Windermere’s Annual Community Service Day Is today!


Today you may notice your local Windermere office is closed, or it may take a little bit longer for your Windermere agent to get back to you. But we promise it’s for a very good reason: today is Windermere Community Service Day. Since 1984, our agents have taken one day a year off to dig into hands-on community service projects throughout the Western U.S. On this day, you’ll find our teams doing a variety of projects, such as cleaning, landscaping, and painting at local senior citizens centers, facilities for homeless children and adults, public parks and schools, low-income housing, and emergency shelters, among others.

Follow what our offices are doing on Community Service Day on Facebook! You can also vote for your favorite Community Service Day photos in our #WindermereCSD2016  photo contest. The photo with the most votes will receive a $1,000 donation for the Windermere Foundation charity of their choice. Go here to vote. We encourage you to “like” our Facebook page, follow the Community Service Day projects, and vote for your favorite Community Service Day photos!

A big thank you to all of our Windermere Real Estate offices for the amazing work they do. Community Service Day is an important part of what makes Windermere the place it is, and we appreciate everything they do to make our communities a little better.

Community Service Day Projects:

  Office Organization Project
  Carlsbad San Diego Ronald McDonald House Ice Cream Social for patients & families 
  Diablo Realty B Walker Ranch Building garden boxes, planting olive trees, conditioning the soil, creating signage on the property, painting the alpaca barn, and caring for the alpacas.
  El Sobrante, Brentwood and Diablo B Walker Ranch  Help set up new location grounds for incoming campers
  Morgan Hill Morgan Hill Senior Center Building maintenance, administrative support and lunch with seniors.
  Walnut Creek Contra Costa & Solano Food Bank Collecting and sorting food for the local food bank
  Fort Collins The Murphy Center Sharing donuts, muffins and coffee with homeless community members and assisting with building maintenance; cleaning windows, organizing gear and making bags for the Street Outreach Program. 
  Kailua-Kona Supporting local neighbor with home projects Managing yard maintenance and other home projects for local single mom with stage 4 breast cancer
  Bozeman Springmeadows Assisted Living Throwing a beach party for the elderly residents
  Helena Lewis & Clark Humane Society  General maintenance 
  Bend Healing Reins, Bend, Oregon Working on the arenas and grounds of Healing Reins. Painting, pulling weeds and organizing tack rooms etc.
  Bridgeport/Charbonneau Community Warehouse Landscaping and additional maintenance work
  Cannon Beach Gearhart Kids- local children’s center Installing a mud kitchen, burying tires, building boxes for gardening - and what ever else they need
  Corvallis/Albany Benton County Habitat for Humanity Working on construction (framing and installing sub-floor) of a home for Habitat for Humanity.
  Eugene Food for Lane County Grassroots Garden Harvest and clean up the entire garden with over 75 volunteers
  Gearhart Gearhart Kids- local children’s center Installing a mud kitchen, burying tires, building boxes for gardening - and what ever else they need
  Grants Pass & Rogue River Hearts with a Mission, Josephine County Outside work: Cleaning up property which includes knocking down long grass and weeds and cleaning up.
Inside work: Cleaning furniture and facility, as directed by program director.
  Hillsboro/Sunset Corridor The Pantry Pressure washing the delivery truck, washing out food crates, cleaning aisle shelves, painting the waiting room, and cleaning freezer shelves
  Hood River & Bingen Local Food Bank Organize & execute a food drive to help local families
  Kelso/Longview Salvation Army and North Lake Elementary
  Lake Oswego- Stellar Tualatin School House Pantry Working at a local Food Bank, helping prep food and dry goods for transport
  Lake Oswego- West Oregon Food Bank Sorting dried goods for redistribution at the Oregon Food Bank in Beaverton. 
  Lane County Lane County Food Bank Volunteering at Food for Lane County's Grassroots Garden
  Medford, Eagle Point, Jacksonville & Ashland Access Food Bank Collecting bags of food donations 
  Mill Plains Fruit Valley Foundation Food Bank & Local Meals on Wheels Month-long food collection  & serving local members of the community through the meals on wheels program
  Portland Heights Project Lemonade Merchandising a store front that serves foster youth for back to school clothing
  Portland- Hollywood Oregon Humane Society  All agents and employees in our office have donated money and pet supplies for the Oregon Humane Society
  Portland- Lloyd Tower Friends of the Children  Setting up for Fundraising event
  Portland- Moreland Human Solutions Groundskeeping
  Portland- North Astor Elementary School Cleaning up the school grounds, weeding, laying bark dust, trimming trees and plants
  Portland- NW Johnson White Shield Garden Property maintenance & organization
  Portland- Raleigh Hills Hopewell House Weeding and pruning beds, planting flowers and improving the appearance of the pathways, grounds and fountain for hospice residents, their families and visitors to enjoy.
  Redmond Bright Side Animal Center Working at the Thrift Shop that supports Brightside Animal Center
  Salem City of Salem Parks Working at Riverfont Park. Prepping and painting decorative railing and tending to flowerbeds.
  Sandy Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Adopt A Road program Collect litter along highway 26, a three-mile strip of roadway in Sandy, Oregon.
  Seal Rock Seashore Family Literacy Center Improving and maintaining the JOY GARDEN at the Seashore Family Literacy Center
  St. Helens/Scappoose Columbia River food bank Fundraise and collect food and other supplies for the local food bank
  Stevenson City-wide downtown cleanup
  The Dalles & Property Management- Gorge The Dalles Mainstreet Downtown core clean up
