Advice from the Portland Metropolitan Association of Realtors

After the roller coaster ride up and down the real estate market the last few years, home prices are on the rise. The median home sales price in the Portland metropolitan area rose 6.3 percent in 2012.

For those long-term homeowners who have owned at least 10 years, appreciation still averages 3 percent, a figure considered typical within the industry.

Other market indicators for 2012 include:

• The total closed sales for the year increased by 19 percent from 2011.

• Total market time dropped by 21 percent to 112 days. The total market time is the number of days from when a property is listed to when an offer is accepted on that same property. If a property is re-listed within 31 days, total market time continues to accrue.

• Sellers may have been delighted to see record low inventories. December ended with only 3.6 months worth of inventory, compared to 5.3 months in 2011.

"The low inventory in 2012 has created the first seller's market we've seen in years,” said Charles Turner of Atlantic & Pacific Real Estate. “Multiple offers, which were almost nonexistent for years, aren't that uncommon now. Only one buyer prevails when there is competition for a property.

“The highest price offer isn't necessarily the best or most appealing offer, which makes pre-approved financing, 'love letters,' and how your agent presents your offer, important factors as whether your offer is selected by the seller.”

What can buyers and sellers expect in the real estate market in 2013? We asked our real estate experts to peer into their crystal balls and they responded with a positive outlook.

"We saw over 5 percent appreciation in the Portland metro area in 2012, and I would expect a similar number in 2013,” said Gary Majors of Markram Properties LLC. “With inventory at a low, especially non-short sale or foreclosure properties, look for good listings to command good prices.

“Buyers will need to be competitive to get the home they want, but low interest rates should continue to make that easier. I see good news on the horizon for real estate in our area."

Earline Penson, of Coldwell Banker Seal, cautioned buyers or sellers waiting and watching on the sidelines to see how the market does.

"Real estate is a lot like the stock market, it changes on a dime,” Penson said. “Already we are starting to see the market prices going up, especially close in Portland. Like the stock market, people try to wait it out to see if it is going to get better before they decide to jump in or out, and in most cases, it is too late."

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