Promises of larger spaces for more affordable prices has led to a bit of an exodus as people seek greener pastures in the sleepier enclaves of the Portland metro area. Combine increased demand with a limited inventory of housing and you’ve got average housing price increases of more than 20 percent in some Portland suburbs, according to research prepared for Portland Monthly by the Department of Geography at Portland State University, using data pulled from the Realtors' Master Listing Service, or RMLS. Another trend? Buyers are snapping up houses quicker than ever, with many cities’ properties disappearing off the market in fewer than 20 days. Want even more real estate news? Keep an eye out for our spring issue, on newsstands in just a few weeks.
Median sale price in 2021: $480,000
Price growth year-over-year: 18.37 percent
Perhaps best known for being home to tech behemoth Intel and stop motion studio darling Laika, this Tualatin Valley city west of Portland straddles the line between Silicon Forest affluence and affordability, depending on which neighborhood you buy in. Hillsboro was the Portland suburb with the highest number of house sales at 1,863, continuing a trend from the last few years.
7. Oregon City
Median sale price in 2021: $520,000
Price growth year-over-year: 18.45 percent
Nestled along the Willamette River at the southern edge of the Portland metro area, Oregon City is appreciated by waterfall lovers and Oregon Trail history buffs alike. In this seller’s market, houses spent a mere two weeks on average on the market (that’s less than half of the 36 days that Oregon City houses spent on the market this time last year.)
6. Lake Oswego
Median sale price in 2021: $859,900
Price growth year-over-year: 18.55 percent
This preppy, southwest hills suburb has some of the highest property values of the cities in the Portland metro area. Alongside high median sale prices, Lake Oswego boasted the largest average square footage in its houses sold (what better way to treat the pandemic blues than with a lakeside mansion?) While other suburbs sold few, if any, condos, Lake Oswego was one of the leaders in condo sales, accounting for 19 percent of the city’s total house sales.
Median sale price in 2021: $568,000
Price growth year-over-year: 19.58 percent
South of Tigard, woodsy Tualatin had one of the hottest real estate markets this last year with houses spending just 10 days on the market on average. Considering that average home sale prices in Tualatin grew just 5 percent in 2020, this little suburb has had quite a year.
Median sale price in 2021: $450,000
Price growth year-over-year: 19.68 percent
Located right by the Sandy River Delta, where the Sandy and the Columbia intersect, Troutdale’s excellent beach access makes it a popular spot for summer day trips, but it looks like more Oregonians are deciding to stay year-round. Plus, with McMenamin’s huge Edgefield outdoor music venue nearby, this Columbia River Gorge gateway city is on its way up.
3. Forest Grove
Median sale price in 2021: $468,900
Price growth year-over-year: 20.25 percent
Resting in the shadow of the Oregon Coastal Range, the housing market in Forest Grove is particularly competitive. In 2020, a house would sit on the market for an average of 42 days. One year later, Forest Grove houses were typically snapped up in only 15 days.
2. St. Helens
Median sale price in 2021: $379,900
Price growth year-over-year: 22.55 percent
This tiny town of 12,000 is best known for serving as the backdrop to Halloweentown, a Disney Channel Original Movie beloved by spooky Zoomers everywhere, although it’s more likely that the town’s comparatively affordable real estate prices are what’s really driving its housing market. Along with a 22 percent jump in housing sale prices in 2021, St. Helens sold 29 percent more houses in 2021 than the year before in an average of just 13 days (that’s three times faster than this time last year, for those keeping score at home).
1. Wood Village
Median sale price in 2021: $370,000
Price growth year-over-year: 23.37 percent
Unlike Seattle’s suburbs, which saw the biggest increases in prices in its most affluent suburbs, it was Portland’s most affordable satellites that saw the biggest leaps in real estate prices. While the small town of Wood Village may have only sold 37 houses, they averaged just 12 days on the market and cost more than 50 percent more than the houses sold in Wood Village five years ago. Who knows? In five years, budget-friendly little Wood Village may be affordable no longer.