What is Portland’s Best County?

portland real estate county tax

Portland is unique for a lot of reasons, one is that it’s the only city in Oregon to include three counties within its borders.

The three Portland city proper counties are: Washington County (West Portland); Multnomah County (East Portland, including parts of West and SW Portland), and Clackamas County. Along SE Flavel and north of SE Johnson Creek Blvd (a tiny section of SE PDX) you can actually live in Portland city proper and in Clackamas county! Of course, these counties extend well beyond the Portland metro region, to encompass suburbs and rural areas beyond. The good news is, if you like county fairs and you live in Portland, there are plenty to choose from within a stone’s throw of the city.

Why do counties matter?
Deciding the county you’re going to live in is as important as deciding the city and state you want to reside in. Counties can own, operate, or invest in bridges, hospitals, roads, police departments, jails, courts, parks, utilities, and airports. Counties impact the public’s overall quality of life and the available support systems.

As a Portland real estate agent, a question I get asked a lot is, which county is better? It’s hard to give an objective answer, but my team and I do know a lot about the different Portland counties. On the surface, they’re pretty similar, but things like transportation options and school quality — things that tend to matter a lot to real estate buyers — can vary. Property tax rates and business taxes can also vary dramatically. Here are some tactics you can use to learn a bit more about Washington County, Multnomah County, Clackamas County and beyond to help you focus your home search.

Here are three quick county tools:

1. Property tax rates. First it is important to know that these counties can have hundreds of different zones (depends on the desirability of the area) they use to calculate your property taxes, and property taxes can have all sorts of bonds added onto them, making exact comparisons difficult. However, Clackamas is known for generally having lower property tax rates, Multnomah for higher tax rates. Washington county falls in the middle but has an extra sales tax on your property when you go to sell it of $1 per thousand or $400 if you sell a $400,000 home. If property tax is your concern, try the free calculators provided by Clackamas and Multnomah Counties.

2. Portlandmaps.com County Boundaries map. Curious which county a Portland real estate listing is in? This map will clearly show you. Simply type in the address in the top right search box. Or, browse the map to get an idea of where neighborhoods lie between the county lines. Then visit the local county’s website, this is probably the best way to learn about the county, latest news, and what the county is involved in locally.

3. Your real estate agent, of course. The overlapping jurisdictions of a large metro like Portland can create some confusing intersections of rules and regulations, as well as quality of life factors. We’re here to help you understand which neighborhood is your perfect place to call home.

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September 4, 2017
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.  For our Clark County, Washington buying and selling services go here.