Best Time to Buy a Home in the Portland Market – 2019 Update

best time to buy a home in portland

Every year we post a best time of the year to sell a home update, and now we are starting a best time of the year to buy a home in the Portland real estate market. As you would imagine, these market times are in nearly opposite every year. Exception: if you need to sell and then buy again right after selling, make sure to read the real estate advice just for you at the bottom of this article.

Best Time to Buy a Home – Month by Month Analysis

January

  • Inventory – Low
  • Buyer traffic – Low
  • Weather – Poor

January isn’t the best time of the year to buy a home, but its not the worst either. Low inventory means you won’t have a lot of options, and that is not a good thing. The more inventory, the more options you have as a buyer. High inventory leads to price drops and nervous sellers, more opportunity to negotiate the price down for a buyer. Now, the amount of buyer traffic is also important. Count other buyers are your direct competition. If a home hits the market in Jan. you might be the only visitor, or one of a few visitors. So while you might need to offer full price (when a home is brand new on the real estate market) mostly likely you will not find yourself in a multiple offer situation. Bottom line: January has few options, which is not great, but you won’t have much competition either, so if you find what you want as a buyer, then you’ll probably be able to get it without too much trouble. Also the weather is terrible, so it is not ideal touring conditions.

Feburary

  • Inventory – Low but rising
  • Buyer traffic – Low but rising
  • Weather – Mostly awful

February like January is a reasonable time to buy. You’ll have a few more options than in Jan. but a bit more competition too. Here and there, a few multiple offer situations will occur. If you find what you want – buy now! March begins the best time of the year to sell season and it will get a lot tougher for buyers really soon. Bottom line: February still has low inventory which isn’t great, but it is a buy now season before it all turns in the seller’s favor.

March

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

March is great for sellers, not buyers. This is the first month of the year where there is often more buyers than homes for sale. Multiple offer situations are common. The nice thing is the weather is better, but that’s why you’re facing all this competition (as a buyer) too. Bottom line: Expect to fight for want you want as a buyer in March.

April

  • Inventory – Medium
  • Buyer traffic – High
  • Weather – Wonderful

April is great for sellers, not buyers. Multiple offer situations are common. There are more buyers than homes for buyers to choose from. The weather is fantastic but you’ll have to fight for the home you want. Bottom line: Not a great time to buy, but since inventory is medium, you might be finally able to find what you want, just expect to have to fight for it.

May

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

May is a little better for home buyers (March – April is the worst) because inventory is climbing. Buyer traffic (your competition) is still high, but as inventory increases there are less fights (less multiple offer situations) than in the last two months. Weather is pretty fantastic. Bottom line: May is not a bad time to buy, but if you don’t find anything, don’t worry – June is better.

June

  • Inventory – High
  • Buyer traffic – High
  • Weather – Wonderful

Tons of homes sell in the Portland real estate market in June every year as inventory rises up to meet demand. Don’t expect price drops or to negotiate too hard on a seller. Typically you’ll pay close to asking price. Sellers are still confident in June. Bottom line: June is a fine time of year to purchase a home because there are lots of choices and not many multiple offer situations, but you still cannot expect to buy a deal. The market mostly favors sellers in June.

July

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

July is nice for home buyers because inventory is really high and competition has dropped a bit. Buyers will start to see the first signs of seller desperation if that seller has been listed for a while. Some weeks are too hot to want to go on tour (unless you love the heat). Bottom line: July is a good time of year to buy with plenty of options and a little less competition, but August is better.

August

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

August is a fantastic time to buy a home. Inventory is at is peak (it either peaks in August or September each year). Home price drops are everywhere as sellers that have been sitting for a while are getting nervous. You have tons of options and only moderate competition. Bottom line: What are you waiting for? It doesn’t get (much) better than this.

September

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

September is a fantastic time to buy a home. Most national real estate portals, like Realtor.com, recommend sometime in late Sept. as the absolute best time to buy a home. But, buying a home isn’t something you can expect to do in a single week, rather it is best to look for a home in a particular season. That best buying season runs from August through October. In September you will have tons of homes to choose from and not much competition. Bottom line: If you could only pick one month to purchase in, September would probably be it. October is good too, but inventory (your options) will start to decrease.

October

  • Inventory – High
  • Buyer traffic – Low-medium
  • Weather – Nice with rain

October is a fine time to buy a home. The weather is pleasant typically if you don’t mind a little Portland rain. You have a decent amount of homes to pick from (but less than in Sept. or August). Bottom line: if you want to start shopping in October, go for it. Do yourself a favor though, and pick something, don’t wait too long, inventory is about to get tight.

November

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

November still has some decent inventory to pick from, but that inventory is declining week to week. There is still a good amount of buyer traffic to compete with. Heavy rains can stop you from touring on occasion, but snow is unlikely. Bottom line: November is a decent time to buy, but not the best, and is defined by decreasing inventory.

December

  • Inventory – Low
  • Buyer traffic – Low
  • Weather – Poor

It is hard to find what you want in December and the weather won’t help you out either. The only positive for a buyer in December is that if they manage to find a home they want to buy, there probably won’t be any other competition for it. Bottom line: Most people don’t buy around the holidays for a good reason, but if you do find something you like at least you likely won’t have to fight for it.

Need to sell and then buy a home right after?

When it is hard to sell it is great to buy. When it is hard to buy it is great to sell. So what should you do if you need to do both?

Transition advice:

The number one way people transition that need to buy and sell in the same area is by putting their home on the real estate market for sale first. The seller can accept an offer with a 45 day close and up to a 60 day rent back (short term renter in their own home). This gives the seller the money from the sale of their home before they actually have to move out. That’s nearly 3 months after they accept an offer on their home before they have to move out. It gives the seller plenty of time to tour and identify and purchase their next property.

Timing advice:

If you need to sell and then buy, perhaps the best possible time for this would be to put your home on the market in mid-April to mid-June, an easier time to sell, but by the time you’re sold and buying (after rent back above) you’d be in an easier time to buy (late June – September). I’d say if you’re going to sell and then buy, consider putting your home on the market in mid-April to mid-June. Somewhere in there will allow you to sell in a reasonable selling season and then buy in a reasonable buying season. That’s good advice unless your have a difficult home to sell, either because of the home itself or if you’re in a slower selling part of town. In that case you may need to start earlier in the year, to give yourself as much of the good selling season as possible to sell your home, then just deal with the buying market once you get through part 1.

October 15, 2019
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 in the Portland Metro area. Call him direct: 503-714-1111.

Pay less (4.5% commission max.) and get more with his top 1% listing team or buy your next home with his excellent top 1% buyer’s team. We work from Salem, Oregon to Vancouver, Washington and beyond. Check out our full services areas on the top menu.