Changes in New Construction

Housing starts in new construction have always been a leading indicator of what is happening in the housing market. It can be a real roller coaster for builders. So I thought it would be interesting to compile some information that allows you to easily see what has happened to new construction in Lake Oswego in the years 2006-2011.

Here is a summary:

Year # Houses Sold Low Price High Price Average Price Square feet
2006 30 $449,900 $1,980,000 $1,068,000 3,743
2007 33 $825,000 $2,610,000 $1,435,000 4,450
2008 11 $670,000 $1,815,000 $990,000 3,746
2009 11 $519,000 $2,025,000 $1,002,000 3,623
2010 13 $510,000 $1,115,000 $697,000 3,635
2011 18 to date $375,000 $959,000 $683,000 3,131
2011 Pending 13 $379,900 $1,199,000 $619,800 3,071
Active 39 $379,950 $3,400,000 $662,000 2,924

It’s pretty incredible to see how heady things got in 2007. In just one year the average sales price went up from $1,068,000 to $1,435,000. And the size of the houses being built went from an average of 3743 square feet to 4450 square feet. I remember seeing million dollar mansions being built and sold as spec houses on Southshore! I have always been able to appreciate a big, gorgeous new house at top dollar if it also has a nice location and setting, but on a busy street? Even then it seemed crazy to me. But there is so little undeveloped land in Lake Oswego that the buyers were willing to buy on a busy street. The demand for large, luxury homes was that high.

Then the economy turned. Very few homes were built and sold 2008-2010.

What got me to thinking about writing on this topic is that I have been seeing quite a lot more new construction. The builders have learned and adapted to the economy. I was surprised to see that the average size of a new home is still right around 3000 square feet. So they are smaller, especially when compared to the 4450 average size in 2007, but 3000 square feet is still a good sized house. The big change is in the pricing. Averages prices of 2011 solds, pending sales and active listings are all in the $600,000’s. There are 18 closed sales year to date but 13 in escrow. With escrow times running 45-60 days, it’s fair to say that most of the pending sales will close by the end of the year. So we could potentially see new construction sales up around 30 for the year, which is where they were before the recession.

I think this is a time of opportunity in Lake Oswego housing. There are 13 brand new homes for sale in LO right now that are priced under $500,000.

Please let us know if you want further information. Linda and I would love to be of help.

Least and Most Expensive

Back in March I wrote a post about affordable homes in Lake Oswego. My definition of affordable were homes priced under $350,000. At the time, March 28, 2008, there were 20 houses for sale in Lake Oswego priced at $350,000 or less. I compared that number to houses in Sellwood, a close-in neighborhood in Southeast Portlnad, where at the same time there were 18 houses priced $350,000 or less. What is going on today? How has the changing market affected the availability of affordable houses?

As of today, August 25, 2008, there are 28 houses in Lake Oswego priced at $350,000 or less. These are detached homes: not condos or attached townhouses. The least expensive house for sale right now in Lake Oswego is a 2 bedroom, 1 bath house with 1320 square feet in Lake Grove priced at $199,900. And how about Sellwood? As of today there are 32 houses for sale in Sellwood priced at $350,000 or less. The least expensive house for sale in Sellwood is a 1 bedroom, 1 bath house with 831 square feet for $175,000. So while there are more available in Sellwood, the difference in available, affordable housing is just 4 houses. This situation continues to reinforce my belief that Lake Oswego is a viable location for a buyer looking for affordable housing.

In the course of doing this research I found a couple of houses currently for sale in Lake Oswego that stand out as total bargains. There is a house in Rivergrove that backs up to the playground at Rivergrove Elementary School that has 1744 square feet, 5 bedrooms and 2.5 baths for $297,400. There is also a good deal up by Hallinan Elementary School that is 1500 square feet with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths for $289,000.

How about the other extreme? What is happening in the million dollar price range? There are currently 25 houses for sale in Lake Oswego that are priced at over $2,000,000. The most expensive is the same house that was the most expensive the last time I did this little comparison back in March. It’s on Oswego Lake with 5800 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 5.5 baths, and priced, still, at $7,500,000. Are these high-end homes selling? In the last 6 months just 3 homes have sold that were priced over $2,000,000. It makes me think that the other 25 that are currently for sale are going to be on the market for awhile.

Finally, there is a phenomenon I have been watching, and that is the spec homes that are currently for sale priced over $1,000,000. A spec home is a house that is built by a builder before there is a buyer. The builder is “speculating” on a future sale. Lots of money has been made by local builders in Lake Oswego in the last few years. As you drive through town you see lots and lots of new homes and homes under construction. How is the current market affecting these builders? As of today, August 25, 2008, there are 48 new homes for sale that are priced between $1,000,000 and $6, 300,000. And in the last 6 months there were 7 closed sales and 3 pending sales within this inventory. So it’s slow.

I find it all very interesting. With the slow market, I think there are some tremendous deals to be found. And I remain convinced that Lake Oswego is a viable option for a buyer looking for an affordable home.