Image with stacks of coins and wood house depicting Eugene Oregon real estate market

Eugene Oregon Real Estate Market Report

Last Updated July 6, 2022

June, 2022 Eugene Real Estate Market Report

Yes, buyer activity is down a fair amount year-over-year in Eugene. But that didn’t stop sale prices from reaching a record-high of $479,000, 3% higher than a month earlier.

There’s a lot of talk going on about how high interest rates are keeping buyers out of the market. It’s often overlooked, though, that high rates are also discouraging sellers from listing their homes, assuming they need to finance the purchase of a replacement property. New listings are down 14% year-over-year in Eugene. 

Inventory is now up to one month, and Eugene’s market feels a lot less tight now than it did in the late winter, when inventory dropped to all-time lows. One month is still super low, though, and there’s still plenty of competition. 

In June, Eugene homes sold for an average of 1.8% above list price. Bidding wars are still a thing here, in other words. If listing activity continues to be low, prices will continue to hover around $480k or even increase slightly. 

Eugene Oregon June 2022 market report infographic

 

May, 2022 Eugene Real Estate Market Report

If you’re a buyer waiting for things to cool off a bit before you dip your toes in Eugene’s market, it might be time to reassess the situation. Eugene’s market is hardly cooling at all, in spite of all the reports we’re seeing nationwide about hot housing markets falling back to earth. 

Through May, homes sold for an average of 3.6% over list price. May’s median sale price of $463,000 is 3% lower than April’s record high of $478,000, but the trendline is still intact: prices in Eugene have yet to flatten.

So why is Eugene’s market bucking the trend that we’re seeing in other locales? The reason is simple: inventory remains incredibly low.

It’s typical to see listing activity ramp up considerably heading into the summer, but new listings were up only 11% month-over-month in May and down 13% year-over-year. We did have an usually cool and rainy May, so that could be a contributing factor.

Buyer activity – as measured by pending sales – is down too. Mortgage rates are the obvious culprit. But there just hasn’t been enough seller activity to move the needle, and those who do list their homes are continuing to be aggressive. 

Homes listed in May went on the market at a record median of $475,000. Buyers should have slightly more choices in the months ahead, but we simply don’t foresee any dramatic shifts in Eugene’s market. 

May 2022 Eugene Oregon Market Report Infographic

April, 2022 Eugene Real Estate Market Report

In April, Eugene saw the single largest month-over-month price hike on record. The median sale price for all residential properties rose 10% to $478,000.

Meanwhile, inventory largely remained flat, but there were 15% more new listings in April than pending sales.

During the spring season, it’s typical to see inventory start to increase. We aren’t seeing a big surge that would indicate too many buyers are shying away from Eugene’s market due to higher mortgage rates, which have hovered around 5.5% locally.

We predict that there will be an incremental shift toward less buyer activity, and it’s tempting to imagine that prices will flatten from here. There are no guarantees, though. For now, the spring buying season is just as frenzied as ever in Eugene. 

Eugene Oregon Real Estate Market Report April 2022 Infographic

March, 2022 Eugene Real Estate Market Report 

Inventory is up and prices are down. That’s exactly the scenario that Eugene’s buyers have been waiting for, right?

Well, not so fast. No discussion of the real estate market in March is complete without mention of the significant mortgage rate increases we’ve seen over the past few weeks. In Oregon, 30-year-fixed rates are hovering right around the 5% mark. That means home shoppers have less buying power than before, and it’s natural that prices would start to ease off.

That trend will be short-lived though. We’re just entering into the beginning of Eugene’s usual spring buying frenzy, and there are still plenty of buyers left with cash to throw around. The 211 properties that were pending at the end of March had a median ask price of $455,000, and that offers a good preview of what sale prices will look like in April. 

Meanwhile, homes are selling just as fast as they did the last year, and buyer activity is up more than seller activity. We expect this momentum to continue through the spring, even as mortgage rates continue to climb. Prices could flatten in the $450-460k range, but there’s no guarantee. Inventory will likely move closer to 1 month during the next chunk of time, but competition for the most desirable properties will be as fierce as ever.

Eugene real estate market report infographic March 2022

February, 2022 Eugene Real Estate Market Report

It keeps happening month after month, but Eugene’s inventory of residential properties dropped to record lows again in February. Unsurprisingly, sale prices climbed to record highs, though Eugene’s 2% month-over-month appreciation is still well behind what we’re seeing right now in Bend

At the same time, new listings are up more than pending sales year-over-year, so we should be right at the edge of a (minor) reversal. More inventory will mean more choices for buyers in the spring, but there’s going to be competition. It’s been an exceptionally barren winter for home shoppers at all price points in Eugene, and a surge of FOMO is incredibly likely. 

Mind you, we won’t see that reflected in next month’s sale prices. Pending sales in February were listed at a median of only $414,000. To put it bluntly, Eugene’s higher-end inventory sucks right now. Buyers at higher price points are waiting, while at lower price points, buyers are grabbing up properties while interest rates are still low and prices are still staying (relatively) flat. 

They won’t be flat for long. By April, Eugene’s median sale price should climb up to a new, higher tier in spite of inventory being slightly higher. 

 

January, 2022 Eugene Real Estate Market Report

Through the first month of 2022, inventory increased slightly, with new listings up 45% month-over-month. That’s a promising signal if you’ve been looking for a home in Eugene and have started to feel discouraged. But prices are up too, rising 4% month-over-month to a median sale price of $440,000 in January.

That isn’t surprising. Inventory reached a record low of just 0.4 months in December, creating the conditions for exceptional competition among buyers. Sellers took advantage, with list prices hitting a record of $445,000.

Even though January’s sales numbers are low, that’s more a reflection of limited choices than a lack of buyer demand. As we see in January’s pending sale numbers, up 25% month-over-month, buyers aren’t necessarily waiting until the spring to start shopping for homes. But a number of others are likely waiting in the wings, especially those looking for homes in Eugene’s most sought-after neighborhoods.

If new properties continue to come on the market a bit faster than buyers are purchasing them, price growth may stay relatively flat until the spring. But there’s no guarantee of that, and Eugene’s market will almost certainly reach new highs by the end of the winter.

January 2022 Eugene Oregon real estate market report

December, 2021 Eugene Real Estate Market Report

At the end of 2021, inventory hit an all-time low in Eugene of just 0.4 months. In other words, it’s harder to find a home in Eugene than ever before. Pickings are usually slim in the winter months, but the situation at present is off-the-charts. New listings were down 17% year-over-year, adding to the squeeze.

The good news is that buyer activity is finally easing off, with pending sales dropping more than new listings in December. It’s likely that buyers are taking a break from the market over the winter, setting their sights instead to the spring or summer.

Bidding wars aren’t nearly as common as they were in the middle of 2021, and prices are staying flat, at least for now. But the quality of inventory available right now simply isn’t up to snuff, even by the standard we’ve become accustomed to in Eugene over the past few years.

November 2021 Eugene Real Estate Market Report

Through most of the summer and fall, Eugene’s residential inventory had mostly remained flat at a quite low 0.8 months. In November, though, new listings fell by 34% month-over-month while pending sales dropped by only 8%. As a result, Eugene’s inventory dropped to 0.6 months, tying the record low that we saw in the spring.

In Eugene’s market, it’s typical for inventory to fall heading into the winter as buyers score deals on leftovers from the fall and summer. The difference this year is that inventory is already lower than ever. The aforementioned “deals” drove November’s median sale price down from October’s record high, but we may be heading back there pretty fast.

