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Spring Brings Renewal
April 03, 2013
Over the course of the past month,  there has been a flood of data indicating that housing is making a strong recovery.  Furthermore, according to many economists housing is currently one of the strong sectors of the national economy.  According to the latest Case Shiller report, which was released Tuesday, March 26, the Portland metropolitan market showed price increases of approximately 8.3% from January 2012 to January 2013.  Additionally, the Seattle metropolitan area showed an increase of 8.7% during that period.

Coupled with the positive news on housing prices are numerous articles in the local press, including one this week in the Portland Business Journal that focused on shrinking lot inventories.[1]  According to data from the National Association of Home Builders, the Portland/Vancouver market hit the trough of building permits in February 2009 and the trough of prices in January 2012.  All signs point to a renewal of interest and a big comeback for our industry.  At the groundbreaking of the 2013 Parade of Homes,Commissioner Steve Stuart remarked that he expected the housing industry to be a strong part of the local job recovery. 

During March, the Board of County Commissioners approved an extension of land use approvals issued between
June 1, 2004 and December 30, 2011 until December 31, 2016.  This should allow additional approved lots to get to market to assist with inventories.  The Washington House of Representatives also recently passed a plat extension bill by a vote of 98-0.  It is currently in the Senate Rules Committee for a second reading.

We continue to track other bills currently in the legislature, including the impact fee deferral bill that passed the House, but awaits action in the Senate.  Additionally,  the bill that would move building codes to a six-year building cycle passed the Senate and awaits action in the House.
[1] Here is an article that I wrote in the Daily Journal of Commerce in October 2012 following up on an article I wrote in 2010 explaining that a lot shortage was coming.

 



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