2019 was an interesting and eventful year for the Portland Housing Market. Although things started a bit sluggish, it ended up being a very hot first half of 2019, which continued well into the summer season. Below is a review of some of the trends we saw.
Slow But Productive Start: January and February
January 2019 proved to be very promising following the holiday season, when more buyers entered the market. This was surprising, given the surge in interest rates and mortgage rates. During this period, houses stayed on the market for a median of 58 days, which is a trend that continued into February when new listings dipped again. There was far less inventory in February than in January, with 875 listings versus 1,131, respectively. This was likely due to snowfall, which briefly halted activity.
Heating Up Steadily: March through May
After a slow start, the Portland Housing Market picked up steam in March, with buyer demand remaining high. The median sell price neared $420,000 and the time it took to sell homes was about a week longer than average. Those in the $600k range sat on the market for much longer. Mortgage rates remained low in March, which ultimately puts the power in buyers’ hands. Houses under $400k were in high demand and ultra competitive among buyers, inviting many bidding wars. May was the hottest month in all of 2019, despite a slowdown in the months leading up to it.
Plummeting Mortgage Rates
The reason May was such a hot month, unlike years past, was due to plummeting mortgage rates. 30-year fixed mortgage rates hit below 4%. Unfortunately, this also invited many bidding wars among buyers who were eager to lock in low rates to secure a home.
End of Spring + Beginning of Summer
May’s trends continued well into June, as things stayed hot. Prices remained steady in June and mortgage rates dropped even lower to a whopping 3.75%. Because the Portland unemployment rate was so low at this time, buyers wanted to take advantage of steady home prices and low rates while they had both. June saw just under 1,000 homes sold, with a median sold price of $432,000.
Fall and Winter
The fall market is always slower with less people selling and buying. The months of November and December bottomed out as people became busy with the holidays and needed to take care of other expenses. Generally, the colder months prove to be demotivating, as people opt to stay home instead of going and looking at houses. However, that sometimes means less competition, which can be advantageous for the right buyers and sellers. This was true of the Portland Housing Market from August onward, right after the busiest time of year.
A Glimpse into 2020
The future of real estate is not easy to predict. But as it stands now, the National Association of Realtors is predicting 3.6% appreciation next year and 3.5% for 2021 nationally, so things are certainly looking bright.
2019 certainly had its hot moments and big wins for many buyers and sellers. 2020 is shaping up to be a good time to buy as well, of course taking into account the facts and figures above. Overall, the Portland Housing Market is very healthy at present due to low unemployment and interest rates and a thriving economy. Our recommendation for next year is to buy smart and work with a local real estate agent who truly knows the ins and outs of the housing market. This will surely prime you for success when purchasing a home.