Looking Ahead at 2013

Every winter the various title companies bring in economists to forecast what the coming year is going to look like, and every year I make it a point to attend at least one of these presentations. I gotta tell you, for the last 5 years, it’s been painful. Doom and gloom and hang onto your coat tails cause it’s gonna be a wild ride. What a breath of fresh air it was two weeks ago to go to the economic outlook program put on by WFG National Title.


The guest speaker was Patrick Stone, the President and CEO of Williston Financial Group. I am not going to quote Mr. Stone directly as my note taking was not done verbatim. I am going to instead share with you the general idea of what I took away.

First, after the recession, as a country and as individuals, we are well positioned for economic growth. This is because the recession allowed us to restructure out debt to get rid of it and to refinance it at a lower cost. This has created more liquid assets for both consumption and savings.

Second, as a state, Oregon is uniquely positioned to do even better than the national average.

GDP for the state of Oregon was second only to North Dakota, growing at 4.7%. This was attributed to Oregon’s manufacturing sector which is quite a bit stronger than the National average.

The prediction was made that we should see continued economic growth this year and into the next few years. Bear in mind that this could change if something horrible happens such as a terrorist attack or a huge natural disaster.

Mr. Stone went so far as to suggest that our housing recovery will likely recoup the house values lost to the recession by 2016. That would mean a 20% growth in house values in the next 3 years. Personally, I feel that momentum is happening. Will it sustain? I hope so.

Mr. Stone also talked about a future housing shortage. This would happen because of our strict land use laws that make the development of new land for new construction a slow process. To have lots for new homes in 2015, that land needs to be in the development process now. And not much bare land is currently in that process. Builders suffered in the recession and just have not been positioned to have the resources to invest in land development. That is changing. New housing starts are on the rise and the builders are beginning to prosper.

The long and short of it is that with a low supply of land and a growing economy, there will likely be a housing shortage in the future. Economics 101 is about supply and demand. Low supply combined with high demand is what causes prices to go up.

No, I don’t have a crystal ball. Yes, I may be entirely wrong. But based upon what I heard at this year’s economic forecast session, 2013 should be a good year for the real estate market and that positive growth is likely to continue into the years ahead.

I sure hope so. We all deserve some good news.