Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Holiday's at the Beach

The holidays at the beach can be either busy or quiet depending on where you go. December is one of the 'stormier' months and tends to attract storm watchers from the inland areas. Winter storms hit the coast with a special kind of vigor that is not often seen in the Portland Metro Area.

The temperature tends to be a bit warmer along the coast as the mighty Pacific Ocean moderates things a bit. But the rain and wind can come like a tropical storm, sans the warm temps of course. This is winter at the Beach.

As for the holidays the usual buzz can be felt at stores and commercial areas. The Long Beach Peninsula however is much more quiet on the roadways during the Holidays than in big cities like Portland and Vancouver. That can be very nice.

Be sure to head out to Long Beach for the New Year's Eve fireworks on the beach. A five minute deluge of mighty booms and sparks will welcome in 2018 at mid night.

That's all I got this time round, see you next year.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Rental and Vacations Homes at the Beach

If you have spent any time reading this blog, you know I have made it abundantly clear that the Long Beach Peninsula is the real estate value of the whole Northwest Coast Line from Brookings, OR to Port Angeles, WA.

So let's say you buy a vacation home at the beach. How does this set with your tax man. First before I write another word on taxes : DISCLAIMER ALERT! I am not a tax professional and am not advising anyone on specific tax matters. Before making any decisions about taxation and its implications on your personal finances, be sure to consult your tax professional.

OK so the IRS has some weird rules regard vacation or second homes and rental properties. Many people figure they will rent out their beach house to others when they are not using it to help pay the costs of ownership. This is fine but depending on how often you rent it, it could change the tax status of the property.

The IRS deals with second homes differently than it does rental properties. If someone buys a second home and they use it exclusively for their own purpose, ie. they do not rent it out, then the IRS allows under current tax law the owner to deduct the mortgage interest up to the limits, currently at a maximum mortgage amount of $1,000,000.

Interestingly according to tax pros, the IRS doesn't care if you rent the second home out so long as it is not more than 14 days in a calendar year. Even if you rented it out for a high weekly rate, so long as it never exceeds 14 days in a calendar year, you are not required to report it. The home remains a second home.

If the house is rented more than 14 days per year it is no longer a second home and is treated differently under IRS rules. It becomes a rental property and it may actually be better in the end but it will become more complicated as the expenses and depreciated are now taken into consideration, checked against the rental income earned, now required to be reported and appropriate taxes paid.

If the rental home loses money, ie expenses are greater than income, this can provide a shelter from taxation for the owner's annual tax bill. However, when the home is sold in the future there will likely be a large capital gain that could hit the home owner hard.

The IRS tax code is a complicated animal and this is why a good CPA that specializes in individual income tax service is indispensable. The whole point of this article is that great deals at the coast aside, owning a beach house either as an investment or second home can be even more affordable that just the price and mortgage payment would indicate. Talk to your banker and your tax pro and see just how affordable that beach house can be. The talk to your local real estate pro and see what's out there. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Another Gorgeous Autumn.

He we go again with the beautiful Autumn. Soon the colors will light up the hillsides and even at the coast things will shift to a cooler, breezier, and colorful season. Sometimes the fall can offer more sunshine than the summertime as the Pacific Ocean also goes through cycles and the marine layer may not be as intense as it is in the summer. We shall see in 2017 serves up some sunny, albeit cool afternoons.

I found this little beach bungalow on the local MLS, listed at just $115,500. Wow, cute, and less than 1/2 a mile from the beach! It is a little 2 bed cottage with a 3/4 bath and sits on a full sized lot at 0.11 acres. About 640 square feet in this charmer.

I also found a larger nearly 1100 square foot house on the bay side but still less than 2 miles to the beach at an wonderful $114,900. It is a 2 bed 1 bath home with a detached garage and some old school hardwoods inside.

The Southwest Washington coast on the Long Beach Peninsula remains an epic value for would beach house owners. This condition may not last much longer however so beach lovers should capitalize now while the gettin' is good.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Less Smokey at the Beach

Raging wildfires all across the Western USA have 'inlanders' fleeing the thick smoke and for some the dangerous flames. The heat coupled with the smoke make the coast an extra special retreat for many here in the Portland Metro area where this Labor Day weekend saw sweltering temps tickling the toes of triple digits.

