LINCOLN COUNTY — Most Realtors agree that the local real estate market is on an upswing. Indeed, the average price for residential/site built homes sold over the previous 12-month period as of Nov. 11 was $384,843 in Newport, $312,174 in Waldport, $400,621 in Yachats and $374,339 in Lincoln City, said Freddy Saxton, principal broker at Advantage Real Estate in Newport. The county average, said Saxton, was $376,076.
Saxton’s office was the sales leader for the Newport area in 2018, with roughly $70 million in closed sales. At roughly $50 million so far in 2019, Saxon said, “It’s shaping up to be a little slower than last year but still a busy year. I would attribute the decline to a lower inventory and fewer qualified buyers as a result of the increasing prices.”
“Our big market is under $400,000,” said Phil Spulnik, owner of Waldport Realty Group since 1973.
Many people are retiring in Yachats, said D.J. Novgrod of Emerald Coast Realty in Yachats. People are downsizing, she said. They want a smaller, single-level home, and “very often they want an ocean view.”
“We don’t have a lot of inventory,” said Rheychol Paris, also with Emerald Coast Realty. “People want the village feel,” she continued. “You can’t easily compare [Yachats] to other places.”
While south Lincoln County prices have not returned to their high, Novgrod feels the prices have climbed to within 10 percent of their value after losing 30 percent in the down market from 2005 to 2007.
Paris predicted, “It’s not going to stop.”
Wendy Snidow, of Coastal Homes and Land, also in Yachats, isn’t as optimistic about the value of homes in the village. Critical of the permanent limit on vacation rentals that was imposed by Yachats City Council in October, Snidow says it has made it impossible to sell two high-income vacation rental homes at the end of Lemwick Lane on the 804 Trail. New owners would not be able to obtain a vacation rental license, she explained. Both remain unsold; one active after being on the market for a year, the other off the market after being listed for more than 500 days in a hot market, she said.
CeCe Kelly, of Jon L. Scott in Newport, cites the wildfires in California and Arizona that have displaced many as a factor in the local market. Kelly said many are moving to the area from an even more expensive place, often with settlement checks in hand. “It’s a healthy market,” she maintained.
Kelly showed a modest, stick-built, three-bedroom home in Waldport to clients who felt it was too expensive. Kelly felt the home, listed at $279,000, was appropriately priced. “There aren’t many places where you can find a nice home at that price point,” she said. She maintained there are affordable homes in the area under $300,000, but they usually sell quickly.
While many moving to the area, particularly retirees, often have the means to purchase a home with cash, many require a mortgage. Rhonda Stickney, branch manager of Guild Mortgage Company of Newport, suggested that buyers connect with a reputable lender before looking at homes to determine what they can afford and obtain a pre-approval letter.
Stickney added that Lincoln County is eligible for USDA financing, which allows for a 100 percent loan to purchase a primary residence.
As an example, provided a buyer could find a $225,000 home, Stickney said, “A general idea for the monthly payment for purchasing a home in Lincoln County for $225,000, with 5 percent down, would include principal/interest, taxes, homeowner’s insurance and monthly mortgage insurance for a full payment of just about $1,350, with a rate of 4.125 and an APR of 4.496.” APR is a calculation of the actual interest rate combined with the costs associated with the loan.
While most buyers are shopping in the $200,000 to $300,000 price range, said Saxon, there is a real lack of inventory of entry-level homes.
Stickney said while some lower-priced homes might need repairs, there are often creative ways to finance such properties. The key, she said, is to “get connected to a great Realtor and stay with them. As a buyer, your best interests are to have a great Realtor by your side with a lender that understands our local market and its challenges.”