Laura Piccard

Real Estate Broker, Licensed in the State of Oregon

Visit Laura on her broker webpage to view listings.

Spring has Arrived! So has the Buying/Selling Season.

Spring is hands-down one of the most popular times of year to buy or sell a home. With the weather warming up and people flocking outdoors, to the school year coming to an end, spring tends to be the time when the housing market rises. “Spring” in the real estate world starts in January – right after the holidays conclude – and peaks around mid-May. That doesn’t mean that there are no houses that sell during the summer, fall or winter months, but typically it does mean that more houses are on the market and more home buyers are looking to make a purchase.

 Spring is one of the busiest times of year for the housing market. Does that mean it’s the best time of year for home buyers and sellers to enter the housing market? There are 4 key factors to consider when deciding to buy or sell a home in the spring.

  1. Home buying costs continue to rise

 Between April 2016 and 2017 there was nearly a 12% increase in median house value across the state of Oregon. In comparison, the national average for this same 12-month period was 7.3%. Although house price appreciation is expected to slow slightly nationally, housing analysts expect home values in Oregon to continue to rise by 2%-3% extending through the spring of 2018. Those looking to buy a home in the next year should keep in mind that postponing their purchase may cost more money in the long run. Looking back at the first five months of 2017, the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage loan actually dropped from 4.2% in January 2017 to 3.95% in May 2017. Looking towards the spring of 2018, some real estate experts anticipate a gradual rise in mortgage rates (ref. 1). At Cascade Sotheby’s International Realty, our real estate experts understand that the best time to buy or sell a home is when the client feels confident in entering the housing market.

  1. Does weather play a role in the home buying and selling process?

 After months of cold rain and snow, the sunshine and blossoms of spring are a blissful reprieve. As the weather gets warmer and drier, all key measures of housing activity spike. This includes an increase in searches, prices, starts, sales, and inventories, which tend to hit their annual lows in December (ref. 2). In January there are almost half the number of home buyers than in June (ref. 3). Starting in January, potential buyers begin their search, with search behavior peaking throughout March/April and staying high until August. In Oregon, June, July and August are the hottest months for online house hunting, based on a search traffic survey conducted from 2007-2012. In fact, 49 out of 50 states are 10% above their annual average in search traffic from March through July. Depending on where the transaction takes place, it’s important to be aware of the local market’s peak housing activity times. Home sellers may want to list during peak search times, while home buyers may prefer to search during off-peak times for a less competitive home buying experience (ref. 2).

  1. Gaining a competitive edge during the buying/selling process

Spring is largely regarded as the best time to enter the housing market, which also means that there is an increase in market competition during that time. With more people looking to buy, the market becomes more competitive. As a home seller, spring provides an opportunity for more interest in your property, although listing your house in late spring will also result in higher inventory levels (ref. 2). Winter home buyers will find lower home prices and less competition, although they will only see 79% of the housing inventory that home buyers see in the spring. However, a low inventory of homes may mean home buyers will spend more time shopping for the home of their dreams (ref. 3).

  1. Entering the housing market with a purpose

 No matter the season, there are life events that require a home buying or selling experience. But for home buyers who aren’t influenced by a major life event, spring’s essence of new beginnings can inspire new transactions. “Spring” in the real estate world occurs from roughly January to July. Real estate and home building experts explain that an emphasis on the spring home buying season has its roots in practical reasons. For example, it fits nicely with the school calendar, allowing for a smooth transition when moving with kids.

 As a home seller during spring, its crucial to identify less focused buyers who are just out to browse. Although the spring air may boost the attendance at an open house, the number of serious home buyers may still be limited. Whether buying or selling a home, in many cases, the best way to determine when to begin the process is to decide on the end date. On average, it takes about 30 days to close a sale. If taken into account the time it will take to find a dream home, a home buyer could easily be looking at 60-90 days going through the home buying process. If time is a factor, begin with an end-date in mind and work backwards from your date set goal (ref. 3).

