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Will Surge in Portland Sales Die Down After Tax Credit Expires?

Home sales in the Portland metro area jumped 49.1% in April from a year ago as the first-time homebuyer tax credit drew to a close, according to the Regional Multiple Listing Service (RMLS) in Portland. The deadline for buyers to sign contracts and qualify for the $8,000 credit for first-time purchasers and $6,500 for existing homeowners expired April 30. But the real estate industry is still unsure what the end of the tax credit will mean. When it expired, some noticed a drop-off in buyer interest, some like Eugene Petrusha, an REO broker with America’s Best Realty in Portland. “In April, we were getting 60 phone calls a day,” Petrusha said. “This month it’s closer to 25.” He said most of the sales are bank-owned as everything else is overpriced. The median sales price, according to the RMLS, did drop in April by 3.1% to $282,100 from a year ago. But the time these homes spend on the market is dropping, too, down to 127 days in April from 138 days a year ago. Oregon has the 13th highest foreclosure rate in the country for April, according to RealtyTrac. There, one in every 427 homes received a foreclosure filing, a level that’s held stead since last year. It declined 0.63% from April 2009 and 6.8% from the previous month. Write to Jon Prior.

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