Real Estate

Price Point: Waterfront Area Condo vs. Sunny North Portland House 

Both these homes are listed for around $500,000. Which one do you think is the better deal? 

By Michelle Harris April 14, 2022

WELCOME TO PRICE POINT, where we look at two very different homes at around the same price point. This week, we’re setting our sights on $500,000. With that budget, would you choose the house in North Portland or the Southwest waterfront area condo? 

Home 1: A cozy North Portland home with room for gardening 

Nestled in Portland’s northernmost corner, this idyllic two-bedroom home has plenty of green space for gardening and playing—in other words, it’s a great match for families who dig the outdoors. On warm days, you can sit back on the front porch with a good book and sip iced tea (or, perhaps something a bit stronger) while keeping an eye on the little ones or watching your pets tear up the lawn.  

Built in 1908, this family home has character and charm but with a modern touch, with shiny hardwood floors and adorable open shelves in the kitchen that are perfect for showing off your collectibles. The white interior brightens every room, along with nice big windows throughout the home, bringing in more than enough natural light.  With two bedrooms, one located on the main floor near the dining room and the other upstairs, you’ll have plenty of space and privacy without feeling overcrowded. Plus, the upstairs bedroom sits alongside two extra rooms, offering flexibility for extra storage space or even an arts and craft studio. And with two bathrooms, you can take your own sweet time getting ready in the morning without a disgruntled family member pounding on the door. An accessory dwelling unit with a separate entrance also provides options for multigenerational family situations. 

Located in the St. Johns neighborhood, the area has a small-town vibe, with a quaint main street that’s lined with shops, restaurants, and cafes. Less than a 20 drive from downtown Portland, the house is also less than a 5-minute walk from public transit, with the 4 and 44 bus lines just a few blocks away.  

Listing Fast Facts 

List price: $499,900 
Location: St. Johns/9108 N Willamette Blvd 

Size: 2,495 square feet 
Year built: 1908 
Listing agent: Sohee Anderson, Where, Inc 

Home 2: A spacious condo in Southwest Portland’s waterfront area 

Anchored high above the Willamette River, this condo looks out towards the waterfront and Mount Hood — just one of the perks that comes with living in the John’s Landing neighborhood. Even when you’re not on the balcony (which, by the way, has a retractable awning) the large, wide windows still offer stellar views along with lots of natural light, which brings some cheer even on gray, rainy days.  

Vaulted ceilings make the living space feel even bigger than it is, and with two bedrooms and two bathrooms, it’s ideal for a family or for a couple who maybe want extra space. The open concept kitchen includes a communal area for meal prep. The living room has a fireplace that will keep things cozy in the colder months along with wall-to-wall carpeting so it never feels too drafty. Speaking of chilly days, there is also a soaking tub in the bathroom. 

Located in the waterfront area near OHSU, you’re in walking distance of restaurants, cafes, and shops, as well as parks. Close to major freeways, it’s just a short drive into Portland’s downtown and you’re a 5-minute walk from the 35 bus line. Bonus: there’s a parking garage space included, so no need to spend time scoping out a spot when you come home.  

Listing Fast Facts 

List price: $500,000 
Location: John’s Landing/5439 SW View Point Terrace 

Size: 1,596 square feet 
Year built: 1981 
Listing agent: Joshua Coates, Cooper Reality LLC 

Final notes 

It really boils down to lifestyle preferences and financial flexibility. The house has about 1,000 more square feet of living space, and is the more affordable option at roughly $2700 per month—although keep in mind that with home ownership also comes a lot more maintenance, especially when it comes to lawn care, so that’s something to consider. The condo on the other hand, is going to cost you more at a little over $3,000 per month, along with the $465 HOA fee, which hikes up the price considerably.  

While it will definitely cost less to live in the house, it may feel too removed from the pulse of city life for some, or simply just too far to commute downtown, whereas the condo is just within reach of the big city.  

So, ask yourself: do you want to live in a quiet place with room to garden, play, and maybe have a chicken coop? Or do you prefer the urban lifestyle and views, even if they come at the cost of square footage? 

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