Portland area home sales cool in March; prices rise, but barely
March foreshadowed a cooler Portland-area housing market as the busy spring selling season begins.
New numbers from the listing service RMLS showed fewer sales, more homes on the market and only the slightest increase in prices over the past year.
That all suggests a calmer market for would-be homebuyers, while sellers will need to practice patience.
The 2,200 metro-area homes sold in March represent a 7.9% decline compared with the same month a year earlier. That 2,200 homes that went under a sale contract during the month mark a 5.4% decline, suggesting closed deals will continue to lag in the coming months.
There were 4,800 homes left on the market by the end of the month, nearly 1,000 more than the same month last year.
If sales continued at the same rate as March, it would take just over two months to sell all those homes, suggesting a seller's market remains.
Yet it's a weaker seller's market than the red-hot pace that homeowners have enjoyed -- and weaker than any March since 2014.
The median sale price — the point at which half of homes sold for more and half for less — was $399,000, an increase of just 1% from a year ago. Prices haven't risen so slowly since 2012, as Oregon's housing market was just emerging from the wreckage of the housing crash. (The median price dipped in January, but recovered the following month.)
Even so, prices have nearly doubled since that 2012 low-water mark.
Homes that sold in March spent nearly 10 weeks on the market, from listing to the day an offer was accepted. That's two weeks longer than last year.
In southwest Washington, which is reported separately, prices continued to rise at a rapid 7.6% from a year earlier. Sales fell 4.8%, but pending sales that will close in the coming months were up 1.7%.