Top 5 Most Affordable Portland, Oregon Suburbs: 2023 Report

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For those looking to buy a home in 2023, the prospect may seem daunting when facing high mortgage interest rates and rising prices. But in fact, the housing market of 2023 is much cooler overall than last year and prices have currently stabilized. They are projected to rise only slightly in the spring compared to recent years and begin to drop again in the fall. So the conditions for buying a home this year may be more favorable than you think.

We have observed the trend of home buyers preferring the suburbs over the city of Portland over the last few years, and their popularity has naturally led to rising prices as buyers compete for available homes. As a result, the suburb market has grown somewhat more competitive, but the suburbs still retain the benefits that make choosing to live there a good move. These include the increased ability to stretch your dollar in terms of square footage and lot size, close proximity to nature while still enjoying quick access to dining, shopping and entertainment in Portland, and often a shorter drive to the coast, the mountains or Oregon’s wine country.

So if you are planning a move to the suburbs and wondering which one to choose, we’ve made matters easier for you by analyzing all of Portland’s desirable suburbs and narrowing them down to the top five in terms of affordability.

How is Affordability Measured?

True affordability factors in average income: when income increases fall short of home price increases, an area’s affordability suffers. When considering the cost of real estate, it is important to keep in mind that the big picture of affordability requires that incomes keep pace with housing prices. Oregon currently has an affordability score of 0.45, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), down from 0.61 at this time last year, and just behind California’s 0.46. The score ranges from 0 to 1.0 for state affordability, with 1.0 being the most affordable. We keep all of our Portland metro area housing affordability reports here, and updated them yearly.

How We Determined the Most Affordable Portland Suburbs

It is important to distinguish listing prices from actual sale prices when assessing home values. Listing prices can be misleading, especially when the bidding wars of hot selling markets are factored in, sometimes dramatically increasing a home’s final sale price. It is this final price that is agreed upon by the buyer and seller that assigns a real market value to a particular home. This is why we use the median sold price as the metric for comparing home values. The advantage of the median price over the average sold price is that it is not as skewed by extreme outliers like luxury homes.

We compared all of Portland’s suburbs according to lowest median sold price and lowest price per square foot to provide you this list of the top five most affordable Portland suburbs in 2023. (Population numbers were provided by

1. Wood Village

Median Sold Price: $370,000

Average Price Per Square Foot: $269

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As Portland’s smallest suburb (outside the tiny city of Maywood Park, covering less than a quarter of a mile), the motto of Wood Village is “everything you need in one square mile”. And the suburb of 4,387 residents does manage to fit in plenty of shopping and recreation options, including Donald L. Robertson Park, referred to as the “crown jewel” of Wood Village. With a small arboretum, playground, nature trail, and sports fields in its fairly central location, it acts as a hub for community recreation. Wood Village is also perfectly situated for easy access to outdoor recreation in the Columbia Gorge and Mt. Hood, plus downtown Portland is only a 30 minute drive away.

2. St. Helens

Median Sold Price: $379,900

Average Price Per Square Foot: $235

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Named for its view of Mount St. Helens, this suburb along the banks of the Columbia River offers its 13,817 residents an easier commute to Portland with less traffic than larger westside suburbs. St. Helens has a mix of old and new housing, some of which are situated on expansive lots where you can take in the view. It is a beautiful place to live, with its multitude of parks and a marina for boating or simply enjoying river views with a mountain backdrop. The Riverfront District of St. Helens was the shooting location for the cult movie “Halloweentown”, which the town celebrates every October with its month-long Spirit of Halloween festival. Nearby, the Old Town area boasts historic buildings, antique stores, fine restaurants and a historic movie theater. Also a filming location for scenes of the movie “Twilight”, St. Helens’ Old Town is registered on the U.S. Register of National Historic Places. 

3. Fairview

Median Sold Price: $390,000

Average Price Per Square Foot: $232

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Located just north of Gresham on the Columbia River, Fairview is home to 10,424 residents who describe it as a “small town within the big city”. This tight-knit community regularly hosts popular events like its Community Night Out and annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Fairview’s Hope Rock Gardens is a place where visitors and community members leave rocks painted with positive messages which are viewed and frequently shared on social media. Fairview homes are selling for the lowest price per square foot on our list, and here you can find homes built in the early 20th century ranging to newer construction houses. As a final perk, Fairview residents enjoy the convenience of quick access to both the Columbia River Gorge and downtown Portland.

4. Scappoose

Median Sold Price: $420,000

Average Price Per Square Foot: $245

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This rural suburb northwest of Portland provides many outdoor recreation opportunites for residents, from sunbathing and water play on Sauvie Island beach to kayaking in Scappoose Bay. The name “Scappoose” is of Native American origin and came from the creek of the same name that runs through it. While this suburb of 8,010 is home to many residents who commute to Portland for work, it is itself growing and encouraging new commercial and industrial development. The town even has its own local airport. Interestingly, Scappoose is also home to the Peace Candle of the World, a 50-foot tall structure built in 1971 to promote world peace.

5. McMinnville

Median Sold Price: $420,000

Average Price Per Square Foot: $250

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McMinnville makes our list of the top five most affordable Portland suburbs for the fifth year in a row, and could be considered the best value for all that it has to offer. If you are willing to forgo close proximity to Portland, living in this highly desirable town of 34,319 has many perks. Surrounded by natural beauty in the heart of wine country and close to some of the top wineries on the West Coast, McMinnville is a destination suburb and tourism plays a big role in the local economy. McMinnville’s historic downtown offers fine dining, quaint shops and galleries featuring local artwork. It also has the highest percentage of parks out of all of Portland’s suburbs, a highly rated K-12 school district, and is the home of Linfield College.

Considering a Move to the Suburbs?

Whether you are looking to buy or sell or both, we are experts on the local real estate market and our top 1% seller’s and buyer’s teams are here to serve you. Chat with the bot on our site or give us a call at 503-714-1111 today!

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