The Case-Shiller report issued today indicates that while housing values had been declining year over year in the Northwest, prices seem to have stabilized and made a moderate increase over the summer in Portland. The question remains whether we have hit bottom and will now see moderate increases over the coming months. Watch this interview with Robert Shiller in which he talks about the report and his view on the historically low interest rates.
Local housing inventory seems to have gone down and remains under seven months, which would historically speaking put the Portland/Vancouver area within striking distance of a seller’s market. But questions remain as to whether foreclosure activity will pick up, increasing the supply again. In looking at the housing data, I would argue that the inventory was off the charts in early 2009 and that the homebuyers tax credit pushed forward the sales in that year that would otherwise have occurred in 2010. And if you average out the data, the curve suggests a steady decline in inventory from the 19.2-month supply in January 2009 to the present time. It will be interesting to see whether additional foreclosures will pick up and increase the inventory or whether the inventory will continue to dwindle.