By Elliot Njus The Oregonian
Portland-area home sales jumped in September compared with a year ago, bringing a jolt to the housing market during the waning months of a slow year.
Nearly 2,400 homes sold across the metro area last month, according to the local listing service RMLS. That’s a 4.6% increase compared with the same month in 2018.
Contracts for home sales that will close over the next couple of months also climbed 8.7% compared with a year earlier, suggesting the market’s renewed strength could persist.
The number of new listings dropped, meanwhile, at a time when demand already outpaces supply and sellers have retained most of the negotiating power. There were 6,600 active listings on the market at the end of the month, fewer than the year prior.
Home prices rose at their fastest pace in more than a year. The median price jumped 4.5% compared with a year earlier to $410,000.
Signs of slowness in the market remain. The homes that sold in September were listed for an average of about 7 1⁄4 weeks, a week longer than the same time last year.
The housing market nationally has gotten a boost from mortgage rates that have fallen near to record lows. Last September, rates were on the upswing, headed closed to 5% for a 30-year fixed-rate loan in October.
Rates fell precipitously this year, reaching a three-year low in September. Last week, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 3.57%.
The region’s housing market for the year so far remains slower than 2018. Despite September’s boost, closed sales to date still lag last year’s by 2.5%.