Nothing like a day of 80s at the seaside with a cool ocean breeze caressing your ever so happy face. Such is the life along our beloved coast when the mercury soars inland the days are delightful along the relatively cool Pacific shore.

That's all I have this time around but be sure to check back soon as I am due for another deals at the coast edition of the blog.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Triple Digits Inland Equals Big Crowds at the Beach

Holy skin bake, Batman; the heat is on in Metro Portland-Vancouver. Four days of temps playing in the triple digits means thousands will flee the apocalypse to the coast. As if us city dwellers didn't already have enough reason to "escape", these rare high temps will push us by the gazillions towards the great Pacific Ocean.

Ah yes my friends, when the solar furnace overloads inland it generally creates wonderful summer weather at the coast with temps gliding gently into the 80s and the possibly a rogue 90 mark. That is typical weather for Portland-Vancouver but atypical for the beach.

For those who make the Oregon or Washington coast their full-time home, these heatwaves inland can create a bit of a disturbance locally. This is particularly the case for the Long Beach Peninsula which doesn't have quite as much tourist traffic as the Oregon Coast, but during the heat waves the whole coast will be flooded with those seeking refuge from an angry version of 'El Sol'.

Once you are out at the coast, take a look at some real estate. If you choose the Long Beach peninsula you may be delighted to find that their are still reasonably priced homes here. beach houses, vacation homes, or a full time residence, prices in the Long Beach area are pleasantly affordable.

Enjoy the beach this week.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy Birthday America!

The good 'ole US of A is 241 years old today and Long Beach will once again celebrate with a bodacious display of fireworks all along the beach. Enjoy your celebrations, be safe and come out to the beach for a n amazing display of patriotism and pyrotechnic magic.

See you next month :)

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Hello June!

Yes it is in fact June and the beach is starting to feel a little more of that late spring warmth. This hasn't exactly been a scorcher this spring, but June is the gateway to summer and summer at the beach means nice mild temperatures. When the thermometer starts to bust up into the upper eighties and nineties inland, the coast is a wonderful retreat for those of us that like a cooler temperature range.

There is much to do at the beach in the summertime and of course while you are visiting take a look at the local real estate scene.

Long Beach has a professional fireworks display on the 4th of July at the Long Beach Boardwalk but allows the use of amateur fireworks up and down a 28 mile stretch of the beach on the 4th. That is one of those bucket list things you just gotta do. Vancouver, Washington has always been a crazy zoo on the 4th but the city has tightened rules on fireworks so if you want a wild and crazy display of patriotic enthusiasm, the beach is the ticket to the hottest fireworks show around.

Below is some video from a drone a couple of years back. Drone footage credited on the Long Beach City website here.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

More Beach House Deals

I love looking at the deals available on the Long Beach Peninsula. It never ceases to amaze me how many people retire to the Oregon Coast and get completely leeched by the market and the government. It is like having a pair of thirsty vampires tag teaming you till your assets run dry.

The State of Oregon has done a great job marketing the Oregon Coast. It is a wonderful place to live and play and it is beautiful. This multi-million dollar annual ad campaign has led to excellent revenues for tourism in Oregon but also has created a real estate demand through recognition and national exposure. Prices for coastal property just across the state line are roughly double for like properties. Vampire number one is the housing leech.

Vampire number two is the Government. Oregon has an oppressive income tax. In fact one need only earn $8500 in adjusted gross income and the state vampire starts sucking 9%. This double vampire tag team will seriously effect the ability of retired persons to enjoy their retirement.

Washington has no state income tax and real estate prices on the Long Beach Peninsula are very modest in comparison to their Oregon counterparts just a few miles away. Take a look at this deal I found on the MLS

This is a cute 2 bedroom, 2 bath home just across the street from the beach access trail. Built in 1966 and recently remodeled this house has granite counters, wood laminate floors and a classic white picket fence. Ah, Americana Classica!

