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Home Prices in Seattle vs. Portland: Fall 2018 Update for Buyers

This article takes an updated look at home prices in Seattle, Washington versus Portland, Oregon as of fall 2018, and is intended for home buyers considering a move to the Pacific Northwest.

Home Prices in Seattle vs. Portland: Late 2018

Many people who are relocating to the Pacific Northwest put Seattle and Portland on their shortlists. There are many factors contributing to the popularity of these two cities — natural beauty, strong economies, and unique character to name but a few.

But there’s a big difference when it comes to home prices in Seattle vs. Portland. (Of course, there are many other differences as well. But we’ll be focusing on housing costs and market conditions for this article.)

Let’s start with a current look at home values in these two cities:

Seattle, Washington: $752,400
House prices in the Seattle area have risen steadily and sharply over the past few years. This is true for much of Washington State, but the gains have been most noticeable in the Seattle metro area. According to the latest data, the median home value for Seattle was $752,400 as of October 2018. That marked an increase of 7.1% from the same month a year earlier. House prices in this market are expected to continue rising for the foreseeable future, and will likely outpace the national average.

Portland, Oregon: $422,300
Home prices in Portland differ from Seattle in a couple of important ways. First, and most obvious, is the fact that they’re lower. The median house value for the city of Portland, Oregon was $422,300 as of October 2018. Another key difference is that prices in Portland have leveled off noticeably over the past year, more so than in Seattle. Recent forecasts predict that home prices in Portland will rise by around 2.5% – 3% over the next year (through October 2019), which is lower than the national forecast.

Real Estate Market Conditions

During 2016 and 2017, the real estate markets in both Seattle and Portland experienced severe supply shortages. There just weren’t enough homes for sale to satisfy the demand from buyers. During 2018, however, we’ve seen an uptick in housing inventory across the Pacific Northwest. So there are more homes for sale today than in previous years. That’s good news for home buyers.

  • Portland supply: As of early September 2018 (the most recent data available at “press time”), the Portland real estate market had about a 2.4-month supply of homes for sale. That’s up from a low of 0.9 months reached back in 2016. So the real estate market has improved quite a bit in terms of inventory.
  • Seattle supply:¬†Housing conditions are tighter in Seattle. The real estate market there had about a 1.7-month supply of homes for sale in September 2018. That’s a pretty constrained market, but it’s still an improvement over the 0.5-month supply level of last year.

Both of these real estate markets remain tight, from an inventory standpoint. But they’re also experiencing some inventory growth at the moment, as of fall 2018. So home buyers in Seattle and Portland could have more properties to choose from in 2019 compared to previous years.

The bottom line: There’s quite a difference between home prices in Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon. As of fall 2018, the median house value for Seattle was more than $300,000 higher than the median for Portland. Both markets are expected to continue appreciating through the end of this year and into 2019. Seattle is the more competitive housing market right now, due to strong demand and lower inventory levels.

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