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Buying a Home in Washington vs. Oregon: A Cost Comparison

With its natural beauty and strong job markets, the Pacific Northwest attracts residents from all over the country. And many find themselves asking the same question: Should I buy a home in Washington or Oregon? Here’s an updated look at housing costs when buying a home in Washington State versus Oregon in 2019.

Buying a Home in Washington vs. Oregon

At the statewide level, home values in Washington and Oregon are actually quite similar. The median house price for both states falls within the $300,000-$400,000 price range, though Washington is slightly higher.

  • WA: According to the real estate information company Zillow, the median home value for Washington State was $379,300 in December of 2018. That was an increase of 7.9% from the same month a year before. The company’s economists are predicting more modest appreciation going forward, with an outlook that home prices will rise 5.9% over the next 12 months.
  • OR: According to the same source, the median home price in Oregon rose to $340,700 in December of 2018. That was 6.1% higher than the same month a year earlier. The company is forecasting a gain of 1.9% over the next 12 months, extending through November 2019.

Income taxes are another consideration when deciding whether you should buy a home in Washington or Oregon. And there’s a clear difference here. Washington is one of only seven states in the country that do not charge income tax. Oregon, on the other hand, does charge its residents income tax. Oregon however does not charge a sales tax on purchased goods, while Washington has a sales tax as high as 10%.

While these taxes are not directly related to housing costs, they do affect how much house you can actually afford to buy.

So when you look at the states as a whole, buying a home in Washington versus Oregon is comparable from a cost perspective. However, if you zoom in on the most populous cities within each state — Seattle and Portland — the cost gap widens considerably.

Seattle Versus Portland Home Prices: Big Difference

Seattle is by far the most populous city in Washington. Portland holds that distinction within Oregon. When you compare the cost of buying a home in Seattle versus Portland, there is a much more clear distinction.

“The Zillow Home Value Index for Seattle currently is currently at $728,300, which is 0.9% higher than one year ago. Prices have nearly doubled from when the market bottomed out seven years ago, and are up 56 percent from the previous bubble peak a decade ago.”

While home prices in Portland have also risen steadily over the last couple of years, they are much more affordable by comparison. The same index in Portland showed a value of $423,200 through November of 2018 — 58% of what it is in Seattle.

More affordable homes can be found outside of these major cities. In a previous blog post, we looked at some of the more affordable real estate markets surrounding Seattle. Once you move outside of these cities and into the surrounding areas, house values drop tend to drop considerably.

We Offer Mortgage Financing in Both States

Sammamish Mortgage is based in Bellevue, Washington. But we offer mortgage financing to home buyers in both Washington and Oregon. We’ve been serving borrowers across the Pacific Northwest for more than 25 years.

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Due to our unique business model, we are able to offer highly competitive rates on a variety of mortgage products — including FHA, VA and conventional loans.

Today’s Washington Rates

Please contact us if you have questions about qualifying for a mortgage loan in either Oregon or Washington, or if you would like to receive a rate quote. We look forward to helping you!

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