Susan Marthens Real Estate
The Susan & Shelli Newsletter
Portland Metro Area Home Prices for March 2015 
In This Issue
March 2014 Highlights
Sales Price Change
Cost by Area/Community
Portland Magazine Real Estate
Where Will Portland Grow?
Oregon's Changing Population
Portland Neighborhood Papers
Join Our List
March 2015

The inventory of homes available for sale in the Portland metro area hit a new low with a mere 1.9 months supply--the last time inventory was that low was in September 2005 just before the housing bubble blew up. 

You will want to check out the Portland Monthly Magazine website as they have just put the numbers up on the Portland metro area housing market for 2014. They have created an interactive chart with data from the 90 plus Portland neighborhoods along with 27 suburban areas. The site will answer many of your questions about home prices as well as questions you may have never considered. 

The Market Action reports for the Portland metro area as well as all Oregon areas and Southwest Washington are also available to download (see "Newsletters" on the left). It also has the summary page for the March 2015 area home prices.
March 2015 Real Estate Highlights
Real estate activity picked up this March in the Portland metro area, and closing sales led the way. The 2,457 closings represented a 32.3% increase over the 1,857 closings that were posted in March 2014, and a 49.1% increase from last month's 1,648 closings. The last March when closings numbered more was in 2007, when there were 2,775 closings for the month.
Pending sales (3,384) similarly outpaced last March (2,534) and February of this year (2,534) by33.5%. The last March when the number of accepted offers w as as high was in 2006, when 3,399 offers were accepted.

New listings (3,596) rose 16.4% over the 3,090 new listings offered in March 2014, and 24.7% over the 2,884 new listings offered just last month.  


March 2015 Inventory: 1.9 Months 

Inventory in March was at 1.9 months--the last time inventory
was as low was in September 2005. There are currently 4,767 active residential listings for sale in the Portland metro area. Total market time decreased in March to 75 days.

  Portland Metro Residential Highlights for March 2015  

Click on image to enlarge.
Above based on information from the RMLS™  Market Action report for March 2015.
Average and Median Sales Prices 
Median Sales Price $289,100 in March, 2015


Comparing the average price of homes over the last 12 months ($334,600) with the average price of homes sold in the 12 months ending March 2014 ($316,300) shows an increase of 5.8%. In the same comparison, the median has
increased 7.1% from $270,000 to $289,100.  

The below graph represents the average and median sale price for all homes sold in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area from February 2006 to March 2015.
Average and Median Sales Price for March 2015  
Click on image to enlarge.
Above based on information from the RMLS™ Market Action report for March 2015.
Sales Price Percent Change 
Average Sales Price Percent Change +5.8%


The Average Sale Price Percent Change is based on a comparison of the rolling average sale price for the last 12 months (4/1/2014 - 3/31/2015) with 12 months before (4/1/2013 - 3/31/2014).
  • Average Sale Price Percent Change: +5.8% ($333,600 v. $316,300)
  • Median Sale Price Percent Change:  +7.1% ($289,100 v. $270,000)

Below are the sales price percent changes in March 2015 from their peak prices in 2007: 

  • Average Sale Price Percent Change from peak in August 2007: -8.1% ($337,200 v. $366,900)
  • Median Sale Price Percent Change from peak in July 2007: -4.0% ($290,000 v. $302,000).
Above based on information from the RMLS™ Market Action report for March 2015

Cost of Residential Homes by Area/Community


Below is the chart that displays the March 2015 numbers by area or community. It includes the following:
  • Number of closed sales.
  • Average price of homes sold.
  • Year-to-date average price.
  • Year-to-date median price.
  • Average sales price percent change.

Click on image to enlarge.

Above based on information from the RMLS™ Market Action report for March 2015.

The Portland Metro Condo Market


The Pearl District's biggest landholder is laying the groundwork for three new high-rises on the district's North fringe, where development stalled during the recession. Only one of these buildings will be condos; the Cosmopolitan will have 168 units.

