There was a rise in new home closings in the Portland, OR market in February year-over-year, but with a rise less sharp than January 2013, there were suggestions the market may be leveling out. New home closings saw a 4.3% rise from a year earlier to 192. This came on the heels of a 41.6% climb year-over-year in January.

A total of 2,928 new homes were sold during the 12 months that ended in February, up from 2,920 for the year that ended in January.

As a percentage of overall housing closings, new home closings made up 8.7% of overall housing closings. They accounted for 8.1% of closings a year earlier. For new and existing homes, closings fell in February after also declining in January year-over-year.

In February, the average price of newly sold homes slipped 3.4% year-over-year to $292,098 per unit. This is a downward shift from an 8.3% rise in January year-over-year.

The average mortgage size on newly sold homes rose year-over-year in contrast to the average price of new homes. In February 2013, the average mortgage size was $258,647, up 1.4% from a year earlier. Average mortgage size increased 9.3% in January 2013 from a year earlier. On average, the percentage of new home sale price being financed saw a 4.2 percentage point rise from a year earlier. It went from 83.8% in January 2012 to 84.6% in January 2013.

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 88.6% of new home closings to 89.1% of closings while attached units have gone from 11.4% of closings to 10.9% of closings.

The average unit size of newly sold homes dropped 16.8% year-over-year to 1,668 square feet in February 2013. The average size of newly sold homes moved from 2,052 square feet in January 2012 to 2,128 square feet in January 2013.

Foreclosures and real estate owned (REO) closings continued to drop from a year earlier in February, but did not look to be a burden on the market. Together, foreclosures plus REO closings represented 22.5% of existing home closings, down from 43.4% a year earlier. The percentage of existing home closings involving foreclosures dipped to 8.5% in February from 16.8% a year earlier while REO closings as a percentage of existing home closings sank to 14.1% from 26.5% a year earlier.

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