How long have you worked in the field?
“About 20 years.”
What is the main community you sell in?
“Our office sells from Astoria to Rockaway Beach. My primary area is Cannon Beach through Manzanita, Gearhart and Seaside. I have clients that just closed on an amazing house in Astoria, there’s always exceptions.”
What is it about selling real estate on this section of the coast that appeals to you in particular?
“This is simply the most beautiful part of the Oregon Coast. The benefits speak for themselves.”
What are the drawbacks?
“We get a little traffic in the summer that’s a little challenging, but there’s no drawbacks to this part of the coast.”
How do sales and inquiries from potential buyers and sellers compare this summer to last year at the same time?
“For me it’s somewhat equal. The last couple years have been record breaking, just truly incredible sales. I’ve been the number one agent in Clatsop County for the past couple years, but I don’t think I’m going to hold that title this year. Sales however, are still really strong. The high-end market here has lost its mind. It’s just bananas. Everything high-end is selling, which is really interesting, we haven’t seen that for a long time.”
What do you feel is driving the demand for more high-end properties?
“The market is good. Consumer confidence, no matter what side of the aisle, is still fairly strong. (Interest) Rates have gone up but they’re still low. The desire to diversify wealth is pretty strong.”
Would you consider it more of a buyer or sellers market? Why?
“To me it’s somewhat equal in the sense that, in our typical marketplace, sellers don’t have to sell and buyers never have to buy. We sell something that nobody needs, which is a vacation home. I feel it’s a balanced market. When the magic number comes together then the real estate will sell. We just don’t have a lot of properties here for those first-time homebuyers. That’s not really our market here (in Cannon Beach), for first-time homebuyers.”
Can you speak a little bit about who your market is?
“We’re a destination. Our buyers are looking for a place to bring their grandchildren to make memories and escape the hustle and bustle of the city, some are planning for the future. They’re buying something that they can ultimately retire in down the road. Our market for the most part is not a first-time homebuyer — the prices are too high.”
Have you witnessed any trends or changes in the community regarding sales or demand?
“I think this area is always in demand. I think that if everyone that wanted to be here could afford to be here it would be too crowded. It’s a limited group that can afford to be out here.”
How do closings this summer compare to the past couple years?
“I don’t pay much attention to the numbers — my husband is the business king of that. I can tell you that our office had that biggest second quarter that we’ve ever had. I’m going to say it’s better than last year.”
Are loans sufficiently available? How are interest rates?
“They’re fine if you’re qualified you can get them. If you have good credit history and a job, those are the important components.”
How are appraisals coming in, about what you expected? Higher? Lower?
“Appraisals are still all over the board. You can have two appraisers appraise the same house in a four-month period and prices be completely different. Real estate is very fluid. The thing that people have to remember is that an appraisal is one person’s opinion of value at any given time on any given day. It’s always interesting.”
Is there advice you would offer to someone before seeking an appraisal?
What’s your local situation with regard to building sites? How is supply and demand?
“We have some lots here. There are areas in Gearhart and Warrenton where the dirt is selling a little quicker compared to Cannon Beach. It’s typically easier to buy a second home than build a second home. If someone chooses to build, there’s land along the coast readily available.”
Are development costs holding back new construction?
“I don’t think so.”
Are there other factors impacting the housing/construction businesses positively or negatively?
“It just depends on where you want to be. The (Federal) Reserve has seen a boom that they haven’t seen in years. At Polo Ridge, a new development in Warrenton, the lots just flew off the market and they’re getting ready to open their second phase. I don’t there’s anything holding it back. I think there’s a group of people who want what they want and they can’t quite find it so they build it.”
How friendly is the market for first-time buyers compared to the previous year? Is it becoming easier or increasingly out of reach?
“In Cannon Beach it’s not (friendly to first-time buyers). There are some places in Warrenton and Hammond that most definitely are, Seaside maybe. If you go south to Nehalem and Wheeler, the prices are different. It’s a little challenging for a first-time home buyer to buy a house that costs $500,000.”
Is there anything I didn’t ask that you would like to add or mention?
“One thing that’s missed is how hard Realtors work. Our jobs are incredibly hard. There’s so much more to being a broker than I think the public necessarily understands and why having an advocate, whether you’re a seller or a buyer, is really vital. Most of the time this is the biggest financial transaction someone will ever conduct in their life and it’s really important to feel confident with that person that’s helping you through that. I think it’s something people shouldn’t wade through on their own unless they really know what they’re doing — there’s a lot to it.”