Portland Oregon Home Buying Guide
by Jolynne & Malcolm Ash

If you divide Portland Oregon into roughly four sections using Interstate 5 to divide East from West (see map link above), and Hwy. 26 and I-84 to divide North from South, you would have an approximate layout of the greater Portland Oregon Metro Area. The Westside (includes NW and SW Portland and the suburbs) is the area that we call the suburbs or bedroom communities of the City of Portland. This is where you would find the largest concentration of Townhouses, Condos, and Patio Homes, in addition to single family homes. With the influx of high tech during the 80's and 90's, the area just north of Hwy 26 (Sunset Corridor) is referred to as the Silicon Forest or NW Portland. The demographics of the area are young, diverse, and affluent. Most homes are less than 30 years old.

Our many planned communities are very attractive. The Eastside (NE and SE) of Portland contains our older neighborhoods built between 1910 and about 1950. Lots are on a traditional 50 by 100 grid pattern and small neighborhood shops and restaurants make this area very charming. When you read about Portland's walking neighborhoods, this is where they are found. Below is a list of the Average Sales Price of all Homes Sold year to date in the different areas and cities that make up the Portland Metro Area. This is not intended to imply that all homes in an area are selling at this price point, but it does give you a general idea to compare.

Average Sales Prices for 2020


North Portland $435,700
NE Portland $488,400
SE Portland $445,200
Clackamas/Happy Valley $462,600
Gresham $374,100


West Linn/Lake Oswego $742,900
NW Portland $551,400
SW Portland $609,500
Beaverton/Aloha $421,300
Tigard/Tualatin $504,200
Wilsonville $521,000
Hillsboro $426,400

Want to learn more? Visit this site for
a listing of all the cities and counties in Oregon.

Current Market Conditions (2020)

Even with COVID, Portland has seen an extraordinarily strong 2020 through August. We had a 3- week blip in April but that was it. We are currently dealing with just 1.2 months of inventory which is the lowest since 1994 when we started keeping track. In the first six months of 2020, the Average Sales Price has increased by 3.7% to $475,400. With interest rates at 3% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, I don’t see a change anytime soon.

Jolynne's Market Update.

New construction is making a comeback after many years of supply well below demand. Our unique Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) regulates where new subdivisions can be built, and this has been limiting new construction to only a few areas for decades. Several new additions to the UBG have been approved in recent years, including four areas added in December 2018. For more on this -

See our Blog post on UGB here.

There are many new infill construction homes in the inner NE, SE, and SW neighborhoods. This happens when the land value exceeds the value of the older house on a lot. These new homes can range from $650K to $1.3M depending on the size of the lot, size of the home, and neighborhood. We have not seen any in-fill new construction homes under $700k because the land cost is so high in these Portland neighborhoods. Some effort is underway politically to allow for more affordable homes to infill these areas. Portland has been changing zoning within the City to allow for higher density. On August 11, 2020, the Portland city council set a new bar for North American housing reform by legalizing up to four homes on almost any residential lot.

The driving forces of price escalations, multiple offers, and a short time on the market, continues to be low inventory and the high demand. The trend continues with people moving to Portland from other regions of the country for the quality of life and a strong job market. This trend existed before the recession and has returned to a similar or higher level. Also, contributing to higher demand and higher prices is the interest rates for mortgages, which are currently 3% an almost unbelievable low which should be with us for some time. COVID has affected the job market but has not affected housing market.

When you search the MLS for homes you should keep in mind that most homes are now priced at market value and may sell for more if there are multiple offers. Some listing agents will purposely price a home below market to create a bidding 'war' thereby increasing the final sales price of the home. This is a valid strategy for Sellers to consider using but can be frustrating for buyers trying to guess the price point. We research each home and area to help you make these decisions and we have some proven methods to help work with this situation and do so regularly. Trust your Buyer's Agent to guide you down this path. It takes $450k to buy a reasonable (but not fully updated) home in the Portland Metro Area and over $500k to get into the close-in neighborhoods east of the river, and out to about 70th Ave. Most of the homes we see in the NE and SE close- in areas are in the $500's to $700's. The suburbs are less expensive with a starting price in the mid $300's for a small home.

I fully expect 2020 appreciation to be higher than in 2019.

Below is a chart showing appreciation for the past 20 years.

Portland Metro Area Appreciation 20 Year Trend

Year Avg. Appreciation


 2018  5.6%
 2017  8.4%
 2016  11.4%
 2015  9.3%
 2014  7.2%
 2013  12.9%
2012 6.3%
2011 -6.7%
2010 -2.7%
2009 -12.1%
2008 -13.7%
2007 11.3%
2006 14.4%
2005 15.0%
2004 9.1%
2003 4.6%
2002 4.0%
2001 2.3%
2000 3.6%

This site is full of useful information about Portland neighborhoods,
including detailed maps, utilities, and crime stats:
City of Portland Neighborhood Maps and Stats.

Jolynne & Malcolm Ash, Realtors

Jolynne Ash, ABR, CRS
DreamStreet Team

Accredited Buyer's Agent

Email Jolynne@DreamStreetRE.com

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