Best time of the year to buy a home in Portland 2022

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Every year we write a best time of the year to sell a home and to buy a home in the greater Portland real estate market. I’ve been licensed to help people buy and sell homes in the area since 2003, and every year (except for 2020) the best time to sell and the best time to buy a home in the Portland market has stayed relatively the same.

Seasonal trends in Portland real estate are as strong (and sometimes stronger) than annual trends. Our prior research shows you can be ahead $100,000 if you sell in the spring and buy in the fall.

The best time to buy a home is the exact reverse of the best time to sell a home.

When it is easy to sell, it is hard to buy and when it is easy to buy, it is hard to sell. This is common sense, but something that always holds true in our local real estate market. Says the Best Time to Buy a Home in the U.S. is the First Week of October

If you search for the best time of the year to buy a home, the answer will almost universally be the fall and range from Sept. through November. But typically your search will result in national and not regional statistics. Our market has a few particulars that make the seasons trends even more significant than in some other areas.

What makes it a good time to buy a home? 3 Things

  1. Lots of Inventory. When it comes to inventory, the more the better for a home buyer. The more inventory the more sellers have to compete and stand out. The more inventory, the better chance a home buyer will have of finding that exact right home for themselves or their family. There are times of the year (deep winter) when sellers are desperate and prices are dropping, but inventory is extremely low – so while it might be possible to get a good deal on something for sale – good luck finding anything you want.
  2. Price drops instead of multiple offers. Entering a bidding war is a risky proposition for any home buyer and can lead to them paying more than market value for a home, which can put them in jeopardy if for some unforeseen reason they need to sell that home sooner than they might have expected to. Most of the bidding wars each year are in the spring when inventory is tight but buyer traffic is high. Price drops can start as early as July and run all the way through December.
  3. Reasonable weather. Okay so maybe you’re not afraid of a little rain. But in the Pacific Northwest it gets dark early, really early, especially the first Sunday in November when we all drop back our clocks an hour. It can sometimes get pitch dark in the PNW by 4pm, before most people are off work and ready to tour homes. Also, the PNW comes to life in the spring and summer (and remains so in the fall). It will be easier to get a vibe for the neighborhood when the weather is reasonable and people are out and about.

Month by Month Breakdown of the Best Time to Buy a Home in Portland

Inventory – Low but rising
Buyer traffic – Low
Weather – Bad

After inventory typically bottoms out in December, so it can be a relief to home buyers when they see new homes start to hit the market in Jan. Inventory will remain very low throughout the month, but January starts an inventory climb that won’t typically stop until we hit late fall.

Inventory – Low but rising
Buyer traffic – Low but rising
Weather – Mostly Bad

February will start to see some multiple offer situation as both buyer traffic and inventory rise slightly and the weather also will typically have moments of improvement. February is a reasonable time to buy a home and you’ll also have the advantage of buying before most of the spring price appreciation hits (home prices shoot up the most March – May).

Inventory – Low but rising
Buyer traffic – Medium
Weather – Decent

March is a great month to sell a home, not to buy one. Buyer traffic will exceed available inventory and it will be very hard to avoid a multiple offer situation. Weather is better by far, but that will be one of the few advantages to buying in this month.

Inventory – Medium to Low
Buyer traffic – High
Weather – Wonderful

Expect to get into a multiple offer situation. The market often peaks in April of each year for sellers, not buyers. The only advantage to buying in April is the opportunity to see wonderful Portland gardens in bloom.

Inventory – Medium and rising
Buyer traffic – High
Weather – Wonderful

May is a little better time to buy than early spring as inventory is likely much higher and it is getting more possible to avoid wild bidding wars. The weather is fantastic and you’ll see new homes on the market every week.

Inventory – High
Buyer traffic – High
Weather – Wonderful

If you want to skip the spring frenzy, often you can stop shopping in June. Significant amounts of inventory come on the market every week, giving you tons of options, and leading to less bidding wars overall. This might be the first month home buyers will start to see some desirable homes not selling the first week they are listing on the market.

Inventory – High
Buyer traffic – Medium-high
Weather – Hit or miss

Some years July is fully a buyer’s market. Price drops everywhere and inventory in the thousands. Other years July remains fairly strong with high inventory – it all depends on buyer traffic. July is a swing month in the home buying season. Some years it favors sellers still, other years it can already favor the buyer significantly. I believe in 2022, it will favor the seller slightly, not yet the buyer, but we will see once we get closer.

Inventory – Highest (along with Sept.)
Buyer traffic – Medium
Weather – Hit or miss

Portlanders tend to take a lot of vacations in August, due to it being the end of summer and also with school starting the next month. Home buyer traffic drops from spring and summer levels. August is the beginning of the good time to buy a home in Portland.

Inventory – Highest (along with August)
Buyer traffic – Low-medium
Weather – Nice, some rain

September or October tends to be the absolute best month to buy a home in the Portland real estate market. Inventory is very high as the market has collected all of the homes that didn’t sell over the summer, and for whatever reason many home owners are still adding theirs to the market in the fall, likely trying to list and sell before winter rolls around.

Inventory – High to Medium
Buyer traffic – Low-medium

October is a fantastic month to buy a home in Portland for the same reasons September is, high inventory with low competition, and usually decent weather on top of all that.

Inventory – Medium
Buyer traffic – Low-medium
Weather – Hit or miss

While buyer traffic continues to drop, so does inventory. November is a reasonable time to buy a home but you might not find the home you want.

Inventory – Low
Buyer traffic – Low
Weather – Bad

If you can find a home you want to purchase in December, it is a good time to make an offer. But inventory typically is at its lowest point of the year so it can be extremely difficult to find a home you like. Plus touring homes and moving during a bad weather season isn’t great fun.

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Stephen made the experience of selling my first house seamless. I live in another state but he kept me informed and moved the process along without a hitch. The only thing another agent could have done differently was charge a much higher commission. I only wish he was able help me purchase in my state. Highly recommend his service and business model.