Bidding wars are much less common than they were in the spring and summer, with only a handful of properties selling for 10% or more above list price, but that’s really a result of list prices finally catching up to the reality of the market.

Sellers who are too aggressive may see their homes sit on the market, especially during the slower winter season. Still, there are more than enough buyers waiting in the wings waiting to pounce upon most of whatever may hit the market in the coming months – and pay a decent penny for it.

October 2021 Eugene Real Estate Market Report

October sales hit a record median of $450,000 in Eugene, a remarkable 6% month-over-month jump after prices had mostly remained flat through the summer. Nothing too obvious has shifted in Eugene’s market, but that might be precisely the point.

With buyer and seller activity basically keeping pace with each other, there hasn’t been any chance for inventory to accumulate in Eugene. Buyers perhaps didn’t find themselves at as much of an advantage as they’d hoped following a nationwide cooldown in the housing market.

We’ve been repeating this for a while, but it’s even more true today than it ever was: Eugene’s market isn’t shifting course any time in the foreseeable future. It won’t blow up, simply because there isn’t enough inventory to support it, but demand should continue to outstrip supply and prices should continue to march upward, even if they do flatten out from here for a few months.

Buyers may wait on the sidelines for most of the winter – and sellers certainly will – but the spring of 2022 could very well be a repeat of this year irrespective of national trends.

October 2021 Eugene, Oregon Real estate market report

August 2021 Eugene Real Estate Market Report

The numbers for August 2021 are in, and they paint a clear picture. Bend’s market is finally getting less frenzied, with prices dropping some amount from the record highs we saw just a month ago. On the other side of the mountains in Eugene, things are just about as tight as ever but prices are staying flat rather than jumping up.

If you’ve recently bought a home pretty much anywhere, it’s natural to worry that you “bought at the top.” Conversely, if you’ve been on the fence about selling your home, you might be wondering if you’ve lost your window of opportunity.

But the changes we’re seeing in Bend and Eugene are incremental rather than drastic. Inventory is still really tight. Activity will cool heading into the colder months, as it usually does. But there aren’t any realistic scenarios where surplus inventory clogs either market heading into the spring and summer buying season next year.

Timing is everything, but so much depends on your situation. There are many more factors than we can go into here, so reach out to us any time and we’ll help you get your bearings. In the meanwhile, we’ll continue to keep a close eye on our local markets and keep you informed.

For Eugene in August, new listings were down 5% month-over-month while pending sales rose 5%. Inventory is dropping again, and homes went off the market 25% quicker than they did the previous month. But prices are mostly staying flat, hitting a median of $427,000 in August.

That’s lower than the record high of $440,000 set several months ago. List prices rose 3.4% month-over-month in August, but homes sold for 2.3% over list on average, compared to 4.2% in July. In other words, while sellers have gotten more aggressive, buyers are starting to hold back, even though there are just as many of them.

Eugene’s market is tightest though at the $350k-450k price point, with inventory at just 0.6 months. Competition will remain stiff heading into the fall, but buyers at higher price points may find some relief compared to what we’ve seen in the spring and summer.

July 2021 Eugene Real Estate Market Report 

You may have seen headlines recently that the “housing boom is over” nationwide. Inventory in Bend and Eugene reached their lowest points in the spring, and it’s been climbing steadily since. At the same time, prices are also climbing, especially in Bend. Why?

Well, inventory is still really, really low in both Bend and Eugene. Inventory averaged 6.3 months nationwide in June, but here, it’s hovering around 1 month. Things aren’t as tight as what we saw in the spring, when inventory dropped to 0.7 months in both Bend and Eugene. But in July, prices were still up 26% year-over-year in Bend and 21% in Eugene.

Through the remainder of the year, we expect appreciation to flatten as inventory accumulates heading into the colder months. That’s typical for the winter – but we still expect higher than normal activity in the fall and a market that is still overall very competitive.

The question is always: how does this bigger picture affect you if you’re thinking of buying or selling in the near or more distant future? We are more than happy to chat about that and give you personal context. Regardless of broader trends, the devil is always in the details, and we bring a level of attention and expertise that will help you navigate the choices you need to make.

Prices in Eugene fell shy of the record of $440,000 set in June. But with new listings down month-over-month and pending sales up, the scene is set for Eugene’s median sale price to continue appreciating through the rest of the summer.

On the other hand, Eugene properties spent slightly longer on the market in July (a median of 8 days versus 5 in June.) The most desirable properties are still selling really, really fast, but this could be a signal that buyers aren’t as eager to compromise on a less-than-ideal home.

Interestingly, inventory is up slightly in the sub-$400k range and down significantly in the $400-600k range. The latter has become Eugene’s most competitive price point, and in July, new listings of $400-600k properties were down 26% month-over-month, dropping from 150 to 111. Bidding wars on these homes will continue to drive prices in Eugene higher for the time being. For sellers, it’s an especially lucrative time to list homes at these price points.

May 2021 Eugene Real Estate Market Report 

Summer is just on the horizon. During a normal year, that would mean a surge of new housing inventory as Bend and Eugene sellers try to take advantage of the fair weather and influx of visitors.

But while inventory is up – marginally – in both communities, what we’ve seen so far has been underwhelming. Compared to other markets across the country, the supply of homes in Bend and Eugene remains low, low, low, and that is still the beginning and the end of the story for both markets.

With competition so fierce, potential buyers in Bend and Eugene might be wondering whether it’s better to wait out some of the craziness, especially if inventory is starting to increase even a little bit. We’ve taken a deeper dive into that question in our latest blog article, and the answer is a little complicated, so go there for the full scoop.

In Eugene, prices continued to climb in May, rising 2% month-over-month to a record high of $424,000. As we mentioned above, inventory is up slightly in Eugene – but it’s just a very slight increase, from 0.6 months in April to 0.7 months in May. Meanwhile, there are indications that Eugene could be in for a very busy summer home-buying season.

New listings increased 37% month-over-month in May, but pending sales were up 42% compared to April. That means buyers are entering the market faster than sellers. If that trend continues, we can expect prices – and competition – to continue to climb heading into the summer. There’s a chance, though, that seller activity will spike somewhat later than buyer activity, maybe providing some relief for buyers later in the summer.

Comparing 2021 to 2019 – our last “normal” year – seller activity is down 13%. That’s a smaller gap than what we’re seeing in Bend, but it still indicates a significant deficit in inventory given how tight Eugene’s market was even in 2019.

April 2021 Eugene Real Estate Market Report 

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.

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.

March 2021 Eugene Real Estate Market Report

While new listings in Eugene were down year-over-year in March, 40% more new properties hit the market than did in February, and new listings even exceeded pending sales by a slight amount.

That’s a positive indicator for buyers, but the flip side is that March’s median sale price of $402,000 was a significant jump from the previous record of $380,000. Eugene sellers are increasingly realizing how much leverage they have, even with homes in neighborhoods that weren’t as “hot” in previous years.

Notably, March’s median sale price was 6% above February’s median list price, a clear indication of how competitive Eugene’s market is right now. But even though Eugene’s market is very tight, it isn’t necessarily getting tighter than it was during the winter.

There is likely some amount of FOMO (fear of missing out) involved. Many of the buyers looking for homes in Eugene right now have already put in multiple offers without getting an acceptance. Those with the resources are likely to put in a more aggressive offer the next time around, and so the cycle continues.

