Portland-area home prices pushed further into record territory in February, but their growth slowed to the lowest level in more than two years.
Home prices jumped 6.7% in February compared with a year earlier, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index, the smallest annual jump since October 2014. The Portland metro saw prices climb 0.4 percent during the month.
Nationally, prices climbed 6.3% year-over-year. Among the 20 cities included in the index, the largest increases were in Seattle (12.7%), Las Vegas (11.6%) and San Francisco (10.1%).
After bouncing back from the Great Recession, Portland's home-price growth took off in 2016, peaking at 12.5% annual growth in June 2016. It led the nation in home-price gains for nearly a year before dropping off. Home prices have climbed steadily at about 7% year-over-year since August.
They remain in record-setting territory. Portland-area home prices topped their housing bubble-era peak in August 2015 and have since climbed another 20%.
The slowdown could indicate Portland is be nearing its residents' outer limits of affordability. The increases in home prices have far exceeded gains in wages, and rising mortgage rates have further limited buying power.
But demand for homes remains high in Portland, and the number of homes on the market remains stubbornly low. That continues to push prices higher, and bidding wars -- particularly on the most affordable homes accessible to first-time buyers -- remain common.
As a result, the climbing prices are hitting the bottom of the market hardest.
Homes priced under $329,000 collectively saw their prices climb about 12.2% in the past year, compared with 7% for the middle third ($329,000 to $441,000) and 4.5% for the highest third ($441,000 and up).
Construction of new for-sale homes remains slow and has done little to help meet demand. The metro area's population, meanwhile, continues to grow.
The Case-Shiller home price index uses repeat sales of the same homes to measure changes in values across the market. It's released as a three-month rolling average.
The median home price in the Portland area was $385,000 in February, according to the Regional Multiple Listing Service. It climbed to $395,000 in March.
Tribune Content Agency