Beach Blog

Tsunami Hazard Zone ... the big question


When I ask a prospective Buyer if they are concerned about buying in the "Tsunami Hazard Zone" they sometimes ask me, "Should I be concerned?"  How do you answer a question like that?  Here was my most recent attempt:

Regarding the tsunami hazard zone, I really can’t tell you whether it is something you should be concerned about or not.   I personally am not concerned because I have a philosophy that you have to die sometime anyway, so I would rather die from a tsunami than from cancer.  I wish I knew the actuarial odds, but I have a feeling the odds of dying from cancer are far higher than the odds of dying from tsunami.  I doubt that helps you, but if you want advice on whether you should be concerned, you really should get it from your insurance agent or from your own research on the internet.   According to the “experts” if we have a worst case scenario subduction zone earthquake in the realm of 9 on the scale, then most homes which are in the “hazard zone” will be at risk of inundation.  That said, no one knows when or if the earthquake will happen, and the damage will vary depending on where the earthquake is and how big it ends up being.  You can get insurance to cover the potential damage, but that won’t help you if you’re caught in it.  I am told that FEMA Flood Insurance will cover damage from tsunami, but only up to 250K.  Again, best to call your insurance agent for advice.

After the fires...

Just when I was getting ready to run an ad in Southern California to attract people who are tired of the frequent fires down there, Oregon burst into flames.  The last few days the air has been clean again, but before that we had an eerie week of smokey/smoggy air and warnings to stay indoors.  That just does not compute for this area.  It was a blessing to feel the fresh rain return and the gentle breeze from the ocean cleaning the air again yesterday and today.  Now I better understand why every year during the California wildfires, we get a rash of fire weary families wanting to move here.  A taste of their world makes me deeply appreciate mine!  I can't wait for midnight 12/31/2021.  2020... it's time for you to become a distant memory. Let's have a BORING year for a change. 

Blogging again...

Looking back at my last post I find it hard to believe the last post was in 2012.  Wow.  A lot has happened since then. 

Instead of trying to catch up, I'd rather pretend I am just starting this, with the intent of posting more frequently.  We'll see how that goes!

To summarize the last 5 years for the local real estate market:  We finally came into a balanced market.  We really didn't start coming out of the great recession until 3 or 4 years ago.  And now we have Covid to deal with. 

It's a frightening world we are living in, but frankly I am fascinated that the pandemic did not bring the local real estate activity to its knees.  In fact, it has been extremely busy here.  Granted, every thing I do takes 3 times longer than normal because it takes planning, explaining, and preparing for safe practices.  But that's okay.  I am happy to invest the time and effort to keep myself, my family, my clients, and the community, as safe as possible. 

Since the "Ides of March" I have had a few new listings which had multiple offers competing within the first week, and I have made a few sales "sight unseen."  Surprisingly, only two buyers have wanted to try "lowball" offers, assuming Sellers must be desperate due to the pandemic.  However in both instances, Sellers held their ground.  People do not seem to be panicking about the economy, here, though I know there are tragic stories all over the area due to business closures and unemployment.  At this time, thankfully, it has not seriously hurt the real estate market in this area.   Maybe people all over are realizing more than ever the value of having a home at the beach to get away to when things like this happen. 

Knocking on wood as I write this, but it's a blessing to look out on our beautiful, fresh air environment knowing that in this entire county only 6 people were diagnosed with Covid since the inception.  Living in Rural America has huge benefits... today I am counting my blessings.

Summer 2012...the turnaround

Are we there yet?  No question in my mind that we are the bottom of the price slide.  Unless something drastic happens in the world or national economy, we surely are seeing a turnaround.  There is a lot of interest in buying beach property and there are many multiple offer situations these days.  When a foreclosure comes on the market it seems to sell right away.  Developers are buying up land. Yet, 90% of the buyers who contact me are still looking for a fire sale price.  We seem to be stuck with that for a while.  However, there are unfortunately many fire sale priced properties out there, though the pickings are getting slimmer by the day.  Once we work our way through that, there is nowhere to go but up.  Hold that thought.

This is IT. We've rounded the bend.


The market has picked up, there is no question.  No price increases yet in this neighborhood, but at least there is more buyer activity. 

I own a house in Portland which I refinanced recently.  It appraised 3 years ago and then again in December for this refinance.  The new appraisal was 10% higher than the 3 year old appraisal.  That was a refreshing indicator.  Since 80% of my buyers for this area of the coast tend to come from the Portland Metro Area, then the first step is seeing Portland Metro values stabilize.

Not surprisingly here, buyers are still primarily interested in buying houses which are being sold at fire sale prices.  And, since that's what everyone is looking for, the result is that we have frequent multiple offer situations (aka bidding wars) which do tend to push prices higher.  So that will actually help the overall pricing trend.  Unfortunately, homes for sale by owners who are not willing to accept a fire sale price still languish on the market.  Once in a while a buyer falls in love with a particular house and agrees to be reasonable on the price, so little by little that should help the recovery.

Lot sales are still the worst of the worst.  You can understand why.  As long as there are distress sale houses coming on the market, buyers will be swayed toward the immediate gratification of a house they can start using right away, especially when it costs less to buy than it would to build one.


Here's what's happening in this area.  An investor has purchased all the unbuilt lots at Ocean Highlands (the development of new homes just as you are coming into Netarts which was started by Centex, then came to a halt when the market dropped).  He has been selling them, mostly to adjacent homeowners in that development, for between 19,000 and 69,000.  Actually, only one sold for 69,000 and it was a prime lot with a fabulous view.  Most of the other sales have been <39,000. 


