Spring brings seasonal changes for real estate

April 6, 2011

In spring, a young man's fancy turns to … real estate.

At least, that is what statistics show. Listings and sales traditionally increase dramatically when the weather begins to warm.

Hood River has followed this trend in years past; often with a correlated rise in asking prices. That is, up until 2008's housing market crash.

So, what will this year's warm breezes carry in for the county's 2011 housing market?

"I'm hopeful about 2011 because I am already working with several local people who have stable jobs who are hoping to buy, along with retirees from across the U.S. looking for their retirement properties," said Denise McCravey, broker-owner of Gorge Property Real Estate Team.

"Investment buyers are also looking at the stable vacation rental market here and pulling money out of stocks to buy here," she said. "The balance of buyer types is coming back."

Whether you are one of those buyers or a potential seller, a review of 2010 sales activity and the first two months of 2011 can provide a helpful snapshot of conditions leading up to this season.

For 2010, the median sales price for homes sold in the county was $275,000. This is a .95 percent drop from the 2009 median price of $289,000.

The "median" represents the price at which 50 percent of homes had sales prices above the figure and 50 percent had sales prices below the figure. The median price tends to resist individual skewing trends from single high-priced sales.

However, average sales prices (the total sum of all sales prices, divided by the number of sales) may provide additional insight.

According to the Regional Multiple Listing Service for Oregon, Hood River County in 2010, as compared to Wasco, Skamania and Klickitat, showed the smallest drop in average sales price for closed sales - totaling just a 0.3 percent decline in the 12-month period.

Skamania was nearest in retaining average sales price value, with just a 3.8 percent drop; Wasco averaged a 9.8 percent drop; Klickitat topped the pack with a 10.7 percent average decline.

Within Hood River County, location appeared to affect the bottom-line sales price averages significantly.

Gains in average sales prices for 2010 versus 2009 were seen on homes sold on the east side (31.9 percent increase based on nine sales) and on the west side (8.1 percent increase based on 40 sales).

These increases were offset by sales price declines elsewhere in the county as follows: inside the City of Hood River (4.4 percent decline); Odell (2.3 percent decline); Parkdale/Mt. Hood (10.3 percent decline) and Cascade Locks (23.4 percent decline).

Overall, 2010 resulted in 203 closed sales for the county, following 416 new listings for the year.

The first two months of 2011 are providing limited prognostic data as only 12 sales have been closed. (March statistics will be available after April 15.)

In January and February, nine homes sold inside the City of Hood River with an average sales price decline of 3.4 percent. Two homes closing on the west side netted a 10.3 percent increase over last year. One home sold in Cascade Locks closed with a sales price at 27.9 percent less than last year's average.

"Our 2011 market has continued in slow mode; although the number of showings and buyers interest has increased," said Kris Gann, realtor with Don Nunamaker Realty.

It is generally wise to research historical data when anticipating a sale or purchase. Luckily, the average person can also find help from any local realtor to interpret this information, and receive added guidance for up-to-the-minute specific market data.

Hood River sales data was provided by Oregon RMLS mar

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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