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Should I Buy a House in Portland, Oregon in 2017?

Should I buy a home in Portland, Oregon? Is 2017 a good time to buy? Is a house a good investment right now?

These are the kinds of questions Portland home buyers are asking themselves, as we enter the first full week of 2017. Below, we have gathered some information to help you answer these and other real estate-related questions.

Should I buy a home in Portland, Oregon right now?

For many residents, buying a home in Portland, Oregon makes a lot of sense right now. The local housing market is strong, with home prices posting solid gains over the last few years. The job market has steadily improved since the recession, with unemployment now below 5%. In a strong and stable market like Portland, buying a home is a fairly sound investment.

Of course, these are all external market factors. From a market perspective, one could argue that now is a good time to buy a home in Portland, Oregon. But you have to make sure it’s a good time for you personally.

Questions to ask include:

  • Do you plan to stay in the Portland area for at least the next few years? If so, buying might make sense for you.
  • Do you have stable employment and income right now, with a reasonable expectation for continued employment? If so, you can put another check mark in the “buy” column.
  • Would owning a home improve your quality of life in some way?

If you answered yes to these questions, then buying a home in Portland might be a good move for you in 2017.

Is it a buyers’ or sellers’ market right now?

As we head into 2017, Portland is still more of a sellers’ market. That’s because there’s a lot of housing demand, but not enough inventory to satisfy it. In other words, there are more buyers in the market than homes for sale.

This was the story for all of 2016, and most analysts expect the trend to continue into the new year. In fact, recently listed Portland as one of the ten hottest housing markets for 2017.

Housing inventory in the city might increase in 2017, but probably not enough to shift the market. In a December article for the Portland Business Journal, Windermere Real Estate’s chief economist Matthew Gardner said: “I am optimistic that inventory levels around Portland will increase, but it still won’t be enough to meet continued high demand.”

Anyone planning to buy a home in the metro area in 2017 should be prepared for a high level of competition from other buyers. In this context, being prepared means having your financing lined up ahead of time, and making a strong first offer on a home.

Will Portland home prices keep rising in 2017?

Portland home prices will most likely continue rising through the end of 2017 and beyond, according to economists. Zillow recently reported a 14.9% increase in prices for 2016, and predicted that home values would rise by another 5.7% during 2017.

Related: Portland housing market changes

Economist Matthew Gardner offered an even stronger forecast for the next 12 months. “I believe there will be some slowing in price appreciation, but values will still increase at rates that are well above the national average,” he said. “Look for [Portland] home prices to increase by an average of 8.5 percent in 2017.”

At the time this article was published, on January 3rd, the median home value in Portland, Oregon had risen to around $400,000.

As a home buyer, how can I improve my chance for success?

The Portland real estate market is hot right now, with a lot of competition from home buyers. Still, there are things you can do to improve your chance for success. Here are some ways to tip the scales in your favor.

  • Have your financing squared away. If you’re a cash buyer, you should be prepared to show the seller bank statements or some other “proof of funds.” If you’re using a mortgage loan to buy a house in Portland, get pre-approved before you enter the market.
  • Know the market, and move swiftly. Efficiency is key when operating in a competitive real estate market, and a little research goes a long way. Do your homework in advance to find out which neighborhoods and homes fall within your budget. Narrow your search to these realistic targets.
  • Make a strong first offer. Portland is a sellers’ real estate market right now. To succeed in such a market, you’ll want to make a strong purchase offer backed up by recent sales prices. This will make the seller more inclined to accept your offer.
  • Don’t quibble over nickels and dimes. If you find a home that meets most of your needs and falls within your budget, it’s probably time to seal the deal. You can be sure there are other buyers who want that same property. Keep this in mind as you negotiate with the seller. Focus on the big picture, not the “nickels and dimes.”

So, should you buy a home in Portland in 2017? That’s a question only you can answer. But hopefully, we’ve given you enough information to reach that conclusion.

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