Q1 2020: Portland Market Update

The Portland housing market underwent something of a cooling-off period during the majority of 2018 and 2019. Home prices leveled off quite a bit after years of increasing dramatically, and prices even dipped in some areas. This, combined with a little less buying competition, really helped buyers who had been struggling to find a home that met their needs during the frenzy of previous years.

The prediction for Portland’s housing market in 2020 was that things would heat up again due to housing shortages from the growing population in our area (nothing new, of course). In February, Freddie Mac identified states with the biggest shortage of housing inventory, and Oregon was at the top of the list due to our strong economy.

For reference, we had a two-month supply of inventory at the beginning of 2020 (a balanced market is six months’ worth of inventory).

The COVID-19 Impact

Of course, these predictions were all made before COVID-19 hit in the United States. And while there’s no question that the virus has had a huge economic impact, including the housing market, it’s hard to say exactly how things are going to shake out.

While it’s still a good time to buy or sell a home in Portland, we’re seeing some adjustments to how things are done. Buyers are much more likely to do drive-bys or virtual tours before going into a home for a showing. At the moment, listings are down compared to the normal busy spring selling season, and sellers are more likely to accept an offer rather than wait for multiple offers to roll in.

There may be some softening in demand for homes for a period, but it still looks like it’s going to be a solid year for the Portland housing market.


The median sold price for Portland homes during the first quarter of this year was $415,000. Last year, that number was $395,000. So, you can see how strong 2020 has started off when it comes to home prices, despite some of that leveling off last year.

In short, home values are still on the rise, so if you’re a homeowner in Portland, you’re going to see increases in equity coming your way. Zillow predicts a 2.8% rise in home values this year alone, though nobody is anticipating the huge increases we were seeing a few years ago.

Days on Market

Portland-area homes are selling very quickly due to the inventory shortage mentioned above. The city is growing fast (though that has also slowed somewhat recently), and there just aren’t enough homes for the huge influx of people we’ve seen from out of the state.

Homes are at a median of 22 days on the market versus 28 days on the market last year. It’ll be interesting to see how that changes during the second quarter of the year with the pandemic going on.

Number of Homes Sold

There were 6,152 homes sold in the first quarter of this year versus 5,586 last year. This is another indicator that the housing market has been off to a very strong start in 2020. That’s nearly 700 more homes sold during the first quarter of this year over the first quarter of 2019!

Interest Rates

Just a quick note about mortgage interest rates before I sign off! March saw some truly bonkers interest rate fluctuations between the COVID-19 epidemic and the Fed cutting rates (and a lot of things going on behind the scenes with bonds and investors). Let’s just say that interest rates are historically low and seem to be stabilizing over the past little bit.

I highly recommend meeting with a lender and getting your application in so you can lock in your rate as soon as you see one you like. We’re all hoping to see a little more stability now!

In short, it’s likely still going to be a great year to sell here in Portland and will also be a good time to try to find just the right home for you. If you’d like any help buying or selling during this time (or in the future), please get in touch! I’m here to do everything I can to meet your real estate needs.

Featured Image Attribution: “Spring in Portland II” (CC BY 2.0) by Alejandro Rdguez

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