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A Tale of Five Cities

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. But I don’t think even Dickens could have imagined the roller coaster our housing market has been on the last few years.

Last Tuesday Case-Schiller released its Home Price Indices for April 2015. The raw numbers: Portland up 1.72% over March 2015, 7.11% over April 2014. The 20 City Composite Index, which includes Portland, up 1.03% over March 2015, 4.92% over April 2014.

Comparing Portland to our West Coast neighbors provides some interesting insights. Portland is up 37% from its low point in March 2012, roughly the same as Seattle, yet half that of San Francisco, which is up 79% from its low point in February 2012.

On the other hand, Portland has recovered 95% of it July 2007 peak value, barely behind San Francisco and again fairly close to Seattle’s recovery.

Portland’s median home price is roughly two-thirds that of Seattle, half that of San Diego and Los Angeles, and one-third that of San Francisco. When cost matters, Portland is the most affordable housing market on the West Coast.

So unlike the dark and gloomy backdrop of a Dickens novel, Portland offers several bright upsides for its characters.

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