Moving to Portland
July 2015 Newsletter


Shelli Gowdy
Real Estate Broker
Windermere Stellar
Susan Marthens
Principal Real Estate Broker
Windermere Stellar
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Market Action Reports 
The Market Action reports for the Portland metro area as well as all Oregon areas and Southwest Washington are also available to download. It also has the summary page for the July 2015 Portland metro area home prices.
July 2015 Real Estate Highlights

Real estate activity in the Portland metro area saw increases across the board compared to July of last year. Closed sales outpaced all measures-the 3,452 closings bested last month (3,302) by 4.5% and last July's 2,678 by 28.9%. In fact, it was the best July for closings in Portland on the RMLS™ record!

The below chart show the large increase in closed sales in 2015 (red bar).

Click on image to enlarge.

Pending sales (3,494) fell 3.1% short of the 3,605 offers accepted last month (June 2015) but surpassed the 2,802 offers accepted in July 2014 by 24.7%. The last July with more pending sales in the Portland metro area was in 2005, when 3,792 offers were accepted.

Similarly, new listings (4,273) were 0.2% cooler than in June (4,280) but outpaced July 2014's 3,954 new listings by 8.1%.

Inventory increased very slightly in July and currently sits at 1.7 months. Total market time increased just as slightly, now standing at 45 days. There are currently a total of 5,708 active residential listings in the Portland metro area


Activity has been higher in 2015 than in 2014 across the board. Pending sales (21,579) are up 24.5%, closed sales (18,754) are up 22.0%, and new listings (26,336) are up 8.4% for the year thus far.

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

Average & Median Sales Prices
Median Price for a Home in the Portland Metro Area $318,000 in July 2015

Prices continue to rise in 2015 compared to 2014. Comparing each year through July, the average sale price rose 6.1% from $331,400 to $351,600. In the same comparison, the median sale price rose 7.0% from $284,900 to $304,900.

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

Sales Price Percent Change
Average Sales Price Percent Change 6.3% in July 2015

The Average Sale Price Percent Change is based on a comparison of the rollng average sale price for the last 12 months (8/1/2014 - 7/31/2015) with 12 months before (8/1/2013 - 7/31/2014).
  • Average Sales Price Percent Change: 6.3% ($344,900 v. $324,500)
  • Median Sales Price Percent Change:  7.2% ($299,500 v. $279,000)
Above based on information from the RMLS™  Market Action report for July 2015.

New Highs
The average sales price set a new high in June 2015 from the previous peak in August 2007 by almost $3,000. The new high is $369,500 whereas the August 2007 average price was $366,900. In July 2015 the average sales price dropped $400 from the June 2015 price.

The median sales price in June 2015 jumped $18,000 from its peak in July 2007. The new high is $320,000, and the 2007 median price was $302,000. In July 2015 the median price dropped to $318,000 from its high of $320,000 last month.
Above based on information from the RMLS™  Market Action report for July 2015.

Cost of Residential Homes by Community
Below is the chart that displays the July 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 or
click here to view the report (pdf).

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

Freddie Mac released its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®) on August 13 showing average fixed mortgage rates reversing course and nudging higher for the first time in four weeks. 

News Facts
  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.94 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending August 13, 2015, up from last week when it averaged 3.91 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.12 percent. 
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.17 percent with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.13 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.24 percent. 
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.93 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.95 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.97 percent.
  • 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.62 percent this week with an average 0.3 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.54 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.36 percent. 

Numbers for a 30-Year Mortgage in Portland

Taking the median home price in the Portland area of $318,000 for July 2015 with 20 percent down payment ($63,600) and a mortgage of $254,400, the payment for a 30-year fixed loan is $1,160.19 per month (excluding property taxes and insurance) in Portland, Oregon. 

The interest rate is 3.625%, and the APR is 3.974%. Total closing costs are $11,688.80.

Estimated closing costs are as follows: 
  • Penrith Series LLC's origination charge: $945.00
  • Your charge for this interest rate: $9,222.00
  • Required services we select: $545.05
  • Title services and lender's title insurance: $845.80
  • Owner's title insurance: $990.00
  • Government recording charges: $131.00
  • Fees typically paid by Seller: ($990.00)
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.