That’s true up to a certain point, anyway: as we’re seeing in Bend, there’s a place where the line simply gets crossed into unaffordability.

3rd Quarter 2020 Eugene Real Estate Market Report

Summer is over, and the 3rd Quarter numbers for Bend and Eugene’s real estate markets are in.

The verdict? To start, buyer activity is on the up-and-up and prices are rising, particularly in Bend. It’s also important, though, to contextualize the general direction of Bend and Eugene’s markets within the larger picture of an unfolding pandemic and possible longer-term economic fallout.

We will look at how Bend and Eugene’s markets might follow these larger trends, and how they might buck them in 2021. Read on as we give a summary of the national real estate market then dive into the numbers before offering our forecast for the road ahead.

Taking a Deeper Look at the National Real Estate Boom in Q3 of 2020

Throughout the 3rd quarter, real estate markets across the country defied the pandemic-related slowdown, with more buyers entering the market than ever.

When pandemic-related restrictions first took hold in Q2, the market saw a predictable slowdown in both buyer and seller activity. Toward the end of the 2nd quarter, however, shutdown orders started lifting and buyers came flooding back into the market. Sellers took longer to follow suit, but new listings have started to get closer to their pre-pandemic numbers.

Still, there’s been a serious imbalance nationwide between buyer and seller activity. According to the number-crunchers at Zillow, inventory is down 35% year-over-year nationwide. At the same time, new listings are down just 13.8%.

That means buyers are snapping up the leftover inventory from 2019. What happens when those leftovers are gone?

A boom in new construction is an obvious result. Nationwide, 27,700 new residential construction jobs have been added in recent months, but supply constraints continue to hinder the industry.

As we’ve gotten closer to the Fall, existing properties have started to come on the market at a rate approaching pre-pandemic numbers. For now though, it’s too little, too late, and rising prices are an obvious result.

Nationwide, the median sale price for residential properties is up 9.3% year-over year. 3-5% has been the norm for the past chunk of time. Meanwhile, incomes have risen just 3% for the average American.

In large part, this disparity has been fueled by plummeting interest rates. Mortgage rates hit yet another record low at the end of September, averaging 3.05% nationwide for 30-year fixed conventional mortgages.

report by an International Monetary Fund economist indicates that the current real estate boom is being fueled disproportionately by activity in lower-income ZIP codes and higher-income ZIP codes.

For lower incomes, the author speculates that this is tied to FOMO (fear of missing out) around low interest rates. For those with higher incomes, there is FOMO around the perceived possibility that hot real estate markets will keep getting hotter.

Of course, when we say “lower incomes,” some qualification is necessary. The restaurant, hospitality, and retail industries have been particularly hard-hit by the pandemic, but those in these industries were already among those least likely to purchase a home.

That, along with low interest rates and speculation, helps to explain the present gap between the broader economy and real estate purchases nationwide. There is also a very real possibility that the stock market is currently inflated.

Given the fraught status of COVID-19 prevention efforts in the U.S., the question needs to be asked of whether these trends are sustainable, and how they might affect–or not affect–local real estate markets, Eugene and Bend’s included.

Before we get to the bigger questions, though, let’s look at the numbers for Bend and Eugene and see what they have to tell us.

3rd Quarter 2020 Market Report for Eugene

Eugene’s market saw a year-over-year increase in both buyer and seller activity in Q3 of 2020.

Relative to the rest of the country, though, its numbers are actually somewhat pedestrian. Sales of residential properties increased only 2% overall. Meanwhile, new listings were up 5% thanks to a prolonged buying season encouraging more sellers to put their homes on the market in September.

Superficially, Eugene’s Q3 numbers indicate a little bit of a shift toward a buyer’s market, especially when we consider the outright buying frenzy taking place in many other parts of the country. (Bend is included, as we will see below.) Before we jump to conclusions, though, some further context is necessary.

Through the third quarter of 2020, Eugene’s market continued to experience robust appreciation, with the median sale price for all residential properties rising from $324,000 to $356,250. That’s a 10% increase and a bit higher than the current national average.

So why is Eugene’s market continuing to appreciate as much as it is even as inventory isn’t getting noticeably tighter? There’s actually a pretty simple explanation: Eugene didn’t have much surplus inventory heading into the pandemic to begin with.

For at least the past five years, turnkey homes in desirable locations have gone fast in Eugene, attracting multiple offers and selling for above list price. Record-low interest rates have indeed led more buyers to enter Eugene’s market and make offers on homes.

These buyers are all making offers on the same homes, however. That’s the main factor driving up prices right now in Eugene while overall sales numbers stay flat. We used to see multiple offers mainly on sub-$400k homes, but they’re becoming more and more common even toward the upper end of Eugene’s market.

A quick look at the market activity for different price points in Eugene shows that there haven’t been any seismic shifts from Q3 of 2019 to Q3 of 2020. The overall ratio of sales to new listings has remained fairly consistent at most price points.

Buyer and seller activity are up significantly, however, in the upper-middle end of Eugene’s market.  Purchases of homes in the $450-600k range rose 44%, while new listings rose 30%. Purchases of homes in the $600-800k range rose 57%, while new listings rose 53%.

A minor surge in new construction at these price points helps in part to explain the shift. Listings of homes constructed in 2019 or 2020 rose from 18 in Q3 of 2019 to 63 in Q3 of 2020, including a whopping 35 in September. Sales rose from just 9 to 34.

Our experience indicates that these price points are the most desirable for those relocating to Eugene from out-of-state. New construction in the $450-800k range has therefore helped stave off an inventory squeeze headed into the Fall.

Bare ground is extremely limited, however, and most of this building is taking place in very limited geographical areas where lots tend to be small.

Forecasting Eugene and Bend’s Markets in Early 2021 and Beyond

Toward the beginning of our analysis, we offered an overview of the national real estate market and raised some pointed questions about the overall direction of the economy.

The end of 2020 and beginning of 2021 could very well see a triple-whammy of political turmoil around the November election, stock market losses, and a possible resurgence of COVID-19 and new lockdown measures.

Interest rates are likely to remain low, even though it’s doubtful they’ll drop any lower, but it may be all too much for prospective buyers to stomach. The surge of buyers we’ve seen in the summer of 2020 came largely from pent-up demand that had accumulated in the winter and spring, but sentiment could certainly shift toward not buying next summer.

Meanwhile, if mortgage forbearance options run out and certain sectors of the economy still haven’t picked up, more homes might suddenly start hitting the market during the slowest time of year real estate-wise. That will include rental and VRBO properties that have become an unsustainable drain on investors’ portfolios.

Whether or not all of those (potential) factors lead to depreciation will depend a lot upon the particulars of individual markets. That brings us to our most important question: how resilient will Bend and Eugene’s markets be in the face of the challenges that might emerge in the months ahead?

Let’s start with Eugene. The bump in activity that we saw in Q3 of 2020 was largely a result of a slow Q2, when lockdown measures were in full force. We expect year-end numbers to be remarkably similar to 2019’s, albeit with steeper appreciation mirroring the general national trend.

Barring unforeseen and outlandish circumstances (yes, more outlandish than everything else that’s happened in 2020), a sell-off large enough to impact Eugene’s bottom line is unlikely. Eugene’s market has remained remarkably stable over the past number of years, appreciating at a rate higher than the national average but never going too crazy.

Barriers to development, chief among them a lack of buildable land, have kept speculation at bay. Meanwhile, the star of the University of Oregon has continued to shine brighter and brighter. In-person learning may be out in 2020-21, but the investment that’s been placed in the infrastructure of the UO isn’t going anywhere.

