Portland Oregon Home Buying Guide
by Jolynne Ash

If you divide Portland Oregon into roughly four sections using Interstate 5 to divide East from West (see map link at left), 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 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 cities comprising 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.

Average Sales Prices for 2017


North Portland $380,600
NE Portland $521,000
SE Portland $485,400
Clackamas/Happy Valley $376,500
Gresham $297,100


West Linn/Lake Oswego $613,000
NW Portland $487,900
SW Portland $563,400
Beaverton/Aloha $332,900
Tigard/Tualatin $404,200
Wilsonville $404,000
Hillsboro $385,100

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

Current Market Conditions (2017)

Portland's real estate market continued to climb throughout 2016 with an overall average appreciation of 11.4% (Multiple Listing Service Portland Metro area). The average sales price has increased every year since 2012. Our inventory of available homes for sale is still at a 10 year low and this is driving the price increases and the multiple offers on most homes listed for sale.

New construction is making a comeback with several very good builders creating beautiful homes, in all areas. Styles range from contemporary to the look of old Portland Craftsman. We do not have a lot of new construction because the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) has severely limited the available developable land. There are many infill new construction homes in the inner NE, SE, and SW neighborhoods. This happens when the land value exceeds the house value. These homes can range from $700K to $1.3M depending on the size of lot, size of home, and neighborhood. You will never find an in-fill new construction home under $700k because the land cost is so high.

The driving forces of price escalations, multiple offers, and short time on 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 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 staying in the 4.0-4.5% range, up almost 1% from the Summer of 2016 but still historically low.

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. Unlike California where a home would sell for $50k or more over asking, Oregonians retain a sense of reasonableness offering $10-$20k over typically. But we did have to go as much as $75K over on a few deals last year. 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 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. Generally speaking, it takes $450k to buy a reasonable (but not fully updated) home in the Portland Metro Area and over $450k to get into the closer in neighborhoods east of the river, and west of 60th Ave. Most of the homes we sell in the NE and SE close in areas are in the $500's to $600's. The suburbs are less expensive with a starting price in the low $300's for a small home.

Below is a chart showing appreciation for the past 17 years.

Portland Metro Area Appreciation 17 Year Trend

Year Avg. Appreciation


 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 Ash, Realtor

Jolynne Ash, ABR, CRS
DreamStreet Team

Accredited Buyers Agent

Email Jolynne@DreamStreetRE.com