We sold 5 properties at a million in 2012.  The market in the high end market is coming on in 2013 and we expect a solid year.  If you have considered selling now is the time.


Signs of life for housing

Bend’s higher-priced neighborhoods show uptick in permit, deed activity

By Elon Glucklich / The Bulletin

Published: October 28. 2012 4:00AM PST


In 2010, while Central Oregon’s housing market reeled from tumbling prices and rising foreclosures, 41 of the 99 homes sold on Awbrey Butte and its surrounding neighborhoods came from banks, re-selling foreclosed properties.

But 2012 may be the year of market correction, at Awbrey Butte and some of the other higher-priced neighborhoods on Bend’s west side.

Ninety homes have sold in developments on and around Awbrey Butte this year. As of Thursday, seven of the 90 were bank sales.

The construction of new homes and sales of existing ones in Bend’s higher-priced neighborhoods has some real estate officials wondering if the bottom of the market is in the rearview mirror.

Building permits are being approved more frequently in neighborhoods like Awbrey Butte and Broken Top in 2012 than in any year since before the real estate crash, Bend and Deschutes County records show.

And more deeds are also being recorded this year in neighborhoods like NorthWest Crossing and Tetherow than any time in the past three years, according to figures from the Deschutes County Clerk’s Office.

At Broken Top, the golf community off Mt. Washington Drive in west Bend, 44 homes or home lots have sold so far in 2012, up from 27 in all of 2011.

There were 41 sales in 2010, but 15 were bank-owned.Five of the 44 sales this year have come from banks.

Tetherow, a golf community adjacent to Broken Top, has recorded 14 deeds so far in 2012, up from eight in all of 2011 and five in 2010.

Officials with these developments pointed to an overall decline in distressed real-estate deals — short sales and bank-owned transactions — as part of a yearlong trend that has seen Bend median prices rise in seven of the last 10 months, according to figures compiled by the Bratton Appraisal Group.

“I think there’s a relatively increased level of confidence in the market right now,” said Mike Hollern, CEO of Brooks Resources Corp., the Bend company that developed Awbrey Butte. “I think we’ve worked off a good number of the foreclosed homes and bank-owned homes. Plus, there aren’t too many (home) lots left to build on.”

Building activity has indeed risen.

Since mid-2011, single-family home permits have been issued at a volume up to five times greater than in 2010 in many of these neighborhoods.

In the 19 months between Jan. 1, 2010, and July 31, 2011, three permits for new home construction had been issued for Broken Top and the adjacent Highlands at Broken Top neighborhoods.

From August 2011 through the present, almost 14 months, 15 have been issued.

Awbrey Butte and its surrounding neighborhoods tell a similar story: four permits for new homes between January 2010 and July 2011; 20 new home permits since then.

“I’m starting to see high-end people coming in that can’t find what they’re looking for on the market right now,” said Debra Tebbs, owner of Cascade Sotheby’s International Realty in Bend. “So they’re pulling building permits.”

Much of the sales activity is a result of lower prices on upper-end homes, Tebbs said. Sellers that have listed homes for several years without any bites have been encouraged by brokers to lower their prices. That has created a buyer’s market for those who can afford to purchase.

Tebbs said she sold an Awbrey Butte home this month that had been reduced in price from $2.3 million earlier this year to $1.6 million.

“The high-end buyer is feeling like there is really good value out there right now,” Tebbs said. “I was showing a couple a home last weekend, and they said they felt like they had missed the bottom” of the market.

In NorthWest Crossing, construction and sales activity have actually been the norm throughout the recession.

The 42 building permits for new homes to date this year is on pace with the 53 issued all of last year, and 55 in 2010.

There have been 96 home sales in NorthWest Crossing so far in 2012, up from 71 all of last year.

Developers envisioned a slow, steady pattern for new home construction and sales when the properties in the mixed-used neighborhood first came onto the market in the mid-2000s, said Sara LaFaver, managing principal broker with The Garner Group Real Estate, which deals largely with properties in NorthWest Crossing.

The biggest challenge in the short-term could be a lack of space for new homes. Of the 752 platted residential lots at NorthWest Crossing, about 690 have homes on them, LaFaver said.

Developers are planning to push the boundaries of NorthWest Crossing further west, with plans in the coming years to plat new lots in the western-most part of the neighborhood, on land just north of Summit High School.

“We’re working on it,” Lafaver said.

Some Realtors aren’t ready to perform cartwheels over the recent figures, which are still a far cry from the frenzied pace of boom years between 2004-07.

But a drop in bank-owned activity and a rise in traditional home sales in the higher end of the market is a positive sign, said Linda Schmitz, a principal broker with Brooks Resources Realty, which lists properties in the North Rim neighborhood of Awbrey Butte.

Two homes are under construction there, and one was just completed. It’s the first building activity in the North Rim neighborhood in two years, according to Bend Community Development Department figures. Permits show the estimated project values for the homes at $551,510 and $376,834, respectively.

“Things are so different from the boom time, when people were just simply buying because they were concerned prices were going to keep going up,” Schmitz said.

“We’ve been talking about bouncing along the bottom for so long. Now there seems to be just that slight little bit of momentum and gains in terms of pricing. Values seem to be trending upward just a little bit.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7820, eglucklich@bendbulletin.com