Portland-area home sales rose year-over-year for the 10th consecutive month in April as the portion of sales to investors and other absentee buyers hit a new high. The median sale price inched up from a year earlier for the second month in a row as distressed property sales held at about 40 percent of the resale market, a real estate information service reported.
A total of 2,489 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow during April in the five-county Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton metro area. Sales rose 4.5 percent from the prior month and rose 8.4 percent from a year earlier, according to San Diego-based DataQuick. The firm tracks real estate trends nationally via public property records.
A sales gain between March and April is normal for the season, with the increase averaging 2.4 percent since 1994, when DataQuick's complete Portland-area statistics begin.
This April's sales were still low in a historical context, falling 30.6 percent short of the average sales tally for all months of April since 1994.
The median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos that closed escrow in the Portland region during April was $215,000, up 2.4 percent from the prior month and up 1.4 percent from a year earlier. It was the median's third consecutive month-to-month gain and the second consecutive year-over-year increase. April's $215,000 median was the highest for any month since last November, when the median was $218,500.
April's median was 25.6 percent lower than the peak $289,000 median in October 2007, and it was 10.3 percent higher than the post-peak trough of $195,000 in January this year.
Another price measure analysts track, the median paid per square foot for resale single-family detached houses, rose to $130 in April. That was up 3.2 percent month-to-month and it was the same as a year earlier, marking the first time in 21 months that the median price paid per square foot didn't drop on a year-over-year basis. April's figure was 32.6 percent below the June 2007 peak of $193.
Among the Portland region's counties, the median paid per square foot in April for resale detached houses fell 0.8 percent from a year ago in Clackamas County, while the median dipped 1.9 percent year-over-year in Multnomah County. The price paid per square foot declined 1.5 percent year-over-year in Washington County, rose 0.9 percent in Yamhill County, and rose 4.6 percent in Clark County, Washington.
Sales of distressed properties - the combination of foreclosure resales and short sales - accounted for roughly 40 percent of the resale market in April. That's roughly the same as both the month before and a year earlier.
Foreclosure resales - homes foreclosed on in the prior 12 months - made up 26.0 percent of April resales, the same as the prior month and down from 27.7 percent a year earlier.
Short sales - transactions where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property - accounted for an estimated 13.8 percent of April's resale market, the same as the prior month and up from an estimated 12.0 percent a year earlier.
On the foreclosure front, lenders foreclosed on 333 single-family houses and condo units in the five-county Portland area during April, down 12.1 percent from the month before and down 6.7 percent from a year earlier. During the first four months of this year, foreclosures totaled 1,525, down 10.7 percent from the same period last year. The foreclosure figures are based on the number of Trustees Deeds filed with county recorder offices. The document signals that a home was lost to foreclosure.
Many foreclosed properties are bought by investors and first-time buyers.
Absentee buyers, which are mainly investors and vacation-home buyers, accounted for a record 31.8 percent of total April home sales, up from 26.8 percent the month before and 18.9 percent a year ago. (The absentee data series goes back to 2000). Absentee buyers paid a median $192,750 in April, about even with 193,320 the month before and up from $168,250 a year earlier.
Among these investors are many buyers who pay cash - a group that accounted for 24.6 percent of all homes sold in April. That was down from 27.3 percent the month before and down from 26.8 percent a year earlier. Cash buyers paid a median $160,000 in April, down from $170,000 the month before and $171,000 a year earlier.
Government-insured FHA loans, a popular, low-down-payment option for many first-time buyers, represented 23.9 percent of all home purchase loans used in the Portland area in April - the lowest level since July 2008. Last month's figure was down from 29.7 percent the month before and down from 30.7 percent a year ago. The peak for FHA use during the current housing cycle was 42.3 percent in November 2009.
The Portland metro area statistics in this report and in the table below reflect sales in Clackamas, Multnomah, Washington and Yamhill counties in Oregon and Clark County in Washington.
Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA MSA*
|Number of sales||Apr-11||Mar-12||Apr-12||YOY % chng|
|Median sale price||Apr-11||Mar-12||Apr-12||YOY % chng|
*Data reflect sales in Clackamas, Multnomah, Washington and Yamhill counties in Oregon and Clark County in Washington.
Media calls: Andrew LePage (916) 456-7157
Source: DataQuick; DQNews.com
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