 Developing a solid understanding of some of the factors that play a role in the housing market will help home buyers and sellers choose the right time of year to enter the housing market. Spring may be the most common time of year for house shopping, with high levels of search activity, warmer and drier weather, and a potentially more competitive sale prices, but homes are sold year-round. Keep in mind that shopping for a home in the spring will lead to more competition with other buyers and potentially higher housing prices, while shopping during the winter months might bring you a better price on the property, but less inventory to choose from. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact a real estate expert at Cascade Sotheby’s International Realty.


1. Shane, Michael. Sammamish Mortgage. “Outlook: Oregon Home-Buying Costs Expected to Rise Into 2018.” 31 May 2017. Web. 20 April 2018

2. Kolko, Jed. Citylab. “The Best Time to Look for a House, By State.” 30 Jan 2013. Web. 20 April 2018

3. Umberger, Mary. NewHomeSource. “When is the Best Time to Buy a New Home?” Web. 20 April 2018


Five Predictions for the Real Estate Market for the Remainder of 2018

Home ownership, once a staple of the “American Dream” has hit a resurgence the past several years. Favorable market conditions, such as low interest rates, increased housing starts and a generally strong economy have spurred robust interest in the real estate market. As we continue into 2018, forecasters point to several factors which may negatively impact decision-making. Most recently, fluctuations in the stock market, signs of higher interest rates, along with a change to the allowable mortgage interest deduction, could all play a significant role.

The market throughout the Pacific Northwest, specifically the Portland, Oregon region, has been extremely active in the last few years. Unfortunately, that growth is expected to slow in 2018, down 3-5%. Much will be dependent on affordability of a neighborhood and some are showing lower appreciation growth than in previous years. Factors predicted to affect Portland home buyers and sellers are low inventory, slow economic growth and rising mortgage rates. In other areas, such as the resort town of Bend, located in Central Oregon, brokerage firms such as Cascade Sotheby’s International Realty, have experienced record growth. In fact, as part of their expansion strategy, the firm has concentrated efforts throughout Portland, the Oregon Coast and SW Washington.

Take a look at several possible scenarios that could have consequence on the market.

1) Affordability pressure plagues slower market growth. Available inventory of homes, actually considered affordable on a median income, has been in steady decline. Experts predict that inventory will recover slightly, up 1.7% year over year, after falling about 3.4% in 2016. Predictions also suggest that median home sale prices will increase 5.3% year over year while existing home sales are forecast to increase 2.8% in 2018.

2) The average number of days a home spends on the market will be the lowest on record. In 2016, the average home spent only 52 days on the market, the shortest since 2009. Due to low home inventory over the last several years, in particular, with entry level homes in certain markets, homes have had offers within only 6 days of being listed. In addition, transactions have become less time consuming and drastically more efficient due to new technologies, resulting in making the home buying process easier.

3) Anticipate a minimal increase in mortgage rates. Industry experts predict that 30-year-fixed mortgage rates will rise to 4.3% next year. The 30-year-fixed mortgage rate has already increased from 3.5% at the end of 2017 to just above 4%. Wall Street’s optimism is said to be in response to the economic proposals from the White House and the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike earlier this year.

4) Everyone can get a home loan – for now. A positive credit score will go a long way in this market. Some financial institutions have introduced mortgage down payments of as little as 1-3% of the home’s purchase price. However, an immaculate credit history is often necessary to be eligible. Last year, government-sponsored Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac awarded considerable larger mortgages for the first time since the 2006 financial crisis. In fact, loan limits saw an increase from $417,000 to $424,1000 in many regions.

5) There’s still an ongoing housing shortage in many regions. It’s no secret that in 2018 there is a serious shortage of affordable housing across the entire country. It’s a combination of construction slow-downs, mortgage rate increases, and so much more. Little is predicted to change in the near future. Population growth has dramatically outpaced new construction and the industry is having difficulty in keeping up with demand. Ironic, considering new home building remains has encountered a slowdown.

What does this all equate to when influencing our decision-making regarding the market? Mortgage rates should remain for the immediate future and continue to promote confidence in the home buying sector. The advice of most industry professionals, though, is to act now, to capitalize on advantageous conditions before inevitable changes in the market climate begins to take effect.


