Mixed signals for Sisters housing


Last updated 9/5/2023 at 9:34am

Local realtors say the market for single family homes in Sisters has cooled dramatically but a look at the numbers tells a slightly different story. On August 15, a 14,666-square-foot, eight-bedroom, nine-bath home on Jordan Road sold for $15 million.

Stripping that one-of- kind sale from the totals, August 2023 showed signs of resiliency compared to August of 2022. Last year in August saw 35 single- family homes sell in Sisters Country for $31.7 million. This August saw a slight decline to 32 sales for a total of $27.5 million.

In 2022, nine homes sold for more than one million dollars. This year the number was 10 (not counting the whopper sale). For the last three years, homes costing one-plus million have consistently been 25-30 percent of all transactions and many, according to realtors, are for cash.

Pine Meadow Village had two sales last month for $1 million-plus. A home at Grand Peaks closed for $968,564. Grand Peaks first hit the market four years ago, offered in the mid-to-high $500 thousands.

The average home price in August of 2022 was $905,522 as compared to this August when the average clocked in at $832,693. The more useful gauge of the market — the median price — hit $840,000 in July according to Realtor.com. The median price last month was a more realistic $720,000, down from the August 2022 median of $740,000.

With a 20 percent down payment, at today’s interest rates of 7.125 percent, the monthly payment on the median Sisters home price would be $4,886. Based on the industry’s 28/36 rule the buyer(s) would need to have a combined income of $207,000 to make that purchase. That income is in the top eight percent of all earners according to Investopedia.

Affordability of Sisters homes remains stubbornly out of reach for all but the wealthiest of buyers. Only four homes sold last month for less than $500,000. The price per square foot shows some relief, dropping from $435 in August of 2022 to $404 last month as building materials have cooled. However, labor costs have shown no respite for buyers building a new home.

Twenty-five percent of all homes sold in Sisters last month were new construction, a trend that should continue even as Hayden Homes is sold out. New large-scale projects like Sisters Woodlands and Sunset Meadows will bring about 400 units onto the market over the next five years but at prices around $600/sq. ft.

Prices also remain high as inventory is low. There are 76 single-family properties for sale in Sisters Country as of last Friday, down from 118 only two months earlier. Only five are listed under $500,000.

It takes longer to sell a home in Sisters according to Realtor.com, who say it requires 58 days on average. National broker Redfin says the number is 25, the same as a year ago. Sellers are generally sticking to their guns and getting 96 to 97 percent of their asking price based on reports from Zillow and Trulia.

Housing costs have driven the cost of living in Sisters to 138.2 percent of the national average.

There is a distinct softening in apartment rentals. For much of the last three years it was nearly impossible to find a traditional apartment as opposed to home rentals. Oxbow Apartments, a 50-unit complex in town, has units that have been available for nearly two months.

About 25 rental units, the majority homes, are currently listed in Sisters for an average of $2,650/month, also considered unaffordable by comparison. The U.S. national average is $1,702/month and in Oregon, statewide, the number is $1,800 according to Rent.com.


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