Portland Real Estate Market, May 2023 Report

While spring warms the earth around us and nature responds with new growth, the housing market is also warming up with activity. Buyers and sellers are more motivated, and inventory is currently increasing as selling conditions become more desirable with a steady stream of new homebuyers entering the market.

Housing Inventory and Buyer Traffic is Rising

As expected, inventory is currently increasing as the market warms up to receive the influx of new buyers typically motivated by the advent of Spring. Right now we’re seeing a relatively low supply of homes compared to buyer demand resulting in slightly increased prices, and the current levels of each suggest that rising prices will continue for a short while at least (until inventory exceeds available buyer traffic later this year).

Buyer Traffic is Rising

The above are weekly buyer traffic reports from RMLS. Since these numbers are hard to put into context, we have created this handy chart for you based on looking back on decades worth of data from these local buyer traffic reports:

Oregon weekly home buyer trafficHot or Cold?
0 – 5,000Frozen
5,000 – 10,000Cold
10,000 – 15,000Cool
15,000 – 20,000Lukewarm
20,000 – 25,000Warm
25,000 +Hot

As you can see from the example January chart above, the buyer traffic was cool this Jan. and has moved up to lukewarm this March and April, but based on the inventory charts below Portland inventory is hot (meaning really low). This means sales are popping currently.

Portland inventory charts, specifically detached homes for sale in town, show that inventory levels are currently hot.

Inventory as of April 7, 2023. Chart courtesy of Fidelity National Title.
Portland inventory rankingHot or Cold?
0 – 500On Fire (notice April of last year)
500 – 750Hot (currently)
750 – 1,000Warm
1,000 – 1,250Lukewarm
1,250 – 1,500Cool
1,500 – 1,750Cold
1,750 – 2,000 +Frozen (last Oct. – Dec.)

Buyer traffic usually exceeds inventory in the beginning of the year and continues to pick up the pace throughout the spring, which is why now is the best time to sell a home in Portland. As real estate professionals in Portland for the last two decades, we stay informed with daily and weekly reports and have thorough knowledge of the yearly cycles of the local real estate market. Understanding these predictable seasonal cycles allows us to make accurate market predictions to set our clients up for success. While this is the most advantageous time to sell a property, because the 2023 housing market is shaping up to be cooler overall, the ideal conditions for selling may not last as long as in more productive years. We anticipate that we are in the peak selling season right now, and as we move into June, we will likely start to see a balanced market, which will then tip to favor buyers in July. By comparison, in highly productive years we can see a strong seller’s market last through the summer.

This year’s seller’s market will be shorter overall, so we recommend that sellers act quickly to take advantage of ideal conditions before the number of homebuyers begins to dwindle in the summer, leading to lower offers. But for now, price increases are expected to continue in the near future.

There are Fewer Homes with Price Decreases

Percentage of Listings with a Price Decrease as of April 7, 2023. Chart courtesy of Fidelity National Title.

As we predicted last month, the number of homes with price decreases are continuing to drop as the current seller’s market becomes more active. Housing prices should continue to increase somewhat overall with the buyer competition that characterizes the spring selling season.

Home Prices are Slightly Rising

Price per sq. ft. as of April 7, 2023. Chart courtesy of Fidelity National Title.

There has been a slight increase in pricing per square foot as we move further into Spring. With typical market behavior in mind, we can confidently anticipate that this upward price trend will continue for a little while longer.

Portland Real Estate Inventory is Increasing

Housing inventory is following a similar trajectory as in recent years, with a substantial increase from February to March. However, as you can see in the above chart, both new listings and pending sales are at much lower numbers than we saw in 2021 and 2022, which we attribute to the factors of high mortgage rates and inflation suppressing buyer activity. We expect both inventory and sales to continue to grow throughout the month of May, after which they will likely begin to taper off through the end of the year.

The Best Time to Sell Your Home

Right now is the moment for sellers in Portland because the conditions are right for market competition to result in the best possible price for your home. We would advise you and our clients to move forward on plans to sell as soon as possible. This is the case every Spring, as we know that a combination of factors at this time every year drives market activity, making it an ideal time to sell. In 2023 however, this window of opportunity will be shorter than in previous years, so listing your home sooner rather than later will prove to be the most rewarding, before prices begin to drop at the end of spring.

Sell Now, Buy Later

We know that this will be the best time to sell a home all year by taking advantage of the current high buyer demand, but that is just the first step in an ideal selling scenario. The next step is to extend your stay in your current home once it has sold. This will enable you to take advantage of the market shift to favoring buyers in the Fall, when prices have dropped and there is less competition for available homes. During a home sale, the seller has the option to negotiate up to a 45 day close without impacting the buyer’s loan terms. A 60-day “rent back” lease can also be added, which allows the seller to stay in the home for 60 days beyond closing, or the day you receive the seller’s payment. And since this short-term lease back doesn’t affect the buyer’s loan terms, it is often mutually beneficial. When our clients accept an offer (or go pending), we often negotiate on their behalf so that they may remain in the home another 105 days, or over three months, granting them more time to find their next home before moving out. This is the best way to make the most of both the best selling and buying seasons, and we highly recommend this strategic plan for selling in the Spring and buying in the Fall.

How the Market Affects Home Buyers

Spring is an ideal time to search for a home, when the market is reenergized with new listings and warmer temperatures make house hunting a more enjoyable experience. At the same time, with rising prices it would be advantageous to find your new home before competition increases in the near future, and with a 2023 forecast that is cooler overall, it may be possible to achieve a more affordable home even in this current seller’s market.

If you decide to postpone your search until conditions are more favorable for buyers, the shift toward a buyer’s market should begin in June, or at least by July, with decreasing prices continuing until the end of the year. But we understand that circumstances don’t always align with market behavior, and moving quickly when you do find the perfect property can ultimately be more important.

Work with a Top Realtor

Currently eyeing the perfect property and wondering how to proceed? Let us help! With 20 years of real estate experience in the Portland area and a comprehensive knowledge of how market trends benefit buyers and sellers, we can help steer you toward the best possible outcome, whether you are looking to buy or sell this year. Reach out to our top buyer’s or seller’s teams today: give us a call at 503-714-1111 or chat with the bot on this site. Let us be a part of your success story.

April 14, 2023

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.
4.25% max to sell a home in Salem and Bend.
Over 2,000 homes sold.