Portland Condo Market: the Affordable Choice for 2021

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If you’ve been looking for a new home and are on a budget, you might be laughing at our headline right now. Affordable? Does affordability even exist in Portland these days?

Trust us, then, that not only do plenty of affordable homes exist in Portland but that many are condos. Stay with me. The word condo can conjure up images of high-end penthouses in glass-lined skyscrapers. But the truth is, Portland’s condo market is actually a haven for housing affordability. Right now the demand for single family homes keep holding at record highs. And that means more competition and higher prices. So with those prices still soaring, anyone budget-conscious should consider checking out Portland’s condo market. You might be surprised what variety you find.

Why Condos Make an Affordable Choice in 2021

Many factors, both historical and current, dictate affordability. In Portland, condos have always offered more options for those on a budget, but perhaps never more than in 2021. Let’s take a look at some reasons why.

#1 – There’s simply more condo inventory in the bottom segment of the market.

Our latest RMLS data tells us the median price for single family homes in the bottom 25% of the market is $409,950. Compare that, though, with condos – $274,950. A pretty significant difference!

And that difference bears out when you take a close look at the listings available in Portland right now. As of this writing, there are 94 condos listed under $350,000 on portlandhomesforsale.com. Only three single family homes come up in the same search – and all three are fixers. On the other hand, plenty of existing condo buildings pepper the city, offering more attainable home ownership.

#2 – Condos haven’t been performing as well as single family homes.

No two ways about it. As we saw wit the above numbers, the demand surge drove prices up single family homes at the low end of Portland real estate values. As we’ve been covering for months now, though, condos seemed exempt from this phenomenon through much of the pandemic. We’ve postulated reasons why, from folks wanting more outdoor space to the protests downtown hurting the inner city market.

But what’s clear is that if you’re shopping for a condo, you’ll see less competition than you would for a single family home. That means more opportunities to secure a friendly price.

#3 – HOA fees cover the hidden costs of ownership.

Ah, the dreaded HOA fee. Yes, it will add on a significant monthly cost – more on that below. While you might cringe a little thinking about it, though, remember that home ownership comes with unexpected costs. With an HOA fee, those costs aren’t so hidden! Your dues cover needed repairs and bring peace of mind. For example, the average cost to reside a home in 2021 is about $10,000. If you own that single family home, that’s one big chunk of money. With a condo, a much more modest monthly fee has you covered.

How to Shop Around for Affordable Condos – the Smart Way

Now, I know we just sang the praises of the HOA fee. But condo shopping can become more complicated than it first appears. You’re entering into a shared ownership relationship, which means more entities are in the mix. So how do you find the most affordable condos (but still ones you love)?

#1 – Always check the total monthly cost of the mortgage.

On portlandhomesforsale.com, you can view an estimate of your total monthly cost by checking out the Loan Cost section of the listing. View your additional costs, where you can see the HOA as well as estimated property taxes and insurance. You can also adjust your down payment amount, interest rate, and mortgage period. All of this will give you a good idea of what the number on the monthly check will look like.

#2 – Use the Best Priced Condo VestorFilter™.

One of our favorite tools for a home search. This VestorFilter™ adds 5 years of HOA fees and property taxes to the price tag. That way, you can see at a glance what your HOA fees really amount to over time. Compare those numbers to the list prices of single family homes in your price range to get an idea what a great deal you could get!

#3 – Keep an eye out for the details that matter to you.

Ever seen two listing for condos in the same building and wondered why one was so much more expensive? Several factors can impact such a situation, and beyond square footage. Keep a lookout for:

  • Views. How are the views from the main living area? Are you overlooking green space or a parking lot? Nicer views will mean a higher value.
  • End or Corner Units. Since they share fewer walls with neighbors (and likely have more windows), end and corner units likewise will see a higher price.
  • Penthouse Units. Units at the very top, which can be quieter or have more views, will cost you more.

Now, it’s up to you whether any of these factors are important enough to you to shell out a little extra. Think, then, if it’s worth it to for quality of life reasons. Or, search around for less expensive units to fit your budget.

The #1 Rule for Finding an Affordable Condo: Use a Rock Star Real Estate Agent

As we mentioned above, buying a condo can be even more complicated than buying a house. You’re entering into an agreement with all the other owners, no mean feat. Our top 1% buyer’s team has sold hundreds of condos in the Portland metropolitan area, so they have the experience you need to navigate these complex waters! They’ll be able to read the rules carefully and make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into.

And for the most accurate and up-to-date information from our local Oregon MLS systems, check PortlandHomesforSale.com regularly. While other sites often fail to spot errors in listings, we work only with the best to make sure you have access to the information you need.

Curious about the featured photo on this post? That gorgeous and surprisingly affordable condo is for sale in Portland right now!

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