In April I wrote that it was a good time to sell your Bend, Oregon home. Home prices were higher than they had been since November 2008. Demand from buyers was stronger than it had been since March 2006 with 472 pended sales and inventory had just hit bottom two months earlier meaning buyers were competing for the relatively few homes that were for sale. And finally, if you were going to buy another home, interest rates were still below 4 percent.
The situation for sellers has continued to improve since April. Average price per square foot for homes sold in Central Oregon has risen 8.3 percent since April to $156 and demand remains strong with 529 sales pended in July. The only indicator that hasn’t improved for sellers is inventory. The number of homes for sale in Central Oregon has risen 34 percent since April. However, that isn’t completely bad news as inventory remains relatively low historically speaking.
Can it be BOTH a good time to sell your home AND a good time to buy a home? According to respondents of the Fannie Mae National Housing Survey released in July, the answer is yes. Tying the highest number to feel this way over the last three years, 40 percent of those questioned think now is a good time to sell. On the flip side, nearly three quarters of the respondents believe now is a good time to buy. They presumably feel that way because they think interest rates (62 percent) and home prices (53 percent) will continue to rise over the next 12 months.
So, because 74 percent of those surveyed think now is a good time to buy a home does that mean now is a better time to buy a home than it was two years ago? No, it isn’t, but we can’t turn back the clock and the fear is that two years from now we may look back on August 2013 and say, “Why didn’t I buy a house back then when I had the chance?” Hindsight is always 20/20 but if you look at the current Bend real estate market from a historical perspective things look pretty darn good.
The 30-year mortgage is at 4.39 percent today. Take a look at this list of mortgage rates by month since 1971 and tell me 4.39 isn’t awesome. The problem for home buyers is it appears interest rates are only going to go up from here and home prices aren’t likely to fall back to 2011 levels even though they are still well below the June 2006 peak of $237/sqft. Take a look at the chart below to see what home prices in Bend have been doing over the last 15 months. Buyers are right to feel a sense of urgency.