New home closings in the Portland, OR market increased year-over-year in December, and the percentage bump was greater than November 2015, giving hints of improving market conditions. New home closings saw a rise of 53.4% from the year earlier to 468. This was after the housing market saw a 11.2% climb year-over-year in November.

A total of 4,269 new homes were sold during the 12 months that ended in December, up from 4,106 for the year that ended in November.

New home closings made up 11.1% of overall housing closings. This is an increase on a percentage basis, as new home closings were 8.0% of total closings a year ago. Closings of new and existing homes increased year-over-year in December after also rising in November year-over-year.

Pricing and Mortgage Trends

In December, the average value of new homes saw a 11.7% gain year-over-year as it grew to $410,136 per unit. This boost is smaller than the 16.1% surge in November year-over-year.

Along with new home prices, there was an increase year-over-year in the average mortgage size on newly sold homes. In December 2015, the average mortgage size was $333,103, up 10.3% from a year earlier. In November 2015, average mortgage size on newly sold homes saw a 12.9% lift year-over-year from a year earlier.

Other Market Trends

There has been little change in the composition of the market with regard to the types of properties sold. From a year ago, single-family home closings have moved from 89.2% of new home closings to 90.2% of closings while attached units have gone from 10.8% of closings to 9.8% of closings.

For all new homes sold, the average unit size sank 3.1% year-over-year to 2,175 square feet in December 2015. In November, the average size of new homes sold went from 2,288 square feet a year earlier to 2,322 square feet.

Foreclosures and real estate owned (REO) closings continued to fall from a year earlier in December, but did not appear to be dragging the market. Out of all existing home closings, foreclosures combined with REO closings represented 15.5% of closings, below 18.4% a year earlier. The percentage of existing home closings involving foreclosures went from 7.1% in December 2014 to 6.9% in December 2015 and REO closings as a percentage of existing home closings slid to 8.6% from 11.3% a year earlier.

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