Penrith Home Loans  (PHL) Penrith was former called Windermere Mortgage Services, and  they changed their name in 2015. PHL is Northwest owned and operated and headquartered in Seattle with offices throughout Washington and Oregon.  PHL is a full service mortgage banker and direct lender - in addition, they have access to numerous other lenders which allows them to meet everyone's individual needs.
  • West Portland Contact:  Bertha Ferran, telephone (503) 464-9215. Address:WMS Series LLC/AT, West Portland Branch, 6400 SW Barnes Road, Suite 305, Portland, OR 97225.
  • East Portland Contact:  Tanya Elder, telephone (503) 497-5367. Address: WMS Series LLC/AT, Lloyd Tower Branch, 825 Northeast Multnomah Street, Suite 120, Portland, OR 97232.
  • Lake Oswego Contact:  Clayton Scott,  telephone (503) 497-5060. Address: WMS Series LLC/AT, Lake Oswego Branch, 220 "A" Avenue, Suite 200, Lake Oswego, OR 97034.
El Niño Continues to Grow With Widespread Global Impact

U.S. Government scientists now say there's little doubt that El Niño will cause widespread climate disruptions come winter and spring.

In July, sea surface temperatures in the central equatorial Pacific Ocean were two degrees above average and four degrees above average in the eastern Pacific Ocean, a report issued this week concludes.

"Collectively, these atmospheric and oceanic features reflect a significant and strengthening El Niño," the report said. "All models surveyed predict El Niño to continue into the Northern Hemisphere spring 2016, and all multi-model averages predict a strong event at its peak in late fall/early winter."

The study said there is a 90 percent chance of El Niño conditions remaining in place into winter and spring.

What looks to be the strongest El Niño's in history is brewing up global climate disruptions that could not only throw Oregon agriculture out of whack, limiting snowpack in back-to-back years and cutting crop yields, but could extend the drought into normally wet Western Oregon.

Source: "El Niño continues to grow with widespread global impact, scientists say," by Stuart Tomlinson, August 14, 2015. The Oregonian.

Monthly Weather Summary

Below is the National Weather Service weather data for the month of July 2015. These readings are from the Portland airport.
  • Average Monthly Temperature for July 2015:  73.9  (4.7 degrees above normal of 69.2 degrees).
  • Warmest Day: 103 degrees on July 30. 
  • Coldest Day:  54 degrees on July 25.
  • Days of 90 Degrees or Above Temperatures in July 2015:  12.
  • Most Rainfall in 24 Hours:  0.34 inches on July 26.
  • Rain Days: 0 days with thunderstorms, one day with heavy rain, and four days with light rain.
  • Clear/Cloudy Days for July 2015:  Sixteen fair days, 10 partly cloudy days, and five cloudy days.
  • Average Wind Speed for July 2015:  6.7 mph.
Portland's rainfall is measured by the "Water Year" which runs from October 1 - September 30. As of the end of July we are about four inches below the normal amount of rain we should have received by this time. The average rainfall for the month of July is 0.65 inches, and we received 0.57 inches of precipitation in July 2015.

A strong ridge of high pressure built over the Northwest as the jet stream bulged northward to the Canadian border. This allowed temperatures from 5 to 20 degrees above average to take hold across parts of Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana wrapping up July into the first weekend of August.

Portland saw consecutive days with 100-degree heat, topping out at 103 degrees on July 30 and 101 degrees on July 31. The 103 was the hottest temperature there since July 29, 2009. Those hot temperatures have vaulted Portland to its second hottest July on record with an average temperature of 73.9 degrees, falling just behind 1985 which had an average of 74.1 degrees. 

 Bargain Hunting for a Home
A new report from the National Association of Realtors stated that the median price for a Portland-area home in the second quarter rose 10 percent from 2014, settling in at just under $315,000 for the entire metro region. That surge beats Seattle (7.8 percent), Silicon Valley (8.9 percent), San Diego (8.6 percent) and Austin, Texas (9.9 percent). San Francisco edged Portland as its median home price climbed 10.1 percent to a staggering $748,300 for a middle-of-the-road pad.

Many of the neighborhoods within the city of Portland are getting too expensive. Too many buyers want to live in the city core or close to it. For example North Portland used to have the lowest home prices in the city. In July 2015 there were 134 homes sold in North Portland, and the average price was $363,400. Last year in July the average price of 119 homes that sold in North Portland was $301,100. In July 2013 the average price of a home sold was $273,800 in this same area. That is close to an increase of $90,000 in just two years. One of the reasons for this increase is infills. North Portland has many small older homes, and home builders can buy these homes at a fair price, remove them, and put up a new and larger home. The city loves this kind of exchange because the property taxes usually jump 300 percent or more without having to spend a penny on infrastructure (water, sewer, roads, etc.) because they are already in place.

