Lake Oswego office opens, four more to follow

by: STAFF PHOTOS: VERN UYETAKE - Ken Maes, vice president of Skyline Home Loans Northwest division, is bullish on the home mortgage business.

Oregonian Ken Maes is bullish on the home mortgage business — especially in Lake Oswego. Jan. 16 marked Skyline Home Loans’ return to the west side and its roots in Lake Oswego.

“It’s a new name but the same people who know and live in the area,” said Maes, vice president of Skyline Home Loans’ Northwest division. “The move reflects not only our confidence in the Portland real estate market, but also our commitment to serving the entire Portland metro area.”

Maes said the expansion underscores that the market has stabilized and home values are increasing.

Aside from the Lake Oswego office, Skyline Home Loans NW recently opened offices in Salem, Yakima and Eugene. Cued up for 2014 are downtown Portland, Seattle, Boise and Denver and, by the end of next year, Maes forecasts $120 million more in loan production, a 50 percent revenue increase and a doubling of staff to pre-housing bust numbers.

“It may seem counter-intuitive to expand now, but we’ve been planning this growth opportunity for two years,” Maes said. “Early on we recognized the market was dangerously saturated in refinance, which is why you’re seeing reductions in bank staffing. As an independent company, we’re leaner and nimble, and we’ve built our firm on the nuances and demands of the purchase market, which (is) very time sensitive.”

Skyline has focused on technology and tools to give its borrowers a real-time view of available housing; avenues for Realtors to expedite sales; and for Northwest companies that partner with Skyline Home Loans NW, a lending platform that offers their employees discounted rates and fees.

A lack of inventory, rising home prices allowing people to sell and move up and the rent versus own mentality are three notable factors driving the market, said Maes.

“People are realizing, if they’re paying the same amount for rent that they could for a home, they’re going to buy,” he said. “There hasn’t been any new construction to speak of since 2007, so you have a lot of people with pent-up demand and they’re excited.”

Maes cited these statistics supporting Skyline Home Loans NW’s expansion:

n Nearly 2.5 million borrowers are no longer underwater. Rising home values mean people can sell, which increases inventory and stimulates market.

n With few homeowners underwater, buyers are moving up.

Renters are turning into buyers as the rental market tightens.

n According to Skyline, Portland’s vacancy rate is currently at 2.04 percent.

n Interest rates, though going up, are still low. The average rates on a 30-year fixed mortgage reached a low of 3.7 percent in January 2013 compared to 4.24 percent in January 2012. Rates as of December 2013 were 4.64 percent.

Harvard University’s Joint Center of Housing Studies projects a “multi-decades long housing building boom, driven by surging demand from Latino and other minority households.”

Inventories of homes on the market have dropped sharply.

“We’ve survived every market bump and bubble since the early 1980s,” said Maes, who founded First Pacific Mortgage with his father and later merged with Skyline Home Loans. “Now, more than ever, especially with new compliance rules out in January 2014, it’s crucial for homebuyers to become educated and align themselves with reputable, nimble and experienced advocates.”

Skyline Home Loans was ranked 42 on the Top 100 Independent Mortgage Companies of America list for 2012. It is located at 3 Centerpointe Drive, Suite 260, in Lake Oswego.

To learn more, visit

Skyline Home Loans opened a Lake Oswego office earlier this month. The staff is eager to work for those wishing to finance or refinance a home loan.

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