While Eugene remains something of a niche destination, we expect that it will continue to entice enough out-of-state transplants to keep inventory tight into the foreseeable future. Depending upon the state of the economy, appreciation might slow to closer to 4-5%, but the market will otherwise maintain its current momentum.

In contrast, for better or for worse, the pandemic has solidified Bend’s status as a bona fide destination in its own right. Inventory is tight enough now in the lower and middle ends of Bend’s market that it’s bound to generate pent-up demand.

Some buyers may finally back off during the winter months after striking out during the summer and early fall, but we expect many of those folks to be back during the spring. Even if one or several waves of new inventory hit the market, willing buyers shouldn’t be far away.

New construction will certainly account for a large portion of new inventory, but for the time being, it’s unlikely that builders will be able to keep up with the demand, much less oversaturate the market like they did in the several years preceding the 2008 recession.

Bend’s luxury market is a thornier subject, as subject as it is to the tribulations of the stock market. The flurry of activity we’ve seen in Q3 of 2020 indicates a certain momentum, though, that we don’t foresee slowing down too much.

We expect that prices in Bend will continue to appreciate into the Fall, albeit at a slightly lesser rate, before flattening in the winter. The spring buying season will be a busy one, however, and all bets are off for next summer.

August 2020 Eugene Real Estate Market Report

This summer has been hot in more ways than one here in Bend and Eugene, and it’s not over yet with a heat wave hitting Central Oregon and the Willamette Valley the first and second weeks of September. Likewise, the wave of buyers hitting both markets hasn’t slowed down quite yet.

Although COVID-19 cases in Deschutes and Lane County haven’t spiked the way they have in many other parts of the country, the virus hasn’t gone away yet either. Still, the numbers point to more and more sellers finally feeling comfortable putting their homes on the market.

That hasn’t been enough, though, to make up for the severe deficit of inventory that we saw heading into the summer. As far as buyer activity, Bend and Eugene’s markets both remained plenty hot through August. Let’s take a look at the numbers.

Just like with Bend, the big news for Eugene’s market in August is that the median sale price hardly went up at all compared to the previous month. That offers hope to buyers that the market has reached its ceiling for now. In August, residential properties sold for a median of $359,950 in Eugene, compared to $358,000 the previous month. New listings were up 10% from the previous month, nearly matching the seller activity that we saw in August of 2019.

While pending sales were down slightly from the previous month, buyer activity in Eugene is still about 25% higher overall than what we saw the previous summer. New listings are actually up slightly at many price points, but at the same time, buyer activity is significantly higher. That’s most noticeable in the middle to upper end of Eugene’s market. In the $450-600k range, pending sales through the entire summer are up 73% year-over-year, while in the $600-800k range, they’re up 108%.

In other words, the trade-up and premium ranges are quickly becoming the tighest segments of Eugene’s market.  The most appealing properties at these price points tend now to have multiple offers and end up going significantly above list price. Homes are actually selling faster in Eugene than they did the previous year, spending a median of 8 days on the market compared to 11 in August of 2019. Such is the new reality of real estate in Eugene, at least for now. Even going up into the million dollar-plus range, compromise is still the name of the game for Eugene buyers. dollar-plus range, compromise is still the name of the game for Eugene buyers.

July 2020 Eugene Real Estate Market Report

The numbers in Eugene look a bit more pedestrian than Bend’s. Buyer activity is up year-over-year and seller activity is down somewhat. It’s important to note, however, that Eugene’s inventory heading into the pandemic was significantly lower than Bend’s, meaning that there was less wiggle room to begin with.

As of publication, only 252 residential properties are available for sale in Eugene. Using July’s pending sales numbers as our basis, that translates to just 0.73 months of inventory. Eugene’s inventory shortage is still lower than Bend’s, and the pandemic is pushing it further into uncharted territory.

That’s the reason for the 14% year-over-year appreciation that we’re seeing between this summer and the last. Buyers are getting more desperate, and they’re willing to pay more for less.

Unsurprisingly, Eugene is seeing the biggest decrease in inventory in the sub-$300k range. In June and July, new listings at this price point dropped 63%, while pending sales dropped just 26%.

Buyer demand, meanwhile, has increased the most sharply in the $450-600k range, rising 84% year-over-year. New listings have increased slightly–9%–but it isnt nearly enough to account for the increased demand.

The dynamic is similar, though less pronounced at higher price points. There just isn’t much inventory period in Eugene’s premium or luxury ranges. At present, there are only 23 active listings in the $800k-plus range. 12 went pending in July, a new record, which could be a sign of even tighter inventory down the road for luxury buyers.

June 2020 Eugene Real Estate Market Report

In June, Eugene’s market experienced pretty much the same dynamic that Bend’s did, albeit a bit less pronounced. The number that stands out here is 329 pending sales, marking the first time since the pandemic hit that buyer activity outpaced 2019’s.

The ratio of pending sales to new listings is 1.13 to 1. That means the deficit in new inventory is not as severe as Bend’s, but it’s also important to keep in mind that Eugene had significantly less inventory going into the pandemic.

Part of what’s happening, we believe, is that there are more people who want to move into Eugene than move out of it and not enough new construction to accommodate them.

The pandemic may actually be exacerbating this imbalance. With remote work increasingly becoming a new norm, a number of our clients are choosing to relocate from states like California and Texas and continue their old jobs long-distance.

We are working with a number of would-be buyers in Eugene, and the going has been a bit rough. That’s particularly true for our clients who are looking to purchase in South Eugene.

The statistics bear out a reduction in inventory mainly at the lower end of the market, with sub-$350k listings down 47% in June from the previous year. Still, there seems to be a tangible difference in the quality of inventory, even at higher price points.

June’s median sale price of $350,000 was 10% higher than in June of 2019. In Eugene, homes spent a median of 15 days on the market compared to 10 days the year before.

Again, we think the dynamic is similar to Bend’s, where buyers are being forced to settle for homes that have been on the market longer.

May 2020 Eugene Real Estate Market Report

You’ve probably already heard the news, but here it is again: the real estate market is doing just fine nationwide as restrictions related to COVID-19 start to ease. But even as Lane County and Deschutes County enter Phase 1 and 2 of reopening, Bend and Eugene’s markets still haven’t quite bounced back to normal.

Across the country, pending sales are up 40% from where they were the previous month, while new listings are up 37.8%. The Spring buying season still hasn’t picked up its normal momentum, with listings lagging 17.8% from where they were in May of 2019. Still, all signs point toward increased activity in the summer.

Nationwide, mortgage applications are up 54% since early April, and 30-year fixed rates sit at a record-low 3.15%. That fact won’t make much of a difference to people who have lost their jobs, but low rates will encourage a certain number of buyers to enter the market.

So, what’s going on in Bend and Eugene? The answer is actually a bit complicated.

In both markets, sellers are still hesitating to list their homes. In terms of buyer activity, April’s numbers presented a rosier picture for Eugene’s market than Bend’s. In May, however, we see signs that Bend’s market is making a faster push toward a normal(ish) summer buying season.

As you can see above, while new listings in May were up 15% from where they were in April, they fell 35% year-over-year. That’s a steeper drop than April of 2020, when new listings were down 26% compared to the previous year.

With Lane County entering Phase 1 of reopening on May 15, one might expect to see more new listings in the second half of the month. The data doesn’t bear that hypothesis out, however. About as many new homes were listed in the first half of May as the second.