This property is listed by the Rian Group at $215,000. I dare you to find something on the Oregon Coast anywhere near this price, this close to the ocean.

Retirees can save a couple of hundred grand on the house, a few thousand a year on property tax and pay NO STATE INCOME TAX! And some still worry about paying a sales tax. The sales tax is likely less than the property tax difference on a similar Oregon property. And the lack of Income Tax is a 9% pay raise!

If you are wealthy beyond your wildest dreams, by all means live in the exact spot you want and don't fret the taxes and prices. The other 99% should come to the Washington Coast. Don't get 'sucked' into the dual vampires on the Oregon Coast.


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

You Like Your Weather Static?

One of the stark contrasts with the weather and climate on the Washington coast as compared to inland areas like Portland-Vancouver is the nearly flat chart of average temperatures across the whole year. Yes if you like a fairly predictable temperature over the course of a whole year, it is hard to beat the beach. Of course it is wetter and windier at the beach but the temperatures are nearly static. Look at that chart!

In Long Beach, WA, there is only 16° of difference between the average high in July and the average high in January! Contrast that against Vancouver, WA where the difference is 36°. Or how about a place like Spokane, WA where the difference is an astonishing, 50°. You may find it interesting that Long Beach, WA has the same difference in average daily high as San Diego, CA! Yes San Diegans enjoy a tight 16° spread between summer and winter as well. Yes, I know the spread is the same but So-Cal is much warmer.

To be fair the coast tends to favor a cooler climate, but the moderating effects of the mighty Pacific Ocean keep the extremes minimized and the averages very predictable and pleasant all year long. Heat waves in the summer are very rare and when they do happen they are quite short lived. Deep freezes in the winter are equally rare and again very short lived.

So if you want to live in a place that doesn't really have a major shift in seasons then the coast could be the ticket. It is really a two season affair on the Washington Coast, a short 4 months of mild summer weather and long but very mild 8 months of winter.

The beach is affordable and fun all year round, check it out!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Another Great Beach House Deal

Oh how I love the amazing deals at the beach for coastal properties. This house is listed at a mere $199,000 and features 1240 square feet, 3 beds and 1.5 baths. You can walk to the beach in less than 5 minutes from this modern little beach house. High vaults upstairs with plenty of glass keep this place light and bright.

I found dozens of homes under 200k on the long beach peninsula with room to run and close proximity to the mighty Pacific Ocean.

Whether you want an investment rental property, second home, vacation home, or even your primary residence, this one can fit the bill.

Seriously friends, who doesn't want to live at the beach? For those of you thinking about retiring, Long Beach and the rest of the peninsula offers better pricing than the Oregon Coast and you aren't subjected to that brutally punishing Oregon State Income Tax.

This home is listed on the RMLS by Anchor Realty.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Live and Play at the Beach

The Long Beach Peninsula offers a great deal of opportunity and excitement for those wishing to visit, or live. The video at left is a promotional video from the folk at funbeach.com.

Winter can be an excellent time to visit the beach and watch powerful Pacific Storms crash the beach and the rocky bluffs. It can also be a great time to look for vacation or permanent homes. I ran some research on Pacific County through the multiple listing service and found that the coast has a disproportionate softening in the market during the winter months. Generally real estate is a little softer overall during winter. Locally in Clark County there is a roughly 25% up tick in listings, and closed sales during the late spring through summer. The coast however has a larger swing in the winter versus summer comparison with sales falling off more dramatically in winter time.

This can translate into a better deal for the savvy buyer. Those trying to sell in winter are very likely doing so out of some form of necessity. Whether it is a job change, finances, family matter, whatever the cause, the need is real and that means the seller may find themselves in a more negotiable mood.

Sellers willing to negotiate in this recent strong market are hard to find, but winter at the coast could very well provide the exceptions to this general state of affairs among sellers. If you are someone that has longed for an opportunity to own a vacation property of to permanently retire to the coast, winter can be the best time to take action.

For insights on retiring to Washington State, please visit, Retire to Washington. For insights into the real estate market for Southwest Washington, visit this blog, Realtor® Rod.