So let's go bargain hunting for a home. We'll explore some areas within the city of Portland that are relatively close to the core and with a short commute as well as two suburban communities. 

Ask anyone who has to drive in the Portland metro area about traffic and they will all tell you it is getting more congested. It's due to the improved economy and lower gas prices along with the increasing population. So living close to the city core is important to most Portlanders.

Our main tool for the research was the Portland Monthly magazine online Real Estate as well as the statistics we can obtain from the RMLS website The magazine provides a slew of numbers about Portland neighborhoods as well as suburban communities. This includes real estate, people, crime, and lifestyle. You can click here for the numbers.

Portland Eastside

Long the city's service entrance, the Central Eastside -- the area east of the Willamette River and bordered by Interstate 84, Southeast 12th Avenue and Powell Boulevard -- is increasingly an attractive place to live and do business because of its access to downtown.

Changes are taking place in the Central Eastside Industrial District, a neighborhood now known for warehouses and delivery trucks. It's here Portland planners envision something different from the Pearl and South Waterfront: a neighborhood that maintains its long history of blue-collar jobs and middle-wage employers. Planners, preparing to change the district's key zoning rules for the first time in decades, believe they can protect existing industry while embracing new types of commerce.

A $1 billion light-rail line with two stations serving the Central Eastside opens in September 2015. Trendy restaurants and retailers are already setting up shop. Real-estate investors are circling, snapping up old industrial properties and fueling commercial gentrification.

Montavilla Neighborhood

As more people move to the metro area, the "city" has gotten bigger. Anything west of I-205 is now considered inner Portland.  

We especially like the neighborhood of Montavilla that is just east of Mount Tabor. Last year the average home price sold in Montavilla was $254,216 whereas its neighborhood to the west, Mount Tabor, the average price was $465,801.

Montavilla's commercial district on SE Stark Street has restaurants, coffee shops, and a movie theater. 82nd Avenue as a major throughway within the city still has issues with crime and prostitution. 

The number of crimes per 1,000 residents was 46 in 2014. With a population close to 16,000 you can drive to downtown under 15 minutes or take one of the nine bus routes that traverse through the neighborhood. If you ride a bike to work downtown, it's a little over four miles.

The 2000 and 2010 Census Profile lets you compare demographics during the 10 year period.

The 195-acre Mt. Tabor Park is one of Portland's premier parks, and if you live in the southwest part of Montavilla it's a 4-5 block walk to the park. The park includes a basketball court, play area, restroom, picnic area, dog off-leash area, picnic tables, playground, and tennis courts. This park is made for walking as it has miles of trails. 

Homes for sale in Montavilla  Click here to view details about the homes currently for sale in the Montavilla neighborhood. Many of the homes in Montavilla offer a view of Mt. Hood.

The Suburban Communities of Happy Valley and Milwaukie

There are many, many outlying neighborhoods surrounding Portland on all sides (including to the north in Washington state).  We selected just two suburbs you might want to consider when searching for a home to buy. They are Happy Valley and Milwaukie. You may end up paying about the same amount for a house in these suburban communities as within the city of Portland, but you get more house for your money.

Happy Valley

Happy Valley is a great place to raise a family, with the second lowest total crimes per 100,000 people in the metro area and several public schools including Happy Valley Middle School and Happy Valley Elementary School and others with high ratings from

Happy Valley's average home was built in 2005, and it is the youngest metro area community in terms of new homes. According to Portland Monthly Magazine, the average price of homes sold in Happy Valley in 2014 was $377,500. You get a lot of house for your dollar in Happy Valley as the average price per square foot for homes sold in 2014 was $132. Portland's average price per square foot was $173 and Lake Oswego's number was $205.

The commute to downtown Portland in non-rush hour traffic is about 20 minutes, according to Portland Monthly Magazine. Happy Valley has two bus routes.

As of the census of 2010, there were 13,903 people, 4,408 households, and 3,724 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,679.1 inhabitants per square mile. There were 4,708 housing units at an average density of 568.6 per square mile.

 The ethnic makeup of the city was 76.2% White, 1.1% African American, 0.5% Native American, 17.4% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 0.9% from other ethnicities, and 3.8% from two or more ethnicities. Hispanic or Latino of any ethnicity were 4.0% of the population.

There were 4,408 households of which 48.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 74.4% were married couples living together. The average household size was 3.15, and the average family size was 3.4.

The median age in the city was 37 years; 30.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 6.8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27% were from 25 to 44; 27.9% were from 45 to 64; and 8.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.7% male and 50.3% female.