Hoyt Street Properties, which controls eight undeveloped blocks in the area, is selling one for an apartment building that could stretch 18 stories high. All three towers - the 28-story Cosmopolitan, the 16-story "Block 17" project and the 26-story Overton Apartments - are all located within blocks of one another. Together, all three structures will create more than one million square feet of real estate, 168 condo units, 565 apartments and 608 parking stalls.

The below chart shows the active and closed condos in the Portland metro area at the end of March 2015. You can see that the number of condos available for sale (green bar) has decreased over the last 12 months and that in March 2015 the closed sales were over 50% of the condos that were for sale. Given a choice, developers are building apartments instead of condos.

Click on image to enlarge.
Above based on information from the RMLS™ Market Action report for March 2015.



Freddie Mac released its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®) on March 9 showing average fixed mortgage rates moving lower following a weaker than expected jobs report for March. 
  •  30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.66 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending April 9, 2015, down from last week when it averaged 3.70 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.34 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.93 percent with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.98 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.38 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.83 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.92 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.09 percent.
  • 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.46 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, unchanged from last week. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.41 percent.
Numbers for a 30-Year Mortgage

Taking the median home price in the Portland area of $290,000 for March 2015 and with 20 percent down payment ($58,000) and a mortgage of $232,000, the payment for a 30-year fixed loan is $1,025.66 per month (excluding property taxes and insurance) in Portland, Oregon. 

The interest rate is 3.375%, and the APR is 3.735%. Total closing costs are $11,149.
Estimate closing costs are as follows: 
  • WMS Series LLC's origination charge: $945.00
  • Your charge for this interest rate: $8,700.00
  • Required services we select: $545.00
  • Title services and lender's title insurance: $628.00
  • Owner's title insurance: $925.00
  • Government recording charges: $131.00
  • Fees typically paid by Seller: ($925.00)
This fee estimate does not include advances that may be required at closing, such as interest due at closing or initial deposits for escrow accounts, if applicable.

Sixty days rate lock. Escrow fees are not waived. FICO credit score is 720-739.

Conveniently located in real estate offices throughout the Pacific Northwest, Windermere Mortgage Services (WMS) is a full-service mortgage banker providing home buyers with complete real estate financing expertise over the entire home loan process.

Contact Clayton Scott (503-497-5060) at Windermere Mortgage Service in the Windermere Stellar Lake Oswego office for the latest rates. You can also email Scott at


The City of Portland measures rainfall at 39 different locations, and it's interesting to note the small variances in the different places where they hang a rain gauge. Taking the averages of all the gauges as of April 14 we have received just over 32 inches of precipitation in the current "Water Year" which began October 1st.  


The table is updated on a frequent basis to include each day, every three days, every five days, current month, and water year. 


Data from rain gages that provide real-time data are relayed to the USGS, Oregon Water Science Center office in Portland through telephone lines, radio telemetry, or the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) data-collection system. Data are transmitted from each station at intervals of 1 to 8 hours and are loaded onto the USGS computer system


The HYDRA rainfall network is operated and maintained by the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services.  

Monthly Weather Summary 

Below is the National Weather Service weather data for the month of March 2015. These readings are from the Portland airport.
  • Average Monthly Temperature for March 2015: 52.4 (4.2 degrees above normal of 48.2 degrees).
  • Warmest Day: 69 degrees on March 24. 
  • Coldest Day:  32 degrees on March 22.
  • Most Rainfall in 24 Hours: 1.44 inches on March 14.
  • Rain Days: 0 days with thunderstorms, one day with heavy rain, and 14 days with light rain.
  • Clear/Cloudy Days for March 2015: Five fair days, 15 partly cloudy days, and 11 cloudy days.
  • Average Wind Speed for March 2015: 5.8 mph.
Portland's rainfall is measured by the "Water Year" which runs from October 1 - September 30. The average rainfall for the month of March is 3.68 inches.  There were 4.71 inches of precipitation in March 2015.

Portland Monthly Magazine 2014 Real Estate


The Portland Monthly magazine has posted their annual  Real Estate Guide and they have improved the pages so it's actually fun to use. The main thing that the site offers now in their "Neighborhoods by the Numbers" is an interactive chart and map.  


