The first-quarter data from Metrostudy shows that the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro market maintains overall market stability and continued affordability. Closings in the first-quarter overall were 8,600, up year-over-year from 8,451 in the first-quarter of 2013. Although this is down from a 13,047 overall closings in 3Q13, both the new and existing homes market in the Portland area have remained relatively stable. New-home closings for the first-quarter of 2014 were 854, up from 765 in 1Q13, an 11.6 percent increase. As with closings overall, this is a decline from a peak in the third and fourth quarters of 2013 when new-home closings were more than 900 each quarter. Existing home closings were also just above 1Q13 for the first-quarter with 7,746 up from 7,686, slightly less than a one percent increase.

Price appreciation in the Portland market has not been nearly as dramatic as some of other West Coast markets seeing population growth. The median price for both new and existing homes fell a few thousand dollars between the second and third quarters of 2013 and the first-quarter of 2014 when demand in the housing market declined slightly. The median existing home price was $240,600 in 1Q14, up from $219,900 in 1Q13, but down from $244,600 in 3Q13 which was a peak median price point for the market. The nine percent increase year-over-year is similar to the increase in the new home market  in which the median price jumped from $280,300 to $298,600, a seven percent increase. The peak median price for new homes in the past year was in 3Q13, when median price hit just above $300,000 at $301,600. The price per square foot in the Portland market has also been relatively stable, and the per square foot median price for new homes was two dollars less than existing in the first-quarter at $159 for existing home and $157 for new.

In May the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the Portland market’s unemployment rate matched the national average at 6.1 percent. The city has recently been ranked one of the nation’s fastest growing with job and population growth rates nearing two percent. This will likely increase home demand in the next few years.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Portland, OR.