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Mortgage and home refinancing applications are down nearly 8 percent last week as interest rates for a 30-year fixed mortgage rose to their highest in over a month. The increase is causing buyers to rethink their plans - but not too much. A strong economy and job market is keeping interest high despite the increases in long-term rates.

In Oregon, new listings are up 12 percent, while closed sales are down 5 percent, which means more housing inventory is on the market and it’s staying there slightly longer than last year. The number of homes sold is also down over 2018, with 4,165 sold this time last year and just 3,511 sold in Salem this past month. Total inventory is up overall, with a 21 percent increase in months of inventory over 2018, when it was just 2.83 months. That’s compared to 3.44 this past March. A balanced market is 6 months of inventory.   

What Do Buyers and Sellers Need to Know?

All signs point to right now being a good time to buy for two reasons: interest rates are low, and the 2017 tax overhaul that is just now starting to impact the market has been shown to reduce demand for real estate. However, for some time it’s been predicted that 2020 would be a peak (or valley, as it were) of the real estate market slowdown, so if you’re looking for the best deals, it may be a good idea to wait just a tad longer and risk slightly higher interest rates to put that much more into your down payment fund.

Sellers will notice slightly longer times on the market and a decrease in the willingness of buyers to tolerate numerous contingencies on a sale. There’s also been a decrease in the number of bidding wars for some time. But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad time to sell. Homes that are updated and prepped for show will still attract eager buyers ready to pay list price.

Key Salem Housing Market Statistics

Here are a few other key stats from the Willamette Valley Multiple Listing Service housing report for March 2019:

Average Price for Single-Family Home Salem – $312,442

Average Number of Days on the Market Salem – 71

Average Price for Single-Family Home Keizer - $308,959

Average Number of Days on the Market Willamette Valley– 86

Single-Family Homes Sold Willamette Valley – 764

Total Dollar Volume of Homes Sold in Willamette Valley -- $647,000,256

Months of Housing Inventory Available in Willamette Valley – 3.44

Total Pending Sales Willamette Valley – 1,474

Active Listings Willamette Valley –  2,699

Active Listings Salem – 295

Active Listings Keizer – 53   

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