In terms of buyer activity, pending sales in Eugene failed to surge in May compared to what we saw in April. Year-over-year, the difference between May of 2020 and 2019 is about the same as it was the previous month, at -24%.

173 homes sold in May, just an 11% increase from the previous month and a 39% decrease from May of 2019. Homes sold for a median of $335,000, representing a modest 3% year-over-year increase. That’s a 2% drop from April’s record median of $342,125 for all residential properties.

Again, May’s sales numbers mostly represent homes that went into contract in March or April in the midst of Coronavirus-related restrictions. So, pending sales better reflect the current status of Eugene’s market.

Read on, and we’ll take a deeper look at what the data signifies for the future of Eugene and Bend’s markets.

What May’s Numbers Mean for Eugene’s Market 

Eugene has had a significant inventory crunch for at least the past five years. Now, with COVID-19 keeping sellers off of the market, the situation may finally be impacting the bottom-line.

In contrast to Bend, buyers are re-entering Eugene’s market only slightly faster than sellers. That’s because there simply aren’t any homes for them to buy.

At 1.4 months, Eugene’s inventory isn’t the lowest it’s ever been. However, a lot of the homes on the market right now are leftovers from before the lockdown.

While statistics have their limits, anecdotally, listings of turnkey homes in many of Eugene’s most desirable neighborhoods lag far behind what we saw in late Spring of last year.

Online real estate portals have reported significant spikes of traffic in the past few weeks even compared to last year, and our site is no exception. But if would-be buyers simply aren’t seeing homes that appeal to them, most won’t be entering the market unless circumstances compel them to compromise.

That was already the reality of Eugene’s market before the pandemic. Now that desirable inventory has dried up even further, we suspect that buyer activity in Eugene will continue to lag behind the rest of the nation.

That’s especially true of those buyers who already own a home in Eugene. Whether would-be buyers are looking to trade up or even downsize, the lack of available inventory will likely encourage would-be buyers to hold on to their present homes and perhaps consider renovations or an addition.

Prices appreciated 3% year-over-year in May. The bidding wars likely to result as buyers compete for a limited number of properties may drive prices up further.

At the same time, if the properties that do get listed continue to be less desirable, price growth is more likely to flatten further in Eugene, even though depreciation continues to be unlikely for the foreseeable future.

Final Takeaways

The wild card for both markets is if and when a second wave of Coronavirus hits Bend and Eugene. Seller confidence could start to build throughout the weeks and months to come, only to plummet if authorities are forced to backtrack on reopening.

A widespread second wave of COVID-19 could also have broad economic impacts. The stock market may be doing well at present, with unemployment numbers significantly lower than many had feared, but the situation is still tenuous.

For those who were already looking to purchase a home in Bend or Eugene, there may be a sense of “been there, done that,” but the question is how would-be sellers will respond.

The fact that home values aren’t depreciating significantly in Bend and Eugene may encourage some sellers to enter the market. We are expecting June’s numbers to provide further encouragement, particularly in Bend.

Still, much is uncertain. We will continue to closely monitor both Eugene and Bend’s markets, peeling back several layers beyond the most obvious conclusions to help you make the best decisions possible for yourselves and your families.

April 2020 Eugene Real Estate Market Report

Last month, we took a deep dive into how Bend and Eugene’s real estate markets might respond to a post COVID-19 recession. What we didn’t have at the time was a whole lot of market data. But now that the numbers for April are in, the picture is becoming clearer.

The last time the United States entered a recession, it took several years for most real estate markets to feel the full impact. That was true in Bend and Eugene, with property values finally bottoming out in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

The situation in 2020 is very different, however. There’s an immediacy to the pandemic that is already having a substantial impact on the real estate market. As you’ll see when we analyze the market data for April, we’re seeing that impact in Bend and Eugene in terms of the number of new listings and pending sales.

At the same time, there is a separate but interrelated trajectory that will play out over time. Home values haven’t shifted overnight. Over time, there is bound to be an impact, but how that happens will depend upon factors both global and local.

What Eugene’s Market Looked Like in April of 2020

To cut to the chase, we’re seeing the same pattern in Eugene that we’re seeing in Bend. It isn’t quite as pronounced, however.

In March of 2020, new listings jumped 17% compared to March of 2019, while pending sales dropped 21%. Let’s linger on these numbers for a moment.

An increase in inventory and decrease in buyer activity are the usual hallmarks of an economic recession. More people need to sell, and less people are able to buy. The result is downward pressure on prices–if that dynamic continues, anyway.

But what about a market where both inventory and buyer activity are decreasing at the same time? That’s what we saw happening in Bend in April, and that’s what we’re seeing in Eugene.

210 detached single-family homes were listed in Eugene in April of 2020 compared to 283 in April of 2019, a 26% drop. Meanwhile, 166 homes went pending compared to 215 a year earlier, a 23% drop.

Here again, leverage hasn’t shifted significantly in either the buyer or seller’s direction. People are simply hesitating to enter the market.

For now, the option of mortgage forbearance makes a sell-off unlikely in the near future. But it may not be too long before the tide begins to shift.

A big factor driving the current drop in inventory is safety-related concerns, particularly in owner-occupied homes. These fears will continue to be a factor in the months ahead, but at some point new inventory will outpace buyer demand.

For now, home values in Eugene appear to be stable. April sales actually set records in Eugene, with detached single-family homes going for a median of $371,500, up an incredible 11% from 2019’s median sale price of $330,000.

April’s pending sales, however, were listed for a median of $352,000. These homes spent a median of 29 days on the market, compared to just 7 days a month earlier.

These numbers tell us that we’re just beginning to see COVID-19’s impact reflected in the market data.

3rd Quarter 2019 Eugene Real Estate Market Report 

With a few historical exceptions, real estate markets don’t usually heat up or cool down overnight. Eugene, Oregon’s market is no exception. That’s why each quarter, we take a thorough look at all the available data and see what the numbers tell us about the direction of the market.

Unlike other media outlets, we don’t stop at a bird’s-eye view of Eugene’s entire housing market. (Heck, our local newspaper usually just gives the market stats for the county as a whole.)

Instead, we’ve taken snapshots of the market at various price points, comparing these to the data from 2018 to give you the most accurate window possible into the currents that are driving Eugene’s market. Eugene’s market is seasonal, with things heating up in the summer and cooling off in the winter. A year-to-year comparison therefore tells us more than trying to compare this quarter’s numbers to the last quarter.

Rumors of a widespread housing market slowdown have been all over the national media for a while. The thing is, though, housing markets are local to a degree that surpasses practically any other kind of market. What’s happening on the East Coast, in the Bay Area, or even in Portland won’t tell you much about what’s happening in Eugene.

The story in Eugene’s market, it turns out, has actually been the same for a while, and the most recent statistics don’t exactly reveal evidence of any impending plot twists.

Basically, new homes aren’t being built in Eugene because there isn’t anywhere to build them. The City of Eugene has long resisted any  urban growth boundary expansion, and efforts at increasing density are often met with opposition. We wrote an article about that earlier this year.

As buildable ground becomes scarcer and scarcer and Eugene continues to become more and more of a destination for out-of-state transplants, the natural result is that inventory gets lower and prices continue to climb upward.

Our third-quarter numbers show exactly those two things basically across all price points.

It bears mentioning that our first-quarter and second-quarter numbers indicated a possible leveling-off from 2018’s steep climb. Those signs, however, were nowhere to be seen through the summer.