  Vancouver Metro Fruit Valley Foundation Food Bank & Local Meals on Wheels Serving meals for Meals on Wheels at 4 of their locations in Clark County & doing a month-long food drive to benefit the Fruit Valley Foundation 
  West Linn West Linn Adult Community Center Helping with landscaping, cleaning and other projects at the West Linn Adult Community Center
  Salt Lake City Salt Lake Somali Refugee Community  Laying sod, repairing fences, building a play ground and some back yard furniture, planting a garden and more to help transform a local home and community meeting space for the Salt Lake City Somali Refugee Community
  Aberdeen The Driftwood Playhouse Cleaning and organizing the costume storage rooms at local live theatre venue
  Alderwood Red Barn Community Farm Preparing garden beds for summer crops
  Ballard Saint Luke's Church Revamp kitchen & dining area to serve larger homeless population and beautify outdoor areas
  Bellevue Kelsey Creek Farm Gardening, weeding, yard cleanup, and painting.
  Bellevue Commons Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center Painting the caretaker’s home (the whole house!), taking care of rain garden maintenance, weed whacking, and washing windows. The brokers will also be washing the horses’ paddock fencing and arena fencing as well as making repairs.
  Bellevue-South Mountains to Sound Greenway Restoration of the Sunset Beach area at Lake Sammamish State Park
  Bellevue-West Evergreen Court Removing ivy and blackberries, washing windows, power washing, and painting
  Capitol Hill City of Seattle  Cleaning up trash on 9 different busy streets, including two on and off ramps in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, and picking up trash and cleaning up the sidewalks
  Coupeville National Park Service/ Prairie Wayside Park Cleaning graffiti, painting, pruning hedges, scraping moss, clearing paths, picking up trash and beautifying this little gem of a park
  Edmonds Edmonds City Park At the Edmonds Marsh removing noxious Japanese knot weed
  Green Lake Local Neighbor Support Help local families with needed maintenance projects
  Greenwood Phinney Center Working with elderly families on yard projects
  Issaquah YMCA's Camp Terry Clearing trails, depositing wood chips into play areas, staining new bleachers and picnic tables around the stage and fire pit, and building a large platform for camp-goers to play games.
  Kirkland- Central McAuliffe Park Local park cleanup
  Kirkland- Northeast Attain Housing Half the group will be painting and doing yard work while the other half cleans and organizes their office
  Kirkland- Yarrow Bay Heritage Park  Landscape cleanup, view restoration, path cleaning, and weed removal.
  Lori Gill & Associates/ Property Management offices Camp Korey
  Madison Park Washington Park Arboretum Clean up
  Magnolia Community support event Hosting  a shredding, eCycle and Goodwill donation event
  Marysville Marysville Historical Society Museum Landscaping grounds of new museum
  Mercer Island Eastside Baby Corner Cleaning, sorting and prepping the baby items to be delivered that day to Eastside Baby Corner
  Mount Baker Wellspring Family Services Helping out in the Baby Boutique
  Mukilteo Mukilteo Food Bank Collect food for local food bank. Last year they collected more than 2,000 pounds of food.
  Oak Harbor Habitat for Humanity Aiding in the construction of a new duplex, including framing the ground floor,  landscaping and community garden support
  Professional Partners (Tacoma) Northwest Furniture Bank Helping out in their warehouse and loading and unloading trucks full of furniture and household goods
  Professional Partners (Tacoma) Liberty Road Foundation Helping them organize their fundraising retail store 
  Professional Partners (Tacoma) Purdy-area resident Helping an elderly resident without the resources to move personal belongings to new residence 
  Professional Partners (Tacoma) Key Peninsula area  Helping an elderly couple with necessary yard and home maintenance
  Property Management Kent Northwest Harvest Kent Warehouse Helping with food sorting for area food bank
  Pullman/Moscow Whitman County Human Society Pulling weeds, mowing lawns, doing deep clean outs, scrubbing walls and much more
  Queen Anne Food drive and making individual bag lunches for the Queen Anne Helpline Dropping bags at homes May 30 and 31; picking up and bagging lunches on June 3.
Covering the surrounding Queen Anne area of the office. 
  Redmond YWCA Family Village  Planting flowers, painting stripes in the parking lot, power washing the porches, labeling supplies, and more.
  Renton Emergency Feeding Program Cleaning up the warehouse and helping them organize the bags of food for delivery to their distribution partners.
  Sand Point NEST (North East Seattle Together) Helping six elderly families/individuals with home maintenance, including window washing, weeding, trimming bushes, removing moss and other home maintenance projects
  Seattle Property Management Green Seattle Partnership & Weekday Workers Forest Restoration at Carkeek Park
  Seattle Services & Marketing Magnuson YMCA Indoor and outdoor maintenance programs in preparation for summer programs
  Sequim East & Sunland Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula Car wash fundraiser
  Shoreline North Helpline Sorting and boxing food for the food bank
  Spokane Annual Windermere Marathon/ Foundation Fundraiser
  Vashon Island Granny's Attic Clean and organize the local thrift shop. This store donates profits to local area nonprofits.
  Wall Street Mary’s Place  At the Travel Lodge near Seattle Center that was donated by Amazon.
Painting, cleaning, landscaping and getting rooms ready for new families.
  Wedgwood Wedgwood Community Council Mowing, edging, weeding and hauling away debris of public space
  West Seattle Single family residence  Painting, planting and landscaping
  Woodinville Park at Bothell Landing General maintenance and cleanup of the parks next to the Sammamish River to prep the Landing for summer crowds

