Pamplin Media recently talked to Terry Sprague, owner of Luxe Christie's International Real Estate, to find out how the real estate market is trending and what buyers and sellers should be mindful of during the recession and pandemic.
How is the real estate market right now and what are people looking for?
Currently, I'm seeing a microclimate in Lake Oswego and Clackamas County. Our company forecasted a recession (though not due to an unforeseen pandemic) so we were prepared and gave our customers investment strategies. When Covid came along, there was initial fear for all markets, including the stock market and myself and clients jumped into "contrarian" mode aggressively purchasing properties within weeks of the stock market crash. We took advantage of some short-term windows by buying at significant discounts.
After a few months, into the pandemic, we saw Clackamas County as a beneficiary of a unique market trend. Due to issues of homelessness and the political climate in Portland, people were, and still are, moving out of Multnomah County and into Clackamas County. Moreover, we have seen an influx of Californians escaping from the wildland fires and wanting to purchase a house with more value for their money. For the first time, the people I call "Never Lake Oswegoers," those living in Laurelhurst or Alameda are suddenly arriving at showings looking at the predictability of schools, city planning, the beauty of the city and sense of community along with the fundamentals of Lake Oswego which have been highlighted during these unpredictable times. The value of Lake Oswego has really risen over the last nine months and I believe it will continue to rise moving into 2021.
What home trends are happening now?
Because of the pandemic, people have changed how they live. Homes are doing double duty as both work from-home stations and distance learner classrooms. We are seeing larger homes with designated office spaces selling well and one of the reasons Lake Oswego is popular right now is because of lake and river views. Clients are spending more time at home and want properties that are visually stunning with a floorplan that fits their work and living needs. The popular "great room concept" can be difficult for a family that has two adults working from home and students needing a quiet space to study. The trend is more home for versatility, more outside features like views or tennis courts and a floorplan to fit all the needs of the client.
How has the Covid protocols hampered your ability to show homes?
Most buyers and sellers are flexible with the new protocols by masking up, using sanitizer and wearing booties when viewing a home, it's a positive trend in our field.
I often hear from clients that they appreciate me for my ability to "control the process." For each of my sellers, I have an accurate floorplan drafted of their house to give to potential buyers. I ask the buying broker: "Does the layout work for your client? Also, does the potential buyer have financing?" If the answer is no to these two questions, then we don't show the home and my seller won't have to spend the time to clean the house and move their family out for the hour it takes for a showing.
What do you foresee for 2021 real estate?
I tell my clients "Don't let the noise of the events change your discipline of investment and life decisions." It's easy to lose focus with the negativity, now, but stay positive with long term investing. Continue to focus on what you want and need because this is a space you are going to share with your family. Remember location, location, location when considering a property and if you love it, know that someone else will love it, too. There is less development is Lake Oswego and West Linn, so keep in mind the shortage of inventory when taking the time to decide. Assuming interest rates stay low and consumer confidence stays strong, I see a normal appreciation of investments through 2021.
Real estate is about relationships forged and these foundations are built on referrals; you must be approachable in this industry. I have excellent working relationships with other brokers, and they understand my desire to safeguard my client's home and time. I feed on the responses from my clients and their happiness with the real estate process. I enjoy surprising and delighting my clients, but more than that, I live in the community and volunteer to make the city a wonderful place for others to raise their families too.
Terry Sprague, Broker, CEO
LUXE Christie's International Real Estate