Moving out

We have discussed here before “the roll” of real estate. That is the term used to describe how the market moves upward and inward following the major interstate highways of our region. Due to the impact rising prices are having in major cities along the west coast we are seeing in migration from those cities as sellers capture equity and take the opportunity to get out of high priced, high traffic, high crime and high anxiety metropolitan areas.

Our area is so desirable that even in the winter months we are receiving buyer visits from California, Oregon and Washington states attracted by our scenic beauty, affordable real estate and lack of all the pressures of where they came from. As reported by the Case Schiller Housing index Seattle, Portland
and Denver saw the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities reviewed over each of the last nine months. In October, Seattle led the way with a 10.7 percent year-over-year price increase, followed by Portland with 10.3 percent and Denver with an 8.3 percent increase.

For us Seattle and Portland have the most impact although we have noticed some Colorado license plates cruising North Idaho these last couple months. The reality is that for many of these people in high performing real estate markets, everything they see here is a bargain compared to where they are coming from.

In mid-summer the average Portland, Oregon home price was $412,000. The Portland market is the first place many of those escaping California put down roots since real estate is cheaper there. At that same time the Seattle Times reported that “The price of the typical single-family house across King, Snohomish and Pierce counties has now risen 53 percent in just four years.” The average price then was $560,000, still much cheaper than a Bay area home at $712,000.

When people from these areas pick up a local paper and see that the rare murder is front page news – for several days in a row – and that our crime section shows largely DUIs, petite theft and possession of paraphernalia they are amazed. In many metropolitan areas murders are commonplace, armed robberies the course of the day and road rage an occurrence during the average commute.

It is no wonder then that at year’s end we see an increase in our sales of properties of $500,000 to $999,999 properties. The types of equity people are realizing from sale of their properties in the areas described above make our Multiple Listing Service average price of $240,147 a real bargain. One visitor recently explained that it is very hard not to think of every property viewed as one that should be taken advantage of because it is so cheap.

History would dictate that it is only a matter of time before our own average prices reach beyond $300,000 but at that time imagine what the emigrating home sellers will be getting paid to leave the metros they will still want to escape. Who can blame them?