Portland Area Real Estate Appraisal Discussion

When appraising most residential property for lending purposes, appraisers are asked in the 1004MC Market Conditions Addendum to, “Explain in detail the seller concessions trends for the past 12 months (e.g., seller contributions increased from 3% to 5%, increasing use of buydowns, closing costs, condo fees, options, etc.)” The problem is that in Portland, OR, data on seller concessions is not available publically, nor is it available through the local multiple listing service (MLS). In my experience, most appraisers in Portland merely make an educated guess at the answer to this question.

The only way to obtain data on concessions in Portland is to conduct interviews with agents. When A Quality Appraisal (AQA) does an appraisal, we call or email at least one agent involved in each comparable transaction to find out if there were concessions involved in the sale. Contrary to popular belief among Portland residential appraisers, most Portland agents will answer this question and other pertinent questions about the sale.

AQA finds that almost all of the concessions seen in the Portland area are payment of the buyer’s closing costs. In the agent interview, we also ask if the concessions were reimbursement for some type of necessary repair to the property that the buyer would need to make soon after closing. From an appraisal standpoint, reimbursement for a necessary repair is not an adjustable concession. This is because the repair cost becomes part of the total price the buyer pays for the house.

Since June of 2011, AQA has tracked concessions on nearly 5,000 home sales in the Portland region to identify local trends in concessions. Our hope was to use the data to discover how much the concession actually affects the sale price. This question turned out to be more difficult to answer than expected, but we have learned the following general information about concession trends in Portland home sales:

1. Concessions are most common (occurring as much as 78% of the time) and tend to be larger on sales with FHA, USDA, or VA financing. Price ranges where these types of financing are active seem to generate the most concessions. Cash sales rarely have concessions.

2. The following table shows that Portland concessions are most frequent (occurring on about 48% of all sales) when the sale price is between $100k and $300k:

Portland Home Appraiser Concession Chart

3. The chart below shows that most concessions tend to be evenly disbursed at under 3% of sale price, with only a few sales having more than 3% in concessions.

Portland Appraiser Concession Distribution Chart

4. The last chart illustrates that despite the Portland real estate market improving significantly since 2011, the proportion of sales with concessions have remained quite stable over time.

Portland Appraiser Percentage of Sales with Concessions Trend

If you are a Portland area home appraiser and you need to answer the concession trend question on your next appraisal 1004MC, feel free to site this blog as your source for the data. It would be nice if Portland appraisers, as a group, could maintain a database with concession information about particular sales from the local RMLS, but I’m afraid it is a violation of confidentiality to the agents who provided the information. The RMLS could make a concession field for reporting the information, but I’m told that they are against it for confidentiality reasons. There was a legislative push to in Oregon to place concessions in the public record, but it failed. For now, individual appraiser tracking of concession data in Portland is the best that the profession can do to keep an eye on this important, yet hidden, part of the transaction.

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