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 2018


North Portland $427,200 *
NE Portland $462,400 *
SE Portland $485,400 *
Clackamas/Happy Valley $416,200
Gresham $344,000


West Linn/Lake Oswego $669,300
NW Portland $541,400 *
SW Portland $603,700 *
Beaverton/Aloha $373,400
Tigard/Tualatin $437,500
Wilsonville $432,600
Hillsboro $385,200

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

* Average prices provided by Reginal Multiple Listing Service (RMLS).
The areas of Portlnad are larger geographic areas defined by RMLS, that do not always reflect
the reality of prices in neighborhoods closer to downtown.

Current Market Conditions (2018)

Portland's real estate market continued to climb throughout 2017 with an overall average appreciation of 8.5% (Multiple Listing Service Portland Metro area). This is a step down from 2016 with the peak of 11.4%. The average sales price has increased every year since 2012. Cumulatively $100,000 invested in Portalnd in 2012 would have appreciated to $169,000 on average in early 2018. Anactodaly we are seeing our clients who purchased in 2012 now reaping profits similar to this in 2017 and 2018. There are always two factors in price increases. One is available inventory the other is buyer demand. Both forces are hard at work. 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 on small lots. Styles range from contemporary to the look of old Portland Craftsman. The location and amount of new construction is always limited due to our unique Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) which severely limits the available developable land. There are many infill new construction homes in the inner NE, SE, and SW neighborhoods of Portland as land values rise, making it feasible to remove structures in disrepiar or under utilized and replace with new modern homes. This happens when the land value exceeds the building value. These homes can range from $700K to $1.3M depending on the size of lot, size of home, and neighborhood. You will rarely 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. The net migration to Oregon was 64,750 in 2017 according the official numbers produced by Portland State University. This trend existed before the recession and has returned to a similar or higher level. Also contributing to higher demand and higher prices: the interest rates for mortgages, which are staying in the 4.5-4.75% range, up more than 1% from early 2017 but still historically low. As credit becomes easier to get, more low down payment and ARM loans are showing up. Let us help you match your situation with the right lender and explore the available programs.

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. As spring 2018 starts, we are seeing homes in high demand areas, like NE, SE, and N Portland going 10% or more over the asking price. Offering $50k over on a $500-550k list price was rare in 2016, now it's becoming more common. So be ready to pay more than asking price on anything that is in nice condition in a desireable area. 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 $500k 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 $700's. The suburbs are less expensive with a starting price in the high $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


 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 Ash, Realtor

Jolynne Ash, ABR, CRS
DreamStreet Team

Accredited Buyers Agent

Email Jolynne@DreamStreetRE.com