

So, how does the inventory of foreclosures look in Eugene Springfield?  Foreclosures aren’t going away anytime soon.  I looked at the last 10 months stats from RMLS and there were about 282 closed sales, so we’re consuming say 28 per month.  There were 25 actively listed, but over 200 owned (8ish months’ supply) and over 200 in the process of judicial foreclosure (for say, 16 months’ supply).  So there are still plenty of foreclosures in Eugene Springfield that will be coming on the market in the upcoming year(s).

Eugene Springfield Foreclosure (REO) inventory

Eugene Springfield Foreclosure (REO) inventory

People often think that if they know about a vacant house that’s in the process of foreclosure that they or a realtor can contact the bank and get them a deal.  Sounds good, but doesn’t work that way.  When the bank or GSE is ready to sell, they typically list them with a Realtor who puts them on MLS.  Getting through to a bank on a house in the process of foreclosure is virtually impossible.

Sold Foreclosures in Eugene Springfield Oregon

Sold Foreclosures in Eugene Springfield Oregon

Another misconception is that banks just want the house off their books so a low ball offer is a good idea.  When I looked at the foreclosure stats, they sold in half the time as a non distressed listing and for over 99% of listing price.

If you are interested in foreclosures please contact me.