Will the Portland Housing Market Snap Out of Its August Lull?
The Portland real estate market traditionally goes through an August lull, and this year is no exception.
But is this the state of a sustained downturn in prices, or simply a momentary respite? The short answer: It’s too soon to tell. Realtors say the market typically picks up again in September and October, so by the end of the year, we’ll know whether Portland is truly becoming more favorable to buyers, after years of a sustained sellers’ market.
In the meantime, in August, throughout the metro area, average and median sale prices continued a three-month slide, according to new data available from the Real Estate Master Listing Service, or RMLS. The average home sale price in August was $607,700, a significant drop from July’s $635,700. Houses were sitting on the market longer too, for an average of 28 days, up from 20 in July.
On the other hand, the number of newly-listed homes on the market decreased slightly—from 3,763 in July to 3,209 in August, though historically, would-be sellers do wait until the end of summer vacation season to list their properties.
There are other definite warning signs too. In every quadrant of Portland, and in every suburb, without exception, there are fewer pending sales so far this year than there were at the same time in 2021; year-over-year sales are down more than 40 percent in Hillsboro and Forest Grove, nearly 38 percent in Milwaukie and Clackamas, and almost 30 percent in Southeast Portland.
That’s partly due to inventory—there are just fewer homes available to buy than there were in 2021—and partly due to the rise in interest prices on home mortgages. The big unanswered question is whether more homes coming on the market this fall will translate to more closed sales. Watch this space.
In the meantime, here’s a quick look at where prices fell the most last month for neighborhoods in Portland and in its suburbs, plus two places where it ticked up.
On the Rise
This is the only one of Portland’s suburbs to show a jump in average sale price between July and August of this year of about 7 percent. It’s probably not a coincidence that homes here were only on the market for an average of 20 days—the shortest amount of time in the tri-county metro area.
Average sale price, August 2022: $686,700
Price growth year-over-year: 13 percent
We’re a little surprised by this one, but it could be because one or two mega sales can really move the needle when it comes to calculated average sale prices, which inched up less than 1 percent last month. (Case in point, this jaw-dropper of a West Hills home we featured in our Property Watch column back in July.)
Average sale price, August 2022: $776,800
Price growth year-over-year: 7.3 percent
Lake Oswego/West Linn
After a fast start to the year, it was a really slow month for Portland’s swankiest burbs, with average sale prices falling below a million dollars in August, a swoon of about 8 percent from July numbers. Pending sales are down almost 30 percent from this time last year too—maybe it’s all that uncertainty about public access to Oswego Lake? Homes that do come onto the market here still move fast, sitting for an average of 25 days.
Average sale price, August 2022: $950,100
Price growth year-over-year: 12 percent
Northwest Washington County
This slice of Washington County—about as close as you can get to Portland without paying Multnomah County taxes, and about equidistant from downtown Beaverton and Hillsdale—has been in the highest of demand for months (it’s year-over-year price growth is still the highest in the metro area, even with August’s flattening). So it will be interesting to see whether this month’s 7 percent slide is a one-off, or a sign that prices there are finally leveling off.
Average sale price, August 2022: $731,200
Price growth year-over-year: 17.1 percent
Is the price of gas making the commute to downtown less palatable, or Intel’s big announcement that it is spending $20 billion to put two chip factories in Ohio instead of Oregon, or just the summer swoon? Whatever the reason, the average sales price here slid about nine percent from July to August of this year.
Average sale price, August 2022: $559,700
Price growth year-over-year: 13.3 percent
Except for the west side, average sale prices in all of Portland were down in August, but nowhere more so than in North Portland, home to an incredibly diverse collection of neighborhoods, from still-affordable pockets of St. Johns and Kenton to the more upscale University Park. Prices were down 7 percent from July.
Average sale price, August 2022: $501,200
Price growth year-over-year: 5.2 percent