Our analysis shows that Eugene’s market through Q3 of 2019 is now tighter than it’s ever been at most price points. At the same time, the numbers reveal some interesting micro-trends. Read on as we dive into the data.

Eugene’s Overall Real Estate Market through Q3 of 2019

The basic story of our Q3 numbers for Eugene is this: listings are down slightly from the third quarter of 2018, but sales are up in proportion to the number of new listings. Meanwhile, sales and listings are continuing to migrate toward the middle and upper ends of Eugene’s market.

According to the most recent RMLS Market Trends report, the median sale price for all detached single-family homes in Eugene was $339,700 in Q3 of 2019. That represents about a 5.25% increase from 2018, when the median sale price through the third quarter was $322,800.

September of 2019, though, broke records with a median sale price of $354,000. The Federal Reserve has cut interest rates several times in the past few months, and 30-year fixed-rate mortgages now average just 3.62% nationwide. (Keep in mind that mortgage rates in Oregon are significantly higher than average–4.29% as of publication.)

The result, of course, is that buyers can qualify for higher loan amounts than before. To compete with the all-cash offers that have become more and more common in Eugene, borrowers have to put more and more money on the table. Here, we see indirect evidence that they’re doing so.

Meanwhile, the average inventory across all price points during the 3rd quarter of 2019 was just 1.4 months. While RMLS statistics don’t  track the number of listings that are active month-by-month, comparing the number of homes sold to number of homes listed shows a decrease in inventory.

During the third quarter of 2019, 798 homes were listed in Eugene and 716 homes sold. In Q3 of 2018, 887 homes were listed and 750 homes sold. In other words, the ratio of homes sold to new listings was 90% in Q3 of 2019, compared to 85% a year earlier.

As we will see, this decrease in inventory is concentrated at the bottom of Eugene’s market. Nonetheless, we’re seeing other price points get tighter as well. There’s one exception: the 450k-600k range at the upper-middle end of the market. Read on as we analyze the different price points in Eugene’s market one by one.

Q3 2019 Market Report for Eugene Starter Homes (up to $350k)

Finding a home in Eugene for less than 250 thousand dollars has been hard for years, and it’s getting harder. 137 such properties hit the market in the third quarter of 2018, but in Q3 of 2019, this number dropped to just 83 homes. At this price point, particularly in desirable South Eugene neighborhoods, buyers can expect a fixer-upper, low square footage, or both.

In contrast, the $250-350k range is one of Eugene’s most active price points, with 302 single family homes going on the market in the third quarter of 2019. That’s still significantly less than 2018’s tally of 376 third-quarter listings.

In the spring, we reported that the market for starter homes in Eugene wasn’t necessarily tightening. These latest numbers, however, show a clear squeeze at the bottom of Eugene’s market. The inventory for sub-$250k homes is now a paltry 0.6 months, increasing to only 0.9 months for $250-350k homes.

To put this number in context, anything less than 6 months is said to indicate a seller’s market. So to say that we have a seller’s market here is a vast understatement.

When these properties hit the market, they go fast. The median time-on-market for Q3 of 2019 was 8.7 days at this price point, slightly shorter than the 9.2 days we saw in Q3 of 2018. Properties in the sub-$350k range in desirable locations that require minimal fixes tend to go much faster.

Q3 2019 Market Report for Eugene Trade-up Homes ($350-450k)

At this price point, we start to see a slight uptick in listings compared to the third quarter of 2018–207 compared to 200. Demand for these properties is higher, though, with 183 sold in Q3 of 2019 versus 163 a year earlier.

Tellingly, properties in this range are spending an average of 15 days on the market, compared to 24.3 through Q3 of 2018. While the overall inventory in the $350-450k range is higher than for starter homes, at 1.4 months, this price point in Eugene is basically the story of two different kinds of homes.

We had clients recently make an offer on a property listed at $399k in the desirable Friendly neighborhood. Originally a fairly typical ranch-style home, it had recently been remodeled to include a vaulted kitchen and master suite.

The open house was a zoo, with offers being reviewed the next morning, and we knew the competition would be stiff. Our own analysis indicated that the property was worth closer to $440k, so we encouraged our clients to come in a bit above even that. In the end, with 10 other offers on the table, our client’s $450k offer was the lucky winner.

In other words, desirable properties in this range are subject to the same bidding wars as properties in the sub-$350k range. At the same time, the Eugene market features any number of unremarkable, 2000-ish square foot homes with dated finishes listed at close to $400k.

These properties aren’t flying off the shelves, but most of them are finding buyers eventually, usually after one or more price reductions. If you want to sell your home quickly at this price point, taking steps to properly stage your home and get professional photos are important. More expensive renovations, however, won’t likely translate dollar-for-dollar into a higher sale price.

We recently listed an owner-occupied home in the South Hills at just below $400k and received a full-price offer the day after. Our clients were concerned that several cosmetic fixes they couldn’t complete would detract from the home’s appeal. However, following our advice, they put significant effort into staging their home. Our photographer came in and did his magic, and it paid off with a quick sale.

Q3 2019 Market Report for Eugene Upper-Middle End Homes ($450-600k)

This price point represents the biggest surprise of the quarter, with a significant influx of new listings–134 compared to 97 in 2018’s 3rd quarter. There wasn’t a corresponding increase in sales, however, with Q3 2019 sales (99) right on par with Q3 of 2018 (95). Meanwhile, median time on the market was 25 days for Q3 of 2019, compared to 20.7 days a year earlier.

We can only speculate about what’s driving this increase in inventory, but our intuition leads us to a couple of suggestions. One likely factor, of course, is that homes selling in the low $400k range just a year or two ago are now being listed in the mid-4s.

Anecdotally, as we’ve toured homes at this price point with clients, we’ve mostly been underwhelmed. Homes at this price point sometimes feature certain 80s and 90s-vintage architectural flourishes that suggest opulence but don’t deliver in terms of floorplan and functionality.

In some of Eugene’s most desirable neighborhoods, Amazon, Friendly, and Ferry Street Bridge among them, desirable homes can still be found in the high 3s and low 4s. More money gets you more square footage and may buy you a foothold in some of the nicer subdivisions in the Southwest and Southeast hills or in the Cal Young neighborhood.

But, as a recent headline pointed out succinctly, “millennials don’t want to buy baby-boomers’ sprawling, multi-bedroom homes.” It’s not -just millennials: most of our clients, even at higher price points, simply don’t want 3000 square foot-plus homes or maximalist interior design.

Mind you, inventory at this price point is still low, at 2.8 months. But if you’re planning to sell a home in this range and want a quick, top-dollar sale, a contemporary makeover may net you more bang for your buck than at other price points in Eugene’s market.

Q3 2019 Market Report for Eugene Premium Homes ($600-800k)

Homes in this range and above make up a small but not insignificant portion of Eugene’s market. In the third quarter of 2019, 51 homes were listed between $600,000 and $800,000, and there were 32 sales. In Q3 of 2018, there were 61 such listings and 33 sales, indicating a somewhat tighter market for premium homes this year.

Most revealingly, homes at this price point spent almost 50% less time on the market compared to a year earlier. The median for Q3 of 2019 was 19.3, while in Q3 of 2018 it was 37 days.

Once we get over $600,000, high square footage is par for the course, but these homes also have other amenities that make them more appealing than those a tier below. A higher proportion–nearly half–of these homes were constructed in the year 2000 or later. Nice views, higher-end kitchen finishes, expansive great rooms, and premium landscaping often feature in some combination.

