How Big Should Your Next Portland Home Be?

portland housing market home sizes

Portland’s housing market is anything but cookie-cutter. From one-bedroom cottages to huge luxury homes, we have it all. Home buyers entering the market this fall may be wondering what size home they need to live comfortably in Portland.

Buying a home is a process of deciding and compromising on a lot of lifestyle elements. As a Portland real estate agent, I notice that a lot of buyers come in with a square footage number on the tip of their tongue, only to find that as they start to look at homes, other factors become more important. Let’s take a look at why.

1. In Portland, neighborhood often determines home size. According to the Census Bureau’s “Characteristics Of New Housing” annual report, the average size of a new home built in the US in 2016 was nearly 2,700 square feet. But those are new homes, and about half of the Portland’s housing stock was actually built before 1960. That’s according to a 2011 report by the City of Portland, which also found that 35% of all homes in the city were built before 1940. At that time, the average home size was today what would almost be small enough to be a “tiny house”! These homes are not evenly dispersed though the city; most are in Northeast and Southeast Portland. Most new homes for sale are in the outlying suburbs, and they are more likely to be in the 2,000 – 3,000-square-foot range. Depending on where you want to live in Portland, you may be settling for a house that is smaller or larger than what you had in mind.

2. It depends on whether you’re looking for a condo or a detached home. In 2014, 61% of Portland’s housing stock was single family detached homes, according to the the Oregon Department of Economic Analysis. The next largest category was 1-4 unit multifamily dwellings, such as condos and small apartment buildings. U.S. real estate statistics put the average square footage on a condominium at around 1200 square feet. If you’re a Portland home shopper determined to get into a home that has a small footprint — think easy maintenance, lower taxes — condos are a great way to go.

3. Design matters. Once you have toured four or five Portland homes, you’ll notice how the numbers on paper don’t match up to how you would expect the home to feel. A 1100 sq. ft. open layout Ranch with vaulted ceilings on a hillside with a tall windows and a beautiful view can feel spacious; a bloated new home on a tiny lot with not enough windows may feel claustrophobic even if it has double the square footage. It matters a lot how that space is dispersed — is there a huge rec. room while the bedrooms are tiny? For some families, this may work just fine. For others, who prefer to retreat to private spaces and don’t need much shared space, another 1,000 feet of basement isn’t going to help anything.

4. Your needs matter. We can’t emphasize this enough. Need office space? Need large bedrooms? Have kids and want their bedrooms close to yours and on the same level? Need a big yard? Whatever it is you need in a home, we know the layout that will work and where those homes are and how much they cost.

My top 1% buyers team in Portland would love to set up a time to talk with you. We are in the best time of the year to buy a home with high inventory, less bidding wars, and you can still tour homes in decent weather and close before Christmas! Let us know if we can help.

October 2, 2017

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.