Last weekend showing property it was brought home to me again how important it is to narrow your search. I met with two separate buyers in different parts of town. They knew exactly where they wanted to purchase and their search is contained within those areas.
Several years ago I had a buyer who was interested in purchasing in Portland. He told me he wanted to look in Clackamas, Washington, and Multnomah counties – pretty much half the state, or thereabouts. It was extremely difficult for him to narrow down where he wanted to live because his search parameter was way too large in scope. I kept encouraging him to narrow his choices. As a result, he thought a house in one part of the State looked extremely appealing when in fact compared to other areas and factors, it wasn’t a good deal at all. It was like comparing apples to oranges.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t look at several areas, but the sooner you zero in on the location you would rather live in, the easier it is on you, the buyer.
One thing I tell my buyers is that I would hate for them to look on one side of the road and never having looked on the other side. When you first start looking for a house, of course, your parameters may not be as narrow. It’s actually good if you start with a larger area and then narrow it down if you don’t know where you want to live. But, that’s not to say you should include half the state of Oregon. The sooner you know where you want to live, the sooner you will find your “dream” home.
The OFHEO has come out with its latest house price data. Remember that these cover much more of the US than the 20 cities of the Case-Shiller report, but are based home sales only with conventional mortgages. Anyway, we can see the data for Oregon cities, Oregon and the USA.
Here (a bit messy) is the raw data since Q1 of 2004:
Here (even more messy) is the quarter to quarter % change in home values:
Here is the overall depreciation (so positive numbers are bad in the sense that they represent loss of value) since Q1 of 2007 when the market in Oregon really turned:
Overall, it is bad, especially for Bend and Medford which are seeing collapses of California proportions, but overall the state is not doing too badly in relative terms.
Here is a nice picture from their summary report that shows the national picture. Oregon is the 35th best state in terms of home value appreciation (or limited depreciation):