Sure, real estate can be fun. Side-eyeing mansions, gawking at the Joneses’ asking price. But when you’re ready to buy or sell, it’s a blood sport focused on one burning question: when, exactly, will this bubble burst? So far, the answer’s been not yet; in 2018, Portland’s median home sale price rose 5 percent to $420K—a $20K hike from the year before. But that growth is way slower than the double-digit increases of 2015 and 2016.
Homes are flying off the market in Sumner, with a blistering 17 days on the market on average. (Citywide, it’s 37 days and slowing.) What’s fueling the frenzy in this upper Northeast hood? Maybe it’s the 76 percent appreciation rate over the past five years. Or perhaps Sumner’s high ratio of out-of-county Oregon buyers (13 percent, compared with just 3 percent for the city overall) dig the quick access to I-205 and I-84.
THE QUIET LIFE
Barely a whisper of nefarious activity in Beaverton-adjacent Maplewood, which, over the course of one year, managed to halve its already-low crime rate. Crime is down across much of deep Southwest, which boasts high levels of home ownership (90 percent in Arnold Creek!) and low walkability scores. (Those leafy, serpentine streets sure get in the way of a good getaway.)
In 2017, condos dominated home sales in Sullivan’s Gulch. This past year, buyers in this close-in Northeast hood were more interested in single-family homes. So where are the condo hot spots now? Also in the inner east side, look to Eliot and Buckman, where shiny new mixed-use towers are crowding the market. Or head across the river to Old Town/Chinatown, where median prices dropped 7 percent over a year, down to a sweet $277K. Yes, your new home might be tiny—but that same footprint would cost 60 percent more next door in the Pearl.
Hmm, why is Portland’s genteel Northwest District depreciating? Two years of double-digit price dips here translate to a comparative fire sale on the neighborhood’s elderly condos. (We’re guessing buyers are distracted by all the sleek new developments rising farther east.) But for urbanites wanting prime access to green spaces, shopping, and downtown amenities (plus dateable neighbors, given that nearly half of residents have never—not yet?—tied the knot), it’s just cherry that homes here are going for a stunning $91K less than last year. Looking to cash in on other big one-year dips? Try Sunnyside and the Lloyd District.
ROOM FOR YOU
Argay, Parkrose, and Pleasant Valley have some things in common. All three lie in Portland’s outer east side. Their home sales lead the city in value, averaging $182 a square foot or less. But—third fact—those savings aren't likely to last, with each of these neighborhoods experiencing surges in median price of around 11 percent. Pleasant Valley’s capacious homes are now going for a median of $420K; Parkrose, for $340K. And Argay? At just $168 per square foot, that $400K median price tag really pencils out—for now.