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Portland vs. Seattle Housing Market: What’s Happening in 2018?

Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon are the two biggest cities by population in the Pacific Northwest. They’re also two of the most highly competitive real estate markets in the United States.

Today, we’ll look at a comparison between the Seattle and Portland housing markets, from a cost and inventory standpoint. These are the latest trends for spring and summer 2018.

Portland vs. Seattle Housing Market: Inventory

These two real estate markets actually share a few things in common, and inventory is one of them. Or rather, a lack of inventory. Both Portland and Seattle are experiencing very low levels of housing supply at present. There just aren’t enough homes for sale to satisfy the demand from buyers.

This is something we’ve written about in the past. See related articles below:

As of spring 2018, both the Portland and Seattle real estate markets had a very low supply of homes for sale. According to housing experts, a balanced and healthy market has around a five- to six-month supply of homes for sale. With that in mind, consider the following numbers.

  • Portland had about a 1.7-month supply of homes for sale in March 2018
  • Seattle had even less inventory in March, about a 0.7-month supply.

So while home buyers in both housing markets are struggling with limited supply, the Seattle market is the tighter of the two. This has created something of a “logjam” effect. In many cases, homeowners who want to sell are concerned that they won’t be able to find another property. So they’re reluctant to put their current homes on the market.

Over time, a combination of new-home construction, legislation, and creative planning could help to ease the inventory issues in both the Portland and Seattle real estate markets. But for now, limited supply is a defining characteristic of both.

Home Prices Are Much Higher in Seattle

It will probably come as no surprise to residents in either city to learn that home prices are significantly higher in Seattle, compared to Portland. The rapid rise in house values within the Seattle metro area has been one of the big real estate stories of the last couple of years. Portland has experienced price growth as well, but it’s still much more affordable by comparison.

Here are the median home prices for both cities as of May 2018, according to Zillow:

  • Seattle: $772,729 (up 17.2% over the last 12 months)
  • Portland: $438,549 (up 3.4% over the last 12 months)

We can glean two things from these data. Obviously, median and average home prices are much higher in Seattle than in Portland. But what’s more telling is the speed with which Seattle’s house values have reached their current level. That city has seen record-breaking price growth over the last couple of years, which has created affordability issues for some residents.

Both Cities Are Still Competitive for Buyers

Home are selling fast in both of these real estate markets. In Seattle and Portland, the typical home gets an offer in less than ten days. In some cases, properties receive multiple competing offers within days of the original listing. This is largely the result of the tight inventory conditions mentioned earlier.

Bottom line: Buyers in both the Seattle and Portland housing markets will want to prepare for competition, if buying a home in 2018 or 2019.

Mortgage questions? Sammamish Mortgage has been serving the Pacific Northwest for more than 20 years. Please contact us if you have mortgage-related questions, or to receive a quote.
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