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Portland vs. Seattle Housing Market: What’s Happening in 2021?

Sammamish Mortgage
Published:
May 8, 2018
Last updated:
July 7, 2021
Portland vs Seattle Housing Market
In This Article

Seattle and Portland are two of the largest cities by population in the Pacific Northwest region for good reason: they have a lot to offer, including a strong labor market, a great lifestyle, and beautiful natural scenery. Because of this, 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 this year.

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 one example of how the Portland vs Seattle housing markets are very similar.

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

  • Low inventory in Portland
  • A similar story for Seattle

How does the Portland vs Seattle housing market compare to each other? As of mid-2021, 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. But both of these cities have far less than what is considered to be a balanced market, leaving buyers with few homes to choose from. With that in mind, consider the following numbers.

  • Portland had about a 2-month supply of homes for sale as of July 2021.
  • Seattle had even less inventory in March, about a 1-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.

Live Portland Mortgage Jul, 31, Sat, 2021

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 July 2021 , according to Zillow:

  • Seattle: $831,953 (up 10.7% over the last 12 months)
  • Portland: $536,921 (up 14% over the last 12 months)

We can glean one important point from this data: the median and average home prices are much higher in Seattle than in Portland, which has created affordability issues for many residents. And home prices in Seattle are expected to climb over the next 12 months, which means prices will be even higher in 2022.

Related: Best Neighborhoods in Portland, OR 

Related: Best Neighborhoods in Seattle, WA

Today’s Seattle Mortgage Jul, 31, Sat, 2021

Portland Somewhat Competitive This Summer

According to RedFin, the housing market in Portland, Oregon is somewhat competitive, as of July 2021. Over the past month, about 1,450 homes were sold, which is up from last year’s number of 1,026 during the same month. That marks a 41.3% increase in the number of homes sold. 

portland

Homes sit on the market for only 6 days on average before they go pending, compared to 18 days the same time last year. The average home sells for roughly 5% above the listing price, and hot properties can sell for as much as 11% over asking and go pending in as little as 4 days. Just over 64% of homes sold over asking price in June 2021, a 42.4% increase from last year. 

Having said that, nearly 14% of homes saw price drops over the past month, which is up over 33% year-over-year.

Seattle Very Competitive This Summer

RedFin describes the current Seattle housing market as “very competitive.” Over the past month, 1,542 homes were sold, which is up from June 2020’s number of 1,022 during the same month. That’s a 50.9% increase in the number of homes sold year-over-year. 

Many properties receive multiple offers, some with their contingencies waived.

Seattle

Homes go pending 6 days on average before they go pending in 6 days after an offer is agreed upon, compared to 8 days the same time in 2020. The average home sells for about 5% above the listing price, and hot properties can sell for as much as 13% over asking and go pending in as little as 5 days. Nearly 53% of homes sold over asking price in June 2021, marking 44.6% % increase from the same month last year. 

Fewer homes saw price drops in June 2021 compared to last year. This past month, 11% of homes experienced a decrease in listing price, which is down nearly 19% year-over-year.

Both Cities Are Still Competitive for Buyers

Homes are selling fast in both of these real estate markets. In Seattle and Portland, hot properties can go pending in as little as 6 or 7 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 2021 or 2022.

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