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National, Portland home prices settle into slower growth

Home prices in areas like Portland have hit a point where they’re out-of-reach for many who might otherwise be looking to buy their first home. Rising mortgage rates have further limited their ability to buy in the expensive region.

Housing-market watchers say that doesn’t mean prices are likely to crash. David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee, said mortgage default rates haven’t ticked up as they did starting in 2006.

“Without a collapse in housing finance like the one seen 12 years ago, a crash in home prices is unlikely,” Blitzer said.
Skylar Olsen, an economist for the real estate website Zillow, said the slower growth in housing prices was welcome relief for homebuyers. It could push some prospective buyers who are on the fence to buy a home before even higher mortgage rates appear.

But others might feel the pressure’s off, particularly as rents in many areas — including Portland — have plateaued, and in some cases fallen.

“Some potential buyers may wait, enjoying a rare national decline in rents and watching for the right home to come on the market,” Olsen said. “They also might not like what they see this winter, if it’s homes left from earlier in the year that were overpriced or are otherwise undesirable.”

The Portland area’s median sale price in August was $407,500. It fell to $392,500 in September.

By Elliot Njus | The Oregonian/OregonLive | Posted October 30, 2018 at 08:25 AM

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