5 Most Affordable Portland Suburbs in 2021

affordable portland suburbs

Unless you’ve been living off the grid, you’ve likely heard that soaring home prices have plagued the Portland metropolitan area – and the country – all year. So of course, the question of affordability looms. How much longer will home prices keep shooting up? Will this mean that Portland no longer ranks as an affordable area to live in? And the truth is that Portland’s affordability does appear to have taken a hit.

So while we write this article once a year, this year the topic is more pressing than ever. Suburbs provide an excellent alternative to living in city limits for many home buyers. For one thing, you’re bound to be able to afford more space. And while we often hear about suburbs being boring and aesthetically dull, you only have to drive a little ways outside the city to know that Portland keeps it weird out there too. Many of these towns pride themselves on upholding a strong sense of identity and community.

Besides, you have the added bonus of easier access to the Pacific Northwest’s famed outdoors! Depending on which direction you head, you’ll decrease your travel time to wine country, mountain hiking, or coastal trips. Nothing to snub your nose at about that!

What Does Affordability Mean?

Keep in mind, affordability means more than just home prices. It also has to do with an area’s average income. An area becomes less affordable when income increases don’t keep pace with housing cost increases. So while we’ll focus on home values here, remember that incomes need to keep going up in order for Portland to be buyer friendly. Right now, the National Association of Realtors gives the Portland area an affordability score of 0.7 (a score below 1.0 indicates a less affordable area).

How We Determined the Most Affordable Portland Suburbs

When talking home values, it’s also important to distinguish list prices from sale price. List prices can be deceiving, especially when some neighborhoods see bidding wars. When a buyer and seller agree to a number, it puts a real market value on that particular home.

That’s why we looked at the median sold price (median rather than average because it eliminates outliers like a few very expensive luxury homes). We then combed through 30 suburbs of Portland, looking for the lowest median sold prices as well as low price per square foot. So without further ado, let’s check out Portland’s top 5 affordable suburbs!

#1 – Fairview

Median Sold Price: $398K

Median Price Per Square Foot: $249

Search all Fairview, Oregon homes for sale here.

Fairview makes the only city on this list that clocks in with a median sold price under $400,000 – just barely. Just north of Gresham, one of the largest suburbs, Fairview is a small and tight knit community. Full of great local parks, this little hamlet loves to host charming events, from an annual Christmas tree lighting to the upcoming Community Night Out at the Fairview Community Park. Or, head over the Fairview Hope Rock Gardens, where people of all ages break out their creativity and leave painted rocks with hopeful messages on them. Wholesome enough for you? Fairview also has plenty of recreational activities, including access to the Columbia for all the river lovers out there.

#2 – Wood Village

Median Sold Price: $421K

Median Price Per Square Foot: $227

Search all Wood Village, Oregon homes for sale here.

Just to the east of Fairview, an even smaller suburb of Portland promises affordable housing. For one thing, Wood Village wins the award for the lowest median price per square foot, so you might be able to score a little more bang for your buck. Wood Village’s motto is “everything you need in one square mile,” which should give you an idea of how contained this suburb is. And they do pack it in, with plenty of shopping as well as recreation options. Referred to as the crown jewel of Wood Village, Donald L. Robertson Park makes a great gathering place and epicenter for the town’s culture. If you can believe it, this park manages to house a playground, sports fields, a nature trail, and a small arboretum all in one small space. Like Fairview, Wood Village is an excellent jumping off point for adventures on the Gorge or Mt. Hood.

#3 – McMinnville

Median Sold Price: $426K

Median Price Per Square Foot: $247

Search all McMinnville, Oregon homes for sale here.

McMinnville returns to our list of most affordable suburbs this year, so let’s all cheer! Why? Because this one is a real charmer. Situated solidly in wine country, McMinnville offers abundant natural beauty along with proximity to some of the best wineries on the West Coast. And with wine country comes culture. Here you’ll find plenty of excellent dining and drinking options along tree-lined streets. The city is also home to quaint galleries featuring local artists’ work. Tourism certainly makes up a huge industry for McMinnville – but maybe it’s time to hang your tourist hat up and become a local!

#4 – Cornelius

Median Sold Price: $436.5K

Median Price Per Square Foot: $262

Search all Cornelius, Oregon homes for sale here.

For another fantastic option on the west side of Portland, look no further than Cornelius. Located just before you reach Forest Grove, Cornelius makes up a quiet nook in the Tualatin Valley with a population of only about 12,000. Historically, the town was heavily agricultural, and while it’s a little more developed now, its agriculture remains strong. An excellent spot for berry picking, for those craving some fresh Oregon fruit! Or head out to the hills for a hike or visit one of the many well-maintained city parks.

#5 – Troutdale

Median Sold Price: $440K

Median Price Per Square Foot: $261

Search all Troutdale, Oregon homes for sale here.

For the second year in a row, Troutdale squeaks by the make the list! Portland’s northeastern suburb, this city contains six square miles of some of the most affordable homes in the Portland area. Bound by the Columbia River to the north and the Sandy River to the east, Troutdale also offers plenty of recreational activities. On a nice summer day, it’s not unusual to see Troutdale residents hopping over to the famed Glenn Otto Park to swim on the banks of the Sandy River. For those feeling a little sportier, this town also houses a huge disc golf course just north of downtown.

Thinking of Heading to the Suburbs? Contact Us Today!

Concerned about affordability? The best way to get a deal on a home is to secure an experienced and knowledgeable real estate agent. Our top 1% buyers agents are ready for both your dreams and your budget. Contact us today!

July 30, 2021
AUTHOR

Stephen FitzMaurice

Stephen FitzMaurice, Realtor is a top 5% real estate agent in the U.S. and a top 1% agent in the Portland Metro. Principal Broker in Oregon, Managing Broker in Washington he has been licensed since 2003 for residential real estate sales. Call him direct: 503-714-1111 for Oregon or 360-470-7777 for Washington.

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