Portland metro home sales pick up in July as mortgage rates tumble
July brought some zip to a Portland area housing market that had been in the doldrums relative to the past few years, but the rally might prove short-lived.
Sales jumped 7.6% compared with the same month a year earlier, according to the local listing service RMLS, and the surge in sales helped bring down the previously growing number of homes on the market.
Accepted offers, however, dropped compared with the year prior, suggesting August's numbers for closed sales might disappoint.
The median sale price, meanwhile, rose to $411,600, up 2.5% compared with a year earlier.
The spike in sales might be tied to a dip in mortgage rates. The average fixed rate for a 30-year mortgage has been falling since November, but it dropped below 4 percent in June. Last week, the average hit 3.6%, a low not seen since 2016.
"That's actually stimulating buyers and getting some, who were on the fence, off," said Matthew Gardner, chief economist for Windermere Real Estate.
Homes are sitting on the market longer. The average listing time for a home sold in July was 43 days, a week more than a year ago.
But new listings have declined at the same time, keeping buyers in competition with one another and sellers at an advantage.
The year's slowdown, Gardner said, is part of a gradual return to a more normal market after a few frenetic years where home prices climbed by double-digit percentages annually — far in excess of wage growth.
"We're recovering from a market that was going mad," Gardner said. "We kind of got used to that being the new normal, but it's not normal. A lot of buyers have never seen a normal market."