Weekend Warrior: Quick projects to upgrade your home

Memorial Day traditionally represents the kick-off of summer. Kids are getting out of school, families are making summer vacation plans, and backyard barbecues are on everyone’s minds. This is also a great time of the year to get your house in order and ready for the summer season. The following is a handful of ideas and tips to help you with this process.

Outdoor spaces

GardeningGardening- It’s not too late to start your garden! This weekend I will be planting an herb garden; I planted summer vegetables a few weeks ago.  If you’re thinking of doing the same, just make sure you use starts because many summer harvest vegetables won’t start from seed this late in the season.

Outdoor living- My home has an outdoor space with great potential, including a partially covered patio perfect for entertaining. This weekend I plan to upgrade the space with small touches to make it summer party ready. This includes finding outdoor lighting options, updating the seating and cleaning up the barbeque.

BBQ- Make sure your grill is ready to go this season by making sure everything is clean and in working order before you fire it up. In the northwest that includes making sure the fuel lines are spider-web-free. Also, make sure you have propane or charcoal on hand for impromptu dinners.

Clean Windows- Now is a great time to clean your windows, inside and out. Sun shows more dirt and smudges.

Lawn care- Prepare your lawn for the months ahead. Depending on where you live this means different things. Check your sprinkler system to make sure it wasn’t damaged over the winter; upgrade your lawn care to ensure fuller greens, check for and remove moss to prevent dead patches and start your weeding regimen.