Happy Valley has the highest median household income in the metro aea which is $89,549.

Homes for sale in Happy Valley  Click  here to view details about the homes currently for sale in Happy Valley.


The reason Milwaukie was one of our picks to highlight is the relative short commute time to downtown Portland and also that home prices are quite stable. 

There is a downtown in Milwaukie just off Highway 99, but there isn't much reason to visit it other than the library and the lumber yard. There is a strip mall along Highway 224 with the typical array of stores to include a supermarket. Highway 99 heading south is one long 4-lane road with just about every kind of retail establishment one would need in their daily living.

The Sunday Farmers Market is one that attracts many Milwaukie residents as well as others.

Milwaukie Riverfront Park is located on an 8.5 acre site adjacent to the City's downtown, and is nestled between the Willamette River to the west, Kellogg Creek to the south, Johnson Creek to the north and McLoughlin Boulevard (Highway 99) to the east. It underwent a $2.2 million dollar facelift that was completed in the spring of 2015. 

Starting just below Southeast Portland (Sellwood, Westmoreland, and Eastmoreland), Milwaukie is in Clackamas County and is a mixture of house styles and prices with some dwellings nestled right on the Willamette River.

According to Portland Monthly Magazine, the average price of homes sold in Milwaukie in 2014 was $227,765. The average price per square foot for homes sold in 2014 was $129 in Milwaukie. Portland's average price per square foot was $173 and Lake Oswego's number was $205.

Home prices will probably increase in the future because the new Orange Line (Tri-Met's newest extension of MAX) will start rolling out of downtown Portland, across our newest bridge, the Tilikum (carries people on foot and bicycles and light rail but no cars), through Southeast Portland and down to the north end of Milwaukie.  The official opening day is September 12, 2015 (come early--ride free that day).  

The pre-MAX commute time was 14 minutes (non rush hour). There are 12 bus lines that serve the community. Crimes per 1,000 people was 30 (while not a totally urban setting, it is more urban than Happy Valley).  

Census of 2010  There were 20,291 people, 8,667 households, and 5,075 families residing in the city. Other numbers:
  • The population density was 4,209.8 inhabitants per square mile.
  • There were 9,138 housing units at an average density of 1,895.9 per square mile.
  • The racial makeup of the city was 88.5% White, 1.3% African American, 1.3% Native American, 2.5% Asian, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 2.5% from other races, and 3.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.0% of the population.
  • There were 8,667 households of which 27.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.5% were married couples living together, 11.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 41.4% were non-families. 
  • The average household size was 2.32, and the average family size was 2.91.
The median age in the city was 39.9 years; 20.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 28.8% were from 25 to 44; 29.2% were from 45 to 64; and 13.6% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.6% male and 51.4% female.

According to Great, the Milwaukie Academy of the Arts and Sojourner School (K-5) rank in the top third; Putnam High School ranks at the top of the middle tier.

Homes for sale in Milwaukie  Click  here to view details about the homes currently for sale in Milwaukie.

Which Grocery Store is Better for Portland Home Values, Trader Joe's or Whole Foods?
Quality schools, nice parks and a Whole Foods grocery store can do a lot for home values in a neighborhood.

Even better? A Trader Joe's.

According to new data from RealtyTrac that compared home value appreciation for homes near Trader Joe's versus those near Whole Foods, homeowners near a Trader Joe's have seen an average 40 percent increase in home value since they purchased, compared to 34 percent appreciation for homeowners near a Whole Foods.

Homes near a Trader Joe's also have a higher value on average. According to RealtyTrac, average home value near a Trader Joe's is $592,339, which is 5 percent more than the $561,840 average value for homes near a Whole Foods.

On the flip side, homeowners near a Trader Joe's pay an average of $8,536 in property taxes each year, which is 59 percent more than the $5,382 average for homeowners near a Whole Foods.

RealtyTrac's analysis looked at home values and property taxes for 1.7 million homes, condos and co-ops in 188 zip codes with at least one Whole Foods store (and no Trader Joe's stores) and 2.3 million homes, condos and co-ops in 242 zip codes with at least one Trader Joe's store (and no Whole Foods stores).

Zip codes included a range of those across the Portland metro region, Oregon, California, Washington, Colorado and several states in the South, the Midwest and on the East Coast.

For the analysis, RealtyTrac compared the average of current home values to the average of home values at the time the home was last purchased.

Source:  "Which grocery store is better for Portland home values, Trader Joe's or Whole Foods?," by Jon Bell,  August 14, 2015, Portland Business Journal.

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