Whatever you desires at the beach, the Long Beach Peninsula has much to offer. So go have some fun at the beach.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A Tale of Two (coastal) Cities

I have made contrasts between the Northern Oregon Coast and the Long Beach Peninsula numerous times on this very blog. Despite the relatively similar geography there are some notable differences between the two areas.

From a real estate perspective there is a significant chasm in the median home price and this will always lead to questions of value. Does the more expensive Oregon Coast offer enough real difference to justify the much higher price?

Today I spin a tale of two coastal cities. Seaside, Oregon versus Long Beach, Washington.
Let's be clear here, according to the Regional Multiple Listing Service, of which I am a member, over the last six months, the median price for a home in Long Beach is $140k and in Seaside it is $264k. To be fair, most properties on the Washington Coast are listed on the Northwest MLS based in Seattle and when those figures are added in the median in Long Beach rises to around $160-170k. Whichever number the gap is immense. Why such a big difference, what is happening in Seaside that isn't in Long Beach?

There are a great many variables in this equation and there is no simple answer. I still believe the primary driver in Oregon is the huge statewide and national marketing campaign to promote the Oregon Coast. There is tremendous national recognition of the Oregon Coast. Oregon has a gorgeous and very accessible coast line with some 363 miles of beautiful and mostly rugged Pacific Ocean shoreline. The entire Oregon Coast is serviced by federal highway, US101.

The Washington Coast in severe contrast is half the size with about 158 miles of Pacific Ocean shoreline and roughly half of that is protected by the Olympic National Park. The National Park is great, believe me, I think the Olympic Coast is spectacular! But obviously it isn't a place you can by a beach house! Washington really only has about 60 miles of livable coastal beach area, There are three specific areas that are a bit broken up by the topography. The Long Beach Peninsula which is about 30 miles long, and has a dead end terminus at the north end. The middle section features the town of Westport and 20 miles of beach but it is on a bit of an "island", not literally, but figuratively. To the north is the bay that Grays Harbor and Aberdeen are in and there is no crossing point at the coast. A similar dilemma in the South as there is no coastal crossing from the top of Long Beach. Ocean Shores lies at the north end of the southern Washington coast and abuts the Olympic Coast. Washington's coast is not really an easy contiguous driving experience.

As for Long Beach, it is relatively remote. Seattle residents looking for a romp on the beach are much better served by Ocean Shores or Westport, which is much closer. These destinations are 2 hours from Seattle and you'll need an extra hour to get to Long Beach.

Portland residents are better served by northern Oregon Coast which is only 90 minutes away. Poor little Long Beach is a bit of a bastard stepchild in the pecking order of coastal prominence. But is it "deserved" and does it matter for prospective buyers?

The decision to spend more money to live in seaside and even more yet in the charming hamlet of Cannon Beach depends on the person, really. The residents of the Oregon Coast benefit from it's fame in that there are a tremendous number of activities and attractions to support the massive amounts of tourist that flock to the coast every year. Those very same masses are also a potential negative. They bring more traffic, crowds, and elevated prices on day to day goods and services.

The city of Seaside has a fabulous beach that has a bit of a SoCal vibe, with a boardwalk (concrete), hotels right off the sand, and a nice beach town shopping, attraction area. In the summer there are life guards watching over the beach as well as volleyball and other classic beach events.

Long Beach does offer a drive on beach and in fact the whole 30 plus miles of beach are a state highway. The Long beach peninsula has a fairly large sandy, grassy area between the city and the actual beach so it is a bit of a trek from the town to the water. About a 1/4 mile in fact. The actual town of Long Beach is not quite as touristy as nearby seaside, but is still a load of fun.

Seaside is 33 miles from Long Beach and the drive will take abut 45 minutes. The historic city of Astoria is about equidistant from either. Frankly, I find it hard to justify the greater expense of Seaside versus Long Beach. Long Beach is a bit more reserved and a bit less 'fancy' but it is every bit a beach town and looks and plays the part well. Unless one is going to Portland often, Seaside is not the better of the two for those looking to buy a beach house. I can drive an extra 30-40 minutes two or three times a month on a ride into Portland to save a 100 large on my house. Just saying.