The Portland Real Estate Market Is Cooling Off, Just a Little Bit

What to make of the recent slight-but-still-noticeable swoon in the Portland real estate market?

It’s easy enough to both-sides this one: On the one hand, the market always slows down a bit in the fall. And if you’re a buyer, this comes as really welcome news, especially since January to June of 2021 was among the most frenzied real estate periods of the last five years, according to trendline data compiled by Redfin, the online real estate clearinghouse.

On the other hand, there are some signs that the city’s continuing malaise—here a lost development deal, there a headquarters relocating, a long promised series of six temporary shelter sites for the houseless looking less and less likely to materialize by the end of the year—might be taking a toll that bears watching.

Consider that the median sale price for a Portland home hit a high of $550,000 in March of 2021, but has since dropped to $525,000 for September, per Redfin’s data. The number of homes sold has also declined noticeably since June’s total of almost 1,500 for the month; in September, there were 1,228 closed sales for the month, Redfin says, putting us on track for five percent fewer homes to sell in 2021 than in 2020.

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Part of that is due to inventory: There’s still not much for sale out there. And while homes are sitting on the market ever-so-slightly longer than they did this summer, the median amount of days that a Portland home will be for sale before getting snatched up is still just 11 days (but was only 8 days in September of 2020).

Redfin’s mysterious algorithm has downgraded us accordingly: Our market is now considered just “somewhat competitive,” which will come as a surprise to just about all the would-be buyers out there.

Dig into the data yourself and make the call—and if you’ve got a house to sell, don’t despair. The median sale prices in Seattle (still rated “very competitive,” for what it’s worth) is $769,000, while in San Francisco it is twice that, nearly $1.5 million, all but ensuring that Portland will continue to get an influx of seekers in search of more comparatively affordable housing from both areas.

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