What are the neighborhoods in the City of Portland that posted the highest median price for home sold in 2014? Just click the heading for that column and you have the answers which are: Healy Heights at $900,000, Arlington Heights at $790.413, Forest Park at $751.000, Hillside at $665,000, and Southwest Hills at $640,000.   


For a quick reference they also have a map with all the Portland neighborhoods displayed. Click on a neighborhood and a box will appear will the basic numbers.  


Want to know which neighborhood where the home sold in 2014 that had the highest average square footage price? In a split second the answer is revealed. The Pearl at $452 a square foot is the answer. Second place is over a $100 below the Pearl.


Besides the housing numbers the site also has the interactive functions for People, Crime, and Lifestyle.  


They have the same functions for 27 suburban communities.  


They also have posted eight short articles about the Portland real estate market.    


Have I got you interested in having some fun and learning about the communities in the Portland metro area just visit the site at    


You can purchase the print and digital plan (12 issues) for $22.95 a year.  


Where will Portland Grow? 


City planners predict 20-year, multifamily construction boom that home builders say isn't realistic


PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSEThe construction of new multifamily housing, like this building in the Pearl District, must exceed current rates to meet Portland's goals in the draft Comprehensive Plan update.

Portland planners say the city can house half the people expected to move to the metropolitan area during the next 20 years. They predict 123,000 new housing units will be built in Portland by 2035.  


The Metro Council heard that prediction from Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability Director Susan Anderson and Principal Planner Tom Armstrong Apriln 7. Anderson and Armstrong had been invited to give the council an overview of the comprehensive plan update that will guide Portland's growth until 2035.


"Portland has essentially half of the region's capacity over the next 20 years," Anderson said.


The council had requested the briefing to help decide whether it needs to expand the urban growth boundary it administers later this year. Most of the councilors seemed impressed with the presentation, with some saying Portland's planning process could serve as a model for other cities in the region.


But the housing projection is based on a controversial premise. According to Anderson and Armstrong, the vast majority of the new housing - 75 to 80 percent - will be multifamily housing. For that to happen, multifamily construction will have to more than double the rate of the past 14 years.


BPS defines multifamily housing to include apartments, condominiums, auxiliary dwelling units, duplexes, rowhouses and townhouses. The vast majority are apartments and condominiums. According to the Bureau of Development Services - which issues construction permits - 31,563 such permits were issued between 2001 and 2014.


That's an average of 2,254 such permits a year. But to reach the draft comp plan update goals, between 4,612 and 4,920 such permits would have to be issued every year for the next 20 years.


To read the entire article in the Portland Tribune click here



Source: "Where will Portland Grow," by Jim Redden, April 9, 2015, Portland Tribune 


  Oregon's Changing Population

A graphic look at Oregon's more diverse future as minority population and electorate grows

As a follow-up to the February report in The Oregonian about how the nation is becoming much more racially diverse, the newspaper has created a set of charts that visually show what is happening in Oregon.


The first chart shows the key trend. Oregon has seen its minority population grow from 6 percent in 1980 to 22 percent today.  And that will double, to 44 percent, by 2060, according to projections made in "States of Change," a report by Ruy Teixeira, William Frey and Rob Griffin.


Oregon is projected to become more diverse than many states that have long had sizeable minority populations, including Arkansas, Michigan, Tennessee, Missouri, Ohio and Pennsylvania.


"That's not your father's Oregon," said Teixeira, a fellow at the Century Foundation and the Center for American Progress, the latter of which was one of the main producers for the report.


Teixeira said in an interview that the Hispanic population is quickly increasing in a large number of states around the country, including in Oregon.  Asians are also becoming a larger share of the population, particularly in the Pacific Rim states.  African-Americans are projected to stay about the same as a share of the population in both Oregon and the U.S., he said.


The next chart shows that the state's electorate is also changing, although more slowly than the change in population.  By 2060, nearly 40 percent of the electorate will be non-white, more than double its current mark of about 16 percent.


To read the entire article in the Portland Tribune click here.



Source: "A graphic look at Oregon's more diverse future as minority population and electorate grows." by Jeff Mapes. Published April 14, 2015, The Oregonian



Susan Marthens, Principal Real Estate Broker, CRS, GRI
Shelli Gowdy, Real Estate Broker