Clients often ask, “What is the best time of year to buy
or sell my home in Portland?” My past answer
has always been that it depends on the supply and demand in the submarket of
the property being sold. I would explain
that there is typically more competition from other listed homes in the summer. On the other hand, I would explain that there
tends to be less competition during winter months, but those sellers are
inclined to be more motivated. In
retrospect, I realize that by trying to be correct for every situation fails to
answer the general question that my clients are asking. Here is a better overall explanation using
recently published data.
The latest Portland Metro RMLS Area Report was
published December 12th, 2014.
The report shows that although median prices continue to trend upward in
Portland year-over-year, prices did take the normal autumnal seasonal drop of a
couple percent. The fall months are highlighted
in yellow on the following RMLS Chart.
Portland Home Price Index is a more scientific measure of market
trends than median prices, but the data is older when it is released. The most recent figures were released
November 25, 2014 and only report through September. However, Case-Shiller figures are an
excellent way to study the typical seasonal shift in the market for Portland
because they report back to 1986 using consistent measures. The following chart shows the average
Case-Shiller Portland Index month by month all the way back to 1986.
In the chart, the average Case-Shiller Portland Index is shown
in red at 105.63. Notice that eight of
the twelve months show above average sales prices and would generally be
considered good times to sell. The data
also show that prices typically decline about two percent in the fall from the
summer high, and almost five percent to the winter low in January.
Based on the above data and speaking in general terms, it
would be best to buy a Portland, Oregon home in January or February and to sell
in August or September. The problem is
that most people buy a home at the same time that they sell another home,
meaning that they accrue no net benefit based on market timing. Those who are only buying or selling (as a
first-time buyer or an estate seller) might not have the flexibility to try and
time the market. Consequently, the best
advice is that there are low prices or good deals to be found in any market,
and that a strong sales price can be obtained when decisions are based on sound
counsel from real estate experts and not emotions.
Did I leave anything out or do you want to join in the conversation? Let me know in the comments below.
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