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Buying a Home in Portland, Oregon in 2019: Top 5 Questions Answered

Summary: Are you thinking of buying a home in Portland, Oregon in 2019 or 2020? Do you have questions about the real estate market, mortgage loans, or other aspects of the home buying process?

You’ve come to the right place. Below, you’ll find an update on current market conditions, home prices, loan limits, and other topics of interest to Portland home buyers.

If you’re thinking of buying a home in Portland in 2019 or 2020, we have compiled some of the most common home-buying questions, and have done our best to answer them thoroughly. We hope this update helps you make an informed decision when buying a home in Portland.

1. What is the local real estate market like?

The Portland, Oregon housing market is still somewhat competitive right now, as we near the end of 2019 and head into 2020. But Portland’s real estate market has cooled off in recent months. 

There is a high level of demand for housing in the area, but limited supply. This has led to significant home-price gains over the last few years, though prices have since stagnated (See question #2 below for more about price trends.)

Portland’s robust tech industry attracts young and upwardly mobile residents from elsewhere in the state, and from across the country. This, among other things, has increased demand for housing.

The local real estate market might be a bit cool in 2019, but prices in the city are still much higher than the national average. And with only 2-months’ worth supply of inventory, the supply is still not keeping up with demand.

Bottom line: If you’re planning to buy a home in Portland in 2019, start preparing now. Speak to a mortgage lender (like us!) about your financing needs. Get pre-approved for a home loan. Start researching the market and the neighborhoods where you might want to live. Get a feel for home prices in your desired area. This preparation will pay off later on, when it comes time to make an offer and negotiate with the seller.

2. Are home prices still rising in Portland?

No, home prices in Portland, Oregon have actually dipped slightly over recent months. According to the most recent data from Zillow, home values in Portland declined 2.1% in September 2019 from the same time last year

House values in the area are expected to dip another 2.1% over the next 12 months, at a relatively similar pace than compared to what we’ve seen in 2019.

Bottom line: When buying a home in Portland, it’s important to understand the impact of appreciation and depreciation. Buyers who purchase sooner rather than later could have more buying power, and more homes to choose from within their price range. You never want to rush into a major financial decision like home buying. But you do need to consider the potential cost of waiting.

3. What are the 2019 loan limits for Portland, Oregon?

The current (2019) conforming loan limit for a single-family home in Multnomah County is $484,350. Anything above that is considered a “jumbo” mortgage. The current VA loan limit is also $474,950. The FHA limit for a single-family home in the county is also $474,950.

As for the 2020 limits, we’ll have to wait a bit longer to find out. The Federal Housing Finance Agency typically announces the next year’s conforming loan limits in November. Following that, HUD will probably announce the revised 2020 FHA limits in December. We will update this page when new the new figures are announced.

Related: Portland home prices and FHA limits

Bottom line: If you need a mortgage loan to buy a home in Portland in 2019, you’ll encounter some kind of limit on the amount you can borrow. Homes that exceed these limits generally require jumbo mortgage loans, and you might have to make a larger down payment in order to qualify. This is why most home buyers in Portland stay within the limits for their particular mortgage program (VA, FHA or conventional).

Live Portland Mortgage Rates Nov, 17, Sun, 2019

4. How much can I afford to buy in Portland?

When you apply for a mortgage loan, the lender will compare your recurring monthly debts to your monthly income. This is known as the debt-to-income ratio, or DTI. This ratio helps lenders ensure that you’re not taking on too much debt. So that’s one of the factors that will determine how much you can borrow.

As to how much you can comfortably afford, that’s something you must determine for yourself. Start by taking a good look at your current monthly expenses and income. Focus on your non-housing expenses, for starters. Figure out how much you spend on non-housing costs like car payment, credit card bills, groceries and lifestyle expenses. Subtract that number from your net monthly income (or take-home pay), and then work down from there to determine a maximum mortgage payment. Be sure to account for savings and retirement contributions, as well as a financial emergency fund.

Many financial advisors recommend spending no more than 33% of monthly income on mortgage payments, but this is just a general rule. You’ll want to do the math to find out what works for you.

Related: Income to buy a home in Portland

Bottom line: Getting pre-approved for a mortgage loan is a great place to start. This will help you determine how much you can afford to buy in Portland, based on your loan amount. Pre-approval will help you narrow down your home search. It will also make you more competitive, as a home buyer. (Sellers will take your offer seriously if it’s supported with a pre-approval letter.) Please contact us if you’d like to get pre-approved for a loan.

5. What are mortgage rates expected to do in 2019?

The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage loan has been steadily declining over 2019, according to Freddie Mac. The general consensus is that rates will stay low through the end of 2019, and into the start of 2020. The long-range forecast suggests a gradual rise in mortgage rates as we progress through 2019 and into 2020.

Freddie Mac expects the average rate for a 30-year fixed home loan to reach an average of 4.2% in 2020

Get an Instant Mortgage Rate Quote Today

Have questions? Sammamish Mortgage is a local, family-owned company based in Bellevue, Washington. We currently lend in all of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Colorado. We offer a wide variety of mortgage programs and tools with flexible qualification criteria. Please contact us if you have mortgage-related questions. Last Updated: Sep 26, 2019 @ 4:18 pm

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