Recently Sold Listings | Laura Piccard


Courtesy of Renaissance Development Corp.
SOLD AT $1,082,000
2,748 SQ FT | 3 BEDS | 3 BATHS

Fabulous, just finished, new home plan with Great Room, den or bedroom, full bath, mud room and formal dining on the main level. Step out to the wonderful private patio. The gourmet kitchen features an oversized island with Viking appliance package, including refrigerator. The upstairs features an open loft area, master bedroom suite with huge closet and 2 additional bedrooms.




Interested in New Construction? MDR Construction has several homes coming up in Westmoreland, Lake Oswego and North Portland

6314 SE 21ST AVE

4 BEDS | 3 FULL BATHS | 3,056 SQ FT. | .11 ACRES | $1,099,900

4 BEDS | 3 FULL BATHS | 2,844 SQ FT. | 10,000 Sq Ft Lot | 2 Car Garage

7764 SE 21st AVENUE – 2 Units
4 BEDS | 2.5 BATHS | 2,700 SQ FT.| 1 Car Garage | Ready Summer ’18 – Customize Now

SE 16th & REX – 2 Units
2 BEDS | 2.5 BATHS | 2,700 SQ FT.| 1 Car Gar | Rooftop Deck |Ready Fall ’18 – Customize Now

N Ivy St – 2 Units
3 BEDS | 3.5 BATHS | 2,800 SQ FT.| 1 Car Gar | Walk to New Seasons | Ready Fall ’18


Your best life begins with a home that inspires you. With an open floor plan and gourmet kitchen, this four bedroom, three bathroom, SE Portland home will be perfect for your city dweller lifestyle. The energy efficiency and the nearby neighborhood conveniences are best experienced in person. To schedule a private tour, contact Laura Piccard.


It’s a Year for Dreams to Come True! Own an Organic Pinot Noir Vineyard!

You are the first one to hear about this beautiful – just listed – home and vineyard! 2018 is the year that you will become a winemaker, whether as a hobby or as a serious business. And a serious business it can be with two gravity-fed wine making buildings on over five acres of property.

Step out onto your patio, next to your outdoor pool, and see the rows of fresh grapes ripening on the vine. Be proud knowing that your vineyard will yield 150 cases or more of wine every year and that you can bottle up to 9,000 cases in the winery buildings. Store the best years of your bottled heaven in your very own wine cellar.

When you’re not strolling through your vineyard, relax in your pool as you enjoy the view over the Willamette Valley. Or get some exercise in your indoor racquetball court and finish your workout in your fitness room.

If you’re feeling like a night inside, you’ll have over 7,000 square feet of warm, bright space to enjoy. With five bedrooms, four full baths, and one partial bath, the whole family will be spaciously cozy. Exposed beams and huge windows expose the sunset views of the Valley. Rest your feet by one of the many fireplaces.

Invite your friends and family to stay to help with the harvest. They’ll enjoy the privacy of a two-level attached apartment with a full kitchen.

It’s the year of dreams! Now it’s time to live your dreams. Contact Laura Piccard, the listing agent, to view your organic vineyard property today!


Real Estate and Equestrian Passions Become Reality

I am fortunate enough to be able to combine my two greatest passions: Horses and real estate. Since I was a girl, watching my mother ride horses, I’ve always loved them. They are in my blood. So anytime I can combine my equestrian passion with real estate, I’m unbelievably happy and blessed.

I started riding competitions at an early age. My family didn’t have a lot of money. I had to work at the barn, taking care of the horses and cleaning stalls to fuel my appetite to ride. Through hard work I was able to make my dreams a reality. I’m able to compete and ride and also fulfill the dreams of my clients.

I always felt that the Cascade Sotheby’s International Realty brand was associated with luxury, but it also conveys high-level customer service. It’s not just about price point, it’s the story that you’re delivering to the buyer.

Having achieved my own dreams, I am positioned to understand my clients with unique properties, and to help them make their dreams a reality. I understand the importance of finding their dream property or passing that dream property on to someone else.

I had to opportunity to work overseas in Belgium, to experience another culture. I have a lot of international clients. That experience has helped me better serve the needs of my international clients. I understand that there are different things that they might find appealing in the Portland area.

Everyone has a different story to tell. Everybody has a different experience to share. And I love that I get to share the stories and experiences of my clients.

To learn more about Laura Piccard, watch her Evoker film below:


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