Renting vs. Buying a Home in Portland: A 2017 Update

Summary: Should you rent an apartment or buy a home in Portland, Oregon? Recent data relating to home prices and rents appear to make a strong case for buying in 2017.

Last month, we crunched some numbers to come up with an average monthly mortgage payment in Portland, Oregon. By using median home-price data, along with current mortgage rates for a 30-year loan, we determined that the average monthly payment would be somewhere around $1,479.

Renting or Buying in Portland: It’s a Close Call

So how does that compare to the average rent in the Portland area? Is it more affordable to buy or rent a home in Portland?

According to data gathered by Rent Jungle, a rental housing search engine company, the costs of renting and buying a home in Portland are very similar. As of February 2017, the average apartment rent within the city was $1,603 (regardless of size or number of rooms). The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Portland was $1,455, while a two-bedroom rental averaged $1,821 per month.

Buying a home in Portland falls within this same range. By calculating the median home price, average down payment, and current mortgage rates, we found that the average monthly mortgage payment for someone buying a home in Portland would be $1,479. So, statistically speaking, renting in the city might actually cost you more.

Other Rent-versus-Buy Considerations

Your monthly housing costs are one of the most important considerations, when deciding whether to rent or buy. But there are other factors as well:

Maintenance and upkeep. When you rent a home or apartment in Portland, you’ll have little to no maintenance. But when you buy a home, you’re responsible for all of the upkeep and maintenance. Depending on the property, this might be a lot of work, or a little. You just have to make sure you’re up for it, before making that kind of investment.

Home price appreciation. You’re house is your home, whether you rent it or buy it. But if do purchase the property, it becomes an investment as well. So you want to consider resale value, when deciding whether to rent or buy in Portland. Home prices in the area have risen significantly over the last couple of years. And while they appear to be slowing down a bit in 2017, they’ll probably continue to rise for the foreseeable future.

The length of your stay. Generally speaking, buying a home makes more sense for those who are planning a relatively long stay, of a few years or more. If you think you’ll be staying in the Portland area for at least the next few years, it might be a good time to buy. Renting might make more sense if you’re not sure about your long-term plans, or if you know you’ll be moving again in a couple of years.

The freedom factor. You’ll gain more freedom from buying versus renting a home in Portland. Homeowners are able to make all sorts of changes to their properties, from landscaping to renovations and more. Renters, on other hand, usually have limited (or no) freedom to make such changes. When you buy a home, you can truly make it your own.

As you can see, there are a lot of angles to consider when weighing the benefits of renting or buying in Portland. The cost factor is an important consideration, but it’s certainly not the only one.

Get a loan estimate: Having an estimate of your monthly housing costs will help you decide if renting or buying is right for you. And we can help. Our financing experts can give you an estimate of your monthly mortgage payments and closing costs, based on the amount you want to borrow. Contact us today to get started.