10 Reasons to Buy a Home in Portland in 2020

buy a home in portland real estate market

Buying a home is a goal that’s easy to put off until “next year”. Here are ten reasons why this year, 2020, is the year to become a homeowner in Portland! 

  • Real estate values have cooled, but not for long.

Five years ago, we were seeing rapid, 7-8% annual gains in Portland home values as the market rebounded after the Great Recession. More recently, 2017-19 saw a period of limited growth, and some home values even dropped a bit in the midrange of the market. In these first couple months of 2020, we’re seeing a strong real estate market with good indicators of growth: a strong Portland economy, low unemployment, and high demand for homes. We predict the Portland real estate market will grow 3% in home values this year. Bottom line is: This is a very good year to buy a home in Portland in any price range, because values are going to climb again.

  • Portland rental market is still strong.

Although rental prices have cooled a bit in the past year, in 2020 and beyond it will not be difficult to find renters for your Portland home investment, and rental rates will be comparable with other major west coast cities. According to Zillow, the March 2020 median rent price in Portland is $1,975. For the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro Metro area, the median rent is slightly lower, $1,895. With a population growth rate of 1.8% last year, Portland has a constant stream of new residents needing a place to land, and renting remains a popular option. 

  • Mortgage rates are crazy low.

In spring 2020, the US 30-year mortgage interest rate dropped to 3.29%, its lowest point since 2012. Even before that, the National Association of Realtors was predicting that the average rate for 2020 would come in at just 3.6%. By comparison, the high point for mortgage rates in the past year was 4.49%. Locking in a low mortgage rate now by purchasing or refinancing a home, lenders say, is a smart money move that will pay off for the next 30 years.

  • Portland is THE Best Place to Live on the West Coast.

US News & World Report’s 2020 list of Best Large Cities to Live in the US ranked Portland at #2, just after Austin, TX. We don’t want to argue with Texas, but we think that Portland’s the clear choice for those seeking to relocate, whether it’s to raise a family, retire or start a career. What makes Portland the best place to live? Come see for yourself! Visit, be a tourist for a day, and get out to the Columbia Gorge or the wine country. Or, spend all day in one of our urban shopping districts and sample the foodie scene with over 500 food trucks and close to 2,600 restaurants! But, the thing that most people love about Portland is its authenticity, offbeat sense of humor and clear sense of identity which allows us to be leaders — whether it’s in defining culture, solving social and environmental problems, or building successful businesses.

  • In fact, Portland is a Top 5 Place for Business

According to Forbes. Yes, Portland is already a hub for the manufacturing, tech and recreation industries, but in 2020, who knows what new directions our economy will take? By connecting researchers at OSHU and PSU with innovators at OMSI and entrepreneurs in need of workspaces, Portland is an incubator for new ideas. Meanwhile, with more college degrees than the national average, Portland’s workforce is standing by to build successful enterprises.

  • Flexible for homeowners in 2020.

Finding a home with a complete second unit to generate rental income used to be like finding a unicorn, but it’s getting more common in Portland these days. That’s because of new infill rules that allow homeowners to build Accessory Dwelling Units or split a large home into a duplex, triplex or even a fourplex. This rule change, known as “upzoning”, has not happened yet in most major cities. Home buyers can purchase an upzoned home with a renovation loan to save on closing costs, then secure their mortgage payment by adding an additional unit and renting it out.

  • Multimodal, safe transportation.

For a city of just over a half-million, Portland commutes like a much larger metro. Take your pick of bus, light rail, streetcar, or bike — Portland is consistently rated a top city for bicycle friendliness! And, in 2016, voters passed a Safe Routes to Schools measure, securing funding for over 1,200 projects across Portland to connect schools with safe walking and bicycling paths for kids.

  • Speaking of schools — they’re great!

Students in Portland have many opportunities to learn at a variety of public and private schools in every neighborhood. With Oregon’s school report card system, parents are empowered to find a home near a school with a solid performance record. Read our blog post about where the highest rated Portland schools are located.

  • Buying a home leads to greater net worth.

It’s just as true in 2020 as it ever was: Putting money toward a mortgage payment builds wealth over time, and renters are more or less throwing money away. According to the New York Times, the average homeowner has a net worth of $195,400, 36 times that of the average renter’s net worth of $5,400. With first-time homebuyer programs available to help put a down payment together, renters living in Portland — or anywhere else — would be wise to make 2020 their year to buy.

  • Buying a home comes with many other financial “perks”.

Like it or not, our tax system is heavily skewed to give homeowners the advantage. Most people know that once you buy a home, you can deduct the interest on the mortgage from your income taxes. But did you know that property tax is also an income-tax deduction? Plus, after a few years of paying down the mortgage, you’ll have access to home equity, which you can borrow against to pay off higher-interest debt.

Are you ready to take advantage of the Portland buyers’ market, low interest rates and the many other benefits of buying a home in 2020? Make sure you’re working with the best buyers’ agents around — contact our team today!

March 13, 2020

Stephen FitzMaurice

Stephen FitzMaurice, Realtor is a top 5% real estate agent in the U.S. A Principal Broker in Oregon, Managing Broker in Washington, he has been licensed since 2003 for residential real estate sales. Call his team in Oregon at 503-714-1111 or in Washington at 360-345-3833.

4% max to sell a home in Portland and SW Washington.
4.5% max to sell a home in Salem and Bend.
Over 2,000 homes sold.