Total new-home closings: 3,653
The good: Year-to-date permits in March 2015 rose year over year by 23%.
The bad: Aside from permits, every other number points to a leveling out of the market.
The bottom line: The total of new homes sold over a 12-month period may have dropped to 2,202 in February 2015, but those homes fetched more per square foot.
If it wasn’t for year-to-date single-family permits increasing by 23% year over year in March, you might think that the new-homes market in Portland was in serious trouble in early 2015. A 74.6% year-over-year drop in new-home closings occurred in January, followed by a 65.3% decrease in total new homes sold over a 12-month period ending in February. At the same time, the share of new homes found among overall closings receded by 6.2% year over year in February. About the only thing that didn’t retract about Portland’s new-home market in early 2015 includes prices, which posted their second year-over-year increase in February, from $262,525 in 2013 to $300,686 in 2015, even as the average unit size of newly sold homes fell by 6.1%. It appears that builders may be leaning on per-square-foot price increases to keep profits up in 2015.