Pool prep- If you have an outdoor pool get this ready for a summer season of fun in the sun, (unless you are lucky enough to enjoy your pool year-round). Same goes for hot-tubs. Make sure your equipment has been serviced, chemicals are available and your pool is clean and ready to use. OR, head to the local hardware store and buy your kiddie pool now before they run out, as I learned one particularly hot July!

De-winterize- I once was doused head to toe when we were turning the water back on to our exterior pipes because the pipe had split in the winter- so make sure all your pipes survived the cold, check your winterized projects and prepare your house for summer.  This is also a good time to look around the exterior, checking roof, gutters and siding.

Summerize- Check or replace AC filters, window screens, and household fans to make sure these are all functioning and will help provide maximum circulation in your house. Consider installing an attic fan or vent to help pull heat out of your home all winter long. Pack away excess cold weather items such as heavy blankets, jackets and other items so they aren’t in your way. Same goes for any sundry items you only use during fall and winter.


Inside spaces

Lighten the Space- Though I likely won’t spend much time inside once the mercury rises, I want to keep the house as light and cool as possible. I have found that replacing the curtains with a lighter shade lets the light in, but also keeps the rooms from overheating from sun exposure. Summer always makes me want to lighten up with the accessories- lighter colors, more whites, bright accents and less clutter.

Rearrange – Freshen up spaces by rearranging some of your wall art. If you don’t have enough wall pieces to rearrange regularly it may be time to add to your collection. You can find inexpensive original art online at stores such as Etsy or in person at local galleries. You can always play with other items like framed images from books, vintage posters or record albums. Here are some terrific ideas for using what you have to add interest to a room.

SpringCleanupAir it out- Open all the windows, shake out the rugs and update home fragrances to fit summer moods (citrus, freesia, clean linen, coconut, melon, fruits and tropical, etc.). You can create your own diffuser with essential oils to distribute fragrance. This may be more symbolic than practical but it always makes me feel ready for summer.

Paint- If you have a room you really want to refresh, a three-day weekend is a good time to take on a project of scale, so you have plenty of time to prep, paint, dry, and clean up. Painting is one of the least expensive ways to really transform how a room feels. Need help picking colors and paint type? Here is some good advice.

Garage or Basement- Tackle a big space that makes a big difference. Our garages and basements often become year-long dumping grounds for seasonal decorations and clothing, items that don’t fit in cabinets, memorabilia and maintenance tools. Go through your items and sort by keep, throw out and donate/sell and then group your keeps by function. Make sure your tools are accessible for easy gardening and entertaining by making sure your tools are accounted for, ready to go, and easy to reach. Here is a useful video on garage organization.

Yard/Garage Sale- If you have overflow at your house, plan a yard/garage sale to get rid of items you no longer need or want. Just make sure to pack everything up and donate it at the end of the sale otherwise you are just letting the clutter back in!

Plan a party- Once your space is all cleaned up and redecorated you will want to show it off! Plan a summer BBQ, dinner party, pool party, picnic or any other gathering.

What are your planning for Memorial Day weekend?


How a Federal Interest Rate Hike Impacts Mortgage Rates

When the Federal Reserve announces a change in interest rates, it makes headlines. But does the federal interest rate directly impact your mortgage rate? See what Windermere’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner has to say.

Summer camps provide invaluable learning and socialization opportunities for youth


Child development professionals recognize the camp experience as being valuable in helping children mature socially, emotionally, intellectually, morally, and physically. Summer camps and summer programs for youth not only keep them occupied while on break from school, it provides them with a safe place to be while their parents are at work, and gives them learning experiences that will help them throughout their lives.


Through camps and other summer programs, children can make friends, reconnect with nature, learn social skills, have free time for unstructured play, grow more independent, develop life-long skills, unplug from technology, gain resiliency, build self-confidence, and spend their day being physically active. And for some youth, it gets them away from an unhealthy environment that may exist in their neighborhood.


Grants from the Windermere Foundation have allowed many of our Windermere Real Estate offices to support local organizations that provide summer activities to kids. Funding has also allowed for the expansion of existing programs, thus enabling them to serve even more children. And many of these programs also offer need-based financial assistance or scholarships that make it possible for children from low-income families to attend.