An influx of money from both in and out-of-state means that there are more people looking for premium homes in Eugene. Our buyers at this price point often find, though, that it’s difficult to check off all the items on their wish-lists.

If you’re listing a somewhat older home at this price point, know that you’ll be competing with a certain amount of newer construction. Over the past 12 months, 22 newly-constructed homes have hit the market in this range. Given the lack of buildable land in Eugene, it’s unlikely though that the amount of new inventory will be able to meet the demand.

Q3 2019 Market Report for Eugene Luxury Homes ($800k+)

Properties in the luxury range are especially hard to come by in Eugene. More $800k-plus homes hit Eugene’s market in the 3rd quarter of 2019 than in Q3 of 2018, 21 compared to 16. There were more sales too: 22 in Q3 of 2019 versus just 12 a year later.

Again, we saw a significant decrease in days spent on the market in the third quarter of 2019 compared to a year earlier, 16.7 compared to 30. In a typical market, more expensive homes spend longer on the market.  In Eugene’s market, however, homes in the $450-600k range are spending more time on the market than homes in the $600-800k range. Those homes, in turn, are spending longer on the market than $800k+ properties.

From the beginning of 2019 through the end of the 3rd quarter, only 4 new constructions hit the market at this price point. Many luxury homes, of course, are custom built and are never listed for sale. One person’s definition of “luxury” often won’t match another’s. But a premium home demands a truly premium lot, and these are becoming more and more rare in Eugene.

The city government has thus far stuck to its guns in blocking any proposals to expand Eugene’s urban growth boundary. The upper echelons of Eugene’s market therefore seem doomed to follow the rest of the market by getting tighter and tighter and tighter. Money can’t buy everything, and depending on your wish list, it may not be able to buy you your dream home in Eugene.

Pricing your home appropriately is more important in this price range than at any other. It’s also more difficult. Fail to aim high enough, and you could end up losing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars. Aim too high, though, and your home could sit on the market long enough that you’re forced to entertain offers well below list price.

Whatever price point you’re looking at, we feel that our detailed quarterly analysis gives us certain leg up on the competition. Even if you’re not sure about entering the market, it puts us in a better position to advise you whether or not it’s a good idea (and we won’t hesitate to tell if you if we think it isn’t–really!)

2nd Quarter 2019 Eugene Real Estate Market Report

The second quarter of 2019 has come and gone, and we’re now firmly into the summer months. Despite some cooler weather heading into July, this is the time of year that the housing market typically heats up in Eugene. Thus far, 2019 has not been an exception.

The winter months of 2019 saw a significant but not huge decrease in the number of new listings compared to Q1 of 2018. Earlier in the year, a sense of economic uncertainty was starting to spread, with sellers perhaps lacking confidence that their homes would sell as easily or for as much as they did the last several years.

This decrease in listings corresponded to a decrease in buyer activity, with homes sitting slightly longer on the market than they did in 2018. At the same time, Eugene’s available inventory didn’t increase at all: buyers were still purchasing homes at the same rate sellers were listing them.

The real marker of a slowdown in the market is an increase in inventory, and basically speaking, Eugene’s inventory has remained incredibly low. The sale price for homes across all price points in Eugene has therefore continued to rise at a steady clip, with the demand for homes well-exceeding the supply of high-quality listings in desirable neighborhoods.

In the first quarter of 2019, we saw signs that buyers and sellers were waiting things out a bit but not that there were any real fears which might signal a major shift in the market.

So, now that we’re heading into the summer, what do the numbers show?

What the Numbers Show Overall about Eugene’s Real Estate Market

Our philosophy at LOHR Real Estate when it comes to market reports is that numbers by themselves don’t mean much. It’s essential to contextualize the data. That’s why we take snapshots of the market at a number of different price points to look for signs of the more subtle currents that drive real estate markets.

With that said, overall sales numbers for Q2 of 2019 are right in line with those of 2018. Everyone loves an exciting headline (“Housing Bubble Due to Burst!” “Real Estate Market Through the Roof!” “Impending Economic Meltdown has Sellers on Edge!”) but Eugene’s market through the spring has been short on big surprises.

Sales for April, May, and June of 2019 total 649 across all price points, virtually identical to 2018’s total of 667. News delivered in late March that the Fed would cap interest rates for the foreseeable future likely factored in to an uptick in buyer activity compared to the first quarter.

Meanwhile, listings of new properties in 2019’s 2nd quarter are likewise in a dead heat with those of 2018, 944 compared to 964. That means–you guessed it–available inventory has been identical through the Spring of 2019 compared to Spring of 2018. In other words, it’s low–at present date just 1.6 months, indicating a very strong seller’s market.

The median sale price for homes at all price points through the 2nd quarter of 2019 was around $330,000, which actually represents only a modest increase from a median of $326,000 through the Spring of 2018.

Some context: June of 2018 was a record-smashing month, with a median sale price of $345,000 which hasn’t been topped since. In fact, it dropped to $316,500 in July of 2018, marking a minor statistical bubble. Since that number is a bit of an anomaly, it’s safe to say that Eugene’s market is continuing to appreciate at a rate significantly higher than the national average of 3-5%.

Q2 Market Report for Starter Homes in Eugene (less than $300k)

Before we dive into the numbers for the different segments of Eugene’s market, we’d like to point out something that may be obvious but bears mentioning: a lot of the homes at the bottom and even the middle of Eugene’s market are pretty funky. A significant number of listings at these price points sit on the market for several months or more, while homes in decent neighborhoods with maybe less square footage but minimal work required go fast.

With that said, the average inventory for this price point during Q2 of 2019 was still a low-low 1.4 months, with homes spending a median of 7.5 days on the market. Those numbers do represent a slight increase in inventory from Q2 of 2018, when we saw an average inventory of 1.3 months but the exact same number of days spent on the market.

With the price point for Eugene homes increasing across the board, we would expect to see less listings at this price point over time, with homes that would have sold in the high 200s a year or two ago now selling in the low 300s. The dip between 2018’s Q2 numbers (333 listings) and 2019’s (321 listings) has been minimal, however.

What has changed since 2018 is the average amount that properties in this range have fetched over list price. During 2018’s 2nd quarter, starter homes fetched an average of more than 5% over list price, from which we can infer that bidding wars were taking place. During Q2 of 2019, however, this figure drops to just 1.5%.

The conclusion we can draw from all these numbers  is that, so far, the bottom end of Eugene’s end hasn’t gotten more tight, contrary to our prediction headed into 2019. Still, it isn’t like there’s much room for it to get more tight than it already is. Sometimes it’s good to be wrong.

Q2 Market Report for Trade-up Homes in Eugene ($300-450k)

Here again, sales numbers and inventory for trade-ups were virtually the same in Q2 2019 as they were a year earlier. 2019 Q2 sales totaled 285, just a slight drop from 2018 Q2’s 299 sales. Average inventory during the spring months both years was the same, at 1.3 months.

That means that the market for properties in the $300-450k range is just as tight in Eugene as it is for starter homes. Naturally, there are less outright clunkers to be found among these properties, but even into the 4s you’ll still find plenty with funky floorplans, mediocre finishes, and cosmetic issues.

In particular, we’ve seen some mind-boggling prices lately on homes in the Friendly neighborhood, particularly the area around its central hub on Friendly and 28th. Fixer-uppers close to 1,500 sq ft are being listed above in the low or even mid 4s–and then they’re sitting on the market until the price eventually gets reduced.