Here is a list of all the land pending and sold during the last 12 months in Netarts and Oceanside, and most of this activity has been in the last 60 days:


This link is valid until 5/8/2012.


Don't get too excited about the $1.5M pending sale (the 3 lots at the top of Maxwell Mountain in Oceanside where the hang gliders jump off).  It is my sale, woohooo!   However, this property is not typical of the lots for sale on the coast.  These 3 lots are what I call "trophy properties" because they have the rarest of views from high on a bluff, and the building pad is actually flat on two of the lots and the third lot is an oceanfront acreage. 

Anyway, even though these 3 lots are not the norm, and neither are the bargain basement sales, all this activity is a giant step in the right direction. 


I remember a couple of years ago attending a seminar by someone who used to head up the foreclosures department for IndyMac.  His outlook/forecast suggested that the way we will know when we are coming out of the slump is when investors swoop in and start to buy up cheap lots/land.  Well, that's exactly what is happening.  So, that alone makes me feel very very optimistic about where we are headed: Not toward stellar price increases, yet, but at least that we are making our way out of the abyss!

Have a blessed day on this beautiful and incredible and hopeful Easter Sunday.

Pam Zielinski



November and December 2011 were the busiest sales months I have had in several years!  I was convinced that January would find buyers lined up to buy, but we are not quite there yet.  Still, it's clear to me that the worst is over and we have growth to look forward to.  A seminar I attended a few years ago presented by a cadre of Oregon real estate experts, including a well known economist and a prolific commercial real estate appraiser, suggested that we will know when real estate prices have bottomed out by watching the land sales. When prices are going down, nobody wants to buy land because you can find such great buys on homes already built.  When prices are going up, that's when people buy land.  Land sales have been almost nonexistent in this area for the last 6 years, but interest has begun to grow.  Not seeing much yet in the way of actual sales, but the level of interest has increased noticeably.  We are on the cusp!

Something's Happening Here.

Like the song says, "What it is ain't exactly clear."  Getting mixed messages from every direction:  roller coaster stock market, marches on Wall Street, historically low interest rates (in the 3's!!!), and best of all people actually paying cash for houses and land lately.  The last month has been very busy with buyer activity in this area.  Of course, October usually is busy with buyer activity at the beach.  But October 2010 was not.  So, it's very heartening to see some hints of return to normalcy around here.

X  O

Open the Floodgates...


Having a blog is like having a baby or a pet.  It's a duty and responsibility, once you start, which you cannot neglect. I've been a lousy and neglectful blogger and don't expect to do much better anytime soon, I have to admit! 

For today, though, just couldn't turn in for the night without saying a few words about the little rays of sunshine peeking through over the last couple of weeks.  This Summer seemed to heat up fairly well, considering.  In fact, until about a month ago, I was having a better year in sales than any in the last 5 years.  Then the country's budget fiasco put the fear into people and buyers seemed to freeze in their tracks, wondering what happens next.  The stock market roller coaster at first fueled more fear and consequent paralysis. I checked the website hits, but the hits didn't go down so I knew people are still thinking of buying...wanting to buy...but afraid to move. 

Then little by little over the last couple of weeks, I've been seeing people put one foot in front of the other and actually put cash on the table to buy property.  The latest phenomenon is people trying to diversify their assets, taking cash from their investments and looking for bargains in real estate where they can have some hope of seeing their money grow over the next few years. 

This is what the economy needs.  As people break free from the frozen restraints of their fear, and take decisive action, the logjam starts to loosen as others feel compelled to do the same.  The demand is out there, but "pent up" is an understatement for describing it.  Let's open the floodgates and let it flow.


Amazing how many cash buyers are rattling around lately.  Money coming out of stocks and into real estate.  Sell high and buy low, as they say.  Someone is paying attention!  Interesting that the biggest increase I have personally noted lately is the increased interest in the higher priced homes. 

The last 3 offers I have written on affordable homes have each met with competing offers.  That has to be a good sign.  Well, it's a good sign for sellers, anyway.  Buyers come around assuming they can make low offers and have some hope of at least getting a counter offer, but instead they are surprised when someone else offers at the same time and buys it out from under them.  REO responses these days are just as likely to be a Multiple Offer Addendum as a flat out rejection. 

According to MLS stats, the average list price to selling price today, as compared to 6 months ago, has gone up from 92% to 96%!  So, if you offer more than 10% below the list price, don't be surprised if you either get a rejection, or lose the house to a competing buyer. 

These are all signals, folks.  If my crystal ball is working, we have survived the worst, and are positioning to start back up again.

First Quarter 2011

I'ts been real.  Seriously.  Something has clicked and the higher priced market segment and the blip (micro-blip might be a better way to name it) continues to hold air.  Inquiries, showings, offers, even sales have increased making the first quarter of 2011 encouraging indeed.  Still, the increase is noticeable, but not enough to make me shout from the rooftops.  I have been whispering from the rooftops, though, that maybe this is a good time to put the higher priced homes on the market.  There aren't a lot of buyers, but all you need is one. 

Mid-range is getting a little more activity, surprisingly so considering it's been winter until several days ago.   If we could just get some convincing sunshine, we'd be sitting pretty.

Low end properties, foreclosures, distress sales - still cooking.  Buyers are taking advantage of this great opportunity. 
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