Portland Homes Annual Price Increases Again And Lead Nation

Dated: March 30 2016

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January marked the fourth straight month the searing Portland-area market posted the nation's largest year-over-year gains in home values, according to the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index,released Tuesday.

Prices in the region increased 11.8 percent in January from the same month a year earlier, more than Seattle's 10.7 percent and San Francisco's year-over-year increase of 10.5 percent.

The Portland area's monthly gains in home values between December and January were also near the top of the 20-city index – only Miami and San Diego matched Portland's 0.4 percent monthly increase, and only Los Angeles' 0.5 percent monthly gains topped it. San Francisco-area housing lost 0.7 percent of value over the same stretch, the largest decrease among the index.

"The market's still really strong," said Leslie Girard, Vancouver branch manager with Evergreen Home Loans. "We're finding that the biggest challenge isn't the real estate market, it's inventory, and the fact that we need to get some more houses on the market out there to meet the demand of the buyers."

A historically low inventory of available homes has put upward pressure on prices in the Portland area. The Regional Multiple Listing Service reported inventory was a remarkably low 1.2 months in December and only slightly higher at 1.8 months in January and February. The figure estimates how long it would take for all current homes on the market to sell at the current pace.

"The primary driver of the rising prices, the lack of inventory, shows the desire for housing remains strong across the country," said Bill Banfield, vice president at Quicken Loans, in an email. "Continued home price gains give homeowners who are considering a new home one more reason to sell as we approach the spring real estate season."

Nationally, home prices increased 5.4 percent year-over-year in January. Monthly gains between December and January were flat. The West saw the largest annual price increases, and the Northeast had the smallest.

In a news release, index committee chairman David M. Blitzer noted that home prices have been climbing at more than twice the rate of inflation.

Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow, said in an email that the low inventory "does create some challenges for home buyers, particularly first-time and lower-income buyers, struggling to find a home that fits both their needs and budget."

"But looking at the bigger picture, there's not much else to worry about in housing at the moment," Gudell said. "Economic growth hasn't been overwhelming, but it has been consistent, and as long as job opportunities keep rising, the housing market should remain fairly stable and healthy."


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Mark Ross

For Mark Ross, founder of Ross NW Real Estate and professional real estate broker, real estate has always been the career of choice. During his 30 years in the industry, Mark has gained experience in ....

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