We don’t see these kinds of listings as a sign of things to come anytime soon, even in Eugene’s trendier neighborhoods. In our opinion, a  more telling indicator of the state of Eugene’s market can be found in the 50s and 60s-vintage ranch homes that are selling on the outskirts of the Friendly neighborhood.

Most of these homes are pretty similar, ranging from 1100 to 1600 sq ft, and in a more normal market these would all go for around $300-320k. But the ones that have updates which set them apart are sometimes selling for far higher than list price.

Last year, we started to notice some of these homes selling in the 350s or 360s, 30 or 40 thousand dollars above the value that comparable sales would indicate. In this past few months though, we saw one Friendly-neighborhood ranch go for $380k and another go for a staggering $408k.

Per square foot, that’s some of the most expensive real estate you’re likely to find in Eugene. What set the later listing apart was just that it had vaulted ceilings, a rarity in the Friendly, and had an all-cash buyer eager to move into the neighborhood.

It’s a similar story in the Ferry Street Bridge area in the Cal Young neighborhood in North Eugene. It too is seen as an up-and-coming neighborhood, but many of the homes are older and lack contemporary finishes. When homes do pop up that have been updated to a contemporary standard, they tend to go fast, for well above list price.

We had clients recently put an offer on such a home, and though they offered $20k above list price, another buyer came in at $45k above list. Incidentally, we encouraged our clients to wait it out in a back-up position, and when the higher offer fell through due to financing issues, theirs was accepted.

All of this is somewhat anecdotal, but the point is just to show that the market for trade-ups is pretty darn tight in Eugene unless you’re willing to take on a project or settle for a less-than-desirable neighborhood. A lack of new construction in Eugene through the past few decades has meant that the kind of homes people are looking for once they get into the trade-up range simply aren’t available.

Sellers who can stand apart from the crowd (in a positive way) could potentially reap the benefits of multiple-offer situations. Conversely, there aren’t any guarantees, even in Eugene’s market, that project homes at this price point will sell, unless they have other unique features that make up for it.

Q2 Market Report for Premium & Luxury Home in Eugene ($450-600k and $600k+)

The $450-600k range is where we finally start to notice a significant difference between the 2018 Q2 numbers and 2019 Q2 numbers. Listings were slightly lower in the Spring of 2019 (147) than they were in Spring 2018 (159.) Sales, however, increased from 79 in Q2 2018 to 91 in Q2 of 2019, representing a decrease in inventory from 2 months to 1.6 months.

While much has been made of a steady uptick in the average sale price for Eugene homes, inventory in Eugene is weighted heavily toward the middle of the market, meaning that there aren’t too many homes available for significantly more or significantly less than the June 2019’s median sale price of $335k.

There certainly isn’t a glut of inventory in the premium range. In Q2’s data, we see hints that demand is increasing in the $450-600k range faster than supply. Again, we can attribute this to a lack of new construction in Eugene throughout the past several decades. People who already live in these homes have even fewer options when it comes to “trading up” into the luxury range, so there aren’t many premium homes entering the market.

Listings in the $600k+ range did, however, increase in the 2nd quarter of 2019 compared to Q2 of 2018, with 95 compared to 79. Sales have also increased, with 47 compared to 38, and inventory has actually dropped (a 2 month average through Spring 2019 compared to a 2.1 month average through Spring 2018).

It’s possible that fears of a slowdown are, in part, driving an increase in the inventory of luxury homes in Eugene. But with an increasing number of buyers willing to make the investment, there’s no sign that the higher end of the market is reaching an equilibrium point, much less cooling off. Available lots suitable for luxury construction are in extremely support supply, meaning that competition will continue to be stiff for available properties.

1st Quarter 2019 Eugene Real Estate Market Report 

Heading into 2019, we forecasted continued low inventory and steadily rising prices at most price points for Bend and Eugene’ real estate markets. But now that we’re through the first quarter of 2019, what do things look like on the ground for both of these markets?

Several of our clients have recently said something to the effect of, “Well, I’ve heard the market has kind of slowed down a little bit.” There does seem to be the feeling in the air that cracks are appearing in the economy and home prices are bound to fall from the historical highs they reached in 2018. Beyond the mere feeling level though, what’s the reality for Bend and Eugene’s markets?

Through the first quarter of 2019, we’ve worked with buyers in the lower, middle, and upper ends of Eugene’s market, with our clients seeking homes anywhere from $250,000 and under up to $1 million. We certainly would expect low inventory at the bottom end of Eugene’s market, but we’ve been struck by how few choices there are at any price point in Eugene’s market.

There are 272 homes currently listed for sale in Eugene on the Regional Multiple Listing Service. That may seem like a lot, but once you’ve narrowed it down by location, square footage, finishes, lot size, and exact price, there just isn’t something for everybody.

Market statistics from the RMLS confirm these on-the-ground impressions. Compared to Q1 2018, listings in the first quarter of 2019 are down about 17%, at 517 compared to 633. Sales are down 14% in the first quarter of 2019, with 446 compared to 517.

Homes also sat on the market about a week longer, with a median of 34 days in Q1 of 2019 compared to 27 the year before. None of this is to say that homes are going for any cheaper, with an average sale price of $312,500 in Q1 of 2019 compared to $299,000 in 2018.

Like in Bend, Eugene has seen a general all-around drop in both seller and buyer activity compared to last year. But, especially with the spring weather and recent good news from the Federal Reserve, we expect buyers and sellers to shake to shake off some of the jitters that kept them from entering the market over the winter.

At the lower, middle, and upper end of Eugene’s market, the ratio of sales to new listings has basically kept pace with what we saw in the first quarter of 2018, again with somewhat lower numbers all-around.

The exception is in the $600,000-plus range, where 93 properties have been listed so far in 2019 compared to 87 in Q1 of 2018. Sales of such properties are identical, with 34 in the first quarter of both 2018 and 2019.

Because these listings represent such a small portion of Eugene’s market, it’s difficult to draw any conclusions here. This modest increase in listings may indicate some amount of anxiety that prices for high-end real estate in Eugene will start to level off. Or, it could simply be a coincidence.

Drawing Conclusions about Bend and Eugene’s Markets

All in all, 2019 has been short in surprises so far for Bend and Eugene’s real estate markets. During the second quarter of 2019, we should see definitively whether buyers and sellers have simply chosen to wait it out for the warm season or whether Bend and Eugene’s markets really are heading for a cool-down.

Whichever the case may be, we’re still confident that homes won’t get cheaper and that inventory wont increase in Bend and Eugene anytime soon, possibly excepting the luxury market in Bend.

We’re therefore encouraging our buyers to take advantage of the inventory that will be hitting the market as we move toward summer, and not to find false security in the thought that it’s going to get any easier to find a home here. We’ve heard so many stories from our clients about “the one that got away.”

With such low inventory, it’s especially important to have a skilled agent along for the ride to help you manage your expectations and identify the diamonds in the rough. The lower ends of both markets can be especially cutthroat: for some actionable advice, check out our Tips for Buyers in a Tight Market.

Conversely, if you’re thinking of selling, rest assured that there will still be plenty of buyers out there, and likely not a ton of competition depending on your neighborhood. But if you have a quirky property–as many Eugene homeowners do in particular–it may just take a bit of extra effort on the part of you and your realtor to find the right buyer.

 

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