There’s one thing that just about everyone I talk to — even folks who aren’t even thinking about buying or selling a home — wants to know: “How’s the Market?” I realize the response most people want to hear is simply “It’s doin’ great!” Who has the time (or the interest, really?) to sit through a 10-minute dissertation on sales volume, price per square foot and days on market? Not most folks. Just cut to the chase, please! (And make it good news, if at all possible.)
Okay then. How’s the market? Well, I’m pleased to report that, based on the 2012 year-end market statistics, which were recently released by MLSCO (the multiple listing service for Central Oregon), it’s doin’ great! Seriously. If you compare the numbers for 2012 to 2011, the standard response, as trite as it may be, is pretty accurate.
The number of bank-owned properties and short sales are down in most markets. Overall inventory is way down. The number of sales are up in Bend, Sisters, Redmond, Three Rivers South, Sunriver and La Pine. The average sales amounts are up in Bend, Sisters, Redmond and Three Rivers South. The total sold volume is up in Bend, Sisters, Redmond, Three Rivers South, Sunriver and La Pine.  The days on market are down in Bend, Sisters, Redmond, Three Rivers South, Sunriver and La Pine.
No questions, the market in Central Oregon is healthier than it was a year ago.

Now, for the Stat Geeks of the Group

Of course, providing an answer that goes beyond the trite requires not only a bit more time, but a bit more thought, too. Central Oregon’s real estate market has changed so dramatically in the past eight years that every real answer I provide must first be preceded by a question or two (or three or four…) of my own.
First and foremost, which Central Oregon market are you most curious about? We have a number of very distinct markets with the region, and what’s happening in one often doesn’t reflect what’s happening in another. Tracking the smaller markets, such as Sisters and La Pine, can be especially challenging because, even on a month-to-month basis, the sales numbers are large enough to quantify in a meaningful way. And are you interested in the market outlook for single-family residences, horse properties, townhomes, resort properties, bare land or a manufactured homes? Your answer to that will also influence my response.
So for those of you who want to study the market, I’ve put together a few charts below that detail the past five years’ activity of my main coverage areas in three of the main categories that reflect the state of the market: (1.) total number of homes sold; (2) Average sales amount; and (3.) Days on market. A perusal of those charts will give you a pretty good sense of exactly how much better we’re doing in each of these niche markets. The number of Bend Residential sales is up almost 18 percent, while Redmond’s sales are up a whopping 37 percent. Meanwhile, the average sales amount for Residential listings in Sisters if up almost 19 percent and the days on market for Sisters Residential listings is down 13 percent.
The charts also point out several areas that could stand some improvement. For example, Redmond Residential sales are actually down slightly this year; and the average sales amount for Sisters Residential with Acreage listings has yet to stabilize.
2011-2012 Real Estate Trends

But How Does the Current Market Compare to the Peak?

For those of you who remember Central Oregon’s boomtown days, here’s another chart that shows how dramatically our market has shifted since its peak (between 2005 and 2007). For starters, we’re talking about a 30 percent decrease in the number of Bend Residential sales, a 38 percent decrease in the average amount of a Bend Residential sale, a 44 percent decrease in the average sales amount of a Sisters Residential property and a whopping 62 percent decrease in the average sales amount for a Redmond Residential With Acreage property.
Eye-opening, to say the least.
Central Oregon Real Estate Market-Peak 2012 comp

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, Bend and Redmond.