There was an increase in closings of new homes in the Portland, OR market in March year-over-year, and the market showed signs of strengthening as the percentage hike turned out sharper than February 2016. There was a 24.2% climb in new home closings from a year earlier. This came after a 13.5% jump year-over-year in February.

A total of 4,545 new homes were sold during the 12 months that ended in March, up from 4,458 for the year that ended in February.

As a percentage of overall housing closings, new home closings made up 10.3%. This is an increase on a percentage basis, as new home closings were 8.8% of total closings a year ago. Closings of new and existing homes grew year-over-year in March after also rising in February year-over-year.

Pricing and Mortgage Trends

For newly sold homes, the average price increased 8.0% year-over-year in March to $415,191 per unit. This surge is an improvement over the 1.4% hike in February year-over-year.

For newly sold homes, the average mortgage size climbed year-over-year along with new home prices. In March 2016, there was a 5.0% bump in the average mortgage size, reaching $335,936. In February 2016, average mortgage size climbed 1.6% from a year earlier.

Other Market Trends

The share of new home closings made up by attached units has risen while the share belonging to single-family homes has fallen. Attached unit closings rose from 11.1% of all closings in March 2015 to 12.8% of closings in March 2016. Conversely, the share belonging to single-family homes fell to 87.2% of closings from 88.9% of closings.

The average unit size of newly sold homes dropped 2.8% year-over-year to 2,241 square feet in March 2016. This decline was opposite the price rise, a pattern also seen in February 2016 when the average size of newly sold homes dropped 7.8% to 2,109 square feet. In February, the average size of new homes sold went from 2,287 square feet a year earlier to 2,109 square feet.

Foreclosures and real estate owned (REO) closings continued to drop from a year earlier in March, but did not look to be a burden on the market. Foreclosures and REO closings, taken together, accounted for 14.4% of existing closings, lower than 15.3% a year earlier. The percentage of existing home closings involving foreclosures went from 6.1% in March 2015 to 6.2% in March 2016 and REO closings moved from 9.2% of existing home closings in March 2015 to 8.2% in March 2016.

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