I think a good question to ask is why our values are remaining relatively high compared to other parts of the United States. In one word: migration.
United Van Lines has tracked shipment patterns for people relocating within the United States since 1977. Their most recent study, which tracks migration patterns that occured in 2007, shows some interesting patterns.
The area of the country that lost the greatest number of people was the Great Lakes Region with Michigan leading the pack as the top out-bound location. Other states with high out-bound migration were North Dakota and New Jersey. When looking at the out-bound trends, one that caught my eye was that the migration out of California slowed down last year to the smallest percentage seen in five years.
So where were migration trends of states that had more people moving in than moving out? In the South and in the West. North Carolina was the #1 destination state with Alabama and South Carolina not too far behind. In the West, the states that lead the pack for in-bound migration were Nevada, Oregon, and Arizona.
The economics of real estate value has a whole lot to do with demand. In Michigan, where the auto industry is a huge employer and has had to lay off many of its workers, it would make sense that there would be people moving away, less demand for housing, and lowering prices. In states like Oregon, where there are more people moving in than are moving out, it would have the reverse of the same logic. People moving in creates more demand for housing which could help to keep home prices stable.
Having said all of that, I found the statistic about California really interesting. People moving to Oregon from California is a big part of the real estate market. If that source of buyers in declining, I do think that it will have an impact on our market. In addition, if those people who do move to Oregon from California are getting less for the homes that they are selling, then they will have less purchasing power when they arrive in Oregon.
It will be very, very interesting to see how this plays out over the course of the next year or two.