The price of a house in west Umatilla County is higher than before the recent recession, according to appraiser Douglas Barak of Barak and Associates.

Barak gave a rundown of the state of the housing market Tuesday during the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce’s monthly business networking luncheon.

After dividing the total number of homes sold by the total amount of profits, he said homes were selling for an average of $135,807 in 2007 and are up to $157,722 this year in west Umatilla County. On the eastern half of the county, he said, that average is $165,772 this year.

“Pendleton had several expensive homes sell and that pushes the numbers up,” he said.

He said countywide he has found that most homes sell for about 97 percent of the last listed asking price, with the exception of a few outliers that are priced well above what they are valued by an appraiser.

“If your house is overpriced substantially then you just won’t get offers,” he said.

He said once people are emotionally and mentally invested in buying a certain home they tend to shy away from making an offer that is significantly lower than the asking price for fear of being rejected. 

Barak said Hermiston has always far outpaced Pendleton in new home building, but some “pent up demand in Pendleton” has pushed Pendleton’s building permit numbers up in the last few months.

Even though home prices in the Hermiston area have seen a gentle incline through the boom and bust of the 21st century, Barak said the number of homes being sold did see a spike. In the western Umatilla County and northern Morrow County area Barak said there were 223 houses sold in 1997, a peak of 495 sold in 2005 and then numbers have hovered in the low 300 range for the past few years.

“The last three years have been pretty stable,” he said.

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Contact Jade McDowell at jmcdowell@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4536.

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