By Aryne + Dulcinea, June 4, 2018
By Aryne + Dulcinea, June 4, 2018
Portland home prices have been climbing consistently this decade, and there’s a lot of “bubble” talk these days. If you had to name the two defining changes in the Portland mortgage market over the last eight years, they would be higher sales prices and smaller down payments. Portland has traditionally had a strong real estate market, even in downturns, but Portland down payment amounts are decreasing. Historically, sales prices and loan amounts rose in lockstep. As Portlanders moved up, they took the equity from their sale and put it down on the new purchase. Portland incomes have traditionally been lower than other places on the west coast and Portlanders needed lower monthly payments. Larger down payments kept the monthly payment affordable and limited the growth in prices.
Now that Portland is the it city on the west coast, the connection between down payment and sales price has changed. More buyers are moving here from other locations, bringing their well-paying jobs with them. They’re younger, make more money, can afford higher monthly mortgage payments, and are putting less down. Accelerating the shifting dynamic is the increasing availability of small down payments paired with large loan amount mortgage. This trend has pundits worried we may be headed for trouble. Small down payments mean banks have a smaller cushion in case of default, and a moderate price decrease would leave more homeowners under water. That makes defaults more likely, as homeowners are less likely to continue making mortgage payments when they owe more than their home is worth. In the last recession, many at-risk homeowners elected to stop making payments, and the flood of foreclosures created a downward market spiral. It’s understandable that analysts would make the connection between 2006’s peak and the recent price runup.
The rate of price increase is similar – the early 2000s and recent years have seen strong price growth, which raises concerns of a correction. However, while the price increase is similar, there are two factors which make a bubble less likely.
There’s an old saying that whatever goes up, must come down. That’s as true today as ever. The rapid rise in Portland home prices definitely feels evocative of the early 2000s and brings up the specter of a bubble. Prices will eventually decrease, of course, but unfortunately no one knows when. The good news is that the structural and mortgage changes in the real estate market will likely dampen the severity of the market’s ebbs and flows. With the strong inflow of well-qualified buyers in the Portland market, it appears that Portland home prices are set for a period of stable growth.
Aaron Nawrocki has over 20 years of direct experience overseeing mortgage and loan processes, working to provide clients the market insight and lending expertise required to make informed decisions.
Over the course of their professional partnership, Aryne + Dulcinea have helped over 200 clients prosper in their new lives. During this time, they have prided themselves in their top-notch selling abilities, with homes outperforming market standards, consistently exceeding list price while most of their listings sell in under 7 days. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell, Aryne & Dulcinea will work in collaboration to guide you in investing in your future and reaching your real estate goals.