Portland-area home prices inch up during the coronavirus-caused economic crisis

While most work activities were halted in April to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, people continued to buy and sell real estate.

In the Portland metro, prices are up compared to this time last year, and the average number of days spent on the market before an offer was accepted have shrunk due to low inventory, according to the local listing service RMLS.

Sellers at almost all levels continue to profit from the low number of residential properties for sale in Oregon, the state with the largest housing shortage in the nation.

The number of new listings of Portland area homes in April — 2,847 — dropped 17.9% compared to the month before, 3,468, and plunged 32.4% compared to April 2019, with listings of 4,210.

Contracts for home sales in April — 2,041 — saw a 13% decrease from March, 2,347, and were 34.2% less than the 3,102 offers pending in April 2019, according to RMLS.

The 2,015 closed sales in April decreased 14.5% from the 2,356 transactions recorded in March. There was a 16.4% drop from the 2,409 closings in April 2019.

The average time residential properties were for sale in April before receiving an acceptable offer was 44 days, a significant decrease from 61 days in March.

The median sale price, the point in the middle in which half of the properties sell at a higher price and the other half at a lower price, held steady from March to April with a 0.2% decrease, but is up 3.9%, from $399,600 to $415,100, when comparing the first four months of 2020 to the same period in 2019.

“Well, amidst the shutdown we have managed to hit an all-time high for average sale price and median sale price,” said Dustin Miller, a broker with Windermere Realty Trust. “We are still seeing some quick sales as well as multiple offers during this time.”

The number of homes for sale has been dropping in the Portland area since January 2019, and even then, with a 3.3 month supply, it was a sellers’ market. In April 2020, there as a 2.4 month supply of homes for sale, which was an increase from March 2020’s 1.8 month supply.

“Finally the inventory level is picking back up closer to where it needs to be for a balanced market,” says Miller. “Right now buyers have a mindset of getting a deal during this virus time before the market returns to normal and they lose out on some seller flexibility.”

Comparing the first four months of 2020 to the same period in 2019, new listings in the Portland area, 11,950, decreased 10.1%; pending sales, 8,835, decreased 10.4%, and closed sales, 8,160, increased 2.9%, according to RMLS.

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