Here are just a few of the organizations that Windermere Real Estate offices have supported:


Boys & Girls Club of El Sobrante offers programs in five core areas (character and leadership development; education and career development; health and life skills; the arts; and sports, fitness, and recreation). All programs are designed to produce positive outcomes for youth and reinforce necessary life skills.


Camp Kiwanilong in Clatsop County, Oregon provides a summer youth resident program consisting of several five-to-seven-day overnight camping sessions and are designed to provide a positive environment, nurture self-esteem, and develop lasting relationships.


Camp Mak-A-Dream in Montana provides cost-free experiences in an intimate community setting for children, teens, young adults, women, and families affected by cancer, as well as programs for children who have a sibling or a parent with cancer.


Donald W. Reynolds Boys & Girls Club offers full-day summer programs for children in Henderson, Nevada. Core programs are also available that engage young people in activities with adults, peers and family members that enable them to reach their full potential.


Peer Solutions in Arizona provides peer-led activities year-round to promote positive youth development. Students become ambassadors of change and model positive behaviors, which in turn foster healthy families and communities.


Quest Summer Day Camp in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho offers a positive summer alternative for families with kids in the six-to-fourteen age group. That includes active learning and recreational experiences in the course of 10 weeks throughout the summer. Matching scholarships are available to families who can only pay a portion of the cost for their children to attend.


Royal Family Kids provides summer camps for children in the foster care system so they can experience positive memories. There are currently 12 camps and 3 clubs in Washington, and the average camp serves 45-50 children each summer.


Want to help make a difference in children’s lives over the summer? Then consider making a donation to the Windermere Foundation or donating directly to organizations that provide summer camps and programs for children in need in your community.


To learn more about the Windermere Foundation, visit

Historically low inventory levels, how we got here, and what to expect in the coming year

The housing market is performing remarkably well, with the exception of incredibly low inventory levels in many areas throughout the country. Why is this happening? Windermere’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner, explains why and offers his predictions for what we can expect in the future. 


What Millennials are Looking for in an Apartment or Condo

LinkedIn recently told us that 4,279 new apartments were added to Seattle’s local inventory last year, and based on the number of cranes you constantly see around the city, we believe them. With so many choices, Millennials are getting really specific about what they want in a living space and the lifestyle it provides them. Here are some of the amenities we’re told that Millennials have come to want, and in some cases, expect:




1.  Parking & Electric Car Charging Stations

2.  High Speed Internet and WIFI (around the entire building). Preferably free WIFI on the first floor

3.  State of the Art Fitness Center  -  Fitness centers not only act as a place for exercise, but now a place to casually socialize and build friendships.  For instance, when a developer integrates fitness classes into the gym, they are creating a space where tenants can connect with their building community. 

4. Dog Grooming/Washing Facility & Outdoor Pet Run:  As many millennials are postponing starting a family to focus more on their career, their pets are like their children.  With that said, an apartment building that doesn't allow their fury friends will ultimately be losing out on a big portion of the millennial pie.

5. High- Tech Control Automation:  Using smart technology to control your thermostat, lights, switches, sensors, and locks while you are away.

6.  Business Center/ Work From Home Space:   With remote work becoming an increasing popular trend, the potential ways of catering to work-at-home tenants are limitless.

7. Laundry Facility/Service and Dry-Cleaning Drop Off/Pick Up- Laundry is a hassle, and most renters want the burden of doing laundry to be, well, less burdensome. Programs like “Laundry View” are used in some apartment buildings to view how many washers and dryers are in use. It will also send you text alerts when your laundry is done.

Read the full article on LinkedIn.


Community Service Day: Henry’s Story

For the past 31 years, Windermere offices have closed their doors to dedicate a day of service to provide support for members of our communities and nonprofit organizations that help our neighbors in need.

A few years ago, a group of Windermere agents and owners were hit personally when a boy in their community, Henry, was diagnosed with Birkins Lymphoma at the age of 13. This office decided to spend their Community Service Day helping to ensure Henry's home and favorite space, his back yard, was safe for him to enjoy. And even after his passing, this space continues to provide his family a place to honor his memory.

