COAR, our local MLS affiliate, recently released the first quarter real estate market statistics for Central Oregon, which tracks year-on-year activity from 2007 through 2011. Not surprisingly, those numbers tell quite a story -– we’ve experienced a pretty bumpy ride in the past five years. Consequently, the trajectory of sales activity during the past five years varies pretty significantly among my main three markets (Bend, Redmond and Sisters). So for those wondering, ‘How’s the market in Central Oregon?’ the answer is, it depends on where you’re looking –- and what you’re looking at.
(See the stats in chart form below.)
But before we take a closer look at the most recent activity among Residential and Residential With Acreage listings in Bend, Redmond and Sisters, let’s recap for a second to answer a question that I’m often asked: When did the market peak in Central Oregon?
The answer isn’t as simple as you might think. First of all, you have to define what you mean by “peak” — in many instances, the year that saw the highest total number of sales was not the same year that experienced the highest average sales amount.
So, for example, first-quarter sales peaked in 2004 for Sisters Residential with Acreage listings (13 sales), while first-quarter sales peaked in 2005 for Sisters’ Residential listings (33), along with Bend’s and Redmond’s Residential with Acreage listings (84 and 30, respectively). It wasn’t until 2006 that first-quarter sales peaked in Bend’s and Redmond’s Residential listings (485 and 257).
It was 2007, however, that saw the highest first-quarter average sales amount in most of our markets (Bend’s Residential listings hit $408,855, Redmond’s Residential hit $275,168, Redmond’s Residential With Acreage hit $548,957, Sisters’ Residential hit $452,953 and Sisters’ Residential With Acreage hit a whopping $724,318). The only exception: Bend’s Residential with Acreage listings; the first-quarter peak occurred in 2006 at $622,666.
So, with that little bit of history in mind, let’s examine the latest first-quarter stats.
The Most Notable Changes in Our Market
For the first quarter of 2011, Bend’s total number of Residential sales was on the rise, with a 10.36 increase over 2010 (from 357 to 394, which was a huge jump from 2009’s 224). The number of short sales completed was up 25.29 percent (from 87 to 109), while the number of bank-owned sales was down .071 percent (from 140 to 139). Overall, distressed properties accounted for 63 percent of all Bend Residential sales.
It was Bend’s Residential With Acreage sales that saw the real increase: the total number of sales was up 45.24 percent from 2010 sales. With 61 sales (compared to 42 in 2010), that was the highest number of first-quarter sales of Bend’s Residential With Acreage listings in the past nine years, except for 2005 (when sales peaked at 84). Sixty-five percent of those sales involved distressed properties.
Price, however, was another story: Bend’s Residential with Acreage listings saw the second largest drop in average sales amount of any category in any of the three markets: At $331,478, it was down 16.62 percent from 2010. (Sisters Residential listings saw the largest drop in first-quarter average sales amount, down 27.22 percent, from $320,426 to $233,198.)
Redmond’s Residential category has the dubious honor of being the only segment to experience fewer sales than in the first quarter of 2010. Granted, it took a small hit: Its 161 sales were down 5.85 percent (from 171 sales). On the other hand, sales of Redmond’s Residential With Acreage increased by 58.33 percent over first-quarter 2010, with 19 sales (compared to 12 in 2010).
When it comes to exactly what did sale, the answer in all three markets is distressed properties. They accounted for 77 percent of all of Redmond’s Residential sales (124 of 161 sales). What’s more, 92 sales, 57 percent of all its first-quarter Residential sales, involved bank-owned properties. Similarly, 75 percent of all of Redmond’s Residential with Acreage sales (14 of 19 sales) involved distressed properties (which were almost evenly divided between short sales and bank-owned).
Meanwhile, unlike many markets, Redmond’s Residential With Acreage listings actually experienced an increase in the average sales amount: At $255,818, it was 12.75 percent above the first-quarter 2010 price of $226,883. Sisters’ Residential With Acreage category was the only other segment to experience an increase in the average sales amount over the first quarter of 2010; it rebounded 15.57 percent, to $323.969 (compared to $280,325 in 2010). By contrast, the average sales amount for Bend’s Residential With Acreage listings was $331,0478, which was down 16.62 percent from first-quarter 2010’s $397,543).
It was Sisters that experienced the highest overall increase in sales activity for first-quarter 2011. Sales of its Residential With Acreage listings doubled over first-quarter 2010 (from eight to 16), while sales of its Residential listings increased 44.44 percent (from 18 to 26).
On a more sobering note, Sisters Residential With Acreage listings also saw the highest percentage increase in bank-owned property sales, jumping from 3 sales in the first quarter of 2010 to 10 sales in the first-quarter of 2011 -– a 233.33 percent increase. Meanwhile, distressed properties accounted for 75 percent of all first-quarter of Sisters’ Residential With Acreage sales (12 of 16 sales).
By contrast, the sales of bank-owned Residential properties in Sisters actually decreased 16.67 percent (from six to five) in the first quarter of 2011. And overall, Sisters’ Residential sales involved the lowest percentage of distressed properties of any of the markets (by far): only 28 percent.
So that’s it for the major highs and lows of first-quarter 2011. For the truly diligent (or gluttons for punishment), several charts below detail the activity in each category mentioned above, in case you’d like to take a closer look at all those numbers.
1st Quarter 2011 Real Estate Market Statistics for Central Oregon
1st Quarter 2011 Real Estate Market Statistics for Central Oregon
1st Quarter 2011 Real Estate Market Statistics for Central Oregon
1st Quarter 2011 Real Estate Market Statistics for Central Oregon
1st Quarter 2011 Real Estate Market Statistics for Central Oregon

About the Author:
Lisa Broadwater, GRI, CDPE is a Central Oregon-based real estate professional who specializes in listing and selling homes, especially in Sisters, Tumalo, Redmond and Bend.