Portland metro home prices and real estate market on upswing

Prices of houses for sale in Portland increased by 2.6 percent in April and May, continuing a general upward trend for the housing market in the city, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Additionally, in an increase that experts have viewed as largely symbolic but encouraging, prices rose 0.4 percent compared to the same time a year ago, according to Oregon Live. This marks the first time since 2010, when Portland-area prices showed a year-on-year increase. The price increase at that time was driven largely by an expiring sales incentive, leading to a frenzy of homebuyers.

"We're not recovering to 2005 levels of appreciation or anything," Jerry Johnson, an economist with Johnson Reid, told the news source. "The bubble was a bubble because it didn't make a whole lot of sense. But I do think we're coming back to a more normal state of appreciation. then, the fundamentals were still really bad. Now all the market conditions say this is what should be happening."

This time around, real estate experts believe that the sales and prices are rising more organically of their own accord. While low interest rates by national banks and local lenders have helped, leading economists and market analysts believe the housing market has passed its low point and is firmly on an upward track.
The last time the Portland metro demonstrated year-over-year price gains, many local real estate experts pointed to the large supply of unsold and foreclosed homes. The limited supply of available homes for sale today is a major factor in driving up house prices in Portland and across the country.

The "shadow inventories" of bank-owned homes and homes in some stage of the foreclosure process makes tracking supply accurately a difficult task, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting. Because the banks don't publicly release details on which houses in which parts of town are in this "shadow inventory," the actual number of available houses could be skewed.

"We have to and we're going to continue to caution people to look at these data for six or eight months and look at all housing statistics before we can say the market has turned around, if it has," Maureen Maitland of Standard and Poor told the news source.