To learn more about Community Service Day projects in your area please go here


Nevada Real Estate Market Update



After losing over 134,000 jobs during the Great Recession, the Las Vegas metropolitan area has recovered all of those jobs and employment is now at an all-time high of 934,600. Year-over-year, the market added 24,600 new jobs. This is up from the annual pace of 21,300 jobs seen at the end of last year, but below the average annual rate of 32,700 seen through the whole of 2015. However, with an annual growth rate of 2.7% I see no reason to complain.

The local unemployment rate rose from 5.6% to 6.0% between February and March of this year, but this data set is not seasonally adjusted. (Seasonal adjustments remove the influences of predictable seasonal patterns to show how unemployment changes from month to month.) As such, I am not too concerned and would note that the current rate is still down substantially from the 7.2% unemployment rate that was in place a year ago.



  • Sales activity in the area rose by an impressive 7.7% when compared to the first quarter of 2015, with 7,248 home sales.
  • The fastest rate of growth in sales came in the North Las Vegas sub-market which rose by 11.3% to 757 home sales.
  • Pending sales rose across all areas, with the Sunrise sub-market showing the greatest growth when compared to the first quarter of 2015 (22.6%). This was followed by Downtown (+21.4%). Total pending sales were up by 12.9%.
  • Inventory remains tight with half of the sub-markets seeing modest increases in listings compared to a year ago, and half showing a decline. In total, listings are down year-over-year by 3.3%. The greatest increase in listings was seen in the South Summerlin/Lakes sub-market (+6.6%).



  • Average prices in the region rose by 4.4% year-over-year to $232,045.
  • All but two counties saw prices rise compared to the first quarter of 2015, and three sub-markets registered double-digit percentage gains.
  • Spring Valley saw the strongest annual growth with home prices rising by 16.2%.
  • Prices fell in the Downtown and the Green Valley/Henderson sub-markets but the declines were minimal.



  • The average days it takes to sell a home in the region dropped by six days when compared to the first quarter of 2015.
  • The average time it took to sell a home in the region was 63 days.
  • The South Summerlin/Lakes sub-market was the only market where the number of days on market increased (+3).
  • The greatest drop in days-on-market was seen in the Southeast and Summerlin markets which both dropped by 16 days.



The speedometer reflects the state of the region’s housing market using housing inventory, price gains, sales velocities, interest rates and larger economics factors. The Southern Nevada economy continues to expand and I do not see this changing in the foreseeable future. There has been some modest improvement in inventory levels across the region, but many areas are still well below historic averages, causing the market to remain in favor of sellers. While prices have not yet reached their historic peak, they’re showing strong gains, thanks in part to the continued decline of distressed home sales.


Matthew Gardner is the Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, specializing in residential market analysis, commercial/industrial market analysis, financial analysis, and land use and regional economics. He is the former Principal of Gardner Economics, and has over 25 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K. 



Southern California Real Estate Market Update



Southern California continues to add jobs but the rate of increase has started to taper. Through the end of the first quarter of 2016, the counties that make up this report added 71,100 new jobs, and year-over-year, employment is up by 196,100 total jobs for a growth rate of 2.1%. Regional unemployment remains steady or is dropping modestly, and most counties are at or approaching full employment.



There were a total of 38,917 sales in first quarter, which is a modest increase of 1.9% compared to a year ago.

The modest increase in sales is primarily due to inventory constraints and price/affordability. Total listings were down by 5.5% in first quarter when compared to the first quarter of 2015.

Home sales grew fastest in San Bernardino County, at twice the rate of the other counties contained in this report.

San Diego County saw a modest decline in sales which is a direct result of a 9.1% decrease in active listings.



Compared to first quarter of last year, average prices in the region rose by 5.8% to $594,152. We are seeing a slowdown in price growth that can be attributed to affordability issues that are becoming prevalent in many markets.

Orange County saw the greatest appreciation in home values (+8.8%) to $767,667. This was closely followed by L.A. County where the average price rose to $747,300.



The average time it took to sell a home in the region was 56 days. This is a drop of five days when compared to the first quarter of 2015.

