Portland Housing Affordability

Housing affordability is more than the price of homes for sale or rent. Affordability for a given area is determined by average wage for that city vs. the cost of housing. We write annual reports on Portland’s overall affordability rate here and point out the most affordable suburbs around Portland.

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Kami Price, Realtor
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portland housing affordability rate

Portland Housing Affordability Rate – 2020 Update

November 29, 2019

Most people can afford to pay 30% of their income on housing costs; more than that, and housing becomes unaffordable. The Portland affordability rate is different depending on whether you’re renting or buying. According to the most recent census data, the median household income in Portland is $73,000 per year. For those households, the monthly housing payment should be $1,825/month or less. But, according to Zillow’s Rent Index for Portland, the average renter in Portland is paying $2,072/month — 14% more than the affordable level for median income earners. Unaffordable Portland Rent at 114% of average income. By comparison, the median home price in Portland is $410,000 (according to the September 2019 RMLS report). Assuming a 20% down payment on that...

portland affordable neighborhoods housing

Top 10 Affordable Portland Neighborhoods – 2019 Update

August 26, 2019

Growth has been the story of the Portland real estate market almost since it was established as the endpoint to the Oregon Trail. Back then, a home could be purchased for a few hundred dollars, but where are we now? Overall, less affordable — it’s true. The average cost of a square foot of home in Portland is $295, a fact that has driven many to the surrounding suburbs. However, compare Portland to other west coast hotspots like the San Francisco bay area ($498/square foot) and Seattle ($521/square foot), and suddenly our city looks like a much better investment. Within the Portland real estate market itself, of course, there is great variability. Affordability varies from neighborhood to neighborhood. Overall, the...

Top 5 Most Affordable Portland Suburbs – 2019 Update

May 13, 2019

Affordability is a hot topic in Portland, a city with limited area and seemingly unlimited population growth. While the city struggles to keep up by building apartments, condos, and accessory dwelling units (read our article on the state of construction in Portland here), the suburbs are booming.  Why move to a Portland suburb? The tradition of moving to the suburbs from inner Portland dates back to the 1890s. Portland residents in need of more space flocked to early suburbs like Hawthorne, Irvington, and Mount Tabor (yes those were suburbs at one time) conveniently connected to the city via streetcar. Today, Portland suburbs extend south into the Willamette Valley approaching Salem, far west into Yamhill County, and far east to Corbett,...

portland condo real estate

Portland Home vs Condo: Affordability

August 3, 2018

Last week, the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis reported that the housing market in Portland is “rebalancing”. In other words, the Portland real estate market is cooling fast. In a recent blog post, they outlined the indications that we’re seeing a once-in-a-decade shift in the forces favoring sellers over buyers. Long story short: Inventory is coming back up and the number of days on market is lengthening. On the other hand, mortgage rates in Portland are also going up again, and the average home price remains high. For first-time home buyers, getting into their first home might still be tricky. According to the blog post, “The combination of higher interest rates and home prices mean households have to devote a...

affordable portland real estate homes

Top 5 – Most Affordable – Portland Suburbs

March 5, 2018

Portland has never been a better place to live and work. Our schools, parks, transportation and homes are top-notch — but the one downside is that affordability has suffered. An influx of new residents combined with a slow construction industry means that the typical home value is tens of thousands of dollars more than what it was just five years ago. The median home price in Portland is now up to $438,000, or $246 per square foot. What is the first-time home buyer to do? Get savvy. There are plenty of suburbs, pocket neighborhoods and outlying cities close to Portland, with home values that are within reach. Homeowners here report similar or better quality of life without the urban congestion,...

portland housing affordability

Housing Affordability: 2018 Portland Market

February 20, 2018

Home prices are up in Portland, but so are wages and new jobs. As homes and real estate increase in value, and Portland loosens the rules to allow for a variety of housing development, we may see a flood of new homes (or at least apartments) on the market. Does all of this mean that the real estate market in the City of Roses is getting more, or less affordable for the average home buyer? Should you sell your home now, or wait? Portland Home Values Up in 2018 Let’s start by looking at the most recent RMLS data. One sign of an affordable housing market is an abundance of homes on the market. When demand outstrips supply, prices tend...

transportation and portland real estate

Will New Transportation Funding Make Portland Real Estate More Affordable?

July 21, 2017

Like it or not, your taxes are going up (sigh) and there will be a lot of upcoming road construction (sigh). Hopefully this will improve the city of Portland longer term. Last week, the Oregon legislature passed a massive transportation bill that will fund investments in transportation infrastructure across the state. The bill will increase vehicle registration and title fees as well as statewide payroll tax and fuel taxes to raise the $5.3 billion it has promised to improve Oregon transportation system over the next 10 years. Nothing of its kind has been rolled out since 2009. We want to take a look at this and how it will impact the Portland real estate market and local Portland neighborhoods. Transportation...

housing affordability index

Affordability – 2015 Portland Housing Market

June 30, 2015

Is Portland an affordable place to buy a home? It’s a complicated question and how you answer it depends on what’s important to you. Luckily, we can count on the RMLS to break it down for us in simple numbers. It’s called the Affordability Index, calculated by our friends at the National Association of REALTORS®. Their formula combines current mortgage rates, the average home price, and the median income and spits out a number that tells us how much mortgage the average home buyer can afford. Let’s look at this number a little more closely. The RMLS (the primary listing service for all real estate in the Portland Metro area) just calculates the Affordability Index for residential listings in the...

portland affordability

How affordable is the Portland Real Estate Market?

April 27, 2012

Nationally, you’d have to go back more than 50 years to find a more affordable time to buy a home in America. Locally, in Portland’s real estate market, you’d have to go back even farther. Affordability is an easy measurement. Basically, affordability is simply the percentage of a family’s income that goes towards a home mortgage payment. Nationally in 2010 14.2% of people’s income went to pay their home mortgage. In 2011 that percentage shrunk even farther to 13%. In the Portland real estate market the numbers are even better: 13.9% in 2010 and a huge drop in 2011, all the way down to 11.4%. It might be a good idea to talk to your local Portland real estate agent...