Single Level Homes Sell Faster and for More in Portland – 2021 Report

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Portland is a city famed for its beautiful – and diverse – single family homes. You can find it all here, from gorgeously ornate Victorians to smooth and sleek modern builds. It might surprise you, then, to learn that once again, recent sales data shows that buyers seem to prefer the unassuming single level home. Let’s take a look at the numbers as well as why the appeal of the single level, or ranch style, home proves so enduring.

All Home Styles Are Selling Quickly in 2021 – But Especially Single Level Homes

First, we should note that homes of all shapes and sizes are flying off the market like hotcakes. In our latest data set, we looked at detached homes that sold for under a million in the past four months. And the time it took those homes to sell was telling of the current state of the market. Days on the market most commonly fell in the single digits for both single and multi-level homes. But the difference lies in the outliers. Multiple level homes consistently had more homes sitting on the market for 30 or 40 days, whereas such a long stint was unusual for single level homes.

The result? Single level homes sold 38% faster at an average of only 8 days as compared to 13. That’s an even greater difference than last year, when single level homes already sold 25% faster.

Single Level Homes Continue to Sell for More Per Square Foot

As of June 2021, single level homes are selling at a rate of $306 per square foot. That’s up from $289 this time last year. And it’s more than multi-levels, who average out at $271 per square foot. That means single level homes sold for 11.4% more than multi-levels in the past few months. Now, here we see a decrease in the difference, since last year that number clocked in at just under 19%. But it still represents a pretty big disparity. As far as market forces go, price per square foot remains a solid indicator of demand.

Why Are Single Level Homes So Popular in Portland?

To recap, single level homes sold 38% faster and for 11.4% more than multi-level homes in the Portland area in the past four months. And that’s no anomaly, since last year’s numbers concur, and beyond that, it’s a trend real estate agents have noted anecdotally for years. So what gives? Why the popularity of single level homes in Portland? We have a couple of theories.

Single Level Homes Make Great Starter Homes

First, let’s talk starter homes. Typically, when you hear “starter home,” you think of a home that perhaps doesn’t have as many amenities as you’d like. And that can be true, as many first time homebuyers are still building wealth to work towards a bigger home (especially for those planning for a bigger household).

But a “starter home” might also just entail less square footage for those who don’t need it! A more affordable, smaller home could be just the ticket for the right buyer. And single level homes often fit the bill. Our research showed that the average square footage for single level homes came in at 1,656, versus 2,326 for multi-levels.

And accordingly, single level homes tend to come at a lower price point. The average sale price for the past few months is $468,653. Compare that to multi-levels average of $614,444 (and for the record, we did exclude million dollar plus homes). Between modest square footage and lower prices, then, single level homes make a good choice for many folks who are first entering into home ownership or are looking to downsize.

For Single Level Homes, Accessibility Is Key

Accessibility: a buzz word that’s more than a buzz word. Accessibility in housing means the ability to get around your own space with ease and comfort, which is something not to be taken for granted. Whether due to age or disability, having an accessible space is paramount to many buyers.

And these days, more and more folks are looking to “age in place.” Meaning, to stay in a forever home as opposed to moving to an elderly care facility. In 2019, a Johns Hopkins study published in the Journals of Gerontology found that people living in single level homes were more likely to age in place. Having a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen on one level – no stairs – significantly improves independence later into life.

But it’s not just about the lack of stairs. Ranch style homes are famed for their sprawling, open layouts – and that means more space. When it comes to accessibility, having that extra space for maneuvering a wheelchair or walker becomes incredibly important. Additionally, since ranch style homes are historically accessible, many have already been outfitted with universal design features like curbless showers.

Even if your home isn’t already outfitted, though, resources abound to help you get it ready. If you or a loved one are preparing to age in place or managing a disability, we recommend checking out the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging to look up your local agency. Multnomah County’s agency, for example, offers a wide variety of programs, some to do with housing. Their Aging and Disability Resource Connection can point your towards grant programs that will help install ramps, shower pull bars, etc. for income qualifying households.

Starter Home to Forever Home, Single Levels Are a Good Investment

Portland’s buyers have spoken, and once again, single level or ranch style homes prove very popular. So whether you’re looking to buy your first home or find your forever home (or both), a single level home makes a good investment. And by the way, our featured image for this post is of a ranch style home for sale now! Buying or selling, you’ll want a trusted real estate agent on your side. Check out top 1% buyers agents or top 1% sellers agents today!

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