Septic System vs. Public Sewer Home Value Impact, 2023 Report

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Most homes within city limits are connected to a public sewer system (but not all). Of course, most homes in rural areas are on septic. Occasionally, the local government might force a homeowner to connect to their public sewer system and decommission their septic system (because they are laying new sewer lines in the area, or simply enforcing a new policy). Also, home buyers should pay attention to whether or not a home is on a public sewer or septic system as it affects the current and future value of the home.

We started this report in 2022 for the greater Portland metro area and have revised our criteria in our 2023 report to attempt to generate the best comparison data possible.

The reason for repeating this report annually is to test our data over time and check to see if there are any changing trends in home value as connected to public or septic sewer systems. We run many such annual reports on home value, in addition to many other data-based reports on the greater Portland real estate market, including a monthly market update.

Do Homes Sell for More with a Septic or Public Sewer?

Updated criteria. We are looking at all detached homes that sold in Clackamas and Washington County from 01/01/2023 to 06/30/2023, the first half of the year. We are only looking at homes that are on lot sizes ranging from 0.46 acre to 3 acres and priced between 300,000 and 1,000,000. Why? When we look at homes in this particular lot range within a county, we get a relatively balanced number (as close as we can get) of homes on septic or on public sewer. Also, when we apply that price range we cut out extreme fixers and luxury homes to get a better baseline for the majority of homes sold in the same area.

Septic vs. Sewer Home ValueNumber Sold – 2023Sold Price per Sq. Ft. 2023Days on Market 2023
Multnomah County Septic25$28466
Washington County Septic41$27970
Clackamas County Septic146$30956
Septic System Averages:$29164
Multnomah County Public Sewer46$25680
Washington County Public Sewer35$29463
Clackamas County Public Sewer50$26254
Public Sewer Averages:$27166
Numbers from RMLS

Homes Sell for More on a Septic System than Public Sewer

Multnomah County showed the greatest difference. Homes on septic systems sold for 10% more per sq. ft. and 18% faster. Homes on septic also performed better across the board in Clackamas County. Interestingly, homes on public performed better in Washington County. I have a few guesses as to why that is, but it will be interesting to keep a watch on the trend.

Overall, homes on septic on our tri-county metro sold for 7% more per sq. ft. and 3% faster, than those homes on public sewer.

Common Types of Septic Systems in our Metro

In our last report we went over the four common septic systems you’ll find in our area and went over the ownership costs of having either a septic or public sewer connection.

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