Real estate prices in Bend have been going up steadily over the last five years. According to statistics from the Multiple Listing Service of Central Oregon home prices have almost doubled in the last four years. The MLS shows that the number of sales of homes in the third quarter of 2006 was down 19.32%. However the average sales price was up 25.
09% during the same period. These statistics can be misleading because of the lag time of the new home sales and the final closing date. Some new homes are put under contract before the foundation is poured. This can leave 6 to 12 months before the home is completed and closed.
All statistics from the MLS are based on the "Sold" date. Therefore these statistics are skewed. The sale is not reflected properly. Prices are actually coming down this fall and probably will continue through the winter as the inventory continues to build.
It is taking longer for homes to sell and there are more homes for buyers to choose from. The real estate markets in California, Arizona, Florida and other key states are leading indicators on how the market in Bend will do. In1989 real estate values in Bend jumped 35%. Out of state buyers from California, Florida, Arizona, Washington State and other hot markets were selling their homes for large profits and moving to Bend to buy larger homes. 1990 and 1991 saw the out of state markets dry up with prices falling. The Bend market followed these markets before it picked up again.
This winter is the time to buy real estate in Bend. There are homes on the market now that have been substantially reduced with seller's willing to take any reasonable offer. Some homes are vacant and can be bought with a lease-purchase. We look for the market and prices to pick back up next spring.
A report recently released by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., or FDIC reported that Bend is the 35th fastest growing job market in the country for the second quarter of 2006, wit a job growth rate of 4 percent during that period. The FDIC reported sales activity in Oregon fell 12 percent in the same quarter. Building permits for single family homes have been constantly falling but the pace of building takes a while to slow down from the torrid pace of 2005. Builders have to develop the lots, get permits and start the construction.
Construction of the average homes takes about six months. There are still new homes coming on the market today that were in the planning stages in 2005. Some builders are also starting to offer more incentives if you buy one of their homes. Upgrades in appliances, floor coverings, wood work, landscaping and other aspects of construction are now free.
Some builders are also willing to pay points in order to help buyers qualify for lower payments on their loans. The National Association of Realtor's chief economist, David Lereah, predicted that sales through the rest of 2006 will be lower than earlier predicted. "This year, sales are slowing, homes are plentiful and sellers are negotiating," Lereah said.
"Under these conditions, we will probably see prices dip temporarily below year-ago levels as the market works through a buildup in housing inventory." The Central Oregon Association of Realtors is the best place to track the home sale statistics in Bend and Central Oregon. You can find these statistics on their web site.
Keep in mind that these statistics include many new homes that were put in escrow months before the official closing date. If you are a real statistics buff you can go to the web site of the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight. It has a housing price index for all states individually, a house price calculator and other useful tools. However, keep in mind that these reports lag behind reality somewhat.
Real estate prices in Bend are falling now and will continue through the winter. Interest rates are still low and gas prices are falling, all good signs that the real estate market in Bend will be picking up next spring. If you have ever thought about buying real estate in Bend Oregon now may be the best opportunity you will have in a long time.
There are some good buys in today's market. Look for prices to start going up this spring.
Jim Johnson CRS is a real estate expert who has lived in Bend Oregon since 1981. Call 541-389-4511 or see his web site www.BendOregonRealEstateExpert.com or Search the Bend Oregon MLS