Dec 15, 2005

Thanks To The Urban Growth Boundary

The personal matter that has kept me away from this blog for the last two weeks is now gone. One of the final duties of handling my mother's estate was the sale of the family home in Portland's Beaumont/Wilshire neighborhood.

I have been working on the sale of this home for over a year. In August 2004 I had several realtors prepare CMA's on the property. It wasn't ready for sale, but the estimated value surprised me.

After removing a renter, cleaning out the home of an entire large dumpster of trash, many Goodwill and metal scrapyard runs, and many minor repairs, I finally put the home on the market last week.

The new CMA prepared by my Realtor, Barbara Layden, showed that the home was now worth $60-80k more than last August. You read that right. In a little over a year, this home had increased in value over 30%.

I held an estate sale at the home in August of this year. Every day since then I had been receiving between four and ten calls per day from Realtors or potential buyers.

Three days after listing this home we had eight offers. Several of these offers were all cash proposals. We ended up accepting an offer that was significantly higher than the listing price.

We closed three days after agreeing to terms with the buyer.

None of this would have happened without Metro's urban growth boundary. So maybe I should send them a thank you note.

The sad thing about this deal, other than the heartbreak of selling a home that had been in our family for over 70 years, was the fact that any FHA or VA offers wouldn't have had a chance in the bidding war that took place.

There is no way I would have even considered an FHA or VA offer requiring me as the seller to pay costs when I had so many offers of cash or down payments of over $100k. First time buyers who utilize low down payment/low closing cost programs such as FHA or VA don't have a chance in the Portland metro area market.

Sure, existing homeowners and speculators benefit financially from the high real estate appreciation rates. But what about the thousands of families who can't afford this craziness? To be honest, I doubt if I could afford to buy our own home now if I was starting from scratch.

My grandmother was 26 years old when she and my grandfather purchased this home. I wonder how many 26 year olds today can afford to buy a home in the Portland metro area?

Three days on the market. A bidding war between cash buyers. The real estate bubble has a long way to go in PDX.

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