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In the Know: A Roundup of This Week’s Local and National Real Estate Stories 

Market shifts, Millennial budgets, the financial impact of living in your parents’ basement and more…

To sell a home fast, here’s what to focus on, real estate experts agree (CNBC, Feb. 6)

Real estate expert Sean Conlon agrees that your home’s street presence, or “curb appeal,” is crucial. “Your lawn should look beautiful,” he tells Make It. “Your shrubs should be nice and colorful and well taken care of. … Your shutters and windows should look nice. When people pull up, they should go, ‘I could picture myself pulling up in the evening and this being my home.'” Read More. 

Redfin: Economic headwinds dampen luxury home market (Housing Wire, Feb. 6)

In Q4, sales of homes priced at or above $2 million decreased 3.9%

Redfin classifies luxury homes as those that sold among the top 5% most expensive in the quarter.

According to the company, sales of homes priced at or above $2 million decreased 3.9%, marking the first time in more than two years that luxury home sales have fallen on an annual basis.

“The fact that sales of high-priced homes declined as their prices grew at a relatively strong rate can be explained in part by the basics of supply and demand,” Redfin writes. “Compared with a year earlier, there were 6.5% fewer $2 million-plus homes on the market last quarter, the seventh quarter in a row inventory of luxury homes has dropped annually.”

Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather explained economic headwinds are responsible for the decline. Read More. 

Zillow prioritizing its own for-sale listings ahead of others (Housing Wire, Feb. 5)

Priority search results for Zillow Offers?

Back in April 2018, Zillow announced that it will begin buying and selling homes directly to and from homeowners and began a test program in two markets, Las Vegas and Phoenix. Now it appears the company is testing priority search result placement for its own real estate listings.

According to Inman (metered paywall), Zillow is testing priority placement of homes it owns at the top of search results on its mobile apps and website, ahead of other for-sale homes, in the Phoenix and Las Vegas real estate markets. Read More. 

Oregon Realtors wary of new models from outside digital competitors (Portland Business Journal, Feb. 6)

…Early this year, growing real estate platform Zillow announced it would launch Zillow Offers in five new markets throughout 2019, with one of those markets being Portland. Through Zillow Offers, homeowners sell their homes directly to Zillow, which re-sells them through a fairly typical process that preps the home, stages showings and markets the home for sale…

Lance Marrs, a principal broker with Portland’s Living Room Realty, said he thinks the concept is an interesting one that may gain some traction in certain markets or situations. But he said it will still make more sense for sellers to expose their homes to the widest audience possible and not be limited by selling directly to companies like Zillow or Opendoor.

“At a minimum, it may provide a placeholder for future discussion, that is, it gives sellers a snapshot of their homes’ possible place in the market,” he said. “Savvy, city-minded sellers, however, are aware that letting the free market determine their homes’ worth is the best practice, as there are few reasons not to expose a given home to the widest market possible. A seller in duress may find value in this service but that’s unlikely for solvent homeowners.”

One broker doesn’t think the model will ultimately benefit sellers. Dennis Kelly, managing principal broker with Lake Oswego’s Windermere Realty Trust, added that the only agents who will get Zillow Offers listings to sell the homes will be those who’ve paid to be in its premier agent network.

“You don’t need to have a degree in economics to understand that Zillow and their real estate investors are in the business of making money,” Kelly said. “They can’t be paying fair market value for a home, to then turn around and expense the energy and funds in order to ‘prepare it for showings’ and put it back on the market and get the return on investment that Zillow and its real estate investors want to achieve.

“So who provides that return on investment? That’s right — the original seller. The one looking for the no-hassle cash offer.” Read  More. 

West Coast shifting to a buyers market (Housing Wire, Feb. 5)

Homebuyers don’t have last year’s sense of urgency

Although several housing markets were impacted by January’s slow growth in home sales, new data from Redfin indicates the West Coast is especially feeling the slowdown.

According to the company, homes in San Jose’s metro took an average of 45 days to sell for the four-week period ending Jan. 27, an increase of 12 days from the same time period in 2018.

Notably, Seattle and Portland also experienced similar slowdowns.

In Seattle, homes spent 47 days on the market, up from 15 days in the same period last year. Homes in Portland took 50 days to sell, increasing from 28 days one year prior.

“Buyers this year don’t have the same sense of urgency that was palpable a year ago,” Read More. 

Study assesses long-term financial impact of living in your parents’ basement (Housing Wire, Feb. 5)

The data prompted the Urban Institute to conclude that moving in with Mom and Dad might not be the best choice for your financial future.

Those who pursued homeownership later in life were worse off in the long run than their counterparts who jumped to it earlier.

Research shows that those who buy homes earlier in life amass the greatest amount of housing wealth in their later years, with homeowners 25 and younger seeing the greatest return on their investment. This means that delaying homeownership could have a negative impact on your wealth in the long term. Read More. 

Here’s how much money millennials shopping for homes this year plan to spend (CNBC, Jan. 31)

They’re being conservative. About 30 percent of millennials who are planning to buy a home in the next year say their price range is between $100,000 and $199,999, while another 27 percent say they plan to spend between $200,000 and $299,999. Only 5 percent have a budget of $500,000 or more, despite the high prices in many major U.S. cities. Read More. 

US Created 304,000 jobs in January, vs. 170,000 expected (CNBC, Feb. 1)

Job growth in January shattered expectations, with nonfarm payrolls surging by 304,000 despite a partial government shutdown that was the longest in history, the Labor Department reported Friday. Read More.


The 6 Most Expensive Rental Markets are All in California (Housing Wire, Feb. 1)

California cities in the top 10 now include San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego and Santa Ana. Three of those cities are in the top 5 most expensive markets.

Here are the top five rental markets in the U.S.:

  1. Los Angeles, California: One-bedroom rent decreased a slight 0.8% to $2,400, while two bedrooms saw an even smaller dip, down 0.6% to $3,200.
  2. Boston, Massachusetts: One-bedroom rent fell 1.2% to $2,420, while two bedrooms grew 1.5% to $2,740.
  3. San Jose, California: One-bedroom rent grew 1.6% to $2,530, while two bedrooms increased 1% to $3,030.
  4. New York City, New York: One-bedroom rent increased 1.1% to $2,780, while two bedrooms grew 2.9% to $3,200.
  5. San Francisco, California: One-bedroom rent grew 2.3% to $3,580, while two bedrooms decreased a slight 0.2% to $4,640.

(By comparison, a one-bedroom apartment in Portland rents for an average $1,370 per month.) Read More. 

Just For Fun

Portland’s Worst Day of the Year Bike Ride Postponed—Due to Year’s Worst Weather (Willamette Week, Feb. 6)

“For everybody snarking about this, keep in mind the forecast for the weekend looks pretty dang bad.” Read More. 

Thanks for reading!