The warm season is just starting in earnest in Bend and Eugene, and that means the traditional home buying season is here too.
Last April, of course, things were anything but normal, as anxiety swirled around COVID-19 and both buyers and sellers put their real estate plans on hold. Even though the pandemic isn’t yet in the rearview mirror, things probably feel more “normal” right now for most folks. But the real estate market has been anything but.
All over the country, inventory is low and prices are rising. Bend and Eugene aren’t unique in that sense, but Bend in particular is an extreme example. You won’t see it lists of the country’s hottest housing markets, which typically are limited to the 100 largest metro areas. In terms of diminishing inventory and sky-high appreciation, though, it’s right up there.
In comparison, Eugene’s numbers remain more normal in terms of what markets are seeing nationwide. As we like to point out though, Eugene’s market was already very tight before the pandemic, and it has only gotten tighter. Competition has really ramped up on homes with the most desirable features and locations, and bidding wars are becoming more and more common at higher and higher price points.
Let’s go into the nitty-gritty. Here’s April’s numbers for Bend and Eugene.
April 2021 Real Estate Market Report for Bend, Oregon
Sometimes our predictions turn out to be wrong, and this is one of those times.
Last month, the median sale price in Bend dropped from $605,000 to $600,000, leading us to speculate that Bend’s market had finally reached its peak for now. That turned out to be far from the case, however.
Inventory was actually up very slightly in April, rising from 0.6 months in March to 0.7 months. Nonetheless, the median for all residential properties in Bend rose to a previously unimaginable $660,000. The average home sold for close to 4% above list price, going off the market in just 4 days.
The year-over-year numbers for Bend in 2021 versus 2020 are a little bit deceiving. April of 2020 was when the full scope of the pandemic really sunk in, and there was a lot of anxiety. That caused both buyer and seller activity to plummet.
Going back a year to April of 2019 to get a better sense of a “normal” spring in Bend, new listings are down 10% year-over-year while pending sales are basically flat. The big difference in 2021 though is that inventory didn’t have a chance to accumulate over the winter. As many properties are selling as the market can bear, and buyers are lined up waiting, especially now that the weather is nice.
Not all properties are getting multiple offers, but bidding wars are driving enough properties way over list price that we’ve seen home values appreciate an incredible 10% in the span of just a month. As much as those of us on the ground have become accustomed to Bend’s market being insane, this is just a new level of crazy.
Sellers and their agents have certainly been getting more aggressive, with Bend’s median list price rising 5% between March and April, but those buyers with the means to do so have come out even stronger. It’s going to be a bit of a game of chicken over the next several months in terms of whether inventory increases and enough buyers cool their jets a bit or prices reach further into the stratosphere.
April 2021 Real Estate Market Report for Eugene, Oregon
Again, the year-over-year numbers don’t necessarily tell us much about the state of Eugene’s market, because pandemic-related anxieties were running so high in April of 2020. Using April of 2019 as our benchmark, though, we see that new listings are down 19% while pending sales are about the same.
That’s a bigger disparity than we see in Bend, and yet prices didn’t rise nearly as much in Eugene. So what gives?
The reality is that prices in Eugene have actually risen a lot on particular types of properties. Homes with contemporary finishes, nice floorplans, good curb appeal, and attractive landscaping are often going for $75k, $100k or even $150k above list price.
Naturally, bidding wars are most common in both South and North Eugene’s “hotter” neighborhoods, and the Southeast quadrant has the highest proportion of homes going for top dollar. But homes that set themselves apart from the competition are getting crazy offers all across town.
On the other hand, plenty of homes in Eugene are going for at or even slightly below list price. Eugene has had a shortage of new construction over the past several decades relative to the amount of people moving in.
The result is a lack of of homes which live up to contemporary standards. Homes with nice remodels in good locations are therefore getting all the attention, while other properties remain overlooked.
In Eugene’s market right now, a little bit of vision and some elbow grease can go a long way in terms of sidestepping the competition. But in the $300-400k range, bidding wars are happening even on homes that need some work.
A client of ours recently won out over 25 other offers on a modest ranch-style home listed in the mid-$300k range with a handful of cosmetic issues and needing a new roof. If you’re planning to sell your Eugene-area home in the near-future, it’s good to be picky with the improvements you make before going on the market, and what you should or shouldn’t do is going to be very dependent on your price point and location.