Homes in San Diego County sell at a faster rate than the other markets in the region. In the first quarter, it took an average of 38 days to sell a home, which is 10 days less than a year ago.

The drop in days on market can be blamed on a lack of available inventory. I am optimistic that we will see more homes for sale as we move through the year, but demand will certainly continue to outstrip supply during 2016.

All counties saw a drop in the amount of time it took to sell a home between the first quarter of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016.



The speedometer reflects the state of the region’s housing market using housing inventory, price gains, sales velocities, interest rates and larger economics factors. The regional economy continues to expand but the rate of growth has started to taper. Inventory constraints persist, which has been driving prices higher, but this has given rise to affordability issues which are becoming pervasive.

In the coming months, the housing market will continue to favor sellers; however, for the time being, concerns about escalating home prices should be offset somewhat by the continuation of very competitive mortgage rates. We will still see strong demand for homes, but I believe we’re going to start moving towards a more balanced market through the duration of 2016. 


Matthew Gardner is the Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, specializing in residential market analysis, commercial/industrial market analysis, financial analysis, and land use and regional economics. He is the former Principal of Gardner Economics, and has over 25 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K. 

Oregon and South West Washington Real Estate Market Update



The total number of Oregonians employed in March reached 1.94 million, which was up substantially from 1.84 million in March 2015. The rapid rise in the number of employed is the main driver of an increase in Oregon’s labor force participation rate, which shot up to 62.3% in March from a recent low of 60.8% in March 2015.

Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped to a record low of 4.5% in March—the lowest point since comparable records began in 1976. Oregon’s February unemployment rate was 4.8%. A year ago, in March 2015, Oregon’s unemployment rate was 5.7%.

Rapid job growth in concert with historically low unemployment rates demonstrates to me that Oregon’s labor market is stronger than it has been in decades.



  • Sales activity rose by 8.8% compared to the first quarter of 2015, with 13,094 home sales.
  • Double-digit percentage increases in closed sales were again seen in a majority of the counties, but we did see some declines in five of the 26 counties that are contained in this report.
  • Sales rose the fastest in smaller counties, with Linn, Skamania, Yamhill, Jefferson and Marion Counties leading the way.
  • Decreases in sales activity also tend to be more prominent in smaller counties, which are prone to pronounced swings. At this point, I don’t believe any drop in sales is a function of declining demand.



  • Average prices in the region rose by 9.1% year-over-year to $315,746. The modest slowdown that was discussed in the last quarter’s report did not continue but has actually reversed course and started to increase at a faster pace than seen in recent quarters.
  • All but four counties saw prices rise compared to the first quarter of 2015, with seven counties showing double-digit percentage gains.
  • When compared to first quarter of 2015, Skamania County maintains its position as the market with the strongest price growth with home prices rising by 16.5%. This remains a function of the size of the market, which allows for substantial swings in price.
  • Double-digit growth was seen in Clackamas, Clark, Coos, Washington, Clatsop and Multnomah Counties, demonstrating that markets close to urban centers, as well as smaller counties, can show fast price appreciation.



  • The average number of days it takes to sell a home in the region dropped by 13 days when compared to the first quarter of 2015.
  • The average time it took to sell a home in the region was 109 days.
  • Jefferson and Skamania Counties were the only markets where the average time it takes to sell a home rose, but they are remarkably small areas, so the change does not concern me at this point.
  • The fastest sales pace was seen in Washington and Multnomah Counties, which registered at a little over one month.



The speedometer reflects the state of the region’s housing market using housing inventory, price gains, sales velocities, interest rates and larger economics factors. Growth in the Oregon economy is impressive and unlikely to slow down in the foreseeable future. This bodes well for the housing market.

Anticipated inventory growth in the spring has yet to emerge, but I am hopeful that we will see a modest uptick in listing activity as we move toward the summer months.

Interest rates will remain at very favorable levels which will continue to encourage buyers who, unfortunately, will still have to be very patient during the home buying process. As such, I have moved the needle just a little more in favor of sellers.


Matthew Gardner is the Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, specializing in residential market analysis, commercial/industrial market analysis, financial analysis, and land use and regional economics. He is the former Principal of Gardner Economics, and has over 25 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.