Corvallis Real Estate Perils

At first glance, the real estate market in Corvallis might not look so bad. As of February 24, there were 64 houses for sale in Corvallis alone, not including any of the surrounding areas. According to Zillow, there are 123 properties for rent, but these numbers don’t tell the whole story.

“People don’t realize what a challenge it is,” said Debi Friedlander of Windermere Willamette Valley, a local real estate agency. Friedlander is also the Sustainability Coalition Housing Action Team Leader, so housing affordability is something that she feels passionate about.

Friedlander explained that of the 64 houses for sale, only 12 were less than $300,000. For a first-time home buyer who doesn’t have any equity, that’s generally over budget. Of the 12 properties that were more affordable, several would be considered “fixer-uppers,” including one that was listed at $190,000, but the value is in the land, and the house would have to be completely rebuilt to be livable. 

An individual or a family on a budget is typically unable to purchase a house, let alone sink more money into repairs. Often in cases like this, investors or developers are buying up property, then renting or selling it at a profit.

Another issue is that many of the homes available in Corvallis are not eligible for FHA; a federal program that assists first-time home buyers so that they don’t need a large down payment to make a purchase. 

One of the 12 homes Friedlander found under $300,000 was listed at $175,000 as a short sale, which Friedlander explained often means the seller is looking for a cash-only buyer. 

These different factors mean that finding an affordable home for sale Corvallis is “next to impossible,” according to Friedlander. 

Of the 123 rental properties on Zillow, only 29 are less than $1,000 a month, not necessarily including utilities. Only 12 of those were two bedroom.

Friedlander did find a great home for $248,000 – the high end of what a typical first-time home buyer would be looking for – and it was available for FHA financing. “It has been on the market for two days, and it will be gone in two days,” Friedlander said. Unfortunately, that’s